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Outsourcing to the Philippines: What the Pros Already Know

A vacationer's paradise, the Philippines is a hotbed for skilled, knowledgeable talent. With a growing pool of technical and literary graduates, the Philippines continues its 10-year trend of seeing major corporations moving operations to this thriving country. Strategically located, the Philippines secret weapon will always simply be this: its hard-working, educated, flexible workforce.

Growing Tourist Destination

The Philippines is beyond your usual vacation hotspot. Its 7,107 islands boast of pristine beaches swaddled with gleaming sands and idyllic sunsets, as well as a plethora of ecological reserves and visual wonders that are thriving with wildlife and culture.

With crystal blue channels sustained by the China Sea and the Pacific Ocean, the Philippines flaunts a coastline that is twice than that of the United States. Besides the accommodating white sands that allow beachgoers to walk barefoot even in the most scorching time of day, its waters are teeming with exotic marine creatures that captivate divers and swimmers alike.

Apart from its aesthetic expositions, scientists also claim that the Philippines is one of the privileged places on earth that can be considered as a biological paradise. Of the 500 varieties of coral in the world, 488 are found in the Philippines; while 7 out of the 8 known species of giant clam are endemic in its waters.

It is even home to the world's smallest freshwater fish (dwarf pygmy goby), the planet's largest eagle (Great Philippine Eagle), as well as the abode of one the most expensive shells in the world (Glory of the Sea).

Equally, the Philippines houses some of the world's most stunning natural marvels. The longest subterranean river system is found in St. Paul National Park located in the province of Palawan, while Mount Mayon, renowned the globe over for its almost faultless conical contours, is found in Albay. This tropical sanctuary is full of extraordinary panoramas that it even has hills so realistically similar to chocolate that they are named after the sweet confection.

The World's Budding Outsourcing Pool

Apart from being one of the most ideal tourist hotspots in the world, the Philippines has been seen by top Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) firms as a prime choice for recruiting virtual staff. Thus, paving the way for one of the best business solutions ever created: outsourcing to the Philippines.

Aside from BPO firms, outsourcing to the Philippines is also the current trend among small companies and home-operated businesses in the United States, Canada, Great Britain and several other European countries.

Presently, a number of the biggest names in today's leading enterprises have already set up shop, or have begun outsourcing to the Philippines. Top companies like AOL, Shell, Microsoft, Intel, and Procter & Gamble have seen the country's potential as one of the world's promising economic hubs in the future and have already set up operations in the Philippines.

Strategic Location

The Philippines is nestled in the heart of Southeast Asia and is flanked by the South China Sea and the Celebes Sea, two of the most preferred ocean trade routes used by contemporary marine vessel conglomerates.

Almost directly facing all of Asia's promising economic powers, the Pearl of the Orient is less than four hours flight away from major capital cities like Singapore, Bangkok, Taiwan, Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta, as well as Beijing.

Apart from accessibility, some of the world's finest courier companies, namely United Parcel Service (UPS) and FedEx have established air hubs and shipment facilities in the Philippines, making it one of the most advanced nations in terms of international freight and shipping.

Promising Economy

The ever progressing open-market economy of the Philippines, as well as its strategic location in the Far East, propelled its inclusion in the N-11 or Next Eleven countries - as determined by Goldman Sachs, a premier global investment company - as a roster of nations possessing the highest potentials of becoming economic powerhouses in the 21st century.

The Philippines ranks third in the list preceded by South Korea and Mexico, followed by Turkey, Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Nigeria, Pakistan and Vietnam.

Aside from the increased construction rate of multinational establishments all over the country, the information and computer technology (ICT) division of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) reported an annual rise of 72% in the call center business alone, a testament to the rapid development of outsourcing to the Philippines by foreign conglomerates.

The Philippine government is sponsoring to set up a "cyber corridor" in the following months to sustain its thrust to attract even more investors - BPO-related or not - in the country. This is aimed to further expedite the transmission of data among respective virtual employers and virtual employees.

In this line, outsourcing to the Philippines is presently a prime option among BPO firms worldwide since it is equipped with reliable IT infrastructures and telecommunication sites, including high-end broadband service providers.

A Natural Choice for Businesses

Apart from being one of the world's up-to-date business centers, American, Canadian, British and European firms prefer outsourcing to the Philippines because of one key business component found only in the country: the Filipino workforce.

Multinational giants like Citibank, IBM, Cisco, Siemens, AIG, Dell, Mitsubishi and Toyota have seen the potentials of the Filipino manpower and have provided regular training for the past 10 years to maximize this otherwise untapped "human capital."

"One of the most important assets the Philippines has is a very highly technically-qualified workforce," says Harris Miller, former president of the Information Technology Association of America (ITAA). He also adds that "[the Philippines and its people] have an understanding of how to make the most out of this capability."

Aside from the business growth-oriented environment that the country is providing, outsourcing to the Philippines is much more cost-effective than recruiting virtual personnel from India and China.

Skilled, Culturally Compatible Workforce

The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) World Factbook emphasized that the Philippines has a 94% literacy rate, and most Filipinos can read, write and speak in the English language without trouble. This is not uncommon since most schools in the country use English as its primary medium of instruction. The added bonus? The Filipino accent is slight. In fact, most Americans unknowingly speak with Filipinos on a daily basis via customer call centers.

The Commission of Higher Education (CHED) reports that the Philippines yields nearly 112,000 graduates every year from its accredited universities and colleges. Although these graduates are trained in a variety of educational disciplines, every one is competent to take on English-oriented assignments.

Filipinos are recognized as imaginative and eloquent by nature and majority of them select courses that harness these aptitudes, which includes multimedia design, illustration and animatronics.

A good number of high-end creative studios like Toei Animation have instituted local company outlets in the Philippines for the past 12 years to pool artists and animators for existing and future projects. World-renowned Pixar triumphs like Toy Story and Finding Nemo even had Filipino craftsmen in their bandwagon.

Aside from their natural creativity, Filipinos have an innate interest for information. They are knowledgeable in local and overseas current events, as well as sports, films and television programs. Filipinos know the difference between Paris Hilton and Perez Hilton, Calista Flockhart and A Flock of Seagulls, Michael Jackson and Michael Jordan, Mariah Carey and Drew Carey, as well as Madonna and Child (the portrait) and Madonna and the adopted child.

A Great Choice

Like the Pearl of the Orient's pristine beaches and natural wonders, outsourcing to the Philippines is still mostly untapped by investors. And like its hidden ecological wonders, the Philippines lays claim to a valuable assortment of marvels that can make your business prosper. With the Philippines' economy-friendly environment, strategic location, as well as the country's skilled, culturally-compatible yet cost-effective workforce, the Philippines is a logical choice for outsourcing businesses tasks and processes.

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