Category: Talent

The Evolution of the Technical Support Engineer Job Role

Once viewed primarily as troubleshooters who solely fix computer issues, today’s technical support engineers are complex problem solvers delivering next-generation solutions who also are emphatic brand champions. This new breed of talent plays increasingly sophisticated roles in enhancing the customer product experience and realizing value for leading enterprises. The soft and technical skills needed for this integral position are morphing. To learn more about how the technical support engineer job role is rapidly evolving in the current era and where to find this expertise, read on.

For more on our continuing coverage of how digitalization is changing technical support functions, also see our blog on the Strategic Role of Technical Support in Driving SaaS Adoption.

What are technical support engineer roles and responsibilities?

Technical support engineers help clients fix technological issues related to specific products or overall technical infrastructure, either virtually or in person. They ensure products and systems function as desired and provide the technical skills needed to keep them working properly. These individuals also provide the required know-how to help customers understand the complete functionality of their products to maximize their value and proactively prevent issues. Activities performed by technical support engineers range from low-complexity queries such as account activation and troubleshooting known bugs to complex platform support activities and analytics support for product enhancement.

As companies heavily rely on technical support services to swiftly run their business, technical support engineers act as the face of the technology solution provider’s brand when engaging with the end-user and reflect their values and brand promise. Technical support engineers bring varied skill sets that are important for their job success.

Traditional skills and expectations from technical support engineers include:

  • Technical and product knowledge: A technical support engineer must be technically sound to troubleshoot, solve client problems, and initiate the work. They also need an in-depth understanding of technology solution providers’ products to quickly troubleshoot and solve problems
  • Problem solving: To turn things around swiftly, critical thinking ability and solving complex problems are musts for technical support engineers. This is especially relevant when supporting more complex and time-sensitive queries for enterprises
  • Interpersonal skills: Starting from actively listening, understanding, and explaining the resolution to the user, a technical support engineer is expected to possess excellent interpersonal skills
  • Client systems and platform knowledge: Clients often leverage multiple platforms and technologies that are interconnected and interdependent, making it critical for the technical support engineer to have an overarching knowledge of the client’s technology landscape

Changes to the technical support engineer job role

With companies around the world digitalizing rapidly and embedding technology in every business aspect, the adoption of as-a-service business models is bringing the importance of technical support to the forefront.

Along with increasing cloud adoption, the shift towards a SaaS-based model, and continuously evolving data governance regulations, the technical support engineer function has also been expanding. Technical support engineer roles and responsibilities have gone from traditional technical support work focused on “break-fix” hardware and software support elements to being customer success champions.

Modern technical support engineers play an important part in driving brand loyalty, increasing product and service consumption, and providing analytics-driven product enhancement insights. They offer proactive support capabilities and a differentiated client experience that maximize the end client’s value realization.

Let’s look at seven new competencies needed for this vital role:

Soft skills:

  • Innovative mindset: The growing number of technologies, products, and tools demand technical support engineers to think out-of-the-box and provide innovative solutions to solve both simple and complex problems for clients
  • Management capabilities: With more complex queries and increased interlinkage between products and platforms from multiple technology vendors, the technical support engineer job has progressed from being purely technical to having managerial aspects of coordinating between different stakeholders to arrive at quick and effective solutions
  • Empathy: Leading companies realize the importance of technical support in reinforcing and mirroring the brand promise and values. Technical support engineers need to be empathetic to user problems and deliver an optimal experience

Technical skills:

  • Data analytics: As support services become more dynamic and data-backed decision-making is more infused in businesses, analyzing data and proactively finding issues is an integral part of the role
  • Handling complex problems: With low complexity queries now increasingly solved by self-service and chatbots, technical support engineers are expected to handle more complicated queries
  • Adapting to next-generation solutions: The adoption of modern technologies and solutions such as cloud-based solutions, automation, and Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based solutions has demanded that individuals in these roles adapt to these new requirements
  • Understanding cyber security: Because cyber security is of paramount importance today, technical support engineers need to keep up with the evolving threats and proactively make users aware of the possible security risks

Evolving profiles of technical support engineers

With the evolving skill profile required from technical support engineers, service providers are increasingly looking to leverage new avenues for differentiated talent. Here are some of the key demographics actively being tapped:

