by Shanzeh Shunaid
In 2019, The Kearney Report validated Pakistan in the list of emerging digital hubs, alongside India, China, Philippines and others. So, is this country really the NEW frontier of global outsourcing? Let’s find out!
Pakistan has become the world’s new market-leader for BPO services. The World Bank’s ‘Doing Business 2020’ observed Pakistan making a tremendous 28-spot vertical leap since 2019. This means if your small or medium-sized business is seeking cost-effective BPO solutions, then now is the right time to outsource to Pakistan.
Pakistan possesses an impeccable selection of BPO firms making it one of the biggest exporters of outsourced services among India, Russia, Mexico, and many others. A plethora of small and medium-sized companies from across the world are proactively approaching Pakistan to learn about the strengths and possible shortcomings of running a business over here.
One of the main reasons why Pakistan makes for an excellent BPO services exporter is because of its uber-adaptive IT industry. Small, medium and even seasoned IT ventures are quick at embracing the latest technological trends, and then incorporating them in real-life projects. Thusly enabling the BPO industry in Pakistan to expand exponentially.
The business opportunities in Pakistan have observed an impressive growth. Between fiscal years 2016 to 2021, there has been a 17.8% increase in Pakistan’s IT exports. In 2021, Pakistani tech startups bagged up to $365 million and $223 million in just the first 5 months of 2022.
In terms of the thriving BPO industry in Pakistan, there are more than 500,000 people working for leading BPO and IT firms. Global tech giants that were once skeptical about investing in Pakistan are now queuing up to bet on the newly-trusted BPO exporter. Pakistani tech companies have seemed to fully gear up to meet with the growing demand of BPO services in the global market.
Whenever we talk about outsourcing business processes to offshore firms, our mind immediately steers towards countries like India, Russia, Argentina, Mexico, Colombia, China and the Philippines. There’s no denying that these countries have established themselves as leading BPO exporters. However, due to high saturation of BPO providers, it can be a challenge for foreign businesses to find the right service that’s not only budget-friendly, but also promises uncompromised quality every time.
Pakistan, on the other hand, proves to be a viable business process outsourcing location. Because of low saturation, foreign small and medium-sized businesses can easily find a reliable BPO provider that promises high-quality and consistency. Moreover, there are a few additional reasons that make Pakistan a worthy contender in the global BPO market, jotted below:
Low operation costs and increased profitability are some of the leading reasons for outsourcing. Pakistan has a lower cost of labor and operational equipment than other countries. In addition, technically sound and motivated Pakistani graduates are likely to demand salaries that match with their experience and expertise, providing a great opportunity for small and medium-sized businesses to avail high-quality services while gaining an economic edge.
As well as sporting high pricing flexibility, Pakistan has a relatively weaker currency with strong labor arbitrage opportunities. The current parity rate of one US dollar to Rupee is approximately USD 1 to PKR 207.51. Therefore, the overall estimated operational cost for US-based companies is likely to be reduced and become affordable.
Pakistan is home to the world’s biggest IT industry backed by an ever-evolving business infrastructure. Regardless of the economic challenges, Pakistan offers a pro-enterprise regulatory-framework that fortifies BPO providers to invest in better talent. With good talent at hand, Pakistani BPO companies become capable of strengthening their grounds in the international market.
Pakistan is 12 hours ahead of the most U.S. states, giving it the benefit of “Follow the Sun” working model. The offshore team takes on the work during the client’s night-time and returns with results during work hours the next day. This round-the-clock model speeds up product development, reduces lags and enhances customer service.
With a growing population and a higher youth demographic, Pakistan has more than 186+ recognized universities and an estimated 1.6 million highly trained, skilled professional graduates passing out every year. The workforce consists of quick learners, capable of delivering efficient and robust business solutions. Proper and comprehensive hiring processes ensure that each team is made up of professionally dedicated individuals who abide by the deadlines and time zones of those hiring their services.
Another factor that earns Pakistan a point is its digital inclusion. The BPO firms working in the region have acclimated themselves to innovative technologies like artificial intelligence, machine learning, cloud computing, 5G wireless networks, and data science. Whenever there’s a new trend in the technological sector, Pakistani BPO providers are quick to adopt it to remain in-sync with the international market and to serve their international clients effectively.
And finally, let’s wrap it up with Pakistan’s language proficiency. An estimate of 27% of Pakistanis speak English as a first language, while 58% of the population speaks it as a second language. Pakistani BPO firms stay extra-vigilant while onboarding employees that are proficient English speakers and equipped with the ways of collaborating and communicating with international clients. All in all, the language barrier is the last thing a foreign business needs to worry about while obtaining BPO services from Pakistan.
With unprecedented talent and resources, Pakistan is on the verge of overtaking the global BPO market. Pakistani BPO services have consistently excelled at providing highly tailored business solutions to international clients. In the coming years, outsourcing opportunities in Pakistan are likely to increase relative to its rival BPO exporters i.e., India and the Philippines as they are becoming increasingly expensive and quite average in terms of delivering high-quality services.