Workers Get the Jump on Automation How the Philippines prepared its workforce for automation

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Workers in office cubicles

Businesses around the world outsource their customer service work to the Philippines. Now the Philippines is preparing its workers to outsource some tasks to AI.

What’s new: The Philippines’ booming call-center industry aims to train workers for more highly skilled jobs as AI takes over the easier ones, according to the South China Morning Post.  

How it works: AI threatens half of the country’s 1.3 million outsourcing jobs, especially relatively simple work like answering simple inquiries via phone or email, according to the IT and Business Process Association of the Philippines. In response, IBPAP is launching a massive campaign to train workers in professions like data analytics and machine learning.

  • The organization expects to start training 5,000 workers this year and a million by the end of 2022.
  • Businesses are taking part, too. Genpact, a technical services firm that employs 6,500 Filipino workers, launched an upskilling app called Genome that connects its employees with co-workers who have skills they want to learn.

Behind the news: The Philippines has become India’s top competitor in the overseas call center business thanks in part to government-led  efforts to improve technological literacy and communications infrastructure beginning in the early 1990s.
Why it matters: Outsourcing accounts for almost 10 percent of the Philippines economy, according to IBPAP. Upskilling programs cultivate workers, half of whom are women, into a garden of homegrown talent.

We’re thinking: Technical upskilling is a great way to transform outsourcing spokes into innovation hubs. AI is still young enough that there’s room for many such hubs around the world.


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