Tech-savvy millennials: The global workforce has been shifting towards an increasingly large segment of tech-savvy millennials who have greater comfort with new-age products and technologies. This demographic stays up-to-date with the changing technology landscape and is better geared to handle complexities associated with the platforms and systems used by clients and technology solution providers

Industry expertise: Job candidates who have industry expertise are better suited for technical support roles, especially in energy, automotive, and manufacturing segments where industry-specific knowledge is difficult and time-consuming to attain. Employing technical support engineers who have first-hand experience with the problems they are solving is advantageous

Enterprise-specific experience: Individuals who have been associated with the brand and understand its technologies, work environment, and internal processes are better equipped to support it. Technical support engineers with previous experience working with the same or similar clients are desirable

With the changing technological landscape and evolving business models, the role of technical support engineer is expanding further to handle increasing customer expectations, product complexities, and changing dynamics. The need for technical skills in security, cloud infrastructure, analytics, and application development will further define the future role of technical support engineers. Emerging client demographics also are carving out new roles with differentiated skills that will be important going forward.

If you have questions or would like to discuss the technical support engineer job role and how it is evolving, please reach out to David Rickard, [email protected], or Chhandak Biswas, [email protected].

Explore our webinar, Building Successful Digital Product Engineering Businesses, to learn about investments in next-generation technologies and talent are now crucial in successfully building digital product engineering businesses.

How Leading Employers Keep Tech Talent

Attracting and retaining a talented tech team is the most important success factor for the long-term success of CIOs and their agendas. But it is also their most difficult, nettlesome challenge, especially in today’s hot, cutthroat marketplace for IT and engineering skills. Companies have reached out to Everest Group for help understanding the complex issues they must navigate and are seeking our comprehensive analysis on how other companies handle these issues.

Read more in my blog on Forbes

Rising Prominence of Africa in Technical Support and Other Value-added Services

While not a newcomer to service delivery, Africa has recently been experiencing a surge from buyers and service providers in adoption and investment, making this a region to watch for technical support and other value-added IT and business process services (BPS). Read on to learn why perceptions of Africa have changed, and explore six factors fueling Africa’s growth and its emerging delivery locations.

Africa has been part of the sourcing strategy of numerous Information Technology (IT) and BPS leaders in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) for quite some time. Lately, Everest Group has witnessed a sudden uptick in interest and adoption of Africa by both buyers and service providers.

More importantly, Sub-Saharan Africa has moved from primarily being leveraged for transactional services and low complexity customer experience (CX) queries to accelerated adoption of specialized operations and judgment-intensive processes as part of the region’s delivery portfolio mix.

Enterprise (business-to-business) technical support is one such area where buyers and service providers are proactively investing in Africa. We have noted several new technical support locations being set up in Sub-Saharan Africa by third-party outsourcing providers serving European and other English-speaking global markets.

Let’s take a look at what is contributing to this increased higher-level activity.

What factors have changed the perception of African talent and delivery sites?

  • STEM-focused education – The African Union (AU) has repeatedly reinforced its commitment to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education among member countries. The High Level Panel on Innovation and Emerging Technologies (APET) encourages AU Member States to implement STEM education regionally. Some emerging and nascent sourcing destinations, like Rwanda, have taken significant steps in this direction by introducing STEM education in 2019 at all education levels through its “New Competence-Based Curriculum,” focused on STEM and Information and Communications Technology (ICT)-led education
  • Investments by leading technology players to develop a local talent pool – Several multinational companies have set up delivery centers in the region to deliver services to Europe and North America, and tech giants including Google, Microsoft, and Netflix are leveraging it for global services delivery. These companies have invested heavily through well-designed upskilling programs with a focus on technology and digital services, creating a pool of managerial expertise as well as technology delivery capability for complex technical support and other value-added services in BPS and ITS
  • Acceptance of the remote work environment and related experience – The past two years have proven the remote and distributed work environment is as effective as traditional on-premise office setups. Service providers now have greater flexibility to enable their agents and managers to gain experience by working with global teams while delivering from Sub-Saharan Africa. This has significantly lowered the talent barrier for agents and supervisors

Six factors fueling Africa’s adoption

While the above factors have been instrumental in changing the perception and quality of the region’s talent pool, the following additional macro factors are driving the increased adoption of Africa:

