Government encourages BPO stakeholders to launch awareness campaign
Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Finance & Public Service Fayval Williams has urged players in the Business Process Outsourcing sector (BPO) to spearhead a public relations campaign to counter the negative images painted by naysayers.
The BPO sector currently employs in excess of 26,000 persons and pumped some $US400million into the economy last year and Williams argues that Jamaicans need to know that the sector is one of the fastest growing industries in the country, which in time will bring economic growth.
“Here at home we have not sold the story of the BPO sector well,” she noted. “We have allowed those who see it as low paying jobs to tell the story…we have to change that narrative,” the Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Finance & Public Service stated.
She was speaking at a VIP Luncheon and Awards on the final day of the Outsource2Jamaica Symposium and Expo at the Montego Bay Convention Centre, St James on Friday.
The Minister further noted that BPO has resulted in Jamaica expanding and diversify exports.
“The BPO boom, and I am going to call it that, has also triggered multiplier effects across the local economy, spurring real estate development and of course consumption spending,” Minister Williams added.
“Despite plausible threats of job replacements due to automation, the industry is expected to continue growing remarkably fast as market forces work in favour of cost efficiency, which will allow the industry to maintain its competitive advantages.”
In the meantime, Williams also noted that Government will continue to render assistance to the BPO industry, noted that projections are that a staggering number of persons will be employed in BPO over the next five years.
Minister Williams further noted that the BPO sector has the potential to provide long term gains to Jamaica’s national competitiveness, adding that the Government, through the Port Authority of Jamaica, is currently spending a lot of money to increase BPO space.
“Thousands of square feet of facilities are being constructed to facilitate the sector,” she added. “It has become one of the most reliable means of employment. There are lots of testimonials and success stories out there that need to be highlighted.”
The Minister added that the Government is fully cognizant of the need to have a highly skilled and trained workforce to fill the many jobs that will be available, noting that a number of agencies and educational institutions are now on board to assist with training.
In the meantime, four awards were handed out for outstanding contributions to the BPO sector over the years. Conduent Jamaica received the BPO Economic Impact Award; Former Technology Minister Phillip Paulwell received the award for outstanding work in the development of the BPO sector; Businessman Gordon Marzouca, the Pioneer Award in private sector development, and certainly without a doubt the highlight of the afternoon, a visibly moved former Prime Minister Edward Seaga who received the Pioneer Award in Outsourcing.
The Outsource2Jamaica Symposium and Expo was put on by the Business Process Industry Association of Jamaica (BPIAJ) and its members and partners, including JAMPRO. It ran from April 12-13 and was designed to provide a platform to raise the profile of Jamaica as a BPO destination.