JIS – The Business Process Outsourcing Sector (BPO) is fast becoming the number one source of employment, next to tourism in western Jamaica.
Speaking in an interview with JIS News, Mayor of Montego Bay, His Worship Homer Davis said the sector is now officially one of the main engines of economic growth and “is also a place where many young persons have been making something of their lives.”
“Currently, the Government, through the Port Authority of Jamaica (PAJ), is spending a lot of money to increase BPO space in Montego Bay. Thousands of square feet of purpose-built facilities are being constructed to facilitate a sector that is literally bursting at the seams,” Mr. Davis said.
The Mayor added that the sector has become one of the most reliable means of employment, pointing to the many persons who have gained employment under the construction phase currently taking place at the free zone (Freeport, Montego Bay) area.
For her part, Manager of the Business Process Industry Association of Jamaica (BPIAJ) Julaire Hall said the BPO sector, is not only a major player in Montego Bay’s economic fortunes, but is also a main recruiter of young talent.
Ms. Hall, who is also the Site Manager of the BPIAJ’s Contact Centre Incubator, pointed out that many young persons have been given a start by capitalizing on the opportunities available throughout the sector, noting that BPO has transformed many a life that could have gone in the wrong direction.
“There are a lot of testimonials and success stories out there. The BPO sector allows for growth. It gives persons the opportunity to learn on the job and the opportunity for social and upward mobility,” she added.
Ms. Hall also commented that the possibility to quickly move through the ranks to managerial positions, has also lured many young talents to the industry.
“The sector also benefits from a lot of word of mouth advertising. Persons who have made it through the door have been spreading the word, telling their friends about the wonderful things that are happening,” she said.
For the past five years Jamaica’s BPO industry has experienced tremendous growth, with over 40 companies operating in the Information Communication Technology/BPO sector.
Employment has moved from just around 12,000 persons in 2011 to about 17,000 at the end of 2014.
With rapid expansion and new players, over 4,000 new jobs have been added within the last three years to increase employment to about 22,000. Revenues from the industry grew from approximately US$230 million in 2012 to US$400 million in 2015.
In the meantime, Information Technology Manager, Tamara Smith noted that it is important for the country that the investments, including human capital, continue to pour into the BPO sector.
“I love the fact that it is a fast paced environment where one has to constantly remain focused. Like other Jamaicans, I am very optimistic about the future and really like what I am seeing here with our young people. I am seeing people who are motivated and who have been demonstrating a willingness to learn,” Ms. Smith stated.