Skills crisis hits Indian call centres

India has been caught off-guard by a call centre skills crisis that threatens its status as a haven of low cost, high quality outsourcing.

India has been caught off-guard by a call centre skills crisis that threatens its status as a haven of low cost, high quality outsourcing.

 

Gartner has warned that the number of trained and qualified Indian call centre workers will fall 260,000 short of the one million needed to run the industry by 2009. High demand for offshore business process outsourcing was fuelling this rapid growth, the report suggested.

 

Concerns over cost, security and service quality are already prompting companies to look for alternative offshore destinations. Gartner predicted that experienced staff would be at a premium, which would raise staff attrition rates and up salaries, damaging India ’s reputation for low labour costs. Companies will also be forced to expand their talent pool, recruiting staff with lesser English-speaking skills.

 

Companies thinking of outsourcing their call centres to India must ask prospective suppliers about staff turnover rates and security measures. They should also be extra vigilant about service level agreements, playing closer attention to call monitoring and customer satisfaction surveys.

 

Organisations that already outsource to India should check carefully for signs of improvement or deterioration in service over the next few years. 

 

A second report, from the Office of National Statistics, further challenges preconceptions about offshore outsourcing.

 

ONS figures show that the growth in call centre jobs in the UK is three times greater than overall employment growth, quashing the myth that we are losing jobs to overseas outsourcers. Rather than offshoring eroding UK jobs, redundancy levels have fallen in the industry since 2001.

 

Only last week, Indian IT company HCL announced it was setting up call centres in Northern Ireland , creating 600 jobs.

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