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Industry Research : Wanted: Skilled Manpower for BPOs
When Neeldeep Singh Sarvaiya, a young homeopath decided to stop his practice to join a BPO, he raised a few eyebrows. Sarvaiya is not regretting his decision of working as a quality analyst for medical transcription work.
With a chunk of voice-based work shifting to the Phillipines and China, Indian outsourcing industry is focusing on analytical skills and knowledge-based jobs - in the process creating demand for professionals like Sarvaiya.
Sibi Uralath, who holds an MBA degree, quit his job as a marketing executive with a leading firm to join the quality assurance team of CBaySystems. Earlier this year, at least 10 graduates from the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad were recruited by Delhi-based BPO firm EXL Services for consulting roles.
The changing profile of the outsourcing industry has led to a sea change in the hiring criteria for companies that were earlier happy recruiting under graduates with good English language skills. "In the 1990s when the BPOs started, it was all about calls where one had to read fluently and communicate well. If a doctor works in a call centre, I would call it being underemployed but if he works in a BPO, he is certainly using the platform to provide specialised services," a spokesperson for Nasscom said.
On an average BPO workforce includes 15-20% of specialized professionals like doctors, engineers, lawyers, among others.
"Today 80% of total recruitment comprises specialised skills of employability as compared to earlier times," said Sunil Goel, director, GlobalHunt, an executive search firm.
Azure Knowledge Corporation recently hired doctors and MPharm graduates for a pharma project. "Knowledge is the key. One cannot expect SWOT analysis to be done by graduates. For that we need specialization like MBA," says Jay Ruparel, co-founder-promoter of Azure.
BPO business has been broadly divided into two parts-voice process/ contact centre and Knowledge Process Outsourcing (KPO)/ non voice-based skills process.
"Non voice-based skills process has much higher growth and offers skill-based and high compensation jobs," Goel said.
A BPO job is no longer a mere stop-gap career option. "Previously, employees joined the BPO industry with a view that it was a well paying, stop gap arrangement until they found their dream job. However, today with the various service offerings, the BPO sector is now viewed as a steady, long term career path," said Sanjay Shanmugaum, vice president, HR, CBaySystems, which has a staff strength of 6200 people of which 80-90% have an MBA, MBBS, or any other professional qualification.
According to Nasscom, revenues from BPO industry in India are expected to be Rs 76,423 crore (USD 17,191 million) in FY 2011. The IT-BPO industry currently employs 25 lakh people out of which 835,000 are employed by BPO exports industry.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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Published: Monday, May 23, 2011