Business Process Outsourcing or Managing?

The BPO industry has matured and is today more of a partner to its customers. Susir Kumar, CEO, Serco Global Services, discusses the latest trends in the sunshine sector with Prachi Rege.

Updated: Nov 26, 2013, 23:38 PM IST

The BPO industry has matured and is today more of a partner to its customers. Susir Kumar, CEO, Serco Global Services, discusses the latest trends in the sunshine sector with Prachi Rege.

Q. 1. At what rate is the BPO industry growing? Is it a positive, negative or stagnant growth?

The Indian BPO industry has grown by 17 per cent during the financial year 2012-13. However, according to various industry reports, it is expected to grow at a rate of 12-13 per cent for the fiscal year 2013-14. BPO services will enjoy an annual compound growth rate of 8 per cent through 2017 according to a report by KPMG & HFS Research. India currently leads the global BPO market with a 37 per cent share.

Q.2.Has the growth affected the recruitment trend in the industry? Is there a manpower crunch or surplus?

The BPO industry is in a state of continuous transformation with technological developments and changing business demands. There is a vast talent pool available in tier two and three cities, which is reasonably good in technical knowledge and niche skills. The industry does not emphasize on only voice support and we are seeing a significant rise in opportunities for professionals like legal, bankers, analysts, chartered accountants and doctors.

Q.3 Are there any new job functions available in the BPO industry now? What is a career in a BPO like?

The BPO industry has evolved over the years. An executive’s job role for instance, has witnessed a significant change. A BPO employee’s work can broadly be classified into voice and non-voice. The voice BPO executives are responsible for taking the inbound and outbound calls that include taking customer queries and sales. Whereas, the work of non-voice BPO executives ranges from performing data processing, research, human resources services to providing tech support.

Employers are making efforts to provide long-term growth opportunities for their employees. Career in BPO sector is no longer viewed as a stopgap option; it is now treated as a serious career choice. According to various industry estimates, the BPO industry is growing three fold and so are the opportunities in the sector. There has been an inflow of high-end work across the existing and new sectors that have placed a huge demand on domain specialists, increasing the gamut of job roles.
Several global IT, knowledge management and financial services companies continue to outsource work to Asian countries because of cheap labor. This has opened up a wide array of opportunities for youngsters who shift to cities from rural areas.

Q.4. What kind of skills does one look for in BPO professionals?

A large number of BPO employees include graduates, although BPOs are extending their hiring to include domain specialists and post graduates. We hire graduates across disciplines for work ranging from voice and data processes, billing and record keeping to HR management and pay roll. We not only judge candidates on educational qualifications, technical expertise, intelligence and personality, but also other factors like their behavioural pattern. We identify an individual’s strengths and weaknesses so as to develop requisite skills in the candidate through further training.

A basic degree and good communication skills combined with technical knowledge can give an individual the opportunity to acquire a well-paid BPO job. We evaluate candidates on their willingness to learn, which ensures that they have the desire and ability to grow and lead a team. Those who have domain expertise in banking and financial services, telecom, healthcare, and analytics are in demand.

Q.5. What kind of remuneration can a BPO aspirant expect?

As the industry is growing the salaries / remunerations are undergoing alterations. The remuneration is based on the level of expertise and domain specific knowledge. One can expect the BPO industry to give better pay packages as compared to the other industry sectors i.e. retail, aviation; etc.

Q. 6 Please feel free to share any other information about the industry?

People who are serious about a career in the industry can get many opportunities in terms of self-growth, skills and knowledge, and learning for an individual who is part of this industry. The industry has brought in language training (helpful for future jobs as well) and good pay. One can imbibe a lot of knowledge depending on the industry you are working for like insurance, finance, accounting, telecom, auto, computer hardware etc. One may also get an opportunity to undergo the six-sigma and other quality control programmes hugely in demand in the corporate world.