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India call center jobs - Advantages, disadvantages and future BPO trendsBY: Swati | Category: Business and Finance | Post Date: 2008-06-23
There is no doubt that the India call centers are the latest booming industry attracting lakhs of young men and women all over the country. Indians call center workforce offers several advantages over their western counterparts both in terms of cost savings (cheap labour) and availability of manpower. The advantages and disadvantages of Indian call center jobs have been discussed in this article.
Advantages / Benefits of call center jobs:
1. SALARY: Call centers in India offer good starting salaries with regular raises every year. Typical salary of a person working in India can vary between 15000 rupees to 30,000 rupees or even higher. This is much higher than individuals working in most other traditional professions like Government jobs, teachers, clerks and armed forces. there is no doubt that money is very important these days and call centers are a good opportunity to earn some good money. Therefore you need not be just an engineer or a doctor to earn good money.
2. QUALIFICATION: All call centers require you to be fluent in English, although most do expect you to have at least a bachelors degree like BSC or BA. For certain types of jobs like Medical or Tech. outsourcing, having a background or education in that field can certainly add to your advantage. Bilingual (people who speak multiple languages) individuals who are fluent in Spanish, German and French have a great advantage over others. Spanish language has nice penetration in United States due to Mexican (Spanish speaking) immigrants, similarly French has a great demand in Canada.
3. CLEAN WORK: Well there is no running around to get your work done, most bigger call centers will even provide you a convenient bus service from several pick-up locations in the city. This is especially convenient for girls of India because of elevated women crime in recent years. Your job requires talking over the phone after going through an intensive customer support training. Most call centers also provide free snacks and drinks to their employees.
4. GROWTH- FLEXIBILITY TO CHANGE JOBS EASILY: People with just a few years on experience are in great demand, and will usually be able to change their jobs to a competing call center company for a better salary and position.
5. ON JOB TRAINNING: Call centers provide trainning and how to deal with customers and the best part is that they even pay you when they train you. The trainning typically lasts for a few weeks and often followed by a supervised practical experience.
6. MEDICAL INSURANCE: Many call canters provide good health insurance for your family at a low cost. They may even provide counseling to deal with the stress is you happen to deal with a tough or abusive customer.
7. OPPORTUNITY TO WORK OVERSEAS: Often Indian all centers have an overseas office, they will regularly send a small percentage of their employees to countries like United States, Britain etc .. so that they understand their working environment better. These trips can not only be fun but also a great opportunity to earn higher money in US dollars.
8. CALL CENTER EMPLOYEES MAY BE ABLE WORK FROM HOME NOW:
As of August 2008, The Indian government has given its go-ahead to agents working at call centers, other service providers included, to work from home. But BPO firms are already voicing security concerns which, they say, would not allow them to make full use of the concept.
Disadvantages of Call centers:
1. ODD WORKING HOURS: Most of the call centers in India support overseas operations and majority of professionals have night shifts. Although many have day shifts as they support domestic Indian customers, or off-business support hours of the overseas company which happens to be day-time for India. In majority of cases Indian call center jobs mostly have odd hours.
2. FAMILY LIFE: This is somewhat associated with odd working hours. Evenings are the best time to spend quality time with your spouse and children and those are actually your working hours. Your life as a call center employee can be very lonely and frustrating at times.
3. HEALTH ISSUES: Sleep disorders, heart disease, eyesight problems and depression are just a few issues surrounding the call center jobs. People also tend to gain weight as most of the time they are sitting in their small cubicle. Health issues in Indian call center industry is becoming a major issue. Even though you work only 5 days a week, for rest of the two days it is not easy to swap your sleep cycle the other way around.
4. ABUSIVE CLIENTS: Many of the customers you speak with can actually get very abusive or angry. They are often able to guess from you accent that you are located in India and many customers are anyway unhappy about their work being outsourced to India. Since your call is often recorded you cannot reply them back angrily, in most cases you will transfer the call to your manager or to a call center located in their own country or in worst case hang up. American accent and Indian English accent are quite different and takes time to overcome the difference. As a call center employee you should try not to take things too personally.
5. AGE FACTOR: Since call center jobs are quite stressful, especially after a few months working in this industry many individuals quit and change their profession, often to a lower paying job. If you able to make your way up to the managerial level or the higher corporate ladder, life is much better, otherwise the daily monotonous work starts to really frustrate you.
6. SOCIAL ISSUES / ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION / SEX ISSUES: Most people working in call centers are in 20's or early 30's, so it is very obvious that they often get into physical relationships. There was an article from Reuters (in 2006) "s*x life of call center workers fascinates India", this is often a shock for people who follow conservative values. Additionally the alcohol consumption is much higher in the Individuals working in call centers. In extreme cases some individuals switch to drugs use. Condom vending machines will soon be installed in several call centers and IT companies to deal with rising threat of HIV/AIDS because young employees are increasingly having unprotected s*x with multiple partners in affairs developed during nights shifts (Ref - IANS).
7. FUTURE TREND OF CALL CENTER JOBS: Call center jobs are the easiest to be transferred from one place to another. Today India offers a great cost saving compared to other locations, but with salaries rising about 10% every year in near future they will become comparable to other low cost locations like Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, Mexico and Eastern Europe. In that case either the salary increments will slow down substantially or companies will start moving jobs from India to these locations. RUPEE APPRECIATION - Additionally if the rupee becomes stronger then your current salary will start to appear costly overseas.
Other disadvantages which have been raised recently include Loss of direct managerial control, security and confidentiality, legal costs and unfavorable contract lengths.
Annual staff turnover at Indian BPOs stands at 24 percent, ahead of the country's average of 16 percent (source ZDNet Asia- Sept 8th 2008).
CONCLUSION: There are several pros and cons of working in a call center. Biggest advantage being the salary and biggest disadvantage being the odd lifestyle. I am not an expert, therefore please do your own research before using this article.
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