Sourcefit Blog Feed http://www.sourcefit.com/ Customized, transparent offshore staffing solutions from Sourcefit make outsourcing in the Philippines easier than ever. en-us Sourcefit Logo http://www.sourcefit.com/ http://www.sourcefit.com/themes/default/images/rss_logo.jpg <![CDATA[ Metro Manila Beats Mumbai - Philippine BPO’s growth for Q1 and the rest of the year ]]> http://www.sourcefit.com/?pg=blogs&nid=24 <![CDATA[ Politics, Economics, and Hot Buttons: G8 Countries and Outsourcing ]]> http://www.sourcefit.com/?pg=blogs&nid=21 <![CDATA[ PROMOTING EQUALITY, PROMOTING DEVELOPMENT: Empowerment and Opportunities for Women in BPO ]]> http://www.sourcefit.com/?pg=blogs&nid=19 Miles to Go From all indications, the empowerment of women has come a long way but there are still miles to go. Avivah Wittenberg-Cox, in her Harvard Business Review (HBR) article “Why Focusing on the Gender Pay Gap Misses the Point” mentioned PEW research that showed that 26 percent of wives in the United States earn more than their husbands. A Goldman Sachs study, on the other hand, as cited by Wittenberg-Cox, found that more women are starting American businesses or companies, that the buying power of women worldwide is increasing and that more women in the U.S. are achieving higher education, earning 6 out of every 10 bachelor's and master's degrees. Despite these statistics, however, a recent study conducted by Catalyst, and cited by Boris Groysberg in the HBR piece called “How Star Women and Star Men Fare Differently in the Workplace” show that there are still too few women climbing the corporate ladder in the US. In 2011, women accounted for only 16.1% of board seats; only 14.1 percent of executive officer positions and 7.5 percent of executive officer top-earner positions. Across the Atlantic, it’s not much better either. "What the U.S. Can Learn From Europe About Gender Equality in the Workplace,” the Harvard Business Review article by Sylvia Ann Hewlett, mentioned new data from the Center for Work-Life Policy that shows that women in Britain make up only 19 percent of Parliament and only 12 percent of corporate boards. More Women Managers in the Philippines According to Grant Thornton’s IBR, the proportion of women in senior management positions has been steadily declining worldwide since 2009. The Philippines ratio of 39% women in top posts is second only to Russia worldwide. The report added that 64 percent of the top Filipina executives hold senior finance positions or are chief finance officers. These figures bode well because, as McKinsey Southeast Asia Head of Public Affairs Penny Burtt said, a McKinsey study shows that gender diversity impacts businesses positively. "Companies with more women at the top tend to have more leadership capabilities, better decision making and better corporate governance," Burtt told CNBC.com’s Shivali Nayak. The local Information Technology-Business Process Outsourcing (IT-BPO) sector seems to show proportions similar to the IBR findings. According to the International Labor Organization – as cited by Tonyo Cruz in his report for asiancorrespondent.com – “young Filipino women dominate BPO jobs by up to 59.3 percent.” The paper “Night Work Prohibition of Women Workers in the Philippine Call Center Industry” by Dr. Robert Keitel and Melissa Dorothy Ledesma mentioned that “a large percentage of middle to senior management positions are also held by women.” Empowering Women The IT-BPO sector in the Philippines, as we know, has risen to become one of the leading destinations for IT-BPO and GIC (Global In-House Centers) in the world. According to the Business Processing Association of the Philippines (BPAP), the sector grew from US$100 million in total revenues in 2001 to an astonishing USD3.3 billion in 2006; and has since doubled its revenues every year. This high rate of growth has, of course, helped provide opportunities and benefits to women employees such as: * Financial independence – The paper “Night Work Prohibition of Women Workers in the Philippine Call Center Industry” said that “workers are drawn in to work in a BPO or Call Center because of the financial security it gives and its impartiality when it comes to age, status, etc. of the individual as long as they have the necessary skills needed for the job; specifically that of computer and communication skills.” Financial independence, with salaries that are typically above minimum wage and are available to a broader spectrum of women (and men, too), has given many women employees in the BPO sector the opportunity to provide for their needs and that of their families. Their compensation has also increased their spending power and has also led to positive effects for the local retail industry. And the fact that BPO companies in the Philippines are not just in urban centers in Metro Manila, but are also in other parts of the country, means that more women in more areas in the country are getting the chance to gain financial independence. * Opportunities for advancement – For a large number of women in the BPO sector, these employment opportunities open a door to more chances for advancement, not just financially and socially, but also in terms of career and skills. The sector is built to constantly offer training to update knowledge and usually offers career advancement and promotions. The paper by Keitel and Ledesma – citing figures from the Business Processing Association Philippines. (2007). ITES & ICT Sectors, viewed 18 March 2007. Makati City -- pointed out that BPO’s place “high emphasis on people and talent development resulting in a high level of activity and investment in training and coaching at all levels; companies spend an average of Php 21,000 - Php28, 000/year per employee for training and development.” Training is a chance to update skills as it also helps employees choose and forge a career path. It has also proven helpful for women who return to work after maternity leave and the like. * Opportunity to learn new skills and technical skills – The industry, like the technologies that power it, is fast paced and continuously changing and updating. Employees