  • Favorable demographic – As one of the youngest regions in the world, Africa boasts the greatest youth population in the world, with more than 60% of its population younger than 25 years of age, according to the World Population Perspectives of the United Nations. By 2035 the working population in Sub-Saharan Africa is expected to be larger than the rest of the world combined. This becomes even more relevant when viewed from the prism of the aging population elsewhere, including India
  • Cost arbitrage: Some countries in Africa offer highly-attractive cost arbitrage compared to onshore locations in Continental Europe (CE) and North America (NA). For example, Egypt, Nigeria, and Kenya’s pricing come in at 70-80% less compared to onshore locations in CE and NA, although Nigeria and Kenya are primarily leveraged to serve domestic markets. South Africa (for non-voice Finance & Accounting) and Morocco (for voice-based services) offer cost savings of 40-60% over onshore locations
  • Strong domestic market: The latest African trends show that consumer spending growth in Africa is projected to rise to $2.1 trillion by 2025 and $2.5 trillion by 2030, according to market forecasts. This is expected to create a fast-growing and lucrative local market for contact center and ancillary services, further fueling growth in Africa’s CXM delivery landscape
  • Increased confidence due to the presence of global enterprises: Some of the world’s largest brands from across industries, such as Accenture, Daimler, Google, Microsoft, Standard Chartered, and Teleperformance, are leveraging Africa as the destination of choice for global service delivery. This has given a lot of confidence to prospective companies as they look at Africa while exploring new delivery locations
  • Proximity to Europe: Proximity to various European countries is a big selling point of many African locations. Companies are increasingly leveraging Morocco for French and Spanish voice-based BP services because it offers both cultural and geographical proximity to France and Spain. Additionally, since most African countries share similar time zones with Europe, delivery and client teams can collaborate in real-time, optimizing work in both geographies
  • Business Continuity Planning (BCP) measures: Expansion into Africa further diversifies delivery location risk, which has become even more important in light of COVID-induced disruption in traditional delivery locations in Asia. Enterprise buyers of CX services are keen to balance their locations portfolio to manage business continuity risks for nearshore and offshore services
  • Government and regulatory support: African governments have progressively aligned the local data security laws with global standards, particularly the European Union General Data Protection Regulation (EU GDPR). For example, Nigeria released its Nigerian Data Protection Regulation 2019, which is aligned with EU GDPR. Similar laws, with regional variations but common intent, have been implemented by countries such as Egypt, Kenya, Rwanda, and Mauritius, providing potential investors and customers comfort around data privacy standards. Besides regulation, the government has also invested in infrastructure and security measures to boost outside investment

Emerging delivery locations in Africa

The map below highlights key locations leveraged by global enterprises and service providers for global service delivery. Of these, established locations such as Egypt, South Africa, and Morocco are quite mature and may house 20,000 to 100,000 full-time equivalents (FTEs), while emerging/nascent locations may have less than 20,000 FTEs.

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Illustration 1: Emerging delivery locations throughout Africa | Source: Everest Group

Below is a snapshot view of key emerging/nascent delivery locations:

Nigeria: Boasts a huge graduate talent pool with 460,000 to 465,000 graduates every year. It has significant IT services delivery in addition to inbound/outbound customer services. Nigeria has the potential to support multi-lingual contact center delivery in French and English as well as meet significant domestic demand for CX services

Rwanda: Utilized for both voice and non-voice business process services and French and English language support. It is increasingly being leveraged for IT service delivery across global markets with a strong government focus, excellent infrastructure, and educated talent pools

Uganda: Used extensively to support African countries and also to provide some support to US markets. Uganda supports both voice and non-voice service delivery (inbound and outbound customer service, Finance and Accounting Outsourcing (FAO), etc.). It has the potential to deliver complex IT skills, given the huge ICT talent availability
Mauritius: Leveraged for IT (Application Development & Maintenance (ADM) and infrastructure), non-voice business process services, and R&D services to serve French and Canadian markets. This location offers a favorable business environment, with government incentives for the IT-BPS sector, such as tax-free dividends and foreign tax credits

Kenya: Leveraged primarily for voice-based services and providing support to the US and Canada. While it has relatively low maturity for IT-based services, it can serve as a gateway/regional hub for organizations looking to expand in the East/West Africa region

With these positive conditions shaping its future, it will be interesting to see how the next decade fares for Sub-Saharan Africa. If the current trends continue, many countries in Africa are set to emerge as a close competitor to India and the Philippines for technical support and other value-added services delivery as long as it can successfully overcome misconceptions about safety, security, and talent. Continued public-private partnerships like the ones described in some countries above will need to continue for the region to accelerate its growth in this vibrant sector and positively impact Africa’s broader industry.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss global service delivery in Africa further, please reach out to Rananjay Kumar, [email protected], or David Rickard, [email protected].

