Cape Town hosts the majority of South Africa’s BPO industry companies and continues to attract business from top firms across Europe, the United States and Australia.
The BPO sector is a major economic driver in Cape Town, accounting for 51 000 jobs, including 20 500 international seats, representing 60% of South Africa’s total.
In 2016, South Africa was named ‘Offshoring Destination of the Year’ at the Global Sourcing Association (GSA) awards in London. South Africa also received the National Outsourcing Association’s (NOA) Skills Development Project of the Year award in 2014, the European Outsourcing Association’s (EOA) Offshoring Destination of the year award in 2013, and the NOA’s Offshoring Destination of the year award in 2012.
The industry contributed 51 300 jobs to the total BPO industry in the country in 2016, 30 800 of which were domestic and 20 500 of which were offshore. In the same year, the Western Cape BPO Industry was dominated by the telecoms (30.6%) and financial services (25.7%) industries (BPESA, 2016). Of the industry’s operations in the Western Cape, 57.7% are of an outsourcer nature and 42.3% are captive. The predominant markets it serviced in 2016 were the United Kingdom and Australia.
Competitive advantages of Cape Town as a BPO business location
Cape Town presents a number of opportunities and advantages to BPO businesses locating in it, including:
- Cape Town has a rich talent pool with a predominantly English-speaking workforce which are able to engage with international clients.
- Cape Town is in the same time zone as Europe, ensuring that working hours overlap.
- The city’s natural appeal, with its beaches and mountains provides for a quality enhanced lifestyle, a big draw card for very mobile BPM investors in considering a business location.
- There are strong data protection laws and standards in South Africa, similar to those in Europe, which gives prospective businesses information security.
- There is a relatively good availability of quality technology services.
- Cape Town has a relatively low cost of doing business, compared to other cities.
- There is relatively good air connectivity (compared to other low cost destinations).
- An added advantage is the closely knitted integrated public transport system.
- Complementary and supporting industries like the Finance and ICT industries are strong in Cape Town.