Navigating Growth: The Evolving Digital Landscape of the Philippines

26 Apr 2024

The Philippines has seen remarkable digital economic growth, outpacing other major ASEAN member states with a 93% expansion from 2020 to 2021.

Interestingly, the country generated a significant gross merchandise value of $17 billion through digital transactions in 2021, and this figure is anticipated to surge to $40 billion by 2025.


Digital LandscapePhoto by freepik by from Freepik

A key driver behind this phenomenal growth has been the impact of COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, prompting urban consumers to embrace digital platforms for accessing goods and services.

Due to this growth, numerous industries have begun incorporating robotic process automation (RPA). This technology streamlines the creation, deployment, and management of software robots, enhancing productivity and operations for businesses as part of their digital transformation efforts.

While this technology is praised for its potential to streamline operations and enhance productivity, it has also raised worries about potential job displacement.

Discover more about the digital economy of the Philippines and how RPA influences productivity and its potential impact on jobs below.

A Closer Look at the Growing Digital Economy in the Philippines

The Philippines' digital economy is on the rise, with a projected 30% annual growth expected to reach USD 28 billion by 2025. This growth highlights the valuable contribution of the digital sector to the Philippine economy.

This growth is further supported by the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) 2023-2028, highlighting the government's commitment to nurturing a dynamic innovation ecosystem essential for driving growth in key digital economy industries. In the Philippines, these industries include:

  • E-Commerce: Valued at $17 billion, e-commerce constitutes about 80% of the country's $20 billion digital economy. Factors driving e-commerce adoption include the pandemic, profitability, communication ease, and government policies supporting the sector.
  • Fintech: The Philippine FinTech industry is rapidly growing, fueled by increased digital payment adoption and supported by initiatives such as The National Payment Systems Act and Digital Payments Transformation Roadmap.
  • Platform Work: The Gig Economy and Platform Work experienced a surge in popularity during the pandemic, backed by government initiatives such as "DigitalJobsPH" and proposed legislation aimed at enhancing economic opportunities through online work.


How RPA Contributes to the Philippines' Digital Economy

The progression towards digital adoption has the potential to improve productivity and efficiency for businesses and workers.

The McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) report suggests that nearly half of the tasks currently carried out by employees in the Philippines could be automated, potentially affecting 18.2 million jobs.

With technology automating routine physical and interpersonal tasks, humans can then focus on more complex and novel tasks that require problem-solving abilities.

While hardware-based automation may take longer to adopt due to lower technology investments, software automation can be quickly implemented, even in emerging markets like the Philippines.

The ride-hailing industry shows how adoption of automation can become a leverage for business success. For instance, Grab's performance marketing team uses automation to tackle the unique challenges of user acquisition in a dynamic and complex marketplace. Through automation, Grab's performance marketing team has laid a scalable foundation for future growth while saving valuable man-hours, showing a 30% improvement in conversion rates.

Banking and retail sectors are also embracing automation. Digitized processes and algorithms can aid banks in expanding while handling risks, and machine learning software could boost decision-making in retail, resulting in better margins.

All of these show that technology like RPA plays a critical role in streamlining and automating business processes, contributing significantly to the evolving digital landscape in the Philippines.

The Effects of RPA on the Workforce and Strategies to Address

RPA is changing how we work, so every organization needs a strategy that includes both digital and human elements.

Here are several ways the RPA affects the workforce:

Concerns about Job Security

As RPA becomes more common, there is a lot of talk about how it might replace jobs and change the global workforce.

When RPA handles the repetitive tasks usually done by employees, it might seem like there are fewer job opportunities.

But to tackle worries about job security, companies can concentrate on training and reshaping the roles of their employees to focus on tasks that need creativity and problem-solving.

Challenges in Implementation

When it comes to rolling out RPA projects, it's natural for your organization and employees to encounter some hurdles at the start.

It's essential for organizations to set achievable expectations and address any process inefficiencies before beginning RPA implementation.

Conducting detailed process assessments and identifying potential hurdles ahead of time can help streamline implementation efforts and minimize disruptions to operations.

Technical Adaptability

Not all employees may have the technical skills needed to work effectively with RPA, as it can be quite complex.

To resolve this, organizations should invest in specialized training programs designed to equip employees with the necessary technical competencies.

By providing comprehensive training and support, employees can feel confident in using RPA tools, ensuring a smoother integration into existing workflows.

Initial Investment and Returns

RPA indeed offers significant returns on investment, but it's important for organizations to balance costs and benefits to maximize their potential.

Instead of seeing RPA as a replacement for human labor, the focus should be on using it to enhance employee roles and reveal their full potential.

Leveraging RPA to streamline repetitive tasks and improve operational efficiency allows employees to dedicate more time to higher-value activities, fostering innovation and growth.

The main goal of bringing automation to your organization is to support your workforce by using RPA as a way to enhance processes, not as something to worry about. This way, your organization can adapt to changes while keeping your employees happy and productive.

Final Thoughts

The Philippines' digital economy has surged, driven by e-commerce, fintech, and platform work, bolstered by government backing and widespread digital platform usage.

Integrating RPA has streamlined operations and enhanced productivity. Though concerns about job displacement exist, proactive upskilling and reskilling allow organizations to empower their workforce with creativity and problem-solving, ensuring RPA supports employees.

Successful RPA involves process enhancements, specialized training, and elevating employee roles, fostering sustainable productivity.

Embracing the digital landscape and using RPA to enhance human capabilities enables Philippines' organizations to navigate technological changes while maintaining workforce well-being and productivity.

Explore how Ricoh's RPA solutions can empower your workforce, streamline operations, and drive sustainable productivity in the evolving digital landscape of the Philippines.


Learn more