This industry took a big hit as a result of COVID-19 in more ways than one.

Under the microscope in this episode of beyond the crisis is the Global Services Industry popularly referred to as Business Process Outsourcing,( BPO).

This is where companies contract third parties to carry out noncore processes or operations in order to focus on their core business functions.  In Jamaica this is primarily through customer service processes in call centres.

According to one report published in February the Global BPO market was expected to reach just over 405 billion US dollars by 2027.

Up to January of this year the industry employed 40 thousand people in Jamaica and was growing at an annual rate of over 20 percent.

It has widely been regarded and welcomed by political administrations for its ability to create significant numbers of jobs relatively easily due to the nature of its operations.

But COVID-19 brought some challenges -Thousands of workers were laid off or lost their job and then an outbreak of the virus at a St Catherine based call centre led to the closure of the entire industry for 14 days.

They were allowed to reopen only after meeting new sanitation and health guidelines.

Gloria Henry is President of the Business Process Industry Association of Jamaica.

She gives insight into the significance of the sector to the local economy and the impact of the pandemic.


Players in the sector are now anxiously looking forward to getting back to the path of growth but Henry says this will require bold moves on the part of the government especially as it relates to legislative and other support needed to facilitate the work from home arrangement.