Media Truth

Friday July 11, 2002

US Call Center Operator in Cebu Needs lT Employees

CEBU CITY, July 11 Asia Pulse - The entry of call centers in Cebu will help solve the province's unemployment problem.

Sykes Asia Inc.-Cebu alone is still searching for more personnel for its customer and technical services teams, Sykes general manager and call center director Cherry Durano said.

She said the American call center operator, which has 40 employees, would need 800 to l,000 employees this year to serve one of its clients. Sykes is initially serving two clients.

The firm aims to attract five clients this year, Durano said. Meanwhile, Board of Investments (BOI) Gov. Gerry Sta. Ana qualified his earlier statement that Cebu lacks the manpower for call centers.

"What I meant was for the immediate employment need of the call centers that have signified their intention to operate in Cebu this year. Cebu has lots of graduates of four-year courses, but they need to undergo further training, especially in English speaking. Also, we have lots of graduates, but only a few are applying for the job," he said.

Sta. Ana earlier said this is why the University of Southern Philippines (USP) has decided to collaborate with the BOI-initiated Call Center Academy of the Philippines located in Manila, for USP's 96-hour training for call center employees.

Other call centers expected to locate and operate in Cebu this year are Bigfoot, C3, Western Wats, Convergys and People Support. BOI is now tapping the different alumni associations of universities, especially the University of the Philippines (UP), University of San Carlos (USC), and Saint Theresa's College, to be able to locate their respective graduates.

"Based on our observation, Cebuano graduates are very trainable. The initial skills needed by call centers are just the ability to speak good English fluently without the Cebuano accent, and basic computer and internet skills. And we believe Cebuanos have these skills," she said. Durano also said most of Sykes' clients who visited the company's center at KRC Commercial Building l, Subangdaku, Mandaue city, had expressed satisfaction over the personnel's performance.

Call centers are companies that accept outsourcing jobs for large companies. These operations include customer service, technical support, financial consultation and telemarketing, Durano said.

Sykes, which started operating in Cebu last June 2, is the first call center in Cebu. It was also the first call center established in the country, specifically in Metro Manila.

Sykes is also inviting professionals who speak good Mandarin, Cantonese, Japanese, Vietnamese and Spanish to work with the company. (PNA)

2002 AsiaPulse Pte. Ltd.