Cyber Insurance Market: Carriers Navigating through a Changing Risk Landscape

With increased cyber attacks and data breaches post-pandemic, cyber insurance to protect against the rising digital threats is growing in demand. Cyber insurers can benefit by partnering with service providers to seize opportunities for growth and profitability in this fast-growing market. Read on to learn how.     

Cybersecurity continues to be a top priority for enterprises across all industries, primarily driven by increased cyber attacks and data breaches in the wake of COVID-19. Enterprises are increasingly strengthening firm-wide cyber defenses and turning to cyber insurance as a mitigating measure to counter the rising threats in today’s increasingly digitized world.

In particular, the pandemic has accelerated the severity, frequency, and complexity of ransomware attacks. Data from the US Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) suggests the total value of suspicious activity reported in ransomware-related incidents during the first six months of 2021 was US$590 million, more than the US$416 million reported for all of 2020. The frequency has also gone up, with 658 ransomware-related suspicious incidents being reported during the first six months of 2021, representing a 30% increase from the total reports filed for 2020.

Costs associated with cyber attacks also are rising. According to the IBM Cost of a Data Breach Report, the average data breach costs rose from US$3.86 million to US$4.24 million in 2021.

All of these factors have led to a substantial increase in cyber insurance pricing across the world. An analysis by Marsh shows US cyber insurance pricing increased 96% year-over-year during the third quarter of 2021, which also represented a 40 percentage point increase from the second quarter of the year.

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Image 1: US insurance market pricing change – overall commercial vs cyber insurance segments

US cyber insurance market provides significant growth opportunities

Direct premiums for US-domiciled insurers stood at US$2.75 billion in 2020 – less than 1% of the overall direct written premium in the US property and casualty (P&C) insurance market – reflecting the runaway growth in cyber insurance. This segment has also grown at a decent pace over the last five years, registering a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13.3% during that period.

Standalone cyber insurance policies are gaining prominence and have seen faster adoption than packaged policies sold as add-ons to other insurance products/policies. This can be attributed to enterprises’ need for broader coverage and a better understanding of policy terms and costs.

While most carriers have mainly serviced corporate clients, they are now starting to focus on the retail segment by providing standalone cyber insurance products that have typically been sold as add-ons to homeowners insurance. For example, Chubb recently launched Blink, a new personal cyber protection offering that covers expenses related to identity theft, fraudulent wire transfer, cyberbullying, and ransomware extortion.

Insurers are also offering joint go-to-market (GTM) products to provide comprehensive cyber risk management solutions to enterprises. In 2021, Allianz and Munich Re partnered with Google Cloud to launch a solution for Google Cloud customers that combines the risk-transfer expertise of Allianz and Munich Re with Google’s security capabilities to provide clients tailored coverage.

Advent of insurtechs in the cyber insurance market segment

The insurtech space has recently witnessed increased activity where most newcomers are catering to specific segments like small to medium enterprises. Insurtechs are leveraging their tech capabilities to make the underwriting process more streamlined and automated while incumbents continue to face legacy issues.

However, insurtechs lack the capital resources of their traditional counterparts and hence are forming alliances with traditional insurers to combine their respective capabilities. Some insurtechs are also offering coverage on behalf of incumbents through the Managing General Agent (MGA) model.

  • Cowbell Cyber, a full-stack insurer providing cyber coverage to SMEs, raised US$100 million this March to expand its go-to-market channels and increase investments in data science, underwriting, risk engineering, and claims management
  • At-Bay, a cyber insurtech MGA, announced a partnership in September 2021 with Microsoft to offer data-driven cyber insurance coverage to Microsoft 365 customers

Challenges for insurers in a hardening cyber market

While cyber insurers have experienced significant top-line growth, profitability remains a major concern as payouts have outstripped premium growth. The increased payouts have led to higher loss ratios. The loss ratio for US cyber insurers increased from a 42% average during 2015-19 to 73% by 2020. Insurers are responding by narrowing the cyber coverage scope and limiting cyber capacity. They also are imposing sublimits for ransomware coverage and adding coinsurance requirements to cyber policies.


