Government urged to focus on students’ digital skills development for BPO jobs

Amid the growing demand for digital skills in the global arena, the IT and Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP) said the government should focus on honing the skills of students to keep up with employment requirements.

In a televised interview on Wednesday, Celeste Ilagan, Chief Policy and Regulatory Affairs Officer of IBPAP, said the Department of Education (DepEd) and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) should ensure that students should have the necessary skills aligned with the job roles related to the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) industry.

‘Yung pinaka-importante naman is to make sure na ’yung ating mga manggagawa ay meron tamang skills para sa mga trabahong nagbabago, nage-evolve, at mayroon tayong enough manpower na ma-supply itong industriya, which keeps on growing every year,” Ilagan pointed out, when asked on what are the key policies needed to support the Information Technology  and Business Process Management (IT-BPM) industry.

The IBPAP official noted that if the industry gains higher trust from clients abroad, more jobs will be generated in the country. Further, Ilagan underscored the need to hone the skills of Filipino employees amid the ongoing digital transformation in the global arena.

Mga 20 years na tayo sa industriya, lahat ng ating services ay nagiging higher value tumataas ’yung skills, ’yung mga requirements sa mga empleyado noong mga panahon na ’yun iba na kaysa sa kailangan ngayon,” Ilagan said.

“Alam natin yung digital transformation malaking bahagi ng pag unlad sa mundo and, therefore, ’yung mga empleyado din natin digitally-skilled, ganun din ang kanilang pinag-aaralan,” the IBPAP official added.

With this, Ilagan said, “So maigi para sa aming industriya na ’yung DepEd, ’yung ating CHED, ay sumabay na ibigay sa mga estudyante yung kinakailangan para paglabas nila ng eskwelahan, paggraduate nila, they already have the skills that are needed para matanggap sila dito sa mga gantong klaseng trabaho at gusto rin naman namin na high-school graduates palang sa senior ‘e ready na sila maging empleyado dito sa BPO industry.”

Apart from the said plea, Ilagan said the industry has always said that senior high school be given the necessary education to be prepared.  “Pwede na silang matanggap if meron training bago makatapos ng senior high- school, maisama na sa curriculum nila ’yung mga subjects or skills para maging handa.”

As for college students, the IBPAP official said the industry is hopeful that subjects related to BPO services will be included in their curriculum.

“And sa mga college students, ganun din gusto natin mangyari na maisama sa curriculum ’yung mga subjects na related dun sa how to provide the service ’yung mga [information technology] IT, [artificial intelligence] AI, [robotic process automation] RPA, ’yung mga bagay na ganito, ito ’yung mas in-demand sa buong mundo at may kakulangan din sa talent sa ganitong klaseng areas,” said Ilagan.

Other key policies that will help boost the industry, Ilagan noted, are on hybrid work, a policy that will make Filipino employees be at par with other countries in terms of labor cost, and a policy on ease of doing business.

“Ang una, gusto natin na magkaroon pa rin ng hybrid work permission na manggagaling sa gobyerno and we saw that this has been addressed by government. Kailangan din na mas maging competitive ’yung Pilipinas ’yung presyo ng paggawa ng trabaho dito sa Pilipinas ay competitive sa ibang lokasyon,” Ilagan said on Wednesday. ’Yung ease of doing business is important to us ngayon,” Ilagan said.