INTEREST in establishing outsourced operations in the Philippines grew by nearly a third in February, driven by overseas companies looking for ways to operate more efficiently during the pandemic, advisory group Outsource Accelerator said.

Outsourcing inquiries rose by around 29% month on month to almost 300 in February, it said.

“We project that this will only continue to be the case throughout 2021 as overseas businesses, recovering from the impact of COVID, seek ways to cut costs and do more with less,” the company said in a report.

Of the 292 inquiries, 79 booked a phone consultation while 147 requested quotations. Inquiries were mainly from US and UK firms looking for call center agents and configuration engineers, among others.

In January, around 17% were looking for three to 10 workers in the Philippines, while 6.7% were looking to fill 21-50 positions.

“Clients typically start with a smaller requirement then grow the team once they settle,” Outsource Accelerator said.

Around 44% of its clients are US-based, with many in the digital marketing, healthcare, and financial services sector.

The outsourcing industry association reduced its 2022 employment compound annual growth rate projection to 2.7-5%, which translates to 1.37-1.43 million full-time employees, lower than the previous goal of 3-7%.

The Information Technology and Business Process Association of the Philippines’ target suggests that the industry plans to add 130,000 jobs between 2021-2022. — Jenina P. Ibañez