So many things are said about the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) industry. The sure thing is that it’s one of the fastest-growing sectors worldwide and that developing countries are a perfect environment for this sector. A thriving BPO industry is a win-win situation for all related sides.
Many countries are taking advantage of the BPO industry to fuel their domestic growth.
How do they do it?
Let’s take the example of Albania. Agriculture was the dominant sector in the Albanian economy for many years and still continues to be a significant sector in terms of GDP and employment contribution. The human capital involved in the sector has been involved in the production of the same goods for export for decades. Speaking of exports, a positive balance of trade (BOT) is highly important, but another thing that really matters is what a country exports.
Back to Albania. About 15 years ago, a few businesses in the country started to export services. They did it in a period when there was little to no demand at all for services in the domestic market. Those businesses noticed the potential of the young and well-educated workforce and decided to invest in using that potential for exporting services to meet the needs of western markets.
The sector began expanding and the initial differentiation in service exports required new learning and working experiences. The people started to learn or master the skills that so far they couldn’t use. What people learned from planting strawberries in central Albania was different from what they learned from market research and data analysis.
Back in 2011, the Economist highlighted the role of services for poor and developing economies. It pointed out how countries like India have broken the historical convention of agriculture- manufacturing-services without developing a weighty manufacturing sector at all. The country headed straight to services and became the top favorite BPO destination in the world.
Countries like Albania have gone through historical conventions, but the country has gained experience in trading both low-value and high-value activities to developed markets. While, the sector helps to provide employment opportunities to specific categories such as students or newly graduates, valued added services may further improve the sector in the future to an economic powerhouse.