It is evident that in recent years, Belize has seen the advent of the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry with the boom of contact centers providing services to various offshore companies. The first center opened its doors in 2005 and today, there are 14 active BPO’s in Belize offering both outbound sales and inbound customer service. Though the interest in Belize’s BPO industry continues to be strong, there is a shifting focus where multinational companies seek to outsource their I.T. services in Latin America and the Caribbean in order to tap into lower costing near shore markets due to rising costs in Asia, while also leveraging a new talent pool of ICT innovation.
The worldwide I.T. outsourcing (ITO) market is forecast to reach $288 billion in 2013, a 2.8% increase in U.S. dollars from 2012 according to Gartner, Inc. Statistics also show that ITO markets in emerging Asia/Pacific, Latin America and Greater China will all grow more than 13% in 2014 with the expansion of multinational buyers into these regions. So where does this leave Belize amidst this growth in the global ITO industry?
According to a recent study, the University of Belize has churned up to 105 graduates in I.T. with 56 earning a Bachelor’s degree and 49 earning an Associate’s between 2010 and 2013. During this same period, the Junior Colleges in Belize that offer an I.T. Associate degree program have produced 185 graduates in I.T. with Galen University recently introducing its program being scheduled to graduate 18 in 2014. This means that in four (4) years, we have produced close to 308 programmers in Belize’s I.T. talent pool; however, there are two major problems that are at hand.
First, though many students are graduating with degrees in I.T., only a few work in the field after they graduate due to a lack of professional I.T. careers or job opportunities in Belize. The few that are available, fill up by the brightest, leaving the others to either become freelance entrepreneurs, or to work in a field completely unrelated to I.T. Secondly, because of this, the interest of I.T. and students majoring in it have fallen due to fears of not being able to obtain work in the market after graduation. The study shows that total tertiary I.T. graduates in 2011 fell from 85 to 75 in 2012. So how can we leverage this available talent pool in Belize. Continue reading “Belize’s Hidden Treasure in I.T. Outsourcing”