get to continuously train and learn or update skills. * Chance for fresh graduates – Fresh graduates, who have been turned down for jobs that require experience, are given the chance provided that they pass the training and continue to maintain standards of quality. The emphasis on recruitment, Keitel and Ledesma said – again citing BPA/P, 2007 -- is on “competency based assessment and behavioral assessment” or the “workplace readiness and job fit” as new hires are typically given “15-20 days training prior to start of work.” * Building skills and confidence – The skills acquired from training and day-to-day operations such as communication skills, technical knowledge and product knowledge go a long way to help add confidence and assertiveness. * Accomplishing more and achieving balance – The flexibility of the work atmosphere, according to authors Keitel and Ledesma encourages most employees to accomplish more with his or her time. This helps employees achieve balance in their work and personal lives. * Indirect benefits that help make life better for more people – These include better infrastructure, government support and areas evolving into better centers with better infrastructure facilities which benefit the employees and the rest of the residents near the area. The IT-BPO sector also contributes to the growth of, as well as the creation and support of jobs in real estate, security, transportation and other industries that support BPOs. * Gaining self-reliance and a better standard of living – The paper “Night Work Prohibition of Women Workers in the Philippine Call Center Industry” mentioned the following non-monetary benefits: leaves with pay, HMO and health programs, flexible schedules, off-setting, opportunity to negotiate part time work, bedroom or sleeping quarters, health programs, career leaves and breaks, study/training scholarship and subsidy, early retirement, club membership and cultural/religious leave. These non-monetary benefits also add up to a compensation package that has the potential to improve the standard of living. For countless Filipino women, the benefits of an above average compensation such as autonomy, self-reliance, freedom and the opportunity to have a better life are priceless. Makes Perfect Sense Continuing to make these employment opportunities within reach for more women in the country is not only just, it also makes perfect business sense. For BPO companies to continue growing at such astonishing rates and contributing to the growth of the Philippine economy, they need to meet the demands of a growing number of clients with, first and foremost, the best talent for the job. In June of last year, a law was passed to ensure that women would be allowed to work at night for more than 11 consecutive hours. This repeals the provisions of the Labor Code that prohibited night work for women and which forced BPO firms to constantly seek exemptions from the Department of Labor and Employment to allow them to employ women for work at night. Industry players and the Labor Department welcomed the signing of the new law as a move to give women equal access to opportunities for employment. The government also continues to find measures, including looking into laws and government incentives that can offer support to expanding BPO operations, providing more access to free training and assistance in getting employment in the IT-BPO sector. The Department of Education, the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, the Commission on Higher Education and the private sector are working together towards training and education to avoid the talent gap and meet the strong demand. In 2011, Business Processing Association of the Philippines (BPAP) executive director for external affairs Martin Crisostomo said in an interview with the Philippine Star, the BPO sector hit $10.9 billion in revenues. For 2012 – as businesses abroad aim to concentrate on their core operations and become more competitive and with increased demand in the non-voice and voice subsectors of the Philippines’ BPO industry – the projected revenue of the local IT-BPO sector is $13 billion. The economic empowerment of women is, by all means, part of the big picture. As the Asian Development Bank (ADB) report titled “Paradox and Promise in the Philippines: A Joint Country Gender Assessment 2008” pointed out, “Enhancing women’s economic empowerment is, therefore, not only a question of promoting equality, but also of supporting the socioeconomic development of the country.” ]]> <![CDATA[ 24 Ways that SOPA and PIPA would affect SEO, Internet Marketing, Internet-based Jobs and Companies in the Philippines and Around the World. ]]> http://www.sourcefit.com/?pg=blogs&nid=18 SEO companies and Internet marketing firms, depend on social media sites, the game would change considerably. The social media sites, carrying the burden of being liable for users’ actions, would be forced to over-censor, be overly strict, or have an agonizingly slow process, or quite possibly, tend to just block or delete entries or links at the slightest indication of possible legal trouble. 15. “Linking to other sites would be tedious, time consuming and could potentially force the company offline,” according to Wikipedia. And after all that, there would still be no guarantee of exposure on US sites for your company or your product. 16. Also according to Wikipedia, some foreign (or non-US) sites would be prevented from showing up in search engines. Let me say that again – your own site or other efforts for SEO or Internet Marketing may not appear in search engines as the pending bills could bar search engines from linking to certain sites. Sean Flynn at InfoJustice.org added that this kind of “search blocking” that was included in SOPA and PIPA is “widely regarded as Internet censorship.” Timm also said in his blog entry posted on eff.org that the pending bills would empower the Attorney General to “de-list websites from search engines, which, as Google Chairman Eric Schmidt noted, would still ‘criminalize linking and the fundamental structure of the Internet itself.’” 