Labour target for IT/BPM achievable if companies provide training: Expert

Thursday, 28 August 2014 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Workforce shortages identified as a challenge for the IT/BPM industry reaching its 2022 target can be surmounted if companies are willing to provide training, a top expert said yesterday. Calling for a shift in the manner in which human resources are obtained, AHL Business Solutions Head of Business Systems and Services Deepthie Wickramasuriya said although difficult to attract, great potential exists in the student population to fill the seats. “The perception here is that we lack people to service the sector to take it to the 2022 target, but a recent study states there are people with wider experience available. It is just that most of us try to tap resources that are easily accessible, but if you really look at it, there is a huge untapped resource pool and that is the students who have passed out from school,” she expressed during a panel discussion at the breakfast briefing on ‘Finance Transformation: Expert Insight on Accounting Outsourcing and Shared Services’. The industry aims by 2022 to achieve revenue of $ 5 billion, provide 200,000 direct jobs and have 1,000 start-ups. Highlighting that only 10% of the 230,000 students who sit for Advanced Levels (ALs) enter into universities, and a small proportion opt for professional qualification, Wickramasuriya stressed the need to take necessary measures to attract them into the sector. According to her, if only companies sell themselves as an industry, there will be some assurance of a steady flow of human resources to service the sector. “It is imperative that we set their minds that this is an upcoming industry and the biggest revenue earner in the future. It is merely mindset training and if you look at the technology, the basic finance function has made our lives easy in this country. We need to touch that base,” emphasised Wickramasuriya. However, she noted that such segments need to be trained initially so they have the basic competencies to service the sector. “As a community if we collaborate and give a proper training, I think we have the resources. But I think if we go for trained resources, there is a dearth since the qualified people are leaving the country for better opportunities.” The IT/BPM industry recorded revenue of $ 720 million in 2013 and the industry is confident it will hit export earnings of $ 850 million by end 2014. Identified as the fastest growing sector, it has recorded a growth of 238% for the last five years where its YOY growth is approximately 47.6%. While currently the sector provides 75, 100 jobs, it aims on increasing this figure to 82,850 by end2014.