The Global Services Sector (GSS) is one of Jamaica’s latest leading industries in which many persons are having long and successful careers. Ask Holly Allen, who is an Accounts Receivables Manager at KPMG Jamaica Extended Support Services (JESS), which is a Knowledge Process Outsourcing (KPO) firm. In her role, she currently reports, analyses and posts cash applications. “I have been within the GSS for over 16 years,” says Allen, who has also worked in both the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) segment of the sector. “I spent 10 years in the BPO and almost 6 years in the KPO industry.”
Experiences such as this are in direct contrast to the false perception among some people that Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) jobs are a dead end. “The reality is actually more positive than what you hear out there day to day about the GSS,” says Allen. “[The sector] is one that is growing.” She found that the flexibility offered by jobs in the GSS allowed her to work and study. She was also promoted often at her places of employment. She says, “When I started [at KPMG JESS], I started as an Officer. Then I moved through the ranks to a Team Lead. Now, I am actually a Manager.”
Meshach Mitchell has also had a fulfilling experience in the GSS. He is currently Operations Manager at Knightfox App Design Limited, an Information Technology Outsourcing (ITO) firm. “I got promoted from a software developer to Operations Manager largely because I kept looking at processes,” he says, highlighting that he took the initiative to improve upon his work and help others. Equipped with a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and Electronics, he found himself working as a Systems Engineer at a popular Information Technology (IT) firm for three years. While working at the local office of this international IT firm, he realised that he had limited personal time and no work-life balance. Mitchell left that company to freelance and attempt other business ventures, which did not succeed as planned.
“I was struggling for a period of time, doing things on my own,” says Mitchell. He was fortunate enough to have a friend that invited him to apply for an opportunity to do remote work in software development. This is how he ended up at Knightfox. “There is a whole section of high-level skilled work that we are providing for customers that are around the world,” he says, listing the United States of America, the Philippines and Indonesia as countries in which the company’s customers are based. He interacts with these clients, makes software and creates solutions for them.
Mitchell has found that the GSS is where he fits and belongs. “You work at your pace and in your time,” he says. “As long as you get the work done, it doesn’t matter where you are.” He has been able to work overseas, where his wife currently lives, while earning a stable income, doing work he found fulfilling. He has since experienced a freedom and stability he did not have before. Knightfox has also provided him with training, which will make him even more marketable as an employee. Like Allen, who enjoys her work at KPMG JESS, Mitchell rejects the idea of the GSS, or even BPO firms, being only call centres. He urges persons to start exploring the options in the sector to identify opportunities that may be right for them. He knows that like Allen and himself, there will be many more real success stories in the sector.
Like Mitchell, David Pusey, Senior Manager of Client Advocacy at HFS Healthcare, also appreciated the flexibility offered in the sector and the opportunities he has received to travel. “One of the biggest things that I love about this industry, separate and apart from the fact that you are interacting with businesspeople in high roles in these Fortune 500 companies, it offers me the opportunity to travel,” said Pusey. “That is something big on my list – being able to travel to the US, Colombia, India and the Phillippines. Those opportunities are very real and that speaks to me.”
Allen, Mitchell and Pusey may be seen and heard sharing their experiences in The Real GSS Stories video series, which is produced and promoted by the GSS Project, which is a five-year project funded by the Inter-American Development Bank to provide Jamaicans with access to training and better jobs in the sector. The executing agency is the Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO), an agency within the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce. The GSS project is further supported by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, the HEART/NSTA Trust and the Global Services Association of Jamaica (GSAJ).