THE INFORMATION technology and business process management (IT-BPM) sector is optimistic that it would hit its revenue and employment headcount targets for 2023, the head of an industry group said.

“I think the targets at the beginning of the year are within reach. I do not think we will exceed it. It will be within that range,” said Jack Madrid, president of IT and Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP), during a recent chance interview in Pasay City.

According to Mr. Madrid, the sector is aiming to hit 1.7 million in full-time employees and $35.9 billion in revenues for 2023. 

“We’ll have a better feel of where we are going, maybe in the third quarter. One of the challenges in our industry is getting the data because the source of our data are many sources and we need to verify,” he said.

IBPAP is still collecting data on the IT-BPM sector’s performance in the first quarter of the year, he added.

“Some of our member companies are a little bit hesitant in providing headcount numbers. So, we collect that a few times a year only. We will have a better feel [of it] by [the] third quarter. It is still too early in the year since we’re still in the first half. We just collected year-end 2022 so we need to time it a bit better,” he said. 

Mr. Madrid said the growth catalysts for the IT-BPM sector include the contact center and healthcare services sectors.

“It will continue to be driven by North America. I think the contact center will still lead the way. I just came from a healthcare investor roadshow and prospects are quite positive,” Mr. Madrid said. 

“The Philippines is very strong in healthcare because of our large number of registered nurses. We are the second-largest supplier of US-registered nurses. I only wish we had more because they’re all getting hired, to the point that we don’t even have enough nurses in our country. But that is a very bright spot for the IT-BPM industry,” he added. 

Meanwhile, Mr. Madrid said the long-term challenge for the industry is the talent pool amid the requirement of more complex skills.

“In the longer term, we have a very big challenge in our education, across university, high school, and elementary. It will not be fixed in the next one or two years. It will take many years to fix it,” he said. 

Mr. Madrid cited a need for upskilling and reskilling of the workforce to ensure the competitiveness of the sector.

“We have the population but we need the talent to be employable. The skill requirements of the industry keep getting harder and harder. The answer to our challenge is education — upskilling and reskilling. I am not talking only about college. I am talking about basic skills,” Mr. Madrid added.  

Last year, the IT-BPM industry posted a 10.3% increase in revenues to $32.5 billion and an 8.4% jump in full-time employees to 1.57 million.

IBPAP has more than 300 members and six partner associations consisting of the Animation Council of the Philippines, Inc., Global In-House Center Council Philippines, Contact Center Association of the Philippines, Game Developers Association of the Philippines, Healthcare Information Management Association of the Philippines, and the Philippine Software Industry Association. Revin Mikhael D. Ochave