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`Night shifts, demand-supply gap cause for BPO attrition'

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`Global offshoring will grow to be $400-b industry'

NEW LIGHT: Mr Devendra Saharia, President, Ajuba Solutions India Pvt Ltd, lighting the lamp at the inaugural of the BL Club at RKM Vivekananda College. Others seen are (from left) Dr V.V. Subramanian, Principal, Prof A.S. Kannan, HoD, Commerce Department, and Swami Satyapriyananda, Secretary of the college.
NEW LIGHT: Mr Devendra Saharia, President, Ajuba Solutions India Pvt Ltd, lighting the lamp at the inaugural of the BL Club at RKM Vivekananda College. Others seen are (from left) Dr V.V. Subramanian, Principal, Prof A.S. Kannan, HoD, Commerce Department, and Swami Satyapriyananda, Secretary of the college.

Our Bureau

Chennai, Oct. 11

Mr Devendra Saharia, President of outsourcing company Ajuba Solutions India Pvt Ltd, was prepared for the question which was on the lips of every student in the hall: why do BPOs have a negative perception and why does the industry have a high attrition rate.

Addressing B.Com and BBA students of RKM Vivekananda College, Chennai, recently, as part of the BL Club lecture series, Mr Saharia was quick to defend the industry. Attrition, he said, is predominantly among those who worked the night shift all the time as they are working against the body clock. That cannot be avoided as that is the nature of the industry.

"So, most come in to make some quick money and move on; it's also a demand-supply imbalance so attrition will continue," he said. However, he pointed out that enlightened BPO outfits, which are doing high-end work, have a satisfied workforce.

Mr Saharia pointed out that the global offshoring work would grow to be a $400-billion industry. Right now India has barely two per cent of the market. So, the volume of business that will come to India will be huge, he said, as competitive pressures to move business overseas will be huge.

Touching upon the BRICs report, which projects India as a potential high-growth country, Mr Saharia pointed out that population, which was thought to be a disadvantage, will now be to its advantage. "Nothing has changed really, but population is not seen as a burden now. The debate is about how to get more out of the workforce," he said. The country has one of the youngest workforces, "but the question is what kind of opportunities are being thrown up for these young people." Having spent a lot of time with young people in a BPO, there is a disconnect between what one studies in college and the workplace. "Study is an individualistic effort, but when one enters the workforce, there are other dynamics to contend with." More than scoring well in academics, at the workplace what is more important are skills that help one to communicate better and how to carry along a team. "In the business world recognition won't come easily and one may experience rude shocks," said Mr Saharia.

Also present were the Secretary of the college, Swami Satyapriyananda, Dr V.V. Subramanian, Principal, and Prof A.S. Kannan, HoD, Commerce Department.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated October 12, 2006)
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