Philippines has attracted more than 1 million jobs since 2000, as foreign companies have shifted customer support and sales processes to the country. Now the growing wave of automation threatens jobs in the call centers and forces the industry to retrain its employees to meet the demand for more highly qualified people in areas such as health, banking, finance and insurance.
The Philippines is the top destination in the world in terms of call centers. Companies such as Accenture and American Express rank among those who are heading for the country. They are attracted by low wage costs, the Philippine cultural affinity to the West, and a population of 100 million people, most of whom speak good English.
With the continuous advances in technology, machines can now carry out some of the tasks that people are currently doing, including customer communications. More than half of the Philippines call center jobs could be lost within a few years, unless more serious measures are taken.
In India, robots now replace workers in warehouses, for example.
The managers of some of the largest outsourcing companies in the world will meet this month in the Philippines to create new strategies to address the impact of automation. The companies are increasingly looking for employees who have graduated from college, have experience, technical expertise and can easily be re-qualified, providing more qualified staff and protecting the Philippines call center jobs.