A prominent figure in the country’s business-process outsourcing (BPO) industry has predicted that call centers in the Philippines will cease to exist by the year 2026.

DataOne Asia CEO Cyril Rocke said that there is a high possibility that the voice component of the BPO industry will no longer be needed as BPOs can now easily replace the said medium with new technologies.

Rocke then firmly stated:

“In five to 10 years, it will be gone. Voice has to disappear because of the low margins in the business.”

In a statement, Rocke said that one of the factors he considered for this prediction is the very high attrition rate among call center agents on their mid-20s.

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Rocke said that individuals are frequently moving from one BPO company to another for a mere 1 to 3 percent increase in their current salaries.

According to Rocke, this vicious cycle would not end until BPO companies start increasing their monthly salaries. However, such solution would not be beneficial for the BPO companies since they have to maintain high profitability.

To further clarify his prediction, Rocke said that BPO companies in the Philippines should have already shifted from call centers to knowledge-process outsourcing (KPO), offering a monthly salary of ₱35,000 to ₱45,000.

“It should move from voice to knowledge base.  Bright minds in low-value work is destructive,” Rocke said in relation to the current status of the country’s BPO industry.

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Presently, Rocke estimated that KPO only accounts for only 10 percent of the industry but said that it has the potential to increase dramatically in the next 10 years if offered with the right salaries and incentives.

Recent projections have the BPO industry in the Philippines to reach $26 billion or ₱1.2 trillion in revenues by the end of this year and a total of over 1.4 million Filipinos employed.