Image 2: Insurers narrowing cyber coverage scope and limiting cyber capacity

How can cyber insurers benefit from BPS partnerships?

Partnering with Business Process Services (BPS) providers can help cyber insurers in the following ways:

Providing underwriting talent: As the adoption of cyber insurance grows, it will also lead to higher volumes for carriers. Service providers can provide support by standardizing parts of the underwriting process to enable carriers to handle increased work volumes. This can include deploying straight-through processing by standardizing the intake process and applying rule-based engines for low-premium policies to free up time for underwriters to focus on larger policies. They can also take over non-core pre- and post-underwriting work and help create scalable Centers of Excellence (CoEs) at profitable locations.

 Enabling technology: As carriers tighten their underwriting requirements with an increased focus on analyzing enterprises’ history of ransomware incidents and cyber breaches, they will heavily rely on third-party tools and public data sources to evaluate the insureds’ level of risk. This provides an opportunity for service providers to work with carriers to provide such tools and applications to help them assess risks associated with a particular firm.

Ensuring compliance: Amid the ever-evolving cyber threat landscape, governments and regulators across the globe are introducing new cybersecurity-focused legislation. The US Congress passed a new cybersecurity law in March mandating critical infrastructure entities to report cybersecurity incidents and ransomware payments to the relevant authority within 72 and 24 hours, respectively. Service providers can support carriers on various compliance-related matters. While some providers have compliance-specific expertise in licensing and filings, others have dedicated teams for compliance review and obligations. Third-party BPS providers can leverage these resources and work with carriers to ensure compliance.

Partnerships critical to the cyber insurance market’s future

As carriers seek growth in the cyber insurance market, they will need to strike the right balance to also achieve profitability. At the same time, service providers will have to keep up with the evolving market and appropriately build their cyber capabilities.

By working together, carriers and service providers can address some of the current market challenges and capitalize on the opportunities in the cyber insurance space to achieve sustainable growth.

For more information, please read our comprehensive assessment of the players in the P&C Insurance BPS segment, Property and Casualty (P&C) Insurance BPS – Service Provider Landscape with PEAK Matrix Assessment 2022.

To discuss opportunities in the cyber insurance market, please reach out to Somya Bhadola at [email protected] and Dinesh Singh Udawat at [email protected] or contact us.


Hiring Advice in Light of Potential Recession

Although companies are experiencing growth now, the signs are clear that a US recession is coming and likely will be upon us within a year. The Fed is starting to take measures to reduce liquidity and raise interest rates. Typically, recessions cause companies to pivot from their growth agendas into cost-saving agendas – including layoffs of staff. But layoffs would be a mistaken approach to a recession this time around. This blog shares my advice for handling the labor situation in the recession we now face.

Read more in my blog on Forbes

Strategies to Expand Labor Pools Today and in a Recession | Blog

In today’s hot labor market, with a difficult gap between talent demand and available resources, companies must try to widen the area where they can recruit workers, and hunt for labor pools in new, smaller markets. Google and other tech companies are reaching out to labor markets on the West Coast and in small markets in remote cities. FedEx and other large companies are investing in expensive TV ads to reach workers in non-traditional labor pools. However, the signs are clear that a recession will be upon us in months, and the new strategies for expanding a labor pool often have long run times. What are the best approaches to expand labor pools now?

Read more in my blog on Forbes

Ukraine IT Sector: Resilient, Agile, and Hopefully Here to Stay | Blog

The Ukraine IT sector has grown as a result of, and not despite, its humble, post-Soviet origins, and characteristics of agility and resilience appear to be serving it well. Read on as we share the viewpoint of our expert who traveled to Ukraine after the dissolution of the Soviet Union in this blog.

In March 1992, four months after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, I traveled to Ukraine to attend a hastily convened conference on the liberalization of post-Soviet telecommunications in the Commonwealth of Independent States. Delegates flew into Simferopol on a Swiss Air charter, and we took a rickety bus ride across the Crimean Peninsula to Yalta, the site of the eponymous wartime conference.

