Home Top News BPOs seek better-prepared new hires to improve industry ‘conversion rate’

BPOs seek better-prepared new hires to improve industry ‘conversion rate’

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By Justine Irish D. Tabile, Reporter

THE information technology and business process management (IT-BPM) industry said it is seeking out better-prepared candidates to raise its “conversion rate” of new hires that become permanent employees.

IT and Business Process Association of the Philippines President Jack Madrid said talent remains the industry’s biggest source of competitive advantage, but added that the talent pool needs continuous upgrading.

“Our industry was built on the foundation of Filipino talent, and to preserve our market share and continue to grow our revenue and our headcount, we need to address the talent supply gap,” Mr. Madrid told reporters in a recent briefing.

“There is no short-term fix for this, but having said that, I think it should be relatively easy for incoming new hires to realize that to be attractive to the job marketplace, they need to increase their overall skill set,” Mr. Madrid said.

If properly addressed, however, he does not expect the skills gap to be a “very big issue.”

He said that upskilling the current workforce does not mean that employees have to redo their college degrees, but cited the need to update skill sets and learn new ones suited for the marketplace.

“The Philippines has the advantage of being a very relatively young country with an average age of slightly over 25, and we have a very healthy graduate class from universities of over 700,000,” he said.

“So, if we work together with the private sector and get these employees trained, I see no reason why we will not achieve our goals,” he added.

The 2024 World Competitiveness Ranking (WCR) compiled by Switzerland’s International Institute for Management Development indicated that business executives see the skilled Philippine workforce as one of the factors that make the country attractive.

Jamil Paolo S. Francisco, executive director of the Asian Institute of Management Rizalino S. Navarro Policy Center for Competitiveness, said however that the rankings revealed some issues with the Philippines, which experienced major drops in four indicators measuring the availability of skilled labor.

“They put a skilled workforce as the key attractiveness indicator, and yet we also had data revealing that there was difficulty in finding skilled labor,” Mr. Francisco said.

“Essentially, you’re saying that the best thing about this country is its skilled workers, but executives are having difficulty finding them,” he added.

The Philippine labor market ranked 32nd out of 67 economies this year in the WCR, a big drop from 21st last year. And despite ranking 12th in skilled labor, the country ranked 57th and 54th in the attracting and retaining talent and brain drain indicators.

To address this, Mr. Francisco said that the Philippines will have to improve its basic, digital, and human infrastructure.

“When you say infrastructure, it includes human infrastructure, which is the human capital part — education and health,” he said.

“If there is an issue of skilled labor not being readily available, and the jobs and skills mismatch that investors are seeing, then by improving our human capital development capabilities as well as efficiency, we can help address that,” he added.

He said it is important for the government to come up with skills mapping, as it will give a clearer picture of what skills are needed by the private sector.

“If we can coordinate the necessary skills needed and the skills that we teach our students in private and public education, then the friction in finding the right job skills matching is lessened,” he added.

In terms of basic and digital infrastructure, he said that improving the two will help ease traffic and internet connections, which are crucial to an employee’s productivity and access to remote work.

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