Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Tuesday, Sep 20, 2005
`Students still see BPO jobs as a stop-gap'
Moumita Bakshi Chatterjee
New Delhi , Sept. 19
EVEN as the business process outsourcing industry in India has attained a $5.2-billion size employing 3.50 lakh professionals, a majority of students across India still consider working in BPOs as a `stop-gap' employment option.
According to a survey by market research company Hansa Research, about 66 per cent of student respondents felt that joining a BPO company is a short-term employment option.
The perception is particularly strong among students in Chennai and Mumbai, although bulk of students in Bangalore did not subscribe to this view.
As many as 61 per cent of the student respondents in Delhi, 77 per cent of the respondents in Mumbai, 70 per cent in Kolkata and a whopping 89 per cent in Chennai said that BPO was a stop-gap employment option while they decided what to do next.
In contrast, close to 65 per cent of students in Bangalore considered BPO as a long-term career option.
Overall, 71 per cent of the students covered in the survey said that working with a BPO company is considered fashionable among their friends.
The survey covered over 1,000 students across the country, including Bangalore, Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Chennai, Coimbatore and Pune. An overwhelming majority of students saw BPO jobs as a "quick opportunity to make money," but almost an equal number said that BPO jobs allowed them to have fun and earn money at the same time.
When contacted, the Vice-President of the National Association of Software and Service Companies (Nasscom), Mr Sunil Mehta, admitted that the latest findings were in line with the association's own surveys on the perception of BPO jobs conducted about six months ago.
"The main reason for this perception is that the BPO segment is seen as a relatively new industry and hence, people are not sure how it would grow. Also, the high growth witnessed by the industry in the past, may raise fears of a boom-and-bust phase. Moreover, there are people who feel it is impossible to work on night shifts for years at a stretch," he said.
Mr Mehta said that Nasscom is taking measures to change the perception. "Captives constitute 60-70 per cent of the industry and people are beginning to realise that these well-known names are here to stay.
"We are also encouraging BPO players to reduce their exposure to voice-related activities, as it would enable them to offer flexible hours to employees.
"In addition, companies are implementing a high level of training for their employees to give them knowledge in specific domains," he said.
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