When considering offshore outsourcing, most Australian companies immediately think of the Philippines as their only choice. However, Fiji is an option that’s fast coming to the attention of many business owners. And the question needs to be asked – which destination is truly the right one for your business? Let’s take a moment to look at all the reasons why Fiji may be a better fit:
1. Cultural Fit
While both Fiji and the Philippines are Christian nations in the Asia Pacific region, Fiji’s culture is more closely aligned to ours. You’d be hard pressed to find an Aussie that hasn’t holidayed in Fiji so there’s a certain comfort in familiarity but there’s also a fit in the way we both work. Australians and Fijians tend to work with a flatter management structure which means that issues can be comfortably raised with management and therefore dealt with quickly and easily. In the Philippines, businesses operate in a very hierarchical business structure and if issues or problems arise, staff feel that it reflects poorly on themselves if they deliver the bad news to management and are therefore less likely to do so. Naturally this has implications for the successful running of your organization.
Given that cost savings is one of the main reasons that businesses offshore some of their work, it’s worth noting that Fiji and the Philippines are both very competitive. Your business will save up to 70% on employment costs in either destination.
3. Time Zone and Location
With Fiji ahead by 2 hours and the Philippines behind by 2 hours, the time difference in either destination has minimal impact on how your business will work with your offshore team members. However, it is worth noting that a flight to Manila is over 8 hours compared to 4 hours to Nadi and is also more expensive.
4. Skills, Talents and Qualifications
Whether you outsource to the Philippines or to Fiji you’ll find a comparable level of skills and qualifications in both locations for tasks such as accounting and administration. One area, however where Fiji staff excel is voice talent. English is a first language and therefore Fijians’ voice talent is of a far superior quality making these staff members ideal for outbound calling and inbound customer service.
5. Local Infrastructure
While both locations have strong local infrastructure in regards to internet connectivity, outside of the offices, infrastructure such as roads and drainage can be easily impacted by storms. The impact however, is magnified in the Philippines due to the high population density. At the best of times, many staff need to commute up to 3 hours between home and work, and this becomes almost impossible when infrastructure has been taken out. Recovery from natural events can take weeks or even months in the Philippines and while staff can potentially work from home, access to the internet and quality computers can be significantly compromised. In Fiji, staff live within a closer proximity to work and infrastructure is under a lot less pressure so the impact of natural events can be more easily and quickly overcome.
6. Staff Retention
Population density and the competitiveness of the employment market in the Philippines can make it more difficult to retain staff for longer periods of time. Staff will often need to travel up to 3 hours each way from work so it’s natural that they will seek out employment opportunities closer to home. Outsourcing centres are also more prevalent in the Philippines leading to increased competition within the local market for good employees. In Fiji, the population is far smaller and less concentrated making employment opportunities more highly valued. The commute to work is also less of an issue and not likely to impact an employee’s overall job satisfaction or their likelihood to seek other employment closer to home.
7. Covid-19 Impact
Fiji is one of the few countries in the world that has been able to very successfully contain Covid-19 and with international travel restrictions in place, it is unlikely that Coronavirus will be able to take hold. Business is operating as usual albeit with less in the tourism sector and those who would normally be employed by resorts, airlines and tourist operators are instead putting their skills to good use in outsourcing centres. Unfortunately in the Philippines, much of the central business districts remain in lockdown, which is having a huge impact on local businesses as well as outsourcing centres where staff have been required to now work from home with poorer quality resources and connectivity.
From cultural alignment to infrastructure considerations, Fiji could well be the best fit for your business’ offshore outsourcing requirements. To learn more about Fijian outsourcing, download our ebook, complete with tips on how to set up your business in readiness for taking on an offshore team.