Despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Philippine IT and Business Process Management (IT-BPM) sector recorded revenues of $26.7 billion in 2020, or a 1.4% jump from the previous year.
According to the IT and Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP) the number of full-time employees (FTEs) in the country increased by 23,000 in 2020, bringing the total industry headcount to 1.32 million and registering a growth of 1.8% compared to 2019.
“These numbers come as very welcome news for the industry especially with the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) slipping by 9.6% in 2020,” said Rey Untal, president and CEO, IBPAP. “When IBPAP commissioned the recalibration study in July 2020, we already knew that the far-reaching effects of the health crisis did not spare the IT-BPM sector. The fact that it reached this level of growth by year-end is proof of the industry’s resilience and fundamental role in the Philippine economy.”
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Although Hospitality and Travel were unsurprisingly affected by the pandemic, verticals like Healthcare, E-Commerce and Retail, Banking, Finance and Administration, and Insurance flourished enough to help propel the industry’s headcount and revenue growth.
IT Outsourcing projects
With most organizations regaining their momentum by September 2020, the Philippine IT-BPM sector was already able to display signs of recovery by the fourth quarter. There was also a notable upturn in IT Outsourcing (ITO) projects in the latter part of the year as clients invested more in digitization to mitigate prevailing issues caused by the outbreak and as a way to enhance their Business Continuity Plans (BCPs).
This is further reinforced by insights from the government and on real estate take-up.
According to the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA), investment pledges for the industry remained flat in 2020 whereas total investment pledges fell by 19.1% during the same period.
In parallel, a report by Leechiu Property Consultants (LPC) stated that office space demand reached 389K sqm. in 2020 and that close to 50% or 189K sqm. came from the IT-BPM sector. It was also recorded that the Province of Iloilo captured 48K sqm. of the take-up by Business Process Outsourcing (BPO), higher than even key cities in Metro Manila.