Article: Jamaica Grapples With Senior Management Gap By Debra Fraser
Jamaica Grapples with a Common Symptom of Growth: The Senior Management Gap
As Jamaica continues to make great strides in BPO, the island is reportedly experiencing a talent gap that no-one is talking about: senior management.
There’s no doubt that Jamaica is making great strides in its approach to BPO, especially when developing enough talent to fill agent, middle-management, and operational roles, but the island is reportedly experiencing a talent gap that no-one is talking about: senior management.
“There is certainly a mature talent base in the middle-management level of HR and operations, but not so much at the senior director level and up, where there is still a huge gap,” said Debra Fraser, CEO at Caribbean HR Solutions, a Jamaican specialist firm in HR outsourcing.
Fraser and her company have been in business since August 2010, starting out with a small BPO operation in the Montego Bay area. Hailing from the BPO industry in Canada, Fraser worked with US clients before coming to Jamaica, where she has been supporting BPOs such as Sutherland, Ibex, and Concentrix with mass recruitment initiatives and HR-specific consultations.
Today, she is educating her BPO clients on the realities of the Jamaica talent pool, and helping to improve the quality of their people, whom, she says, are sometimes taken for granted, leading to an issue that has gone under the radar.
Reasons for the Gap in Senior Management
According to Fraser, one ingrained aspect of the Jamaican work culture that has caused this trend is an aging model where companies “manage down”, instead of today’s approach of serving the production line staff and empowering them in their roles as a means of motivation and retention. But the industry has since come around, and the knowledge pool is getting deeper as a result.
“In terms of people who know best practices in managing and retaining staff, it’s 100% better than it was 5 years ago,” said Fraser. “And while there has been great collaboration between the government and the industry to increase the talent pool, both in numbers and quality, no-one is really talking about the gap in leadership.”
Fraser believes that the operations manager level is “robust”, and that clients are very impressed with middle management, but also that there is simply not enough senior management talent to meet the rush of BPO growth in Jamaica.
This is clearly a real challenge, so companies are coming up with creative strategies to overcome it.
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