If you browse any Philippine job hiring site, chances are you’ll find that a significant portion of the top hiring companies is manpower agencies or similar types of businesses. When you apply for an opening at these companies, chances are that you will not be working exclusively for them. Instead, these businesses are likely going to assign you to work on projects for clients who need their services. This practice is called business process outsourcing (BPO) or simply outsourcing.
While Filipinos have come to associate these words with call centers that cater to foreign businesses, the fact is that local businesses are some of the biggest user of outsourcing services. In most Filipino medium and large businesses, the security guards that watch over the facilities, the janitors that keep everything clean, and even the accountants and payroll specialists that make sure everyone in the workplace is paid correctly and on time are now largely contractual workers outsourced from third party agencies.
While agency jobs have gotten a bad rap over the years due to the limited job security, they are nevertheless great options for ambitious applicants who want to make a splash in their profession. Here are some of the major advantages of working in agencies.
1.) Faster skill development
Agency workers tend to develop their skills much faster than in-house workers, simply due to the higher volume of work and the tighter, less-flexible deadlines they generally face. They also tend to provide opportunities to work with different businesses, which can expand one’s general outlook compared to if one was working for only one company. All this means that working for an agency is often the fastest way to master specific skills, which can be beneficial for someone that wants to build a technical career path.
2.) Less stagnation
If the agency has multiple clients, it might be possible to request or even choose your assignment. This can go a long way into relieving stagnation that is all too common when one works in-house. If you sign on with the right agency, there may even be an opportunity to travel or at least change up the pace more often than would be the case for most in-house employees.
3.) Higher compensation with experience
While entry-level agency workers tend to have less competitive compensation than someone in a similar in-house position, the story changes once they accumulate experience and specialize further in their field. Highly-specialized workers are comparatively rare in most in-house contexts, which means their value to both the agency and client tends to be high as well. This means that some of the highest salaries out there are for agency workers.
4.) You can expect some support from your agency
While the previous advantages also apply to independent contractors, a big reason to work with an agency is the support that you can expect. Not only does the agency find the clients you work with, but they can also give you access to different employee benefits that one might typically expect when they work in-house, provided that you are a regular employee. This gives agency jobs a measure of stability compared to what you can expect as an independent contractor.
5.) Potentially more steady work
Even before the 2020 Pandemic, a decades-long downsizing trend has seen businesses throughout the world attempt different ways to keep their teams as small as possible, chiefly through automation and outsourcing. Today, many businesses have gone even further, reducing employee hours not just to help keep their operations afloat, but also to maximize their profits.
While this has been a problem for regular employees throughout the current economic downturn, employees at agencies that serve multiple clients are somewhat more resistant to this problem. Because they can work on multiple accounts, the downsizing trend is more of a boon than it is a problem — provided that the agency can secure enough contracts.
6.) Provides a good background for future self-employment
If you plan to work for yourself in the future, and an agency job can help you build the experience and network you need to pull it off. While agency experience does not guarantee success, agency jobs are likely to help you “level up” your experience faster while putting you in contact with a wider pool of professionals in your industry, compared to working in-house. Working for an agency can also help you gain insights into finding and retaining clients, current market rates for different services, and other details you will need to know to be an effective independent contractor.
While traditionally seen as less desirable than comparable in-house jobs, agency openings can be viable and even empowering to the right kind of jobseeker. While not everyone is cut out to work in an agency setup, for the right people in the right industries, these jobs can be a solid foundation for better things to come.