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Dear Stakeholder

The third Quarter (September to November) of the 2018 Financial Year has come to an end and with so much packed into the three months it passed by seemingly in a flash! A big thank you and congratulations for another very successful Quarter to all our members, to our partners in Government and Harambee, and to our non-member stakeholders with whom we have actively engaged to take our development and growth agenda forward successfully.

The revised BPS incentives were presented to stakeholders by the dti in November. They incorporated changes that will enhance South Africa’s competitiveness across the value chain while creating greater access to South African companies emerging into the export business.

Keeping in line with evolving trends and best practice, the attendees at the workshop unanimously agreed to change the name of the incentives to the Global Business Services (GBS) Incentives. We congratulate the dti, the Everest Group and Genesis Analytics for the great work done and thank you for your contributions which have shaped the incentives to continue to be fit for purpose as our value proposition evolves.

Export Segment Growth

The export segment of the BPS Sector has continued to demonstrate strong growth in both export revenues and new jobs created. With three successive quarters of growth in excess of 22%, the momentum of the international outsourcers, in particular, is being sustained. Supported by a significant contribution by the international captive operators and with a growing number of domestic outsourcers emerging into the export market space, combined with the implementation of the revised incentives in 2019, we should reasonably expect the sector to continue growing at this rate well into the future.

Importantly, more than 85% of the new jobs created through this growth in demand, are for youth and more than 10% of those are for excluded youth i.e.: young work-seekers from poor households who are at risk of long-term sustained unemployment from the world of work. This growing practice of hiring inclusively will ensure that employers in the sector can access deep pools of talent in communities that have not traditionally been used for sourcing, thereby enabling the South African BPS Sector to grow at scale and to sustain this growth.

The breakdown of new jobs created is available in the Q3 Jobs Report and on the BPESA website.


Thank you to the existing members for your active involvement in the sector and for your support of BPESA and our partners. Our membership base has grown by another 22% this quarter and with a strong pipeline of domestic companies, across the supply chain, and international outsourcers and captives all indicating their intent to get involved, we are anticipating continued membership growth. I appeal to you to talk to your colleagues in the Sector and encourage them to join the fold and engage in the development journey to collectively ensure that we create a Sector that is rich with opportunities for all its stakeholders.

Engagements with Members

Quarter Three included a number of engagement opportunities for members including: a knowledge sharing workshop addressing “Call Centre Cost reduction” delivered by Hilario Fianderos, Contact Centre Smart; the OSX & Expo training delivered across the regions by Catalyze; the WorkFit Campus TVET Workshop ; the Industry People Compliance Forum; the KIR launch in each region; the workshop to review the revised BPS incentives; BPESA Sports Day in the Western Cape, the BPESA skills forums in each region; CEO dinners in each region; the GSA Summit and awards; the President’s Jobs Summit, the Investor Summit and the Harambee Accelerated Inclusive Youth Employment convening in Stellenbosch.

New Board of Directors, Changes to the EXCO and Changes to the Operations Team

Following an inclusive, member wide nomination process held in October, we are indeed privileged to have Sandile Gwala, Mark Chana, Nita Goodall, Evan Jones, Rogan Davies and Reshni Singh take up their roles for two years on the new Board of Directors for BPESA. Evan Jones was nominated unanimously by the Board as Chairperson for 2019. I’m sure you will join me in congratulating them, welcoming them and wishing them well in their roles. We hosted our first Board meeting in November during which we have taken deliberate steps in planning for 2019. Our Board meetings will rotate across the provinces.

The BPESA EXCO also underwent a few changes in November with Johann Kunz, Gareth Pritchard and Rogan Davies making way for newcomers Zain Patel, Sydwell Shikweni and Clayton Williams whose involvement we welcome and appreciate.

In the operations team, Fran Swart took over the role of regional coordinator for Gauteng from Traci Freeman who has taken on a more full time role as Operations Manager also with effect from the beginning of November. We welcome them in this new roles and thank them for their efforts and contributions.

BPESA members should feel well represented in all of the decision making forums as we continue to make progress towards becoming a fully inclusive, representative and transformed industry body able to partner effectively with Government, at all levels, and our strategic partners and funders.

Marketing and Events During Quarter Three

October was the milestone month for BPESA, at least for year one of the new roadmap that we are on. It began with the Global Sourcing Association Summit and Awards, held in Cape Town on the 1st and 2nd of the month (at which South Africa was recognised as the Top Outsourcing Destination of the year) and was followed up with the President’s Jobs Summit held in Johannesburg on the 3rd and 4th of October, in which a five year strategic growth programme for the BPS sector was formally adopted.

A group of 23 South African Companies attended the OSX conference in London on the 17th and 18th of the month while, a group of six companies from across the country travelled to Australia to attend the Contact Centre Summit in Melbourne after which they visited Sydney for meetings with analysts and prospective investors. At almost the same time, TEDA led a team to New York and Toronto to promote the South African BPS Sector.

The second half of the month was equally busy with the Harambee Accelerating Inclusive Youth Employment conference, run by the Office of the Presidency and Harambee, taking place at the Spier Estate in Stellenbosch where there was a dedicated focus on the BPS Sector hosted through the Action Lab. The month culminated with the National Investment Summit, presided over by the President of the country and hosted in Sandton on the 26th of October during which Franco Cotumaccio, of Capita, shared the stage with three Cabinet Ministers and representatives from the film and tourism sectors to present a case study for investment in South Africa.

