By Janina C. Lim

JPMORGAN Chase & Co., a major Philippine employer in the business process outsourcing (BPO) sector, said it continues to train its workers to take on higher-value jobs even as it anticipates a “positive” outcome for the company with the more widespread adoption of automation technologies.
“We have big training and development staff here. To me, that’s very important because as they said, the industry really has to do something about upgrading skills. We just have to do it in our own little way,” Roberto L. Panlilio, Managing Director and Senior Country Officer of the local unit JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A.
“Artificial Intelligence (AI) and a lot of these things, are really not a concern. In fact, it would probably be better for the company,” Mr. Panlilio said in an interview with BusinessWorld last week in Makati City.
“Obviously, it will also affect us, but to me, in a positive way because it will simply mean more efficiency and better ways to do things for us,” he added.
One of the country’s biggest BPO companies, JPMorgan Chase has over 15,000 Philippine employees.
The BPO sector is a pillar of the Philippine economy, employing some 1.15 million people and projected to generate $40 billion in revenue by 2022. However, the low value of the work performed in much of the industry has raised fears that AI will do away with the need for many jobs, particularly those involving the biggest advantage of Filipino workers — fluency in English.
Mr. Panlilio said workers need to prepare “to do more analytical work rather than just voice and pulling out information simply from a database” and reiterated the need to “constantly retrain our employees to go up the value curve.”
He said company employees need to be well-versed in consumer credit and portfolio analysis, among other skills.
“These are job skills that are really very specific basically in all aspects of banking,” Mr. Panlilio added, noting that the firm offers online courses to employees.
Asked if the firm eyes to expand operations, Mr. Panlilio said it is “obviously looking for opportunities.”
“Were looking at certain areas around here,” he said, adding: “it’s not a question of numbers; it’s a question of quality professionals.”
“Filipino productivity can match any market or any work force in this planet to a certain extent. At least, the firm is very happy with our operations here,” Mr. Panlilio added.
The bank’s Philippine operation has three businesses — corporate and investment banking, corporate infrastructure, and the global service center (GSC).
GSC provides global support, including operational, research, information technology and training across the group’s business lines.
GSC services include human resources, performance improvement, quality assurance, technology, accounting, account servicing, collections, operations and operations management, project management, and risk and compliance.