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Forbes july 2013

by Jennie S. Bev, Santa Clara

The
Philippines has become the favorite destination for offshore
outsourcing of U.S. companies. The country’s young population’s strong skills, culturally adaptable attitude and western-mindedness are a clear advantage. In general, Filipino workers in the global
outsourcing marketplace can be distinguished into two categories: migrant
workers who work outside their homecountry doing house chores and blue-collar
jobs and in-country workers who work at blue-collar jobs, and low-, middle- and
higher-level white-collar jobs.

Ten
million Filipino migrant workers toil in households
around the globe. The Victoria Park in Hong Kong is famous
as a weekend gathering spot for those who work in this modern part of China.
Throughout Singapore, Filipino waiters and waitresses and salespersons can be
found smiling and proudly serving their customers. 

Compared
to Indian workers whose speaking accent is more on the British side and culturally
less adaptable, in general Filipino workers are known for their flexibility and
westernized attitude. For U.S. companies, Filipino workers have an advantage
over their Indian counterparts for the former are more Americanized as the
Philippines was once an American colony. 

IT and
accounting jobs, which don’t require cultural elements, are still favorably
offshored to Indians. Filipino foreign outsourced
workers are better with soft-skill jobs like call center customer service, administrative
assistance, research, Web search, writing, and editing. A good number of hardcore
IT jobs are also absorbed by the Philippines, though India is still leading the
pack.

Most
Indonesian migrant workers are located in the Middle East, Malaysia, Singapore
and Taiwan. Approximately 4.5 to 5 million Indonesian migrant workers are
currently working worldwide. No accurate data can be found on Indonesia-based IT
and call center offshore outsourcing workers, though manufacturing plants are
known to absorb workers in offshore
outsourcing production jobs.

Globally,
Indonesia is known for its outsourced manufacturing
and household workers. In comparison, a relatively small number of Indonesia-related IT workers, consultants, financiers,
and managerial executives are currently working in western countries.

Top nine
cities for IT outsourcing in 2013 are Bangalore, Mumbai, Manila, New Delhi,
Chennai, Hyderabad, Pune, Cebu City and Shanghai. Phillippines cities Mandaluyong and Taguig are
also on the radar, challenging second-tier Philippines cities. No Indonesian cities
are on the list, which is understandable due to poor Internet infrastructure,
relatively un-westernized mindset, and low recognition for hard and soft
skills.

In
this globalized economy, Indonesia has an unprecedented opportunity to export highly
skilled and well-trained workers overseas, physically and virtually. For this,
an open mind is a primary requisite. Flexibility in absorbing other cultures is
another. Above all, a can-do attitude and continuous strive for excellence are two of the most important traits to succeed
in the offshore outsourcing marketplace.

The
government can start creating a conducive environment for this purpose. In contrast,
Singapore is attracting foreign workers by creating an alluring environment
with an open immigration policy and open-for-business “safe
haven” taxation provisions. 

Indonesia
can attract more high-paid offshore jobs like paralegal, accounting, analysis, medical
recording, and research provided that English-language ability, analytical, and
hardcore skills are on a par with international standards. This requires strong
collaborations with educational and training institutions. An international
mindset would help.

Indonesia
can start by creating an environment that promotes acceptance towards other
cultures with diversity and multiculturalism awareness. Understanding of other
cultures and high-quality hands-on skills are imperative to succeed in the global
offshore outsourcing marketplace.[]

FORBES Indonesia, July 2013

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