PRESS RELEASE: New Impact Sourcing Initiative Will Help Integrate Venezuelan Refugees in Colombia’s Workforce
February 19, 2021 – Today, the Tent Partnership for Refugees, IAOP, the global business process outsourcing (BPO) association, and BPrO, the Colombian BPO association, have joined forces to launch the first impact sourcing initiative to advance the integration of Venezuelan refugees and support their Colombian host communities.
At IAOP’s OWS21 annual conference, nine major BPO companies with operations in Colombia – including Alorica, Emtelco, IGT Solutions, One Link BPO, Outsourcing S.A., Sitel Group®, Sutherland, SYKES, and Teleperformance – joined the initiative. They announced that they have collectively hired over 3,500 Venezuelans to work alongside their Colombian colleagues, and are laying the foundation to work with multinational companies that use their services to develop projects to scale up the integration of Venezuelans in the workforce. These firms collectively employ approximately 85,000 people in Colombia.
Debi Hamill, CEO at IAOP, said: “We’re excited to launch this initiative alongside our partners today. This is a pioneering effort to not only support the integration of Venezuelan refugees, but to also advance the impact sourcing movement, by building more inclusive global supply chains.”
Five million people have fled instability and turmoil in Venezuela in recent years – with Colombia alone welcoming approximately 2 million Venezuelans. According to research previously published by the Tent Partnership for Refugees and GBAO Strategies, while Venezuelans have high levels of education and good English language skills, they face barriers to finding decent jobs. This situation has been exacerbated by the impact of Covid-19, with 64% of employed Venezuelans working in sectors most affected by the virus, compared to 47% of employed Colombians. Colombia recently took the historic decision to grant Venezuelans temporary protected status – making it even easier for them to access jobs.
Lucas Gomez, Advisor to the President of Colombia for the Colombian-Venezuelan Border, said: “The Colombian government has taken a resolute decision to integrate Venezuelans into our economy. We see Venezuelans as talented workers as we begin to recover from the economic recession brought on by Covid-19. We’re encouraged to see our BPO sector stepping up to this challenge, and hope more companies will follow their lead.”
Gideon Maltz, Executive Director at the Tent Partnership for Refugees, said: “I am incredibly proud of the nine companies that joined our initiative today. They have shown great leadership by integrating Venezuelans into their workforce — helping refugees build a new life, while also reaping the benefits of a committed and hard-working workforce. We look forward to seeing the multinational companies that purchase BPO services join and expand this important effort.”
While hiring refugees is beneficial to the communities in which they live, it has also proven to be advantageous for business. Previously published research by Tent and the Fiscal Policy Institute shows that refugees are three times more likely to stay with their employers than non-refugee employees. With staff turnover a key challenge for the BPO sector, hiring Venezuelas can help lower onboarding and turnover costs.
Teleperformance, a global business services company with a presence in more than 80 countries and a workforce of over 40,000 people in Colombia, has been hiring refugees, migrants, and Colombian returnees for three years. Today, Teleperformance is employing more than 2,000 employees from this demographic. Teleperformance said, “We have had a great experience hiring employees from multiple nationalities. We have found that their work is excellent, and their professional skills are of a high quality. Additionally, we have seen that their turnover rate is much lower than other employees at the company. We are deeply grateful because this group has helped grow our company considerably. Our objective is to strengthen the refugee and migrant hiring programs, ensuring we’re offering the best conditions for formal work.”
Sitel Group®, a company with over 90,000 employees across 29 countries, is proud to be part of this important initiative. “Since 2017, our teams in Colombia have hired nearly 500 Venezuelans,” said Eduardo Endo, Country Manager, Sitel® Colombia. “We are honored to support this vulnerable population with great career opportunities and education programs as they build a new life here in Colombia.”
Ana Karina Quessep, Executive President at BPrO, said, “BPO firms in Colombia are taking the lead in integrating refugees into their workforce. We’re very proud of their progress to date, and pleased to see that they are having positive experiences hiring this talented workforce. We’re thrilled to be joining this initiative to continue to highlight the leadership of the Colombian BPO sector.”
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About the Tent Partnership for Refugees
With more and more refugees displaced for longer periods of time, businesses have a critical role to play in helping refugees integrate economically in their new host communities. The Tent Partnership for Refugees mobilizes the global business community to improve the lives and livelihoods of 30 million refugees who have been forcibly displaced from their home countries. Founded by Chobani’s founder and CEO Hamdi Ulukaya in 2016, we are a network of over 140 major companies committed to including refugees. Tent believes that companies can most sustainably support refugees by leveraging their core business operations – by engaging refugees as potential employees, entrepreneurs and consumers. Find out more at www.tent.org
IAOP is the global BPO association that brings together customers, providers, and advisors in a collaborative, knowledge-based environment that promotes professional and organizational development, recognition, certification, and excellence to improve business service models and outcomes. IAOP’s members and affiliates worldwide dig deep at IAOP conferences, learn at IAOP chapter meetings, get trained and certified at IAOP courses and workshops, and connect through IAOP social media, all with one goal: better business results. Whether you are a customer, provider or advisor, new to collaborative business models like outsourcing, or you are an experienced professional, IAOP connects you and your organization to our growing global community and to the resources you need to get the results your company deserves and demands. Find out more at www.IAOP.org
BPrO is the Colombian Association of BPO that was established as a non-profit entity in 2001. It is the first association that groups and represents BPO companies and their value chain in Colombia. With more than 75 associated companies, specialized in customer relations, it is the benchmark for the sector in the country. Find our more at www.bpro.org