Gartner Define Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) "as the delegation of one or more IT-intensive business processes to an external provider that in turn owns, administers and manages the selected process based on defined and measurable performance metrics". Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) is one of the fastest growing segments of the Information Technology Enabled Services (ITES) industry. Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) is the new buzzword in Information Technology (IT) circles.
WOMEN AT WORK:
Women who earlier stayed at home to attend their domestic duties now maintain both work and home simultaneously, participating in the process on an equal footing with men in social and economic development. Women have moved away from their traditional roles of home worker and child rearing to social and business solutions. "Women in India today are equal status to men. They play a vital role in every walk of life.
BPO in India:
BPO entered the Indian Territory in the early 1990's. India is a unanimous choice across the globe due to the availability of a large amount of cheap but skilled manpower. The BPO industry stepped in to India with the entry of captive units of GE, HSBC, etc in 1992. India receives most of the outsourcing jobs from the USA. The US people have acknowledged that India is the best place for outsourcing. Indian employees have already proved their mettle by handling the jobs.
India is one of the prime beneficiaries of BPO. According to the Gartner Study; the Indian BPO segment is $2.4 bn against the world wide segment of $143 bn. Nasscom expects it to grow 15 fold in the next 6 years to an estimated size $21-24 bn. The advantage for India being the largest base for BPO is that they have a pool of highly competent and inexpensive English speaking graduates, high computer literacy rate and skilled quality conscious professionals
WOMEN IN BPO
It has been noticed that BPO is the best place for women empowerment. This is the only industry, which has witnessed high growth for women and helped them move to the higher positions in large numbers. Gender equality, which is a distant dream in our society till now, is clearly visible in the BPO industry
With the advent of the IT revolution and the BPO boom an increasing number of Indian women are finding their way to the job market and economic freedom. So much that Indian women has stolen a march over their US counterparts in terms of the number of women entering the BPO Industry.
ISSUES RELATING TO WOMEN WORKING IN BPO
Attrition refers to, a reduction in the number of employees through retirement, resignation or death. While Attrition rate refers to the rate of shrinkage in size or number.
The BPO industry is being looked upon as the biggest employment generator. It is however no easy task for an HR manager in this sector to bridge the ever increasing demand and supply gap of professionals, the BPO HR manager is not only required to fulfill this responsibility, but also find the right kind of people who can keep pace with the unique work patterns in this industry.
In India, the average attrition rate in the BPO sector is approximately 30-35 percent. It is true that this is far less than the prevalent attrition rate in the US market (around 70 percent), The high percentage of females in the workforce (constituting 30-35 percent of the total), adds to the high attrition rate. Most women leave their job either after marriage or because of social pressures caused by irregular working hours in the industry. All this translates into huge losses for the company, which invests a lot of money in training them.
But in a recent survey it has been noted that the Indian IT industry employs close to 1.3 million people now and women form about 35 per cent of this population. The industry is witnessing an employee churn of about 30 per cent per annum and women contribute hardly `five per cent to this' Women are less prone to move to another job for a 10-15 per cent hike in salaries. It was found that women tend to be less susceptible to peer pressure and outside influences. A marginal increase in salary or some perk doesn't really motivate them into quitting. To add to that it's only marriage or motherhood that could lead them to jump jobs. Given the `right environment,' women tend to stay longer than men in a job. And right environment most often only means one thing: work-life flexibility.
Glass ceiling is a word coined by Americans during early 1970's to describe the phenomena of societal and organizational prejudiced attitudes that create artificial barriers preventing women reaching senior executive positions.
The latest findings of a survey reveals that only a small number of women hold top positions in corporate houses worldwide, while in India only 14 per cent of women make it to the top management level. IT/ITES industry though employee women at a large percentage, but the percentage of women in top are quiets less. Women tend to be over representative in lower level job and under representative in the higher level of jobs in IT and ITES industry, The main reason why a men is preferred for top level post rather than a women - Many women are unable to put in as many hours as their male counterparts for many reasons, male employee complain that the deadline is not met by women employee, women also often find it difficulty to make up for the loss of experience and learning during maternity leave. Husband career affects women career. Networking is major issue among women as soon as they finish work they go home. Women marriage age is 25-30 after that they quit the job the age of 25-30 is too young to be given a top post. Male employees prefer to leave the job then to report to a women boss.
Women are becoming serious about assessing priority to their profession and they are able to break the glass ceiling in BPOs to some extent. Top women in IT/ITES industry
Mrs.Padma Ravichandar - Perot Systems
Mrs. Neelam Dhawan - Microsoft
Mrs. Rekha Menon - Accenture
Mrs. Jessie Paul - Wipro
Mrs. Revathi Kasthuri - Novell India
The Murder of a 24-year-old woman, Pratibha Murthy, working with Hewlett Packard Global Delivery India Center in Bangalore during December 2005, a person masquerading as the driver of her company's car raped and murdered her. This incident led to a fear that many women may think twice about working at odd hours became rampant. This, in turn, led to fears that the rapidly growing Indian BPO industry might fall apart if the significant women-working population decided to desert this segment.
A product called Auto Vigil has come as a boon to the millions of young girls and women employed in business process outsourcing industry and other segments where women have to work in night shifts and other odd hours, a period when security hazards assume dangerous proportions.
The term work life balance was coined in 1986, A good definition of Work-Life Balance is: Meaningful daily Achievement and Enjoyment in each of my four life quadrants: Work, Family, Friends and Self.
A research project, conducted in 9 cities, by avtar career creators, about the work life balance of Indian working women revealed the fact that more than 73% of the women interviewed felt that managing a home and a career was the primary reason for their stress and the resulting poor health. Inability to focus on one's own personal wellness, apportioning time for other activities such as gardening or other hobbies, becomes nearly impossible while juggling a demanding career and a home.
The strategy of employing part-time or flexi-time workers is one, which Corporate India is slowly but surely testing out. Companies such as the Pantaloon Group, Unilever India Shares Services, Scope International, Barclays Bank, Cap Gemini, the Murugappa Group, Tata VSNL and several other FMCG, Telecom and IT companies have successfully implemented the Flexi-Career concept in their organizations.
To conclude today's working women has traveled a lot from the domestic four walls of the house to a successful career women, the BPO sector employs thousands of women every year, trying to provide new and convenient forms of work for women, which helps them take care of their family in better manner. Though there are many families who perceive employment in a BPO for women a 'taboo' (due to late working hours and wild partying image), this perception is slowly changing. Due to the international secure working atmosphere, higher salaries, gender-neutral, free pick-up and drop-off facility at home, BPO is viewed as 'the' choice for a majority number of women. It has also meant a much more financial and overall independence of the Indian women. This has helped them have more confidence, a positive attitude and outlook towards life and helped in the overall empowerment of women.
About Author / Additional Info:
• Mrs.D.Maria Angelin Jayanthi, Research Scholar, Management Studies (PhD External), Mother Teresa University, Kodaikannal - 624102
• Dr.D.Venkatramaraju, Reader and Research Guide, Dept. of Commerce, Pachaiyappa's College, Chennai - 600 030
• Mrs.D.Maria Angelin Jayanthi ,MBA Department, Velammal Engineering College, "Velammal Nagar", Ambattur Redhills Road, Chennai - 600066
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