Business process outsourcing (BPO) industry body and investment promotion agency Business Process Enabling South Africa (BPESA) continues to create jobs in South Africa’s BPO sector by increasing the jobs that are projected to be created across South Africa by the industry from 30 800 currently to 80 000 by 2021.
The organization aims to reach this target by continuing to build on South Africa’s strength in voice processing and further developing skills in non-voice processing functions, particularly in legal process outsourcing and knowledge process outsourcing, says BPESA marketing and communications head Melissa Wippenaar.
She mentions that South Africa’s success as an award-winning English-speaking offshoring BPO destination lies in the strength of its voice processing services.
Currently, BPESA, in partnership with government and its BPO partners, is focused on increasing the talent pool that services the industry.
Wippenaar explains that this is a simple case of supply and demand, and to continue attracting foreign investment into South Africa and the Western Cape, the industry needs to continue producing skilled human capital.
“Growing the talent pipeline across schools, tertiary and work-readiness institutions will be essential as we look to, expand into new English-speaking markets such as Australia and the US.”
Here, Wippenaar mentions the provincial government’s Project Khulisa - a multipronged five-year strategy that will bolster the socioeconomic development of the province, includes a focus on improving education outcomes.
Broadband projects rolled out by government at local, provincial and national level have enabled South Africa to compete with other emerging markets - such as the Philippines – in terms of sound infrastructure and continue to create jobs in the sector, she enthuses.
“In the Western Cape, particularly Cape Town, excellent infrastructure, transport, safety and security, as well as amenities, have ensured that South Africa remains a competitive outsourcing destination among international markets. Recent figures indicate that about 3 000 jobs were created in the first two quarters of 2016 and it is great that these numbers are a key driver for improving infrastructure and further attracting foreign investment.”
Moreover, Wippenaar mentions that the South Africa BPO Summit, hosted by BPESA, is the largest gathering of international BPO investors in the country. This year’s event took place on October 12 to 14, and was hosted in Cape Town with the aim of promoting South Africa as an offshore destination to foreign investors looking to offshore their customer service. The Western Cape currently enjoys the largest share of investment nationally, with the majority of offshore investment located in the province.
“BPESA has identified gamification as a vehicle to connect with the youth and introduce them to the BPO industry. TeamC4 is a game application (app) that measures a player’s numeracy, literacy, problem-solving and language capabilities through the completion of gaming missions,” adds Wippenaar.
The app acts as a recruitment tool as users’ scores are made available to recruiters and potential employers. This allows for prospective jobseekers to be placed in positions that are in line with their skills set. The app is currently in the development phase.
“We have identified the vast potential that virtual reality presents in various areas of our organisation and industry such as increasing investor acquisition, skills development projects and career days. We are excited to roll this out in the coming year,” she adds.
BPESA has also established a partnership with private foundation Rockefeller Foundation through its Impact Sourcing project – an inclusive employment practice through which companies connect high-potential, disadvantaged youth to available jobs - which they would not otherwise have had access to.
Further, BPESA publishes the annual ‘Key Indicator Report’ (KIR), the official report for the business process services (BPS) industry in South Africa, which is due to be released in 2017. The KIR is produced in conjunction with research partners and participants from the South African BPS community and provides an overview of the industry within a global context.
Wippenaar adds that the KIR is particularly important because it focuses on ‘the South African BPO story’ and how the industry addresses issues such as employment through foreign investment and job creation.
“BPESA has developed a strong analyst community comprising top BPO analysts and hosts analyst workshops and sessions to continue developing new innovative ways to grow South Africa’s presence as a global BPO player.”
She adds that South Africa won the Global Outsourcing Association’s Offshoring Destination of the Year Award at the association’s awards, held in November, in London.
“We are delighted to have received this award again, which we also received in 2012, as it highlights South Africa’s position as a leading outsourcing destination. We hope that this recognition as a key investment and job creation sector will serve as motivation for continued support from government to further develop the industry,” Wippenaar concludes.