The conference was chaotic but enlightening: Soviet telecommunications had been so Moscow-centric that at independence, Ukraine did not have a singular, state-owned telecom carrier and virtually no direct international circuits. Disparate local networks loosely managed by the Ministry of Transportation and Communications were spread across Ukraine’s 22 administrative districts. These networks became Ukrtelecom in 1994, but outdated and inefficient fixed-line service was overtaken by rapid mobile take-up from the mid-1990s.

The results? A generation of Ukrainians grew up with mobility as their default. And the legacy of decentralized infrastructure led to a fragmented internet marketplace with ten or more internet service providers. Mobility and decentralization spawned an entrepreneurial and healthy, if not spectacularly large, IT services sector that now has some 290,000 professionals – 79% of them “individual entrepreneurs,” that was worth over $6.83 billion in export revenue in 2021, according to industry association IT Ukraine.

The Ukraine IT sector, innately agile and resilient, was in many ways prepared even more thoroughly for the dislocation caused by the Russian invasion, having endured 20 months of pandemic-enforced remote working. Anecdotal evidence, popping up in podcasts, on LinkedIn, and in mainstream media, suggests that the Ukraine IT sector is very much still working. Companies like Intellias and Sigma Software in Lviv, GeeksForLess in Mykolaiv, Reface in Kyiv, and many more, have contributed, according to IT Ukraine, quoted in an April 6 article on, to “almost 85% of [IT] companies operat[ing] in a normal business rhythm.”

How long the Ukraine IT sector can maintain that normal business rhythm, of course, remains uncertain. While some look to post-war opportunities in an independent Ukraine, created by the outflow of business from Russia and possibly Belarus, the current reality is that the reduced appetite by foreign businesses for risk and the execution of business continuity plans have meant that work has started to move outside Ukraine.

That said, I expect a significant share of work that is currently being delivered, and that can continue to be delivered remotely, will remain longer-term with Ukrainian companies or contractors, irrespective of whether specialists are operating in western Ukraine or outside of the country.

Indeed, Lviv IT Cluster, a body representing business, academia, and local government, claims that upwards of 40,000 IT specialists have relocated to Lviv in western Ukraine since the invasion, swelling the available talent headcount in the city to between 70,000 and 100,000. For now, internet and power in Lviv still function, and as long as they do, the Ukraine IT sector will find a way to continue its normal business rhythm.

To discuss the Ukraine IT sector further, please reach out to [email protected] or contact us.

Learn more about the current impacts in the Ukraine region in our LinkedIn Live session, How to Manage the Ukraine-Russia Impact on Service Delivery.

Will Service Delivery Change in the IT BPO Industry If They Say Goodbye to WFH?

The entire world responded to the sudden arrival of the pandemic in early 2020 by setting up mandates and reflex policies to keep people from gathering and exacerbating the virus. To keep the IT BPO industry running seamlessly, government guidelines for on-site working were relaxed worldwide so employees could work from home. After few initial hiccups, almost all the major global service delivery geographies e.g., India, Philippines, Poland etc. quickly adapted to the remote working delivery model, ably fulfilled services, and resolutely maintained service quality levels.

As  we return to post-pandemic norms, how are organizations, and employees, reacting to having to go back to the office?

Restoring pre-pandemic economic activity

With two years of the pandemic under our belts, governments are preparing for workers to head back to the office. The rationale provided by the governments is that getting workers out of their houses and back into the office, especially in larger cities, will help support local businesses and boost the economy as more workers visit restaurants and shops while they’re out in the towns and cities. However, most countries are finding that workers prefer a hybrid work model, enabling the benefit of getting people back into the bustling life of the city while also supporting those who need to work from home. In most countries the remote working experiment of the last two years has also led to the exponential growth of digital businesses models such as e-commerce, digital content, gaming, delivery services, online education, and others, which have as much of a multiplier effect on the economy as the traditional physical shopping centers and stores.

Organizations have taken very individual paths when it comes to workplace models in response to the ebb and flow of the pandemic. Some are choosing to stay in a WFH environment, others will be heading back to the office, and some are taking a middle ground approach by offering a hybrid model of each scenario. For example, Google has recently asked its employees to head back to the office this month (April), opting for a hybrid working model of three office days a week.

