Amid talent supply gap, PEZA, IBPAP close ranks


THE Philippine Economic Zone Authority said it is collaborating with the IT and Business Process Association of the Philippines (Ibpap) on plans to attract foreign direct investments (FDI) in the country, which Peza deems an “essential tool” for the country’s growth and development.

Peza Director General Tereso O. Panga and his team met with Ibpap President and CEO Jack Madrid and some of the Ibpap officials last Monday.

During the meeting, Peza said officials from both parties discussed areas for “active collaboration and strategic alliance” for the creation of plans on effective investment attraction and facilitation in line with the goals of Peza, the industry and the whole government.

For Ibpap’s part, Madrid stressed that two of their goals are aligned with Peza’s goals, noting that “we have the responsibility for delivering employment and export service revenues to the country.”

The Ibpap head disclosed that the IT and Business Process Management (IT-BPM) industry is experiencing a “severe talent demand-supply gap.”

With this, he said “We need to address our talent crisis. [Surely, we are a country with a rich pool of talent and] the result of that is many people want to continue to invest [in the Philippines]. But increasingly, the challenge is not the cost—it’s the people.”

Madrid emphasized the importance of working remotely. In fact, he said, “It’s also the reason of people who are over concentrated in the Philippines, they are also beginning to diversify outside. But for many [Ibpap] members, we’re still their main handler, but the main message here is the mismatch and the supply and demand of talent.”

For Peza’s part, Panga said the investment promotion agency is cooperating with the ongoing initiative of the US Agency for International Development (USAID) to prepare the Filipino workforce for the Industry 4.0.

“We are involving all our locators in the USAID survey and once this is done, we can work together with other stakeholders to invest in workforce training and institutional capacity building to narrow the jobs gap and address the critical skills shortage. We want to have the same parallel track for the IT industry,” the PEZA chief said.

As of 2022, Peza said there are 1,582 IT-BPM industry activities registered in Peza which generated P337.593-billion investments and 1,095,622 direct jobs.

In 2022 alone, the IT-BPM sector contributed about $17.005 billion of exports, Peza noted.

For the first quarter of 2023, Peza said it approved six projects from the IT sector which it said are expected to bring P05.546-million investments, US$8.932-million exports, and 624 direct jobs.

Through this collaboration, Peza and Ibpap said they remain bullish to achiev its 10-percent target for the year and contribute to the overall growth and development of the industry and the country in general.

Meanwhile, at an event that gathered the Philippines’s business process outsourcing (BPO) leaders on Thursday, Tonichi Achurra-Parekh, Vice President of Concentrix and Board Director of Contact Center Association of the Philippines (CCAP), opined that the IT-BPM industry will meet the target for the Roadmap 2028.

CCAP falls under the umbrella of Ibpap, the flagship organization of the IT-BPM industry in the Philippines.

Achurra-Parekh said, “We’re still in the learning stage, we’re still traversing a new terrain for us but we have so much more experience from two years ago.”

“In that respect, the confidence level of our current partners and potential partners are still there,” Achurra-Parekh told reporters on the sidelines of the said event.

However, she said that it is now up to the Philippine IT-BPM industry “to make sure that supply will be available.”

Image credits: Artist Render