Working the graveyard shift

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Working the graveyard shift


Easy Money: Employees of a BPO which offers voice-based services.

Manjunath a post-graduate in Commerce works as a guest lecturer in a government college and earns Rs 5000 per month while his neighbour Satish, who discontinued his studies after PUC, works in a BPO and earns around Rs 15,000 per month. And that’s excluding incentives.

With the opening of the world economy and rapid development in IT and telecom sectors, developed countries, especially the English-speaking ones like USA, UK and Australia, have been outsourcing their low-end jobs to countries like India and Philippines. The work force in these countries have a higher percentage of English-speaking people than other third-world nations, which works in their favour. The main reason for countries like US and UK to outsource their processes is to save money. It is said that the salary paid to employees in India is 1/5th the amount they pay employees in their respective countries.

BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) companies are of two types: captive centres and third party service centres (TPSC). Captive centres are companies like Dell which have their after sale service centres in India, while TPSCs like Infosys and Wipro provide BPO services to companies abroad.

In India the BPO sector is growing at a fast pace. At present it provides employment to around seven lakh people directly and to about 25 lakhs people indirectly. With recession hitting the world hard, the need to cut costs will see more jobs being outsourced to India. The domestic BPO industry is also developing fast further levelling the playing field as candidates not proficient in English can also enjoy piece of the pie.

Kinds of jobs

Jobs in BPOs can be bifurcated under two main groups, voice and non-voice based services.

Under the former, companies provide different services to customers over the telephone. Either the customer contacts the service providers via phone to elicit information or the employees of the service providers contact the customers to market products and services.

BPO companies providing voice-based services are also called call centres. Under non-voice based services, the marketing of services and products is done over chat or email.

Data entry, medical transcription, DTP services, maintaining accounts and payroll are some of the other services which fall under this category.

The high-end jobs in this industry require personnel who have analytical and logical thinking. These jobs are grouped under KPO (Knowledge Processing Outsourcing). Legal processing, Clinical data analysis, providing content and copy-editing are some of the services provided under KPO.

Pre-requisite skills

If you are wondering whether you are eligible for a job in the BPO sector, especially providers of voice-based services, here is what employers look for. They check their prospective employees’ ability to speak and write in English, operational knowledge of computers and willingness to work in shifts and learn new skills. Probably for the first time in Indian corporate history we find people with what used to be deemed as poor qualifications, draw salaries  unheard of two decades earlier. This is because, more than academic qualifications, it is the attitude and temperament that BPO companies look for while recruiting.

The benefits

At the entry level, one can expect a monthly salary of around Rs 8000 per month. This apart, employees will be picked up from their residence and dropped back after work.

Food and beverages are served free to employees at the workstation. Based on performance, cash incentives are given on weekly, fortnightly and monthly basis. The company also provides all employees free training in soft skills and technical aspects concerning their job, soon after they report for duty.

Acquire skills

First improve your communication skills. Make it a habit to read an English newspaper daily. Watch TV channels like NDTV, CNN-IBN and Star World for news, discussions and serials. Pay attention to the proper pronunciation of words and the different accents in which English is spoken. You can learn English online at http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/learningenglish. Join a spoken English course or a toastmaster’s club to develop your communication skills.

Now-a-days you rarely come across a typewriting institute. But there are a number of portals like www.goodtyping.com, www.learn2type.com and www.typeonline.co.in through which you can improve your typing speed. Once you have equipped yourself with the necessary skills, create your resume and post it on various job portals. You can also take the assistance of placement cells to fetch you a job in a BPO. Many major English dailies like Deccan Herald bring forth a career guidance supplement on Wednesdays where advertisement to fill vacancies in the BPO industry are published.

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