Saturday 4 April, 2020

Ibex eyes Hanover, May Pen, Mandeville for BPO expansion

After signalling its intention to add 5,000 jobs to Jamaica’s business process outsourcing (BPO) industry, American company, Ibex, is eyeing areas outside the Corporate Area and Montego Bay for expansion.

“My view is that, if I look at the 5,000 jobs, it’s not going to be in Kingston or Portmore, we are going to look at the secondary markets,” said Bob Dechant, Ibex CEO.

Dechant sees opportunities in areas such as Sandy Bay, Hanover; May Pen Clarendon; and Mandeville, Manchester for future growth. Those areas, except Mandeville, have not had much interests from BPO players in recent times, with major investments in the industry taking place mostly in Montego Bay and Kingston.

“MoBay has a lot of saturation. If we go 30 minutes outside of Montego Bay to markets like Sandy Bay, or places like Mandeville, May Pen, those will be important for us,” Dechant said.

Having seen Ibex staff travel from May Pen and Mandeville to Portmore also fuelled his interest in those markets, the CEO said.

“What we did with Portmore was (that we) brought the jobs to the community, and we hope to continue to do that,” the American executive elaborated, pulling from the experience of the Philippines, which has a BPO sector of 1.2 million.

Ibex Waterfront launch I

Ibex CEO Bob Dechant addresses guests at Ibex Waterfront's official opening. See more photos in the slider.

Ibex on Wednesday officially opened its Ibex Waterfront operation at the Digicel Building in downtown Kingston. That new centre will enable the company to add 1,200 more employees to its existing base of 2,000 staff who work from Portmore, St Catherine.

The new jobs primarily include contact care, sales and technical support, with some 75 employees focused on Ibex Digital, a business segment Dechant hopes to add to the local market.

Amid the plans to focus much of the Ibex expansion on contact centre jobs, he hopes to add more digital marketing services and back office capabilities.

“If I look at the crystal ball, eying three years - we are going to scale up but add jobs beyond the call centre agent jobs,” he said.

“There’s enormous talent beyond call centre capabilities. We just need opportunities and clients that will come into the market,” he added.

Also as part of its expansion plans, Ibex will add a recruiting centre in downtown Kingston, next to its new Caribbean and Latin American base at Digicel.

“The other facility has three (sets of) 25 seats, which will allow us to train 75 people concurrently. It will also have our recruiting hub, human resource team, to process the applications, interview, do testing and make job offers,” Dechant explained.

He took the opportunity to credit Jamaica for its business-friendly environment and what he described as a large, educated labour pool that resonated well with Ibex clients.

“One of the great things that is in the Jamaican market is that typically the facilities are available,” he said.

Commenting on the move to Digicel, Dechant said while in some places there is a lot of build-out needed, which requires a lot of capital, “this centre was walk-in-ready; all we had to do was invest in PCs”.

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