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Amazon recently announced that it is on a drive to hire up to 3 000 South Africans in the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) sector. On the back of this, Alderman James Vos, the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Economic Opportunities and Asset Management, is delighted to confirm that 6 216 new BPO jobs were created in the previous financial year (2019-2020) which ended in March. Read more below:

Most of the new 6 216 jobs are held by young people under the age of 30 and are servicing customers in North America, the United Kingdom and Australia. With the scale of youth unemployment at an unprecedented level, this is welcomed news.

‘The City of Cape Town has invested heavily in this sector over the past 10 years and we have seen a return on this investment every year. However, 2019-20 is very special, with over 6 000 young people now able to access economic opportunities and contributing to the City’s economic development.

‘The City will continue to support the sector with various projects, most especially in providing skills initiatives to accelerate the learning curve for new entrants and also for young managers.

‘The BPO sector is bucking all the trends. We are excited to see the growth on a year-on-year basis and are particularly impressed with operators demonstrating innovation when it comes to ‘work from home’ solutions.

‘This sector holds so many opportunities for young people as it currently employs almost 60 000 individuals in our city. Since the start of this financial year (July 2019), to date, the City of Cape Town has attracted R954 million worth of investments in the BPO sector.

‘Hence it makes business sense for the City to have identified BPO as a priority sector due to the number of job opportunities and investment potential it creates. As a city, we realised the importance of this sector and for this reason invested in our strategic business partner Business Process Enabling South Africa (BPESA) Western Cape. BPESA Western Cape is the City’s strategic business partner responsible for the growth and development of the call centre and BPO industry,’ said Alderman James Vos, Mayoral Committee Member for Economic Opportunities and Asset Management,

One of the major contributors to the growth of the sector is the UK company, Capita.

Interim CEO at Capita, Cathleen Gultig, is looking ahead and expects 2020-2021 to be a successful year despite the obvious challenges presented by COVID-19: ‘All the operators are having to respond with great agility to ensure that they are making the work environment as safe as possible for our staff and we are all accelerating our development of “work from home” solutions. Despite the present crisis, we are all fairly bullish about the sector’s growth going forward and we hope to end the year with new brands represented in the Cape and in other parts of South Africa.’

According to Business Process Enabling South Africa (BPESA) CEO in the Western Cape, Gareth Pritchard, this is a new record for the region: ‘The sector has never achieved such growth. We are excited about the reputation Cape Town is earning as a hub for global BPO jobs.’

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