Phoning from the Philippines

2013 ,    »  -   18 Comments
Ratings: 8.14/10 from 22 users.

Move over India - Manila is the new call center 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 centers.

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.

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

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18 Comments / User Reviews

  1. CarimboHanky

    call center capital and epicenter of one of the biggest identity theft rings in the world...

  2. N
  3. N

    If it were not for the military industrial complex, America would be over by now.

  4. Joel Feliciano
  5. Joel Feliciano

    this all types of rubbish and nonsense...

  6. wald0
  7. wald0

    I used to work as a data analyst for a major call center and one of my duties was to screen calls and grade techs on how they did. So eventually the corporation I work for decides to open a center in India and one in the Philippines, to handle U.S. call over flow. They tell the techs that work there to use American sounding names but not which names to use. So they decide they will use the names of dead movie stars from the U.S., I have no idea why or who made this brilliant decision but there you have it. Anyway, you can't imagine what its like to hear some guy that can barely speak English tell some mad customer who has waited an hour in the phone que to have their call taken that their name is John Wayne and they will be assisting them with their PC, cell phone, or networking issue. Its an instant train wreck, and who can blame them? If I buy a computer in America from an American company and pay for support I expect the person that answers to speak fluent, well spoken English that i can easily understand. I sure don't expect to get someone that sounds like they just started learning English saying their name is Will Rogers or John Wayne. I have to admit though it was real entertainment listening to those calls, peoples reactions were priceless.
    And before anyone gets the wrong impression let me say the techs in question were probably more technically skilled than their American counter parts, they just needed to improve their English skills which they eventually did and the centers did fine. i don't want people thinking I am implying they couldn't do the job because they were not American, that wasn't/isn't the case.

  8. James Light
  9. James Light

    have either of you ever been to Philippines or REALLY actually dealt with Filipinos? Indians fake their names. Filipinos don't. They don't need to, they can SPEAK and WRITE English fluently, mostly better than westerners that they are taking calls from. They are more educated than most westerners too, and actually, a large proportion of the workers are foreign students.
    Capital of identity theft? as a matter of fact, the identity theft happening in Philippines is often committed by Africans that live there.

    Don't tar what you don't know.

  10. wald0
  11. wald0

    Did you read my posts genius, apparently not. I clearly said one of the centers was in India, look before you leap junior. I never said which one used fake names, you simply assumed I was talking about the Philippines. I also said clearly that they were capable of doing the job in both places better than their American counter parts, they just needed to clean up their accents. And to tell you the truth, even though the story was about the center in India, the guys from the Philippines couldn't speak good English and didn't use their own names either. They didn't use actors names, just regular American sounding names, but were no better at being clearly understood. Whether you agree with that fact or not is irrelevant, as you pointed out- if you weren't there you don't know. Something tells me you're one of these ultra politically correct, portentous, wanna bees that is looking for any opportunity to jump in and show everyone just how pc you can be. Well, pat yourself on the back junior, we all see how wonderfully pc and unbiased you are. Now, spring for some reading comprehension lessons and maybe you can patrol the net policing conversations, just making friends were ever you go. (LMAO)

  12. James Light
  13. James Light

    apparently i did. you do not state anywhere in there any differentiation between the two. fair enough if you think you did, and that is fine.

    funny how you pass opinion on me though, but whatever, please yourself.

  14. Glen Hale
  15. Glen Hale

    Which part of the Philippines are you from? you need to get out and meet the locals and get a true idea what life is like here.

  16. Ramey Maxwell
  17. Ramey Maxwell

    good for them, bad for US

  18. Radhaya
  19. Radhaya

    I expected better from Al Jazeera's reporting about employment in the PI. They mention nothing of the fact that most employment there is based on a 6 month contract that is generally not renewed to avoid paying Filipinos the benefits that American workers are so accustomed to having, e.g. retirement, health insurance, dental insurance, annual raises, etc., that adds basically 30% to the employer's costs. The employers there are nothing better than scrooges taking advantage of the disadvantaged, whether it is CitiGroup, who has a big presence there, or whomever. Capitalists of the World Unite! You have nothing to loose but your golden parachutes, you sick pukes!

  20. Justin Sanity
  21. Justin Sanity

    "These jobs aren't wanted in the United States." INCORRECT "It's too expensive in the united states." WRONG "We need to bring down the cost, you know, the Analysts on Wall Street want to see headcount reduction of these functions still need to be done." DESPICABLE. I'm disappointed in this show for promoting fallacies and bias such as this.

  22. James Light
  23. James Light

    @ glen hale, You say 'here', so I assume that you are living there now?

    I have lived all over Metro Manila and in Quezon province, from lowly flood-ridden slums in QC/Manila to luxury apartments in Makati and The Fort, for near on 8 years now. I studied, worked and do business in Philippines, so I do know exactly what its like there. I deal with the people everyday.

    Yes the majority of people could not do this kind of work, and I know for a fact it is very hard to find a reliable well-educated workforce. However, the ones that are working in it, are well-educated and well-travelled.

    I often see and hear things about the place that are just simply not true - or in the case of foreign news channels - simply distorting the true nature of the BPO industry in MM. Several segments on the same topic have been aired on local Australian tv here as well, that were literally full of outright lies. Philippines has its problems yes, but this is a booming industry that is giving thousands of people a good, well-earning job in their own country. Philippines cannot continue to rely on OFW income as i am sure you are aware.

    However as Radhaya mentioned..labour laws leave alot to be desired. Despite the modernization of the country, an almost feudal mentality pervades almost every aspect of life.

  24. Jabranpin
  25. Jabranpin

    I am of the opinion that every little bit helps. The call centers are not the best jobs out there but neither are they digging ditches.

  26. Sergio Bermejo
  27. Sergio Bermejo

    The host has huge ears!

  28. Bebe
  29. Bebe

    I worked in two call centers. While the pay is decent, the promotion is almost secured if you perform well... it's depressing. You work from 9PM to 6AM daily, accept mostly irate calls throughout your shift one after the other... it's not a surprise that the turnover rate is high in call centers.

  30. Suzy Harrison
  31. Suzy Harrison

    Thank you Justin, You are very correct, there are a lot of people in the US that want and have the skills to do all levels of call center work. The issue is about corporations wanting to cut capital expenditures and return a profile to their share holders who are most large institution not you average American.

    Radhaya, the majority of Americans don't work for companies that offer retirement plans or good health insurance plans that don't cost half your pay check and as for dental insurance, dream on as that is simply not the case either.
    Yes if you do a great job the the company that employees you should get an annual merit rise.

    One of the 1% that is damn sick and tire of having US jobs shipped overseas with so many here in need of a job.

  32. rpsabq
  33. rpsabq

    Yes, Americans expect jobs that pay well, that treat them with respect and jobs that have healthy working conditions. The call center industry is known to struggle with all of these things and Americans don't put up with that for very long especially for such low pay. So we say good riddance to these crap jobs. I'm sure they will go somewhere else and find workers to take advantage of instead of changing their greedy corporate ways. Too bad.

  34. Incredulous
  35. Incredulous

    In the first minute, you hear from both an executive and a call center agent claim that an agent makes almost as much as they would working abroad. That's utter nonsense. Agents start as low as 18,000 pesos a month and will peak at 40,000 pesos a month. Do you know the US$ equivalent? It's $360 to $800 a month. This 'documentary' is deceiving.

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