“Philippines is taking away our jobs”. I have heard this many times in exotic Indian IT industry since 2007. Indian BPO companies have haunting stories. It may be their work pressure, office hours, and cultural issues. Above all, customers blasted Indian BPO agents for their Indian accent. Some of them used racist comments, too.
It was at the time, Philippines became a pet of Silicon Valley. Philippines’ sales managers became am assailant to challenge the Indian sales executives. Conventionally, they exported nurses and maids. If you take Singapore, more than 2 Lakh Filipinos stay here to contribute to Singapore’s healthcare and IT industry.
When I went there, I felt I was in OMR – the IT corridor- of Chennai. But I tried to pacify myself with many ‘too’-s.
“Ok.. Manila’s traffic is so congested like Indian cities, too.”
“They, do not respect traffic rules, too.”
“Hmm… same pollution too..”
Wah.. same hot weather too”.
But there are some key points behind their rise. We, Indians, need to learn these to compete with them.
Makati, the richest city of Philippines, is the heart of outsourcing industries. Despite the low cost of Indian call center agents, Makati won many BPO projects from the US. Over the period, the outsourcing industry has changed like – Indians for development and Filipinos for soft skills (Voice based/call centers). They started winning IT development projects too.
Certainly, Filipinos’ accent was better understood by Americans than that of Indians’. It is also noted that they have better infrastructure than Indians. Though Indians rulers boast themselves, symbols of misfortune – like power cuts, water lorries, poor public transportation, increased business cost (because of too much admin tasks such as buying diesel to run gen sets, finding contractors to run company bus services, finding reliable catering partners to fill the tummies of their employees, etc) – are inevitable. Indian entrepreneurs should overcome the perils of poor Indian infrastructure before focusing on business.
One of the important factors is, Filipino kids are aligned towards American English and culture. They start reading American literature in their schools itself. Indian kids are aligned towards British English. American culture did not reach Indian commoners; it was something followed by a small group of elites. So, it is a bit hard for Indians to catch up.
Still, Indian engineers strive to deliver their best. Kudos! Alas, Indian infrastructure should gratify them!
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