BPO firms also eyeing flexible job rules

Published by rudy Date posted on April 16, 2009

The Joint Foreign Chambers has urged the government to also allow non-distressed companies, like business process outsourcing firms, to adopt flexible job arrangements to make them more competitive amid the global economic slump.

Henry Schumacher, executive vice president of the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, told reporters yesterday that companies doing relatively well despite the crisis could use the flexibilities as a preventive measure.

Early this year, the Labor Department issued an advisory detailing easier work arrangements that ailing companies could implement to protect jobs in response to the crisis.

“From dialogues, we learned BPO companies also want those flexibilities as well. If that flexibility we are talking about could lead to more competitiveness, this could lead to more people being hired,” said Schumacher.

The easier working arrangements include shorter hours and a freeze in salary rates and hiring. The flexibility leads to lower business cost, preserves jobs and maintain competitiveness and productivity in industries.

“In all these flexibilities we are talking about, it’s good to have [Labor] as your friend, as an arbiter,” said Schumacher.

He said companies could adopt the flexible arrangements temporarily or until market conditions improved.

“We are not sure how the second quarter, the third quarter would look like,” said Schumacher.

He said management had to talk to the staff, be open where the company was headed and for the workers to accept these changes.

“We need to look at the present situation, revisit the situation in six months. As soon as exports go up again, the flexibility model would change again. Once business recovers, companies won’t reduce man-days, they will go back to the original model again,” said Schumacher.

The Joint Foreign Chambers is holding its bi-annual Careers Fair 2009 on April 22 to 23 at the Activity Center of the Glorietta Mall in Makati City.

Twenty-five companies will participate in the job fair. Job positions will be opened for local employment of companies that are members of the various foreign chambers. The number of job openings, however, has yet to be finalized.

Unemployment rate in the Philippines in January increased to 7.7 percent due to the global crisis. This means 2.855 million Filipinos do not have jobs, excluding the 2009 graduates and the underemployed.–Elaine Ramos Alanguilan, Daily Tribune

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