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Wednesday, Aug 28, 2002

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Call centres face manpower crunch

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IT'S crisis time at call centres in Bangalore. According to industry experts, there is a shortage of over 8,000 operators in the city-based call centres alone.

More than 45 large BPO (business process outsourcing) units have sprung up in the last couple of years and all of them are facing a manpower crunch.

According to a joint study by Nasscom and McKinsey, the estimated revenue from BPO is expected to touch $17 billion and provide employment to 1.1 million people in India by the year 2008.

Mr Dilip Mendens, CEO, CallLedge, a division of ASCRO Transatlantic Pvt Ltd, a training institute for call centres, says that graduates from Mysore, Hubli, Dharwad and Mangalore are keen on these jobs and have enrolled at his institute for training. "However, the demand for skilled people far exceeds the supply and this may prove to be a major hindrance to the growth of the IT services industry in the country.''

Between January and August this year, more than 35,000 people have been recruited by call centres in Bangalore. Though this is a good job opportunity for young graduates, most of them do not opt for this as a career because of the scepticism relating to dotcoms and the retrenchment that hit the IT industry.

In the contact centre industry, employee turnover is anywhere between 20-30 per cent. Most people, who jump at the job at first, slowly realise the toll it takes on their health and social life and tend to give it up after a few months.

But, says Mr Ramesh Bhat, Director, Business Development and CFO, Virtual Dynamics, Software Ltdstaff turnover is low and motivation levels are high. Consequently, service level standards are easier to maintain. "BPO units provide a rewarding career option for fresh graduates as they step into the professional world.''

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