Saturday, Oct 25, 2014

BPO sector sets sights on ‘image makeover’

Decision was taken after a study by AC Nielsen. Decision was taken after a study by AC Nielsen.
Written by Parthasarathi Biswas | Pune | Posted: April 27, 2014 5:14 am

In an ambitious move, spearheaded by NASSCOM, the $18 billion Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) industry in India is set for an ‘image makeover’. Starting next month, attempts will be made to rebrand the industry and present it as a stable and career-oriented sector.

K S Viswanathan, vice president (industry initiatives), NASSCOM, said the decision was taken after a detailed study on the industry conducted by AC Nielsen. “The image of the industry was that it was a join-and-leave place — the attrition rate was quite high. The study however gave out interesting pointers, which made us finalise the rebranding initiative,” he said.

The study that was taken up around seven years after the BPO boom in the country, showed that attrition rates as well as people’s ambitions have changed in the industry. Viswanathan said the image makeover would be focused on projecting the industry as a place where people can build their careers seriously. “The report had pointed out that if people spend four years in a company, they would not be keen on leaving it. We will be highlighting this to students and young professionals,” he said.

Over the past seven years, the BPO industry in the country has changed in many ways. From predominantly voice-based processes, the industry has now become more of a specialised outsourcing hub. “At present, 58 per cent of the outsourced work are knowledge-based processes, while 42 per cent are pure customer-interaction processes, that is voice-based processes,” he said.

Apart from banking and insurances, HR, recruitment and legal processes are increasingly making their presence felt in the Indian outsourcing industry. Visawanathan pointed out that instead of calling it BPO sector, it is being called as ‘Business Process Management (BPM)’ industry now.

The change reflects the sophistication that has come into the business, which was once seen as the refuge of youngsters out to make a quick buck, he said. The present attrition rate is
25-30 per cent, he added.

The hiring pattern has also changed. “The industry is now hiring qualified people such as Chartered Accountants, lawyers and PhD holders as consultants. The salary structure will commensurate for the process and the level of sophistication it brings, in,” said Viswanathan.

The rebranding exercise plans to showcase this to the public and dispel misconceptions about the industry. To be kicked off from Bangalore and Chandigarh, it will involve a series of interactions with 20 colleges. Apart from conducting spot interviews, these will involve discussions on the industry at large.

“We have seen that BPM is a preferred career option for Tier-II cities and we want to capitalise on it now,” he added.

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