Regions are currently working with government leaders to determine next steps

There is a lack of clarity in government regulations in most countries on next steps and long-term acceptance of remote or hybrid working. In major global service delivery countries such as India, Philippines, Colombia, etc., the current set of monetary incentives for the IT BPO industry are tied to a physical space, or an office, in a specially designated area (e.g., SEZ in India, PEZA in the Philippines). While the employers have been granted special pandemic-related exceptions for availing these incentives even while working remotely, these exceptions are not long-term and are due to expire in the coming months in most countries. In the absence of permanent policies to support remote work, the industry will be susceptible to uncertainty and pressure of upcoming deadlines on the current exceptions.

For example, in the Philippines, the temporary relaxation for allowing tax incentives while remote working will expire on March 31, 2022. The IT BPO companies were asked to have employees back in the office from April 1, 2022, to qualify for the fiscal incentives once again. This sudden and major change led to many a sleepless night for industry executives. The industry was able to leverage a legal exception in cases of a “national state of calamity,” which allows for employees to work in the office 70% of the time and remain remote 30% without losing incentives. With this exception in place, most of the Philippines’ based IT BPO companies will be able to continue their hybrid workforce models till September 12, 2022.

In India currently, the IT BPO sector is working with the government to ensure that some form of hybrid work is drafted into the new legislation that will replace the Special Economic Zones (SEZ) Act, which is currently being rewritten to revive activities in SEZ areas. Similarly, key service delivery countries in the Latin American region are facing uncertainties with regard to government policies.

The need of the hour is clear for effective policies that allow remote or hybrid workforce models and decouple monetary incentives from the physical office location requirements. Knowing now what to expect in the coming months, whether employees are expected to work in the office or are able to move to a hybrid work environment, will help them better prepare.

How could back-to-office mandates affect the IT BPO industry?

Companies that rely on the global delivery models for technology and business process services should not make any changes right away but should consider a continuity plan and keep a close eye on how events play out. One possible risk to keep in mind is the chance that attrition rises as employees adjust to the new working circumstances if they are asked to return to the office.

Enterprises should also consider the possible ways the industry could be affected without a WFH element for IT BPO employees, not only to protect the population from the ongoing pandemic but when other emergencies come along, such as geo-political disturbances, natural disasters, etc.

A Reimagining of working models could be in order

The return to work dilemma begs the question of whether it’s time to rethink laws and policies, most of which were developed years ago at a time when working outside of the office wasn’t even considered a possibility. We may start to see policies changing globally as countries allow more opportunities for employees to work in a hybrid work fashion if they choose. Countries that fall behind in adapting to new workforce models will risk losing business to countries that make it attractive to employers.

Incorporating the possibility of a permanent WFH or hybrid workplace model in many regions would require a reimagining of policies and tax breaks so that business doesn’t become more expensive for companies and to support employees who need to continue working from home. The opportunity could bring even more success to the industry. The IT BPO industry, with 14% revenue growth in 2021, was one of the fastest growing industries and contributed to millions of new jobs.  Many firms around the globe will likely continue to have employees work remotely or in hybrid models as productivity, customer satisfaction, and new business continue to stay the same or improve.

For more information or recommendations on the status of service delivery in the IT BPO industry, reach out to Prashray Kala, or contact us directly.

Learn about how to create an experience-centric workplace in our webinar, Top Strategies for Creating an Employee-focused Digital Workplace.

Innovative Strategies Driving Talent Sourcing and Acquisition in the Philippines

The traditional strategies for finding the best recruits for jobs are changing. With the talent shortage across all industries, companies are taking innovative approaches to talent sourcing and acquisition. Where will your next-generation talent come from? To stay on top of the war for talent, read on to learn the emerging tactics and a comprehensive framework to expand the candidate pool. 

