Displaced tourism staff may be new BPO hires


TOURISM workers displaced by the closure of their establishments and businesses due to Covid-19 will have a new chance to be employed, this time in the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry.

In a news statement, the Department of Tourism (DOT) said it will be holding a series of virtual job fairs in August and September in partnership with the Information Technology and Business Process Association of the Philippines (Ibpap), the industry association overseeing BPOs in the country.

“The DOT is thankful for the efforts of Ibpap, and for the participation of BPO  companies such as iQor, Alorica, Tahche and Manulife, for providing opportunities for displaced workers in the tourism sector,” said Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo Puyat.

The first virtual job fair for displaced tourism workers was conducted in October 2020 by Concentrix Philippines. A report from the DOT obtained by the BusinessMirror showed, of the 1,322 who signed up during the job fair, Concentrix processed 452 applications. Over 50 percent of the processed applications came from Luzon. The same report noted only 34 displaced tourism workers were actually hired by the BPO.

The DOT’s Project and Investment Evaluation Division averred, however, “The number of hired applicants is indeed a high figure and very satisfactory as commended by the Ibpap, in view of the highly technical skills and competency required by Concentrix during the hiring process, aside from the specialization of the applicants that technically needs to thrive with the vacant positions.”

The DOT added, “The heightened travel restrictions as implemented by the different local government units also prevented the ‘other ones hired’ in pursuing their  respective  job opportunities, since they were expecting a work-from-home arrangement/s, for health and safety reasons.” Concentrix is a member of the Ibpap.

Last September, Concentrix vice president for delivery shared services Amit Jagga noted that workers in the hospitality industry are among the best candidates for BPO jobs. “[The] two big skills that the people in the hospitality industry bring is one, their ability to interact with foreign nationals because there’s so much tourism that comes in from an international perspective into the Philippines, and second, is their customer service orientation. Customer service orientation is the bedrock of success both in the tourism industry, as well as the BPO industry,” he stressed. (See, “Concentrix PHL to recruit displaced tourism workers,” in the BusinessMirror, September 14, 2020.)

The DOT chief said the new round of virtual job fairs will help displaced tourism workers regain their livelihood and resume their career growth. “I am confident that the caliber and values of our tourism workers shall be a great asset to your companies,” she added. Schedule of the job fairs are published on the DOT’s Facebook page.

In 2019, prior to the pandemic, the country’s tourism industry employed 5.7 million individuals. Of that number, some 4.8 million were displaced by Covid’s impact on travel and trade.

Aside from conducting virtual job fairs, the DOT has also been encouraging the reopening of leisure destinations in the country and the vaccination of tourism workers, to help restart the industry. 

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