101 East – Phoning from the Philippines


Move over India – Manila is the new call centre capital of the world. With its English-speaking workforce, geopolitical stability and embracement of Western culture, the Philippines is fast becoming the world’s hottest destination for call centres.

Established in just a decade, the outsourcing industry now employs 420,000 workers and accounts for five percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), or roughly $11bn in revenue.

The country is also an attractive backroom for small- to medium-sized companies in Western countries because it is a comfortable timezone to work in and there is cost savings of up to 70 percent.

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While the Philippines leads other Asian outsourcing countries in voice oriented services- the country is looking to diversify and offer more complex creative services like animation, game development, copywriting, graphic and engineering design.

An estimated 80 percent of all call centres are in Manila, but outsourcing hubs are also opening in the provinces, bringing roads, airports and jobs to poor areas.

This offers new opportunities and starting salaries that are roughly 40 percent higher than the country’s minimum wage.

While the Philippines leads other Asian outsourcing countries in voice-oriented services, the country is looking to diversify and offer more complex creative services such as animation, game development, copywriting, and graphic and engineering design.

While outsourcing has stopped a brain drain that affects other Asian countries, there are concerns that the growing industry will have an impact on other professions which need educated professionals.

But critics, including local industry leaders, argue that universities and the government have not done enough to foster innovation or to educate the emerging workforce in critical thinking.

With just five out of 100 job applicants making the cut as call centre workers, 101 East examines the limitations facing outsourcing in the Philippines.

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