5 Things You Should Know About Call Center Jobs in Manila

Metro Manila’s internet infrastructure and large English-speaking population have made it one of the world’s contact center hotspots. Call centers in the area serve thousands of different companies based in countries all over the world.

The call center industry in Metro Manila is extremely diverse and highly-developed. Its players include multibillion-dollar outsourcing contractors that serve millions of clients as well as smaller specialized businesses that serve a small number of VIP customers. Some companies have also chosen to host their in-house contact centers in Manila, going against the notion that all call centers in the Philippines are 3rd party operations.

It’s then no surprise that it’s easy to find call center jobs in Manila. Many contact centers do not require college diplomas and offer valuable on-the-job-training — all while offering some of the highest starting salaries in the country. This makes them a popular choice for a first job for anyone with an adequate mastery of English and the right kind of soft skills.

Call centers aren’t always what they are cracked up to be, though. While certainly a popular employment option, not everyone has what it takes to work in one. There certainly are a lot of misconceptions about call center life floating around out there.

Here are a few of the things everyone should know about call center jobs in Manila:

1.) They aren’t always “call centers”

While call centers comprise the biggest proportion of Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) companies in Metro Manila, there is now a significant number of non-call center BPOs in the area. Almost every possible back end business activity has been outsourced to BPOs in based Metro Manila, and many of these businesses don’t even operate a contact center in their Manila location.

Hiring managers from these BPOs are mostly tired of having to explain this to applicants that didn’t do their research. If you’re looking for a contact center job, be sure to double-check if the BPO you’re considering does indeed have a spot for you.

2.) The night shift is a major commitment

Despite the macho attitude many call center veterans seem to have about working the night shift, working nights can be detrimental to your mental and physical health. The risk of strokes, cardiovascular disease, and depression are all elevated for those working the graveyard shift. The risk of vehicular accidents due to sleep deprivation and the odds of being victimized by criminals also increase as well.

This means workers in the night shift have to pay extra attention to their well-being, as the hours make it difficult to eat right and get enough exercise. This can be quite challenging or impossible for those with responsibilities during the daytime.

3.) Many of these positions have a telecommuting or home-based option. 

While not always an option, it couldn’t hurt to ask if there are any home-based positions available. Manila’s awful transportation situation has resulted in unpredictable traffic jams at all hours. It has forced a lot of call centers to offer more flexible working arrangements. Some may allow employees to work from home on some days and a few may be entirely home-based.

4.) “American English” isn’t the only kind of English you’ll need to be familiar with

While Filipinos are familiar with American English thanks to our close cultural and economic ties with the US, it is not the only kind of English you might have to be familiar with when you get a call center job in Manila. There are call centers in the area that serve British, Australian, Canadian, and New Zealand-based companies and each of these countries have subtly different English standards from each other.

Some call center agents that switch between jobs that serve clients in different countries may find they have a hard time unlearning Americanisms which come across as alien to other English speakers. The vocabulary, spelling, and grammar can also sometimes be different in unexpected ways, which can sometimes lead to some serious confusion.

5.) Rapport-building and critical thinking will get you further than a “perfect accent”

Here’s one hard truth about call center jobs in Manila or anywhere else. Having an American accent isn’t the most important quality you need to succeed. Most customers won’t even care. Your ability to connect with a customer and solve their problems is far more critical than having that perfect Californian twang a lot of Filipino agents try to cultivate. While having an acceptably neutral accent can help you be understood by clients, it’s your ability to resolve their issues that will make them happy.

We hope we cleared up some of the misconceptions you may have had about life in Manila’s call centers. If you’re interested in finding work in one, we hope that this list has helped set your expectations and improved your chances of finding a stable career.

What other misconceptions about Manila call center life can you share? Tell us!

JL Santiago Aquino

A millennial lifestyle blogger from Caloocan City who adores trying new things. ✨ Email: blog.ph7@gmail.com. Follow @JayL_Aquino on Instagram, Twitter, TikTok & Facebook.

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