Pakistan Enters the Race of Fastest-Growing Outsource/Freelance Market with 16% higher Remittance in the First Half of FY22! 

It is not long before that Pakistan was ranked 4th in the fastest-growing freelance market in the world leaving behind India, Bangladesh, and Russia, according to the Global Payment Platform Payoneer’s Global Gig Economy Index.

The good news is Pakistani talent has been acknowledged by the world. We are living in a time when people are interested in exploring our potential, talent, and resources.

Not to undermine the expertise of our resources here, but the domestic security situation and the lack of stable infrastructure have kept us away from investors and outsourcing jobs. It has dented us with a bad reputation for a long time. But, it’s changing for the better, revamping the fate of our country in the IT industry.

According to the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication (IT&T), Pakistan’s freelance market gathered 16% higher remittance in the first half of FY22 than the same period last year. 

Breaking down the remittance sources, $163.881 million in export earnings came from IT-related projects, and $52.907 came from non-IT gigs.

IT Services Are Gaining Traction in Our BPO Industry

Pakistani IT and BPO services providers are the major flag bearers in making this place an outsourcing hub. 

Yes! The business process outsourcing industry is thriving and showing immense growth in diverse sectors. From inbound/outbound customer support services to data entry to medical billing and coding to digital marketing, content writing, virtual assistance, and web development, you name it and you can find hundreds of related experts.

Pakistan – The Land of Opportunities

Digging deep into the data, it’s evident that freelancing is not just offering opportunities to individuals. Many companies in Pakistan are making their names over the outsourcing business model. And in recent years, there have been definite steps in terms of revenue generation and reliable service delivery that have brought our country into the limelight.

We cannot say that we are already there with some of the big fish. However, the outside companies and entrepreneurs are showing much interest in here and helping us generate revenue and remove unemployment.

Freelance Attributions to the Pakistani Economy

According to the IT ministry, the national community of the freelance industry has managed to generate $216.788 million in the first half of FY22

It accounts for 12.59% of the total ICT export remittances of $1,301.880 million over the same period.

Their services entail expertise majorly in the BPO sector and IT services which they have exported from July to December during 2021-22.

Compared to the last year’s data in the same period, it is a 16.74% rise from last year’s earnings of $185.698 million.

Should we say that the BPO services have birthed the freelance industry? 

Well, Yes! If we say that it all started with the call center services primarily, it wouldn’t be wrong.

Since 2002, the industry has been trying to make waves, and in 2021-2022, we are actually in the place where the world seems to recognize the potential in our local market. 

It’s the same reason that Pakistan is standing as a contender among top freelance markets such as India and the Philippines. And as per the careful analysis, leaders say that our BPO industry is expected to hit $405.6 billion by 2027.

Why Pakistan Is Emerging as the Outsourcing Hub?

Young Pakistan is what attracts and captivates most nations. We are a nation with 64% of the population under 30 and 29% of the population between the age group of 15-29.

We all agree that today’s informed generation is more tech-savvy and professional with inexhaustible passion. So, who wouldn’t want to hire young, talented, and skillful resources that have the spark, time, and creativity to go above and beyond?

Today, almost one million freelancers are working in Pakistan. The big cities such as Karachi, Lahore, and Islamabad have a major share in that. Thanks to the digital technology abundance in our country, we have managed to drive a high success rate in various jobs. 

This model of remote working or business process outsourcing services indeed has opened an avenue for exporting IT services and importing foreign exchange.

What Is the Future Look Like? Have Corporate Giants Realized the Actual worth of Our Locale? Is It Going to Last?

Reliable infrastructure, efficient problem-solving approach, dynamic expertise, state-of-the-art technology, and simplified subsidized government policies are required to amp the BPO industry in Pakistan. 

However, we only see a bright future from here onwards. And why wouldn’t we? 

  • The country hosts the third-largest English-speaking population – mapsofworld
  • The ease of doing business here is scored at 81.9 by the World Bank – PSEB

These are the reasons that lend worth to our budding BPO industry and gave a breakthrough for a trustworthy outsourcing process. Moreover, the scalability, flexibility, and quality customer support services lend distinct offerings to our market.

Truth be told, Pakistan has embraced the cultural significance of the west. For the same reason, the outside world doesn’t hesitate to engage with us.

Challenges of this Dynamic Industry

Now, let’s address the elephant in the room. Although digitalization has solved many issues, our industry is still not there yet. 

For instance, the broadband capacity has to be doubled to accommodate the surge. 

We know the wave of freelancing and outsourcing will only raise high in the upcoming future. And to withstand the competition, Pakistan needs to showcase the best of its abilities despite its small economy.

There is a silver lining though. We can’t say that Pakistan isn’t moving forward. Some BPO pioneer companies are on their way to building outsourcing gateways for call centers. 

It is indeed a budding phenomenon in our country. Whereas if we look into the first movers of this field, the Philippines, it already has the multinational BPO company hub in its major cities. They alone have passed the $30 billion revenue threshold. Statistically, it is about one-fourth of the whole Pakistani export industry.  

Imagine if we could unleash the full potential of business process outsourcing here. We could boost the employment rate and cash flow in an otherwise shaking economy.

Pakistan Is the Top Emerging Digital Hub Destination surpassing its well-establishing contemporaries in Asia – India, China, and the Philippines.

Kearney 2019 report

The Competition Is Tough in the Outsourcing World Given the Razor Thin Profit Margins

Businesses are going online, and BPO companies even in their infancy have to facilitate clients with cost-effective services – a huge motivator for the gig economy in developing countries.

We can’t steal eyes from the fact that pandemic outbreak has led to exploring the horizon of strategic growth in BPO. 

Back in the day, the progress of this industry was slow, it now has been fast-tracked – all thanks to the lockdowns and the WFH (Work from Home) corporate models. We can definitely see outsourcing service providers rule the business world for years to come. 

All in all,

Global outsourcing is picking pace. The financial benefits it lends to the companies are unmatched. The leverage can also be transferred to the actual customer, but it will take some time. 

What we can do is manipulate the investment opportunities and get used to the rules of this dynamic industry. 

We have a fair advantage of having youngsters.

Pakistani resources are 30% cheaper than the highest-grossing IT market – India. Moreover, we see a 21.37% growth in freelance earnings in recent years altogether. IT services, non-IT work, everything added to our IT export remittances. It is enough to depict the digital future of Pakistan. 

In a nutshell, the business dynamic is indeed shifting towards outsourcing in Pakistan. All we need to do is to expose our minuscule level BPO services to new ventures and work environments for a broader and diversified vision. Only then we’ll be able to bear fruits for a mature outsourcing market for a long time.