Tue | Oct 19, 2021

BPOs to add 7,500 jobs by March

itel looks to establish foothold in the US

Published:Tuesday | October 12, 2021 | 12:07 AMAlbert Ferguson/Gleaner Writer
Yoni Epstein of itelbpo.
Yoni Epstein of itelbpo.

WESTERN BUREAU: Players in the island’s global services – formerly business process outsourcing (BPO) – sector are aiming to generate some 7,500 new jobs by March 2022, bringing the total numbers of persons employed to upwards of 50,000. Gloria...

WESTERN BUREAU:

Players in the island’s global services – formerly business process outsourcing (BPO) – sector are aiming to generate some 7,500 new jobs by March 2022, bringing the total numbers of persons employed to upwards of 50,000.

Gloria Henry, head of the Global Services Association of Jamaica (GSAJ), said that a heavy demand for services is driving a rapid expansion in the sector with some 300,000 square feet of space being added to operations in both Kingston and Montego Bay alone.

“That doesn’t include the new developments in Mandeville and St Thomas,” she pointed out, noting that the investors are aiming to operationalise the expanded spaces in the first quarter of next year.

Henry believes there is still more room for expansion in the outsourcing sector, which had a total employment of roughly 44,000 up to July this year.

“I think we can easily go up to 100,000 with all the talent development strategies and by fixing all the gaps in the talent development. We are seeing some growth in several areas, which is encouraging and we have had a few new companies coming on stream,” said Henry, noting a brisk move towards digital adoption and digital transformation even with the restructured operations brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Those are good signs for us – things like work from home and monitoring productivity and quality issues remotely. We are seeing growth in high-value services as well as human-resource outsourcing, finance and accounting work outsourcing, and logistics,” she explained.

Outside of the income generated by tourism and remittance, the BPO sector, which features more than 70 firms, represents one of the largest sources of foreign-exchange inflows.

Yoni Epstein, chairman and CEO of itel, is looking to expand the region’s largest home-grown global services provider into the local and overseas market and is poised to hire an additional 1,750 team members over the next four to six weeks.

Epstein’s company recently purchased the industry’s leading work-at-home platform to augment its remote-work capacity, which is set to become operational later this month with its first physical site in Jeffersonville in Indiana in the United States.

“We’re seeing a surge in new business, which naturally means more jobs being created. This is exactly what we’ve been planning and preparing for over the past few months, and with new technologies and teams in place, we’re ready to exceed expectations for both our clients and new hires,” he said.

Epstein said 45 per cent of itel’s new recruits will come from Jamaica, 15 per cent from St Lucia, 15 per cent from Honduras, 10 per cent from Guyana, and 15 per cent from the United States.

According to Epstein, while the labour market is very competitive, he is confident that itel will be able to weather the challenge as he moves to uncover the best talents available to deliver customer experience in retail, e-commerce, and the telecommunications industries.

albert.ferguson@gleanerjm.com