Outsourcing Philippines, Remittances: Top Economic Drivers

Outsourcing Philippines or the offshore outsourcing industry in the Philippines and remittances from overseas Filipino workers remain the two main drivers of economic growth in the country. According to Rajiv Biswas, Chief Economist for consultancy firm IHS Asia-Pacific, the Philippines has transitioned into a tiger economy over the last 10 years, after several decades of weak growth, high levels of corruption and poor performance, among other challenges. 

Biswas added that gradual economic reforms and a significantly improved fiscal deficit have driven the transition as he affirmed the booming offshore outsourcing industry in the Philippines. In only five years, from 2008 to 2013, revenues from outsourcing companies in the Philippines have more than doubled to reach $13.3 billion. The boom is positively affecting not just outsourcing companies in the Philippines but also the rest of the economy, with construction of urban office parks and increased demand for commercial real estate floor space. Meanwhile, remittances from Filipinos working abroad remain a key driver, and are estimated to have reached $26 billion in 2014. 

Overall, Biswas said the country’s fiscal position has been improving due to “lower fiscal deficits and reduced government debt levels as a share of GDP.” Outlook for the near-team remains positive, while growth for medium-term forecast is supported by strong consumption growth.

Although the country’s economic growth of 6.1 percent for 2014 was much lower than 2013’s 7.2 percent growth, it was enough to make the Philippines the second fastest growing economy in Asia, just behind China. Balisacan expects the economy to grow about 7 to 8 percent in 2015. 

With a projected growth of about 4.5 to 5.0 percent every year from 2016 to 2030, Biswas expects the Philippine gross domestic product (GDP) to rise from the current $280 billion to $680 billion by 2024 and $1.2 trillion by 2030. The analytics firm forecasts the total GDP per person will increase from $2,800 in 2014 to about 5,800 by 2024. The tremendous economic improvements and expanding middle class over time will turn the Philippines into one of ASEAN’s largest consumer markets, said Biswas.

However, existing challenges are expected to continue. While the level of corruption has improved during President Aquino’s term, Biswas said there is still work to be done to improve transparency and governance.