The past decade has been a challenging but ultimately successful ride for Cebu City’s call center industry. From its humble baby steps in 2004 to the gigantic success it is this year of 2014, it now holds the title of being second only to the country’s capital, Manila.
One of the main reasons for the boom of this offshore outsourcing is the low labor rates that have attracted many foreign investors to set up operations here in the Queen City of the South. There are currently 92 call centers operating in Cebu and undoubtedly, this number will increase. Some companies who have headquarters in Manila have put up a second office here and there are even a number of companies who opted to set up their headquarters in Cebu City.
Compared to Manila’s P16,000 to P18,000 monthly rate, call center agents in Cebu earn an average of P14,000 to P16,000. This is mainly due to Manila being the country’s capital with a workforce that is more competitive in nature. Despite the difference in rates though, job satisfaction among Cebu’s call center workforce is still high.
On the other hand, foreign investors are also pleased with Cebuano employees. Not only have they proven to be hardworking, they are also very good when it comes to speaking English, having an accent that is easy to understand for callers from both the U.S. and Europe. Such skills are very crucial in a business that requires quality customer service outsourcing and telemarketing.
If we talk about costs of operating a business, it’s definitely more economical in Cebu. For starters, rental rates of offices and commercial spaces are 31% lower, most of which start at P250 per square meter. Utility expenses such as electricity and water are likewise 40% lower, having a monthly cost of P4,000 if you have a small to medium enterprise.
As per Outsourcing Consultant Kittelson and Carpo Consulting, Cebu’s increasing number of investors from other countries indicate that it’s fast becoming an important offshore outsourcing center in Asia.
Albeit Manila’s call centers work at a faster pace, Cebu currently enjoys holding the number one provincial destination spot for foreign investors who want to invest and open call centers. As this industry continually grows, so will the city of Cebu in establishing itself as one of the top Philippine destinations when it comes to outsourcing.