Traditional talent sourcing strategies

The commonly used practices for proactively locating the best potential hires for open or future positions are no longer enough with the great need and talent shortage. Traditional talent sourcing strategies have included:

  • Using internships to lure top prospects and hiring recent graduates
  • Hiring from within the same industry or location, which offers the benefits of domain knowledge and cultural fit
  • Relocating talent from other locations for their experience, skills, and ability to learn
  • Offering flexible employment such as part-time work and fixed-term contracts. While this is a growing trend, alternative talent for most companies is typically less than 15% of the total workforce, especially for IT and niche skills
Innovative talent sourcing and acquisition strategies

The quest for the right skill sets and talent is driving organizations’ hiring decisions and motivating them to try new operating models. Based on our latest research on the Philippines market and beyond, here are eight emerging talent sourcing and acquisition strategies to consider:

  • Acqui-hiring or hiring through Mergers & Acquisitions: Acquiring start-ups primarily to recruit their employees with specific talent
  • Satellite centers to augment traditional hubs: Setting up small satellite offices to diversify delivery location portfolios, creating extended “spoke” offices without setting up large physical sites to attract talent from a wider area
  • Collaborating with the external ecosystem: Strengthening connections with academic institutions, start-ups, and service providers to leverage their talent pools to develop holistic solutions, increase agility, and reduce go-to-market time
  • Work from Home or Anywhere (WFH/WFA): Exploring work from home or work from anywhere models now, particularly since COVID-19 has increased the acceptance and openness to virtual delivery models
  • Gamification/simulation-based screening assessments: Using gamification-based assessments instead of a traditional interview process with a focus on hiring for learnability and applying skills rather than possessing the core skill itself
  • Hiring next-generation talent and “problem solvers” through hackathons: Hiring candidates through coding events such as hackathons to attract a wider pool of talent from multiple sources and different backgrounds, and to engage with the student community
  • Co-creating a curriculum: Partnering with educational institutes to introduce curated courses for developing and attracting talent with specific skillsets
Comprehensive framework to expand the talent pool

Everest Group has developed the following comprehensive framework to incorporate the many ways organizations in the Philippines are widening their access to candidates to meet ever-increasing talent requirements.

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Below are some approaches leading enterprises are exploring:

  1. Leverage tier-2/3 locations: Tier 2/3 locations: Bacolod, Cebu, Davao, Iloilo, and Pampanga (Angeles City, Metro Clark) for the following reasons:
    • Lower operations costs – Costs in tier-2/3 cities are 10-20% lower compared to a typical tier-1 city because of lower salaries and facility-related expenses
    • Better work-life balance – Tier-2/3 cities provide a decent alternative because employees don’t need to travel to tier-1 cities for employment. The growing adoption of the long-term WFH model may also increase the pool of tenured IT talent operating from these locations
    • Reduced risk – Tier-2/3 locations can act as Business Continuity Planning (BCP) locations to tier-1 locations, providing opportunities to diversify delivery location risk
    • Lower human capital costs – Multiple tier-2/3 cities offer a large, untapped talent pool with relevant skills, providing scalability and the potential to reduce people costs
    • Greater retention – Attrition rates in tier-2/3 locations are 10-15% lower than in tier-1 locations, translating into better service delivery and lower hiring and training costs
  1. Adopt the contingent workforce model: Using contingent workers such as freelancers, independent contractors, consultants, or other non-permanent workers offers cost savings, increased flexibility, and caters to workers’ changing preferences. This trend is growing with 36% of enterprises classifying more than
    16% of their workforce as contingent workers
  2. Increase the use of gig workers: Accessing next-generation skills in locations where companies do not have a physical presence for short-term assignments, tasks, or jobs
  3. Establish satellites/pods: Setting up small-scale (less than 50 full-time equivalent employees) or sub-scale centers, typically within a shared workspace to tap into new locations. Additionally, these arrangements enhance access to scarce talent and aid in Business Continuity (BCP) goals, provide a platform for possible collaboration, Centers of Excellence (CoEs), and offer flexible workspaces
  4. Adopt internal and external crowdsourcing: Leveraging social media and networks to spread the word about job availability. Crowdsourcing across companies has been on the rise
  5. Explore talent hotspots: Establishing a presence in emerging talent hotspots (e.g., Israel, Lithuania, Egypt) to access next-gen skills

We expect a notable increase in the adoption of these talent sourcing and acquisition strategies over the next six to 12 months by Philippines-based shared service centers and other organizations.

To share your comments and questions on talent sourcing and talent acquisition, please reach out us: contact us.

To learn more about the talent shortage and hear ways to rethink talent strategies and expand reach, watch our webinar, “Is the Talent War Threatening the Success of Your GBS?”.

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