THE Information Technology and Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP) said revenue rose 7.1% to $26.3 billion in 2019, exceeding its targeted 5.2% growth rate.

IBPAP in a statement Wednesday noted that the posted revenue growth was also near the high end of its medium-term projection, which in November was tempered to 3.5-7.5% revenue compound annual revenue growth for the 2020 to 2022 period.

“It’s also a testament to the IT-BPM sector’s resilience and tenacity — that despite global and domestic headwinds, the Philippines remains competitive, relevant, and thriving,” IBPAP Chief Executive Officer and President Rey C. Untal said.

IBPAP had to revisit its targets to take into account geopolitical factors, automation, protectionist policies, and the rapid transformation of business models.

Employment in the industry grew 5.8% to 1.3 million employees in 2019, above the 4.7% target.

IBPAP said growth was driven by expansions in the countryside including companies in Bacolod, Cebu, Davao, Iloilo, Laguna, and Pampanga, which accounted for more than 70% of full-time employee growth.

“There were also a considerable number of new investors and locators that set up their operations in the country. Half of the entrants were global in-house centers (GICs) providing services in health care, finance and accounting, human resources, information technology (IT) and software, and content moderation.”

IBPAP said technology and a pivot to higher-value skills within the workforce also contributed to the growth.

The business group said that the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic will have an effect on 2020 headcount and revenue, noting that the industry has been increasing its capacity to work from home to about 58% of employees, with 15% working on-site or in nearby hotels.

“A couple of weeks into the ECQ, a framework towards a gradual exit was developed, discussed, and shared with industry stakeholders. This guideline is a set of recommendations, which individual IT-BPM companies can tailor-fit to their own transition plans as they exit towards a new normal,” IBPAP said. — Jenina P. Ibañez