Demand for trained BPO staff outpaces supply

February 22, 2005 11:25 IST

It's a known fact that attrition is an issue that continues to haunt the ITeS/BPO sector. But the problem does not end there. The demand for experienced professionals is outpacing the supply in an industry that continues to witness rapid growth.

The IT industry's apex body Nasscom pointed out that the industry added approximately 73,500 jobs in fiscal 2003-2004 and is expected to double in the current fiscal.

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Industry observers feel that the mismatch between demand and supply will become more serious in the future. According to them, the problem persists more at a lower level. For instance, if there is an opening for 100 graduates, only 12-14 people get employed, since not all the 100 would be the best.

Making another point is Saurabh Srivastav, chairman of Xansa, a third-party BPO outfit. He feels the view that, in an industry, which is just five years old, it will be difficult to get people with 10 years of experience.

"Therefore, there is a pressure on recruitment to get people with depth and breadth, Srivastav added.

According to Pramod Bhasin, president of India's largest third party BPO company --Gecis Global, most players target only a segment of the population that is fluent in English. To curtail this issue, companies have been tapping talents from small towns and a different strata of the population.

In fact, Gecis has been experimenting with this recruitment model for some time now.

The company is going to another group of people whose English perhaps isn't as good as it ought to be and putting them through extensive training and getting them up to speed. "So, we are finding we can cope, but the demand for these services is huge," Bhasin added.

The scenario could change completely in the future. As Bhasin explains: "Today, the industry is paying for all the training. Tomorrow, like in the software industry and everywhere else, people will need to pay for their own training and come to the industry fully equipped. I think that's going to enhance the pool but there is a lot of work to be done to get to that point."