Shift taking place with BPO successes transitioning into digital services
The Government of Jamaica is aiming to create more than 70,000 digital service jobs within the next five years.
Audley Shaw, minister of industry, investment and commerce, pointed out that the Andrew Holness administration has identified the digital service sector as one with great potential for growing employment in the country.
Speaking at the recent Caribbean Future Summit 2021, Shaw noted that while Jamaica has a flourishing business processing outsourcing (BPO) industry, there is now a shift of some of the BPO success into digital services.
According to the minister, “the outsourcing sector, that is the business process outsourcing sector, directly employs over 44,000 agents and generates revenue estimated at over US$700 million annually”.
Said Shaw: “Jamaica’s competitiveness is solidified on the basis that it is the most scalable location in the Caribbean with a relatively large available labour force and established ecosystem supported by the Government and private sector groups.”
Pointing to a multi-sectoral approach to improving technological infrastructure, Shaw outlined the framework for a national five-year global digital services strategy to expand the industry. The strategy is expected to have a significant impact on employment, providing 70,000 jobs by 2025.
He observed that investment in the global digital services sector continues to grow with over 70 operators in the market at this time.
Workforce shift taking place
Shaw noted that the current ratio between business process outsourcing jobs and knowledge process outsourcing jobs is approximately 80/20. However, he argued that the Government wants to improve that ratio to 60/40, thus “expanding and making further inroads into higher-technology-oriented jobs in the digital services sector”.
Several training programmes are also in the works, Shaw said, “with a vision to facilitate promotion of the sector and to enable training of thousands of Jamaican in new digital skills of a higher-value skill set”.
He conceded that, “a critical goal is to shift the makeup of the sector towards higher-skilled jobs. This global services digital services sector project, being driven by JAMPRO (Jamaica Promotions Corporation) as the executing agency, is the main driver to upskill Jamaicans in the high-value technical and professional skills needed in digital services”.
In this way, Shaw stated that the Government, along with operators and stakeholders in the private sector, is facilitating steps to offer services beyond business processing by building the skills and capabilities of the talent pool and companies who offer services under the global sector services programme.