Indian graduates will take a national entry exam to prove they are truly qualified to work in outsourced call centres or IT service centres.
The Indian IT trade body Nasscom is launching an initial three-month pilot to test the competence of 15,000 graduates in 36 IT and business process outsourcing companies.
It hopes the move will transform “trainable” graduates into an “employable” workforce and will help the country maintain its status as the “services hub of the world”.
The Nasscom Assessment of Competence will assess candidates on listening and keyboard skills, spoken English, comprehension and writing ability, as well as the ability to use office software and their analytical skills.
Around 350,000 people already work in the Indian IT and business process outsourcing (BPO) sector, but competition for staff is becoming ever fiercer. By 2009, up to one million skilled IT professionals could be needed to fuel the industry and maintain service standards.
Nasscom is also working hard to uphold the reputation of Indian offshoring and protect its $17.2bn (£9.4bn) industry by launching an anti- data-theft pilot initiative. The move is fuelled by recent cases, such as the theft of nearly $350,000 (£191,000) from four Citibank customers by people hired by the company in India.
Establishing a national register of IT professionals will enable companies to screen prospective employees and view their work histories. The project will initially cover call centre workers, but will eventually expand to cover back office workers and software programmers.