This is not easy to do, but the Government will walk this journey with Singaporeans every step of the way – PM Lee Hsien Loong

    Lee Hsien Loong
My previous post on the call centres in the Philippines attracted many thoughtful comments, which I have read with great interest.

As several readers pointed out (e.g. Aaron Quek, Eric Lee, Melvin Chen), I was not suggesting that Singapore should aim to attract call centre jobs, or compete with the Philippines on the basis of low wages. We have gone well past that phase of development. Furthermore, our fundamental aim is to improve the wages of our workers, not join in a race to the bottom. My point was that many jobs which used to be done in the developed countries are gradually migrating to lower-cost providers around the world, such as call centres in the Philippines. This global trend will affect us too.

The Filipinos will not stop at call centres. They are already moving on higher value-added services such as animation for movies and video games. India has upgraded from running call centres to hosting higher-end business process outsourcing (BPOs), e.g. providing professional services such as legal advice and filing tax returns for Americans, at a fraction of the cost of American lawyers and accountants.

As more and more services are “crowdsourced” at the click of a mouse, Singaporean workers will face growing competition. Not just in unskilled and low-paid jobs, but white-collar jobs too; and not just from foreign workers here, but from workers and professionals thousands of miles away in other countries. 

This is why, although we want our workers to earn more, we cannot simply push up Singaporean wages as we would like. Globalisation and technology make this impossible. We will watch the inflow of foreign workers, so that Singaporeans don’t get overwhelmed. But in the long term, the only way for our workers to do better is to compete on knowledge and innovation, upgrade our skills, and stay ahead of the pack. We also have to continue welcoming talent, to boost our competitive edge. This is not easy to do, but the Government will walk this journey with Singaporeans every step of the way.

– Lee Hsien Loong

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A sobering BBC story about the Philippines developing their call centres business, and overtaking India. This is the international backdrop to our own efforts to raise wages of low- and middle-income workers. Singapore does not exist in a vacuum; we face direct and increasingly fierce competition from other countries. By making full use of technology and skills, we can improve our lives.
– Lee Hsien Loong

Link :  Call me: Tech powers Philippines call centre success

The Teleserv call centre
The growth of call centres in the Philippines followed the advent of internet telephony – which meant overseas calls were no longer prohibitively expensive
Cables
For the Philippines to expand into the business process outsourcing business, investment in technology must continue

Street in Manila

Unemployment is high in the Philippines, and call centre jobs are sought after and relatively well-paid

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One response to this post.

  1. Reblogged this on SG Hard Truth.

    Reply

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