Jamaicans urged to grow careers in the BPO sectorThursday, August 26, 2021
KINGSTON, Jamaica— With the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry employing more than 40,000 people and poised for continued growth, officials are urging Jamaicans to cement their careers by taking advantage of the various opportunities.
President of JAMPRO, Diane Edwards, said there is a prediction that 50,000 BPO jobs will be moving from Asia to the nearshore, and once Jamaica plays “our part right, we can take a lot of those jobs,” she told JIS News at the opening of a new IBEX facility in Portmore, St Catherine, recently.
“This is young people business; they must embrace it, get involved in it. This is the industry of the future,” she added, while calling for the maintenance of the facility and adherence to COVID-19 control protocols.
President of the Global Services Association of Jamaica (GSAJ), Gloria Henry, said that the industry is moving towards 50,000 jobs, and US$1 billion in annual revenues, adding that there is a collaborative effort with HEART/NTSA Trust to train 24,000 people to meet the expansion.
“This sector has the largest ratio of employees to supervisors, it supports growth from within, so anybody who is looking for a career, this is the place to go,” Henry said, while speaking with JIS News at the Portmore opening of IBEX's latest operation.
The new facility in Portmore, called G-Teck Park, consists of three buildings, with completion of another two set for early 2022. It is managed by Portmore Holdings Limited, a subsidiary of the Tewani Group, and will offer 240,000 square feet of space for BPO operations.
Senior Vice President at IBEX, Jaime Vergara, said the company has 400 centres in its worldwide operation, and over the last three years, it has been enjoying a 400 per cent growth in Jamaica, with the Portmore operation adding 1,500 jobs.
“We believe in this market, and this is the right place to be, at the right time. This facility alone will allow us to grow our insurance support business by 350 per cent,” Vergara said, while lauding JAMPRO, the GSAJ, the Portmore Municipal Corporation, and especially the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM).
The OPM developed “the necessary measures that allowed us to retain 4,000 jobs when we were at the worst in the COVID-19 [pandemic] and allowed us to add another 1,500 [jobs] in the last six months. We are going to be spending over US$15 million in Jamaica payroll alone, during this calendar year,” Vergara pointed out.
Prime Minister Andrew Holness, said the company “has taken a special interest in Jamaica with the investments that you have made, not just here in Portmore but right across Jamaica”, while pointing out that the BPO industry recorded a 15 per cent increase in employment, despite the economic fallout resulting from the novel coronavirus pandemic.
“And we note that the number under your employment is increasing, and we encourage you to hire more people, which will happen, we have more buildings to go, so I expect that that will be the case,” Holness added.
Approximately 44,000 people were employed across the sector as at June 2021, compared to 38,400 for the corresponding period last year. BPO operators are currently working alongside the Jamaica Special Economic Zone Authority, while the Government had to pass legislation to allow for 30 to 40 per cent of the workforce to work remotely on a regular basis.
Minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Senator Aubyn Hill, said the Government is protective of the industry, and so ensures that approvals are granted on time, enacts the requisite regulations, as “we must be service oriented” to attract and maintain investments in the sector.
Member of Parliament for St Catherine East Central, where the facility is located, Alando Terrelonge, said he is pleased with the job provision for his constituents, while Member of Parliament for St Catherine South, Fitz Jackson, says the “wonderful accomplishment,” underscores the value of collaboration.