THE BUSINESS process outsourcing (BPO) industry in Cebu registered a 19% hiring growth from January to May this year, according to Cebu jobs site mynimo.com. The BPO sector, one of Cebu’s major employment generators, is among the top industries that posted significant hiring. Other main job generators were maritime, tourism, manufacturing, agriculture, medical, media and administration. Mynimo President Wesley Chiongbian said most of the companies that are hiring are located in Cebu City, the provincial capital and where most regional headquarters of big companies are located. It is followed by Mandaue City, Lapu-Lapu City, Talisay City, and Consolacion. For the entire Cebu province, hiring growth was at 16% during the five-month period. In an earlier interview, Cebu IT BPM Organization (CIB.O) Managing Director Wilfredo Sa-a Jr. said automation and artificial intelligence (AI) had tempered the employment growth in Cebu’s BPO sector. “The direction of the industry now is towards the non-voice sector,” Mr. Sa-a said. As of end 2018, the Cebu BPO sector posted an employment of around 160,000. Mr. Sa-as said the industry is eyeing to grow to as much as 200,000 workers this year, but that could be lower with developments in AI and automation.