On 3 November, BPESA celebrated its annual Sports Day. Almost 500 agents from various companies within the contact centre industry participated in the Sports Day events. The winners of each sporting code are as below:

Indoor Cricket:

Gold – Webhelp Boulevard

Silver – Merchants Massmart

Bronze – iSmart

Indoor Soccer:

Gold – iSelect

Silver – Nimble Collections Services

Bronze – askOsca

Indoor Netball (Ladies Only):

Gold – Sigma SA

Silver – Direct Axis

Bronze – EXL Service

Indoor Netball (Mixed):

Gold – Nimble Collections Services

Silver – Collinson Group

Bronze – EXL Service

Another round of joint marketing meetings were held in Gauteng, KZN and the Western Cape during the quarter, bringing the regions and national role players into closer alignment. These meetings, which are starting to show the results of a collaborative approach to marketing for the sector will continue through 2019 as they shift modes from planning, into the coordination and monitoring of targeted marketing activities guided by the national strategy.

Marketing and Events Planned for Quarter Four

First up in Quarter Four is the trip to London with a team from the dti, led by Minister Rob Davies, and BPESA who will host analysts, the SA Chamber of Commerce (UK), and existing and prospective investors over a four day period culminating in the official launch of the revised BPS incentives, taking place on the 14th December.

January will see the dti and BPESA in the USA where the dti will communicate the value proposition and launch the new incentives.

Brisbane, Australia will be the destination for the last official launch of the revised incentives where a large delegation of South African companies (emerging exporters and larger operators) will attend and exhibit at the CCW event running from 27th Feb to 1st March. Here the dti and BPESA will communicate the value proposition and revised incentives to prospective investors and stakeholders.

Plans are also being prepared to bring prospective investors to South Africa before the end of March to visit various locations, meet with industry role players, and to observe the BPS capabilities across the value chain.

A number of local activities are in the pipeline which cover the many diverse focus areas of our sector and these will ensure continued engagement as well as networking and knowledge sharing. The BPESA calendar of events for 2019 will be published once confirmed. Members are reminded to communicate with their regional representatives if there are any specific topics they would like to engage on.

Market Intelligence and Reports

The BPESA Annual Key Indicator Report was published in October presenting benchmarking data and an update on trends and practices in the Sector for the 2016 / 2017 period. The report was launched, officially in Cape Town in October and in Johannesburg and Durban in November at the respective Invest SA Offices.

Click here for the full report.

Skills Development

Skills practitioners from across the country and across the BPS supply chain participated in the third round of skills forums in October and November in which they complemented the work done on the future skills framework in the earlier part of the year. The broad based participation has allowed for the identification of key enabling factors and constraints in the skills ecosystem which require attention in the skills strategy.

This collective work will be progressed in Quarter Four to eventually complete the formulation of the South African BPS skills strategy, which in turn will underpin the sector growth strategy for the next five years.

At a tactical level, work continued in Quarter Three with the implementation of the following skills projects:

In KZN, the second phase of the eThekwini Skills Development Programme continued with all 360 learners in training and a growing number exiting the programme into the workplace. Regional BPESA KZN representative, Yogan Naidoo, the eThekwini team and our members in the region must be complemented on the work they are doing to build greater capacity for growth while testing elements of the supply chain to find the most efficient and effective ways of linking young unemployed and excluded youth into their first jobs.

BPESA Western Cape regional representative Clayton Williams has played the leading role in the partnership between BPESA, the City of Cape Town and the WC Provincial Government where 175 previously disadvantaged and unemployed youth have been trained and deployed in BPS jobs in the Province with retention levels in excess of 85%. The leadership academy continued with 25 trained team leaders being on-boarded into the work place in December.

Planning is well advanced for a new pilot project in the Western Cape to take 200 young work seekers into ICT jobs and 150 into voice based jobs in the sector. The project is being funded by business, the City of Cape Town and the Western Cape Provincial Government.

Another new project in the Western Cape focusing on the development of at least 1500 beneficiaries over the next 3 years to be trained in Work Readiness , ‘BPO Foundational’ and the choice of either Digital or Financial Services Electives is nearing contracting stage and will commence early in the new year.

Partnerships and Collaboration

BPESA, in partnership with Harambee and the dti were delighted to have the BPS growth strategy proposal formally incorporated into the Presidents Jobs Summit Framework Agreement and to have the high level Government Support for the Sector at the Investor Conference. We will be formalising this growth programme and the partnership in the fourth quarter with a new long-term agreement to be signed between the parties in January 2019.

In addition to the National level partnerships, BPESA progressed well with new partnerships with Tshwane Economic Development Agency (SLA in the process of being implemented) and the Gauteng Department of Economic Development (MoA to be signed in December).

In Closing

As 2018 draws to a close, I’d like to give a special thanks to our partners in the dti and Harambee, to the Operations team, the EXCO and the new Board of Directors who have helped guide our journey and lay the foundations for the next few years. I’d also like to say a special thanks to you, our members, for your willingness to get involved, to contribute, and to support and guide us in shaping BPESA into the trade body and sector association that is fit for purpose for you and our country.

I leave you with the following quote from Helen Keller - "Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much."

Wishing you a happy, safe and restful holiday! See you in the New Year!

Andy Searle

On behalf of the BPESA Team