Colombia has become one of the most important destinations for the development of Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) operations. This is confirmed by the Offshore BPO Confidence Index 2021, which places the country in the first position of a list that includes the 12 main BPO world markets.
The index is the result of surveys with about 100 managers of BPO companies located in Bulgaria, Colombia, Egypt, El Salvador, Honduras, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, the Philippines, Poland, and South Africa, who rated their level of confidence in categories such as political and economic stability, government support, security, real estate market, availability of multilingual talent and strength of the BPO industry.
Colombia, with a rating of 90.9%, appears in the first place of the index, followed by India, Bulgaria, South Africa, and El Salvador. The country’s highest-rated categories are government support and BPO industry cohesion. Additionally, aspects such as the country’s telecommunications infrastructure, talent availability, and economic stability received outstanding ratings.
“The rate reflects the growing investor confidence and is a demonstration of the National Government’s commitment to the BPO industry, which is an engine of development and opportunities. Also, is part of initiatives such as the Pacts for Economic Growth. Thanks to our highly qualified talent and other competitive advantages, this sector will continue to be a source of jobs and will contribute to the boom in service exports, as well as to Colombia’s economic reactivation,” said Flavia Santoro, president of ProColombia.
When asked about economic stability, the survey participants agreed that the national government is committed to the recovery of the economy. They were also confident that fiscal policy will remain stable during the coming year.
In terms of government support, the ranking highlights the country’s plans to strengthen the supply of talent by investing in bilingualism programs, while in terms of talent availability, a category in which the country achieved an almost perfect score, respondents expressed confidence that they will be able to expand their operations for at least the next three years.
A strong BPO sector
One of the sections in which Colombia achieved the highest rating was the cohesion of the BPO industry. According to the index, executives have high confidence in the BPO association, Bpro, as well as in several of the investment promotion agencies operating in the country.
“The articulated strategy led by the public sector and private companies has allowed Colombia to become one of the best environments in the world for the development of BPO operations. From Bogota, we continue to bet so that new international companies in this industry can take advantage of the competitive advantages that the city offers and contribute to the economic and social development of the capital”, highlights the Executive Director of Invest in Bogota, Isabella Muñoz.
Based on strengths such as the availability of qualified talent, competitive operational costs, tax benefits and a strategic geographic location, which is decisive for the attraction of nearshore operations, Colombia has become one of the main BPO markets in Latin America, with an average annual growth rate of more than 16% in the last five years.
Bogota, with 47% of the jobs, 54% of the revenues, and 51% of the facilities, appears as the cluster of the BPO industry in Colombia. In addition, it is estimated that 85% of the bilingual talent that is part of the sector is located in the capital of the country.
The document, carried out by the firms Ryan Strategic Advisory and Cognitive Copy, also states that the respondents agree on the professionalism projected by the agents that are part of the BPO operations in Colombia.
Contribution of the BPO sector to the socio-economic development of the country.
The service outsourcing sector generates more than 690,000 jobs in Colombia, of which 280,000 correspond to contact centers. This industry is characterized for generating massive, formal, and young employment. It is estimated that 80% of the employees in this sector are between 18 and 28 years of age. In addition, 67% of the workforce that is part of the industry corresponds to women.
“Today, the sector contributes 2.8 percent to the Colombian GDP. Before, we didn’t even appear on the map. This has to do with the good work that is being done, which is reflected in the confidence of national and international companies and clients. Even during the pandemic, we managed to keep our jobs, training personnel in ICT and soft skills, expanding services and generating new vacancies to meet international demand,” says Ana Karina Quessep, executive president of the Colombian BPO Association (BPrO).
Industry figures show that, during 2020, while the country lost 3 million jobs and experienced a 6.7% drop in its GDP, multinational contact center companies, which account for 70% of the industry, generated close to 30,000 new jobs and grew at a rate close to 20%.