Will the Philippines slip?

Is the BPO crown finally starting to shift from the traditional giants? Philstar reports that Credit Suisse thinks so and it could be bad news for the Philippines overall as a downward trend in the sector is tipped to drag the economy down in its wake. This will happen over the next couple of years.

A quick caveat if we may:nobody ever thought the apparent boom in BPO and contact centres in particular to last forever. The suggestion is that the country’s GDP might dip 0.3% over the next couple of years because the sector is going to shrink.

We’re not persuaded that it’s as simple as that, to be honest. Yes, profits in the traditional model of contact centre management are bound to slip and if you’re heavily invested in that way of doing things you can expect to have to change. However, the sector itself is going to be populated by robotics (so the need for people for basic tasks will diminish) and eventually AI, which might eliminate even some problem-solving positions.

None of which is any comfort if you’re in one of the more traditional businesses with those skills and have little prospect of moving on – but it appears to be how this sort of service is going to evolve.

India appears to be bucking the trend. This report contrasts with others we’ve seen as recently as last month, and of course it’s only one forecast. We’ll see how the players in the Philippines respond.

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