Photo shows top executives of Santos Knight Frank (SKF) while answering questions from the media during a press conference held at the Shangri-La Hotel in Makati recently. They are (from left): Morgan Mcgilvray, Senior Director, Occupier Services and Commercial Agency at Santos Knight Frank; Alistair Elliott, Senior Partner and Group Chairman at Knight Frank; Rick Santos, Chairman and CEO of Santos Knight Frank; Nick Holt, Asia Pacific Head of Research at Knight Frank; and Jan Custodio, Senior Director, Research and Consultancy at Santos Knight Frank.

According to global property consultancy firm Santos Knight Frank, the Philippines continues to be an attractive destination for global outsourcing and BPO companies, aided in part by the country’s affordable office space market and various opportunities present in new growth areas outside of Metro Manila.

Speaking during a press conference held in Makati recently, Santos Knight Frank chairman and CEO Rick Santos said that they see continued growth and expansion for the country’s Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) sector as investors capitalize on favorable demographics, affordable rent, strong macroeconomic fundamentals and the strength of the dollar.

“The IT-BPO sector occupied nearly 80 percent of prime office space last year, and we don’t see its growth momentum stopping anytime soon. Demand for office space in Manila remains extremely strong, reflecting the country’s solid position as one of Asia Pacific’s most important investment destinations,” he said.

SKF reported that in 2017, 3.8 million square meters or 80 percent of total prime office spaces in Metro Manila were occupied by Information Technology – BPO companies.

It was also reported that the next wave of expansions in the next three to five years will happen in the 80-kilometer corridor from Metro Manila going to north of Pampanga as new infrastructure projects connect Bulacan and Pampanga, making these places accessible to the BPO leadership based in Manila. Popular hubs such as Cebu, Clark, Davao and Iloilo would also continue to benefit from BPO expansions.

Finally, amid the onset of artificial intelligence (AI) and automation, and expansion within and outside of the metro, Santos Knight Frank is also forecasting that the growth of the IT-BPO sector will remain healthy in the next few years.

The good prospects for BPO growth is also driven by the country’s economy setting to expand by 6.7 percent this year, high literacy rate, competitive wage level, and competitive office rental rates.