17. Wikipedia pointed out that big media companies may seek to cut off funding sources for foreign competitors. Foreign competitors, of course, could be your company. 18. There would be a climate of uncertainty and restrictions where, for example, all your SEO efforts for the day could just disappear at the drop of a hat; just like that. The law is too powerful, far-reaching and too vague and full of loopholes that could easily cause the shutdown of companies or entire websites. 19. SOPA/PIPA could shut down/block blogs. So if your business depends on blogs, you would need a major rethink. The pending bills would make it the responsibility of the blog owners in the U.S. to police content, including those posted on the comments, for possible copyright infringement. This makes the blogs vulnerable to lawsuits and the possibility of being blocked or shut down. 20. The bills would change the search engine game. With sites that can be de-listed on search engines, preventing the search engines from linking with them, SEO strategies will definitely have to be re-imagined. Also, Union Square Ventures’ Brad Burnham, in his blog entry “The PROTECT IP Act Will Slow Start-up Innovation” on usv.com, mentioned that SOPA and PIPA would give a “leg up to foreign (non-US) search engines, DNS providers, social networks and others.” 21. Online forums would be affected. And if your Internet-based company relies heavily on online forums, you would be hit hard by SOPA/PIPA, too. Forums would carry the burden of policing the entire site, including posts and comments by forum members, for every possible copyright infringement. A mistake could lead to being shut down or blocked. And even malicious claims could do great damage. 22. Video sites like YouTube would be affected. Again, if your Internet-based work depends on video sites, better be ready for a big change if SOPA and PIPA go through. 23. Sharing and networking sites like blogspot.com, daily motion, and the like would be affected, again because of the burden that SOPA and PIPA would place on these sites. Such sites outside the US that face allegations of copyright infringement could be blocked in the U.S. and they would also not be able to use commerce and ad lines. 24. Suspension of sub domains. Julie Ahrens, on her blog on the Stanford Law School website, said that “ordering Internet service providers to remove any offending domain name would require the suppression of all sub-domains associated with the domain-- censoring thousands of individual websites with vast amounts of protected speech containing no infringing content.” WHAT HAPPENS NOW As of now, SOPA and PIPA have stopped – temporarily – their march in both the Senate and the Congress. After the protests, the White House released a statement that said, “While we believe that online piracy by foreign websites is a serious problem that requires a serious legislative response, we will not support legislation that reduces freedom of expression, increases cyber security risk, or undermines the dynamic, innovative global Internet." Both bills, however, are far from dead. Their proponents plan to bring them up for mark-up next month. Those who opposed SOPA and PIPA plan to – and should – remain vigilant so that the bills, as they are currently written, would not be passed. Jim Hedger of Digital Always Media – as cited by Miranda Miller in her blog entry on searchenginewatch.com – said that the solution is to draft the bill with all parties represented. “I’d like to see people who understand how the information works; I’d like to see a cross-section of people at the table. Content creators, law professors, copyright holders, philosophers, the MPAA, and the RIAA, there’s a place at the table for them,” he said. “Whoever makes the media products should be at the table, along with people who actually understand the environment. It can’t just be up to the copyright holders. If it is, they’re just protecting their own interests at the detriment of the consumers and Internet users.” The resulting bill/bills should ideally be a balance between the rights of creators of content (the copyright owners) and the rights of web users to a free and open Internet. ]]> <![CDATA[ Reinventing the Workforce – Outsourcing and Technology: Understanding How Revolutionary Technology Drives Outsourcing Business Advances ]]> http://www.sourcefit.com/?pg=blogs&nid=16 <![CDATA[ Tips for Successfully Outsourcing SEO Processes ]]> http://www.sourcefit.com/?pg=blogs&nid=15 Find a point of contact you can trust. Make sure the person you are speaking to is someone who understands your business and your goals. Do your due diligence. Is the company reputable; what is their own site like? Are the people managing your account invested in your success?
  • Look for transparency. Make sure you understand the whole process and how the company intends to achieve its results. Nothing comes easy in SEO and it takes time, especially in competitive industries. Simple guarantees mean nothing. If you spend six months of your time and the results aren’t there in the end then it doesn’t matter how cheap it was. Make sure the reporting is thorough and verifiable. Get the company to explain it to you if you don’t understand it. Find out where the work will be done. If any or all of the work will be done offshore make sure that you are comfortable with the quality controls that are in place.
  • Language is key. Search is all about language. Subtle differences in the phrasing of keywords can be very important. Outsourcing offshore can be extremely cost-effective but make sure you are comfortable with the language skills of the people who will be doing the work and make sure there are quality controls in place.
  • Find a balance of quality and quantity. Avoid simple numerical KPI’s such as a certain number of links or articles per month or even a certain search ranking. Again, make sure you understand the underlying fundamentals and make sure your SEO is being constructed with a foundation of quality and with long-term success in mind. This process is a marathon, not a sprint.
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