Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Are BPO's killing our nation's talent?

Are BPO’s killing our nation’s talent??

This is a question I have been contemplating with quite sometime now.

Well here I present my opinion on this.

BPO industry started in India quite few years back. Since then this word has been used widely in every newspaper, magazine and any other form of media .It has been the bread and butter for millions of young people in India.
Now when we talk of young people especially those in their 20’s, we know we are talking of people who are most vibrant, who have the highest energy levels and who really believe in “everything is possible”. These very people sometime determine where a particular nation is heading. So that means we have used the best part of our population for this industry. Having said that, let’s look at the role these people play in this industry.

More than 70% of the people employed in the BPO industry in India are working in voice based services i.e. have work which relates only to attending calls. They are just there to support the services of many industries throughout the world. The only things expected out of the BPO employee are good communication skills and maybe a little logical thinking. India has just become the back office to the West.
When industries in the West started their back offices in India they had just one agenda slash costs by at least 40 per cent by offshoring. In West they didn’t have the numbers to match, in terms of number of people who can work; of course costs was also a huge factor. So they decided to shift to India because our huge English speaking population is a good source for their needs and also people are ready to work for low salaries because of the less number of opportunities.
People they target are in the age group of 18-25 who are graduates and i think have the power to take on the world. Now as per a survey more than 30% of indian population belong to this group and this figure is much higher in urban areas. So these days many people join these BPO's. This is we can say a source of easy money for them. Just fresh out of college at the age of around 20 they start earning 10 to 12 k, also they didn't have and dependencies so the entire money can be spent on their lifestyle. So far so good.

But if we see a real picture we have put our best i mean most energetic people into something which doesn't require that much skills. Agreed that communication skills are also equally important which people master in this profession but then if we want to be a developed country some day, this certainly hurts our bid.
This is because if these people had not got this easy job they would have put up some fight in their careers to get better jobs for example they would have gone for higher studies and be more skilled for better jobs may be high tech jobs in which India certainly lags behind. Who knows, they would have involved themselves into some business which might churn out into some great business house. I mean if Dhirubhai can do it then why can't we. In this way these BPO's have hampered the growth of our country by killing the talent here. Yeah intially they get the money but the frustartion of these type of jobs gets onto one's head after some years but then due to higher age and lack of experience in any other field they are unable to do anything else.

So now these people sit in their poshed offices attending calls throughout night ( most BPO's work during that time only) and sleeping through the day. They dont have time to think for better futures and when they do think its already too late.

And in this way we lose our nation's talent pool to MNC's for their lowest grade of work. If we compare this to China that is presently the fastest growing economy of the world and that is also seeing the greatest boom in the manufacturing industries and hardware industries, China has been able use its talent pool effectively. Growth in manufacturing and hardware industry is very essential for economy to develop at this pace. One cannot expect to just sit and ride on the software boom through IT and ITES companies.
We have to channelise the talent of our nation in the right direction and then only we can expect to compete with China and maybe US at sometime in the future. Govt. needs to show to the people the oppertunities and importance of dreaming big. May be our country still lacks the vision. We are still at a position where China was in early 1990's. China exports rose almost 10 times in a decade whereas we just managed to increase them 2 times.
I do believe that India has the required talent to reach to the top but somehow lacks the spirit to do it. And that is why we lose our best people to West either because of brain drain or because of this kind of work.


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