Minister Shaw underscores “critical goal” of shifting the makeup of the workforce towards higher-skilled jobs
The government of Jamaica is undertaking ambitious development of its digital services sector, according to Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce Audley Shaw, with a view to generate some 70,000 digital services jobs within the next five years.
Speaking the recent Caribbean Future Summit 2021, Shaw acknowledged that Jamaica has a vastly successful outsourcing sector, but he explained that the nation is seeking to shift some of that success over into its burgeoning digital services sector.
“The outsourcing sector, that is the business process outsourcing sector, directly employs over 44,000 agents and generates revenue estimated at over US$700 million annually,” the minister noted.
“Jamaica’s competitiveness is solidified on the basis that it is the most scalable location in the Caribbean, with a relatively large available labour force and established ecosystem supported by the government and private sector groups.
“We have a multisectoral approach to improving our technological infrastructure. In 2021, the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce outlined the framework for a national five-year global digital services strategy to expand the industry. The strategy is expected to have a significant impact on employment, providing 70,000 jobs by 2025.”
Shaw added, “Investment in the global digital services sector continues to grow with over 70 operators in the market at this time.”
Minister Shaw noted that the current ratio between business process outsourcing jobs and knowledge process outsourcing jobs is approximately 80/20.
However, he said the government wants to improve that ratio to 60/40, thereby “expanding and making further inroads into higher-technology-oriented jobs in the digital services sector”.
Several training programmes are also in the works, Shaw said, “with a vision to facilitate promotion of the sector and to enable training of thousands of Jamaican in new digital skills of a higher-value skill set”.
“A critical goal is to shift the makeup of the sector towards higher-skilled jobs,” Shaw emphasized.
He added, “This global services, digital services sector project, being driven by JAMPRO (Jamaica Promotions Corporation) as the executing agency, is the main driver to upskill Jamaicans in the high-value technical and professional skills needed in digital services.
“…In this way, the government, along with operators and stakeholders in the private sector, are facilitating steps to offer services beyond business processing by building the skills and capabilities of the talent pool and companies who offer services under the global sector services program.”