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News : A BPO is Not Just A "Contact Centre" Job
Mumbai, Nov 17, 2014 -- The business process outsourcing (BPO) industry, which until a few years ago had thousands of youngsters joining it, is not so cool anymore, thanks to more glamorous competitors such as startups and IT firms with high-end profiles.
The National Association for Software & Services Companies, along with 11 BPO companies, now plans to confront this unpopularity head-on — college by college. The 11 firms partnering Nasscom include WNS, Genpact, Dell BPO, EXL and Cognizant BPO.
In December-January, company heads, learning and development leaders and marketing heads from the BPO sector will visit 24 colleges to explain the industry's need for data analysts, automation experts and specialists for high-skilled work. "A BPO is not just a 'call centre' job. Fifteen per cent of the workforce comprises engineering graduates, 12-15 per cent are accountants and 8 per cent are medical doctors, and this message needs to be conveyed,"said KS Viswanathan, vicepresident of the initiative for the IT lobby group.
To convey this message to graduates, Nasscom is even evaluating presentations by global advertising companies to spruce up the message across social media.
According to Nasscom data, by 2020, the BPO sector will employ 2 million and analytics will become the industry's biggest driver by 2016. "No one who passes out of an engineering college wants to join the BPO industry. It's considered a 'failure' industry. It's the last option for most," said a senior marketing executive at one of India's top five BPOs. The re-branding drive aims to change this image.
BPO companies are not just fighting with rivals for business, but also for talent. And the recent rise of the startup industry in India had added to the competition.
The colleges shortlisted in the first phase of the exercise are based in Bangalore and Chandigarh. Later, the industry plans to rope in more institutes and even get the government to talk about its contribution, added a source. Also on the cards are analytics contests in colleges, Viswanathan said, similar to those conducted by top IT companies, to showcase the sector's need for high-end skills. Winning colleges will get multiple internship opportunities to experience work at a BPO.
"Ideally, the industry would like to be able to hire 1,000 people from these colleges," said a top executive at one of the BPO companies participating in programme. "The demand from the companies is there, but first we have to brand it so that it is attractive for the students."
Though the Indian BPO industry started with call centres, the bigger firms have been moving to higher-value services such analytics, finance & accounting, and healthcare services.
"While the industry has transformed immensely, the public perception has not. It is often considered a place for back-room and mundane tasks, which is far from true today. We want students and budding professionals to know that patents and high-end solutions are created as much in this industry (if not more) as any other!" said Keshav Murugesh, CEO of WNS Holdings. Murugesh is also the chairman of the Nasscom BPM Council.
Sandip Sen, CEO at Essar Group's BPO arm Aegis, said, "Students want to go to startups and IT companies. We want to tell them (that) we do high-end work and file for patents in this industry too." The industry is expected to post $50 billion in revenue by 2020 and nearly 60 per cent of this will come from high-end services such as analytics and finance & accounting by the end of the decade.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
Today's Tip of the Day - Involve Staff
More Editorial From NASSCOM
NASSCOM is the trade body and chamber of commerce of the IT-BPO industries in India. NASSCOM is a global trade body with more than 1200 members, which include both Indian and multinational companies that have a presence in India. NASSCOM's member and associate member companies are broadly in the business of software development, software services, software products, consulting services, BPO services, e-commerce & web services, engineering services offshoring and animation and gaming. NASSCOM’s membership base constitutes over 95% of the industry revenues in India and employs over 2.24 million professionals.
Published: Tuesday, November 18, 2014