For Immediate Release, Suva, Fiji Islands, June 20, 2021:
Fiji is fortunate to have a well-established and rapidly growing BPO / ICT industry, with a real potential to continue to grow and provide significant support to the Fiji economy. The Council currently comprises active members involved in Voice Technology, Call Center Operations, Back Office Operations, Airline Reservations, Worldwide Freight Shipping, Building and Infrastructure, Government, Insurance, Banking & Finance, Debt Collection, Virtual Human Resource and Telecommunication.
Fiji’s BPO Industry has expanded significantly over the past decade, and Fiji is now positioned as the leading BPO offshore destination for the Pacific region. This is evident as Fiji has managed to secure its position by attracting major and renowned BPO investors to reposition their back-office processing in Fiji.
The BPO Industry contributes approximately A$66 million per annum to the Fiji economy, and this is expected to triple in the next three years.
This success has been made possible through the support of the Fiji Government, the improved infrastructure and technological facilities and the leveraging of Fiji’s many natural and other advantages which make Fiji the ideal choice for BPO service delivery.
Today, Fiji has several contact centres providing outsourcing services for well-known brands across the globe and is continuing to grow. Currently, the BPO industry provides employment to over 5000 Fijians with the potential to increase to over 10,000 in the next couple of years. With English as the main language, having a well-educated workforce that has customer service in their DNA and having a robust infrastructure Fiji has a service offering that is competitive with other countries.
The COVID19 crisis has adversely impacted almost all sectors in our economy, with disrupted supply chains, lockdowns and organizations exploring the possibility of long-term and even permanent remote working. The Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) sector features contact centre agents working from different locations and answering thousands of calls every day. With the outbreak of COVID-19, the members resorted to remote works and quickly adapted to the “work from home” model. However, some of our members’ employees faced limitations accessing consistent network coverage and utility supply. Some key concerns faced by our BPO organizations are data security and the impact on productivity due to either inadequate infrastructure at employees’ homes or the lack of supervision. Some other issues include difficulties in recording calls when working remotely and the exposure of personal employee data to clients.
The constant disruptions have largely impacted the services we offer to our clients and also hampered the efforts of the council in marketing Fiji as the top choice for Business Process Outsourcing Services. To ensure that our clients and the industry are not adversely affected by working remotely we are aiming towards having a 100% vaccinated workforce for our BPO members. The council supports the vaccination strategy being implemented by the Fijian Government for economic recovery.
According to the Executive Director of the BPO council, Ms Sagufta, agrees that having a 100% vaccination rate will help the BPO industry solve the difficulties currently being faced with the “work from-home” model and this can only be resolved once employees start going back to work to access the facilities and infrastructure provided to support efficient BPO operations.
“Our members have been following all the Covid safe protocols set by the government. But if we want to operate at full capacity, onboard more clients and create jobs, we need to ensure that we reach the 100% vaccination target for our members and their employees,” Ms Sagufta says.
Ms Sagufta also mentioned that BPO council members employ approximately 5000 people and almost 60% of the industry’s workforce have already been vaccinated and some of our BPO companies are even providing transportation to vaccination sites for their staff and their families.
“Our major competitors in the BPO industry, India and Philippines have been severely impacted by the Covid crisis and most of their clients are now looking at other destinations for BPO services to mitigate the risk factor involved in investing in one destination. The BPO market in Australia is valued at USD38 Billion. If Fiji can capture say 5% of that market over the next 10 years, that would be USD 1.9 billion or circa FJD 4.2 billion or in relative terms, 39% of the GDP in 2020. This translates to 136,500 additional jobs in Fiji’s economy, even during the pandemic. But we will only be able to reach these numbers once we start operating at full capacity,” she added.
The impacts of Covid 19 have made companies in Australia and New Zealand re-evaluate their disaster recovery strategies for outsourcing. Some companies have looked at reshoring back to their own countries with a view to look at alternate destinations for nearshoring or offshoring options in the medium to long term. This presents a major opportunity for Fiji. The potential for growth for Fiji’s BPO Industry is significant. As Fiji delves into the diversification of its major industries, business process outsourcing provides a real and tangible alternative to Fiji’s traditional areas of focus, to contribute to the country’s economic growth and provide new jobs to its young population.
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