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India’s software industry was one of the first to use the labor arbitrage between developed countries and India to their advantage. They did so by selling the software talent en masse. The software bandwagon was swiftly joined in the 2000s by the IT Enabled Services or better known as the Business Process Outsourcing companies. These companies provide specialized talents to all types of industry across the globe at rock bottom prices. They achieve this by employing the vast English speaking talent pool to service multi-national clients.

BPO lures people with its attractive work culture and pay packs. With high entry-level salary, BPO is attractive to the fresh graduates. Very few industries provide Rs.2 lakh per annum jobs plus perquisites to a fresher with a basic degree and good communication skills. Thus, the campus freshmen who were hitherto getting a paltry sum as their pay package saw the offers balloon. However, is this a good career option? This article examines exactly that.

The jobs in itself, are challenging; the people are often required to manage a team with 500 or more people. This calls for a person who has excellent knowledge in the area of work and communication skills. He should have a magnetic personality so as to motivate the subordinates to put in their best as an individual and as a team player. Specialized skills require specialized knowledge. Regular training programmes are an essential ingredient to survive in the industry. This helps in keeping the individual in constant touch with the changing scenario.

BPOs generally have an excellent monitoring system. Promotions and growth in the organization is dependent on the performance reviews submitted every quarter or half year. Reassignment of job roles and fresh training programmes are based on the performance review. Performance reviews also lay the foundation for variable pay component. Growth and monetary benefits based on performance act as a motivating factor to the individual.

Employee welfare facilities like home-to-office transportation, health and fitness centres , excellent cafeteria add as an incentive to the young generation.

High attrition rates are a major cause of worry to the industry. Stiff competition from similar companies providing better salary and growth opportunities forces the employer to concentrate on the growth of the employees. In HP BPO, LEAP or Leadership Advancement Programme, helps in identifying the key players and groom them for future.

Performance based- technical and managerial growth plus support from the company for the individual growth with comfortable working environment gives a rosy picture to the industry.

But it is not free from defects. Employees of the call centres have to deal with monotonous jobs, long shifts and irate customers. Stress related problems are high in the industry as the people are forced to provide outstanding performance on a continuous basis for their survival. In some cases, minimal chances for growth, less specialized knowledge and inability to maintain a work-life balance are the outcome of it. These factors lead to frustration. The employees who join BPO companies without completing their basic degree, end up compromising their future career prospects.

The best way out of this is trap of stunted career is:
a) Go back and complete ones study, basic degree course
b) Keep educating and re-inventing oneself

Most of the good companies encourage their employees to sharpen the saw by facilitating trainings and specialized courses. Exploiting the labor arbitrage provides fuel to the growing BPO industry, a career in BPO is definitely lucrative today, and, can be beneficial to the individual if she keeps educating and re-inventing herself.

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