Local BPO sector bulks up employment in Q4

Staff Writer
By Staff Writer, ITWeb
Johannesburg, 31 May 2024
Over 6 000 new jobs were created in SA’s BPO sector between October and December 2023.
Over 6 000 new jobs were created in SA’s BPO sector between October and December 2023.

South Africa’s business process outsourcing (BPO) sector created 6 018 new jobs countrywide between October and December 2023.

This is according to industry body Business Process Enabling South Africa (BPESA), which states that 39% these jobs were in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN).

In July 2023, it was reported the sector contributed around R1.3 billion to the country's export revenue, says BPESA.

Additionally, the KZN South Coast has emerged as a top destination for growth and investment, it notes, with BPO operators looking for alternative tier two locations closer to the talent pool, with reduced property costs.

“The KZN South Coast has beautiful tourist towns; stable, warm year-round weather; and a pleasing landscape that makes it a great destination from which to operate,” explains Reshni Singh, CEO of BPESA.

“There is a very active community ensuring maintenance and upkeep, with businesses and citizens working effectively together to ensure sustained operations. The property sector is driving a lot of the activity, with the area open to business and growth.”

Compounded by a weak economy, SA’s joblessness has continued to rise. The official unemployment rate stood at 32.9% in the first quarter this year. Youth aged 15-34 years remain vulnerable in the labour market, with the rate of unemployed youth increasing to 45.5% during the period under review.

The BPO sector, sometimes referred to as the global business services (GBS) sector, has been identified as the green shoot that can help overcome the country’s unemployment, with the sector targeting 500 000 new jobs by 2030.

BPESA – through key collaborations – is charged with promoting SA as a premier offshoring destination to stimulate local job creation, attract investment, and ensure excellence in service delivery and management across the GBS sector.

Singh highlights Port Shepstone, Scottburgh, Ramsgate, Southbroom, Pennington and Margate as key sites for BPO hubs.

“The local Margate Airport and easy commute from King Shaka International Airport make this an accessible destination, with abundant skills and talent from the tourism sector offering entrenched customer-centric service skills, which are a prerequisite for the BPO sector. Business incubators, such as a satellite office of SmartXchange, help to grow businesses and build digital skills.”

Singh further indicates the KZN South Coast is comparable with tier two regions that are already seeing sector growth, among them George and Mitchells Plain in the Western Cape; Gqeberha and East London in the Eastern Cape; Soweto and Alexandra in Gauteng; and Ballito, uMlazi and Dundee in KZN.

Deborah Ludick, acting CEO of South Coast Tourism and Investment Enterprise, comments: “We have a business-friendly investment climate supported by the launch of our Ugu District One-Stop Shop, with access to an abundance of young, educated and tech-savvy workers ready for employment.

“The sector also promotes socially-conscious practices, while upskilling young and disadvantaged individuals for further career prospects, making it an industry worth promoting.”