Second cities rank low on voice-work employability
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Second cities rank low on voice-work employability

By agencies   |   Wednesday, 23 August 2006, 07:00 Hrs
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NEW DELHI: IT and BPO companies need to take a re-look at their expansion plans, as a new research points out to significantly lower employability” in Tier II and Tier III cities, as far as call centers or contact centers are concerned. Everest Research Institute used skills required for voice work, such as fluency in spoken English, trainable voice quality, service orientation and neutral accent as a benchmark for gauging suitability of labor pools in various cities, THE economic Times said.

“While the Tier II, Tier III and Tier IV cities may be suitable for BPO firms looking to expand operations, in case of call center and contact center work these locations appear much over hyped,” Nikhil Rajpal, vice president, Global Sourcing, Everest Research Institute, said. The report highlighted the shortage of middle management professionals in Tier II and Tier III cities. “Call centers can hire fresh graduates and train them but they need middle level managers to run operations,” Economic Times said quoting Rajpal.

“Many of these smaller cities have limited pool of experienced professionals, making it more difficult for new players entering the city to attract middle managers,” he said.

The categorization of the cities into various tiers was based on the population, infrastructure and size of labor pool, and the level of BPO activity. Everest Research Institute found that in Jaipur the employability was just 6 percent of the total available pool of 27,000 people per year, while in Delhi, it was close to 22 percent of the total available pool of 117,000. The pool in question on which the study has been based consists of a combination of graduate pool of a particular year and a portion of the previous years’ pass outs in that city. The employability was as low as 5 percent in Trivandrum, 6 percent in Hubli, 9 percent in Hyderabad, 11 percent in Vishakhapatnam, and 18 percent in Chandigarh. However, Pune posted higher employability at 24 percent, while in Mimbai it was 20 percent.

Also, the annual cost per Full Time Equivalent (FTE) in the Tier II and Tier III cities worked out to be lower. Benchmarking the costs against National Capital Region, Everest said that annual cost per FTE worked out to be 8 percent cheaper in Pune compared to NCR, 14 percent cheaper in Hyderabad, 24 percent cheaper in Chandigarh, 20 percent cheaper in Ahmedabad, 30 percent cheaper in Nagpur and 28 percent cheaper in Indore, the paper said.

However, Nasscom Vice President, Sunil Mehta did not read too much into the findings of the research. “The industry is moving away from pure voice operations and the share of call center work in the overall ITES pie has reduced dramatically in the last few years,” Mehta said, adding that employability for voice work stood at an all India average of 8-10 percent, while for non-voice activities this figure was 40-50 percent.

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