The legacy of the garment manufacturing industry which was buoyant in Jamaica in the 1980s and 1990s is that it created the perception that all outsourced business process services are created equal. Nothing could be further from the truth.
It is a fact that the core purpose of the outsourcing industry is to find more affordable labour markets to perform critical business functions remotely. This is done because it is usually more costly to provide those services in the company’s domicile country. However, a lot has changed with the evolution of global services, the style in which the industry is now being re-branded.
The Call Centre Stigma
With the enduring reputation of call centres in the minds of jobseekers, even blue chip employers of choice in the global services sector have to work on positioning their brands as premium service providers. Multinational corporations like Xerox, for example, have to continuously market themselves as innovation leaders, not mere cheap labour managers. This is where recruiters and human resource professionals have their work cut out for them, because a big part of that effort is engaging tertiary-level graduates at job fairs and pre-qualification information sessions. For, when attorneys-at-law, engineers and medical professionals are full-time employees for Fortune 500 companies operating in the business process outsourcing space, it is a clear indicator that high-level skills, as much as flexi-hours and virtual offices, are the new normal in this New Work Order.
Speaking of virtual offices, on Thursday this week — November 7 — the Business Process Industry Association of Jamaica (BPIAJ) will be facilitating the Global Leadership Summit in Montego Bay with a combination of virtual and live presenters. This type of innovation is proof positive that perspectives in how and where we work are evolving with our needs to be active and productive participants in a truly global community.
Perception vs Reality
Nearshore Americas, one of the region’s leading information sources for the process outsourcing sector, recently conducted work environment and salaries-based surveys in several companies based in Jamaica. Generally, the information revealed that a large percentage of the employees surveyed expressed comparative or high levels of satisfaction where working conditions, benefits and the overall compensation package is concerned. Some referenced the opportunity to make extra money by meeting quotas and qualitative targets and that they benefitted from savings made via lunch subsidies and health care benefits.
The reality is that average global services workers have higher starting salaries than their peers in similar positions. Additionally, the rate of ascension through the ranks via promotions and performance-related bonuses is even higher. Companies that perform analytics and provide trend insights affirm that the probability of promotion to supervisory and management levels in the outsourcing industry far outpaces the rate in traditional sectors. It’s no wonder workers employed to firms keen on keeping them happy and fully engaged in a holistic work culture tend to stay and grow their résumés and net worth faster with a proportionally rewarding working environment.
So, while it’s not all about the money, statistics prove that if it were, as a career path to upward mobility and financial independence, the average worker has much better odds in the global services sector than most other industries.
Until next time, leaders, keep lookin’ up