Hottest job in PH: Call center agentsBy Tina Arceo-Dumlao
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Want to earn quickly? Apply for a job in call centers.
According to the Bureau of Local Employment (BLE), a call center agent is the hottest job in the Philippines with supply unable to match the demand.
BLE data on www.phil-job.net showed that from April 22 to 29, vacancies for call center agents reached 2,757.
Next on the list of top 20 vacancies is production machine operator, followed by sales clerk and laborer.
For possible overseas as well as local employment, the demand is highest for machine operators at 1,002 vacancies, followed by steelmen at 910, domestic helpers, production and factory workers, heavy truck drivers, private housekeepers and welders.
The BLE said the ranking of hot jobs changes from week to week but not by much, indicating that the same jobs have been in demand for about a year.
Other sought-after jobs are merchandiser, technical support staff, promo salesperson, customer service assistant, cashier, office clerk, delivery driver, sales officer and motorcycle driver.
Big demand overseas
Jose Mari Mercado, president and chief executive officer of the Business Processing Association of the Philippines (BPAP), told the Inquirer that he was not surprised that the job of the call center agent emerged as the hottest in the Philippines because of the great demand for contact center services, particularly in the United States, Australia and New Zealand.
Mercado noted that the Philippines was the world’s leading provider of contact services and that ranking was not expected to be wrested anytime soon with the industry expected to grow by another 18-20 percent this year.
Data from BPAP, the umbrella organization for business process outsourcing services, showed that the industry employed a total of 770,000 at the end of 2012, of which over 500,000, or 65 percent, were in the call center industry. This year, the employment number is expected to increase to 960,000 with the call center industry still accounting for about 65 percent.
1 to 1.5 for every 10
Filling that demand, however, remained a challenge as only 1 to 1.5 for every 10 applicants get hired.
“Hiring is one of our challenges. Yes, we speak English, but not the level of English that the industry is looking for. Graduates usually trip when they engage in free-flowing conversation, and when we talk about business communication,” explained Mercado.
He said, however, that the industry had been able to respond to this challenge through the training program bankrolled by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda). The so-called near-hires, or those who fall just a little short of requirements, get 100 hours of training in communication from an accredited Tesda training institution so that they can meet industry standards. BPAP provided the curriculum and manages the P350-million training program.
Mercado said that some 46,500, or over 70 percent, of those who went through the program landed jobs.
Call center agents earn a starting basic salary of between P11,000 and P14,000 a month. They also get a night differential and some of the leading call center companies provide transport and meal allowances.
“We see the demand for call center agents to continue to go up. It is a good job that provides opportunities for growth,” said Mercado.
Due to economy growth
The demand for skilled labor in the construction industry was attributed to the general growth in the economy, said Miguel Varela, president of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI).
The PCCI continues to work with the Department of Education to tighten the link between what the industry needs and the skills that the college graduates end up with, Varela said. “We need to focus more on what the industry needs so that the graduates will immediately have a job after school.”