Could Impact Sourcing Employ 2.9 million Workers by 2020?

In this newsletter last June, we posed this question: Is it possible that our field, Impact Sourcing, could provide work in the technology sector for 780,000 people around the world by 2015? After just a little over a year, it seems there is growing evidence to support that vision.

According to a recent Avasant study supported by the Rockefeller Foundation, Impact Sourcing (IS), which seeks to ease poverty by providing BPO jobs for those at the base of the socio-economic pyramid, currently employs 561,000 people worldwide. This number constitutes nearly 10 percent of the global BPO workforce. By 2020, IS stands to grow into a business of close to $55.4B that employs 2.9 million people or nearly 25 percent of everyone working in a BPO enterprise. Furthermore, the study recognizes DDD as an Impact Sourcing Service Provider (ISSP), a company established with the specific objective of alleviating poverty in the most disadvantaged segments of society.

The study is the result of surveys and interviews with stakeholders and experts in 24 countries, with a focus on Ghana, Kenya, South Africa and India, which have strong potential to drive the expansion of the IS industry. Avasant also took a look at emerging markets such as Uganda, Bangladesh, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Brazil and the Pacific Islands.

DDD’s experience in Nairobi matches up well to the profile the report provides of the potential and challenges for IS in Kenya. The report states, “The domestic market in Kenya is untapped, and with an expanding banking and telecom sector, a large number of opportunities are opening up for Impact Sourcing services.” We have found this to be true and our strong start in Nairobi owes much to the polished English and professional skills that our Kenyan DMOs arrived with and continue to hone. Such a talented pool of workers has allowed DDD to deliver highly skilled work to international and domestic markets.

Yet we have also met with some of the same drawbacks that Avasant identified that IS companies encounter, including sales challenges and the need for investment in training both employees and middle managers. The report recommends that all ISSPs: • Intensify their focus on developing sales and marketing channels; • Form an industry association or platform to help network, share best practices and advocate policy change; and • Leverage infrastructure and capacity such as telecenters and common service centers created by governments

On DDD’s part, our decade of experience allowed us to get in front of these challenges. We hire experienced management staff from the local market to boost sales and marketing and last year we held our first Management Training Program in Impact Sourcing to develop business acumen, leadership and social innovation skills in social entrepreneurs with ISSPs in Asia and Africa, as well as DDD managers from all three countries.

We are pleased that the Rockefeller Foundation and Avasant are bringing to light the potential of Impact Sourcing to improve the standard of living for those in the developing world, contribute to economic growth and alleviate poverty.

To read the whole report, please click here: