As early as 10 years ago, the Philippines was not the country you would think of when hearing the word outsourcing. Fast-forward to today and the Philippines has become the place to be when it comes to offshore, outsourcing services.
More and more companies are choosing to outsource to the Philippines. In fact, the country has tripled its global market share of BPO business since 2004, from 4% to 12.3%, and it’s expected to grow even more in the next decade. The industry’s been a boon for the Philippines as well, with BPO now encompassing the nation’s largest source of private employment and the second-largest contributor to foreign exchange earnings.
But why is the Philippines such a BPO hotspot and what does that mean for U.S. companies seeking dynamic outsourcing solutions? Below are just a few of the reasons that the Philippines has become a great choice of location to outsource for U.S. businesses.
Reason 1: Outsourcing To The Philippines Doesn't Come With A Language Barrier
Remember when one of the biggest complaints, when it came to outsourcing, was that employees didn’t have a grasp of the English language or spoke the language well but in an accent that could be difficult to understand?
Well, offshoring to the Philippines all but eliminates language barrier concerns for skeptics of offshore outsourcing. The Philippines is home to two official languages, one of which is English. Filipino – or Tagalog – is the most common language spoken on the many islands that make up the Philippine nation, but when we say that English is a close second, we do mean very close.
A full 92 percent of Filipinos speak English proficiently, and Filipinos write and converse quite naturally in their adopted second language, including the use of linguistic nuances like idioms and – when the situation calls for it – a little slang.
Because many Filipino households are multilingual and children begin learning and speaking English from a very young age, accents can be hard to detect, and you or your customers may even forget you're speaking to someone half a world away.
At least, that's what our EVP and Site Head – Manila, Paulo Cheung says about the English proficiency of the team there. "A [Filipino] call center agent can make small talk with a U.S. customer about the latest fashion trend in the U.S. or a graphic artist can create a perfect color combination that is pleasing to the eyes of an American."
Reason 2: Cultural Compatibility When You Do Business in the Philippines
No matter your background, you're likely to feel right at home in the Philippines. Before it was an independent republic and self-governing country, the Philippines passed through Spanish, American, and – briefly – Japanese control. Pre-colonial, indigenous Philippine culture was rich and well-traveled as well, and the result of all of this is a culture that is absolutely one-of-a-kind that simultaneously manages to feel completely familiar.
You'll find new things to discover in the Philippines right alongside your choice of favorite restaurants and shopping haunts, lining streets with familiar architecture in a tropical clime. Western ex-pats and business people from all corners of the world who find themselves visiting the Philippines often describe the country as welcoming and easy to love.
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It's common to find that your Filipino counterparts follow the same sports teams – basketball is the most popular sport in the country – binge-watch the same shows and listen to the same music you dance to back home, so the chat around the water cooler is pretty much the same as well.
"Maximizing a culture of compatibility is very critical in the outsourcing business," says Cheung of the importance of finding and nurturing these cultural parallels. He contends that it's part of the reason "the Philippines is the top destination for most U.S. businesses."
Reason 3: The Philippines Workforce Is Populated By Tech-Savvy Millennials And Gen Z
The newest generation of workers is tech-savvy, autodidactic and make up the majority of the business process outsourcing (BPO) workforce in the Philippines, with the average age sitting right at 23 years old. That age cohort in particular is specifically represented by some of the youngest newcomers to the workplace, Generation Z. These new grads are increasingly searching for work that allows them to feel they are making a difference.
They're incredibly self-motivated and as a group, they approach their work with authenticity and empathy, bringing an incredible affinity for the technology that makes working remotely a snap to the workplace, too.
Read About Filipino Gen Z: Gen Z is Entering the Workforce – Are You Ready For Them?
Pair that ambitious and talented workforce with the excellent and abundant universities surrounding major cities like Manila, you have yourself a winning combination of an engaged and highly educated workforce. Companies looking to outsource some function of their finance and accounting department are often surprised to learn that CPAs in the Philippines are certified using the same standards we use stateside, and that bookkeeping professionals follow GAAP, too.
Keep in mind that competition for this generation of digitally native talent is fierce in the Philippines so you will need to choose an outsourcing company that understands and empowers this unique generation of employees and enjoys long-term loyalty from their team in the form of low turnover as a result.
Reason #4: Technology & Security Make Outsourcing to The Philippines A Safe Bet
In metro areas like Manila, the technology and security infrastructure are well placed and as reliable as right here at home. Technology availability (Internet connectivity and WiFi signal, for example) are not at risk of failing, and data security is a top priority.
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In other words, you don’t have to worry about your data getting into the wrong hands. In fact, the country’s Data Privacy Act (DPA) of 2012 was enacted to guarantee that the Philippines stays up-to-par on international security standards. In fact, The National Privacy Commission (NPC) -- the Philippine watchdog that was formed to ensure the country's compliance with the DPA -- was recently tapped to lead a 2020 privacy taskforce within the Global Privacy Assembly (GPA) in the wake of the novel coronavirus pandemic, making them a true global leader in data privacy and security.
Reputable BPOs in the Philippines will also have sought out certification by the International Organization for Standardization. Find out at the outset if they are ISO certified for an even deeper measure of security confidence.
Reason 5: The People of the Philippines Are the Best Reason to Outsource There
Not only will you find top talent in the Philippines that's capable, educated and hardworking, but you’ll also enjoy relationships with some of the most gracious, fun and hospitable folks you’ll ever meet.
Always welcoming, the people are what makes the place so special. As their slogan goes, “It’s more fun in the Philippines,” and it really is.
Check out this video about the country, and you’ll get an idea. Since fun is such a large part of their culture, you’ll find many BPOs that embrace it with strong employee engagement programs and unique company cultures, which breeds loyalty to the business and their customers:
The Philippines has become a top BPO destination for good reason. If you’re interested in seeing Filipino BPO teams in action, contact us. We got our start outsourcing in the Philippines long before it caught hold, more than 30 years ago in fact. We’d love to be a part of your journey as you outsource work to the Philippines. To see the solutions offered in our state-of-the-art facility in Manila, click here.