BPO sector of India is going to employ approximately 1.1 million people in the coming years

After declaration of board results, a good number of students are busy in understanding the real world of jobs and among the first to come to mind is a job at a BPO. The sector in itself has seen a lot of growth in India with about 75000 people working in it and adding. Sanjoo Sharma, founder & managing director of Gurgaon-based Radical Minds Technologies Pvt. Ltd deciphers the BPO ‘coded’ in an interview to Autar Nehru

For a layman or a fresher, what are the areas that BPO typically covers? What is the estimated size of opportunities and economy?

A BPO typically offers business and knowledge process outsourcing services to firms which helps in achieving higher operational adequacy, more prominent adaptability with lower working expenses. BPO industry serves various industry verticals and different service areas such as back-office support, lead generation, market research, sales, e-commerce, BPO/ Call Center, Inbound/Outbound Services, etc. to enhance any company’s value proposition as well as its profitability. BPOs assists in resolving client-specific business challenges. 

The estimated size of opportunities and economy –

Currently, 40% of business leaders globally have plans to outsource their business processes. The interest in Indian BPO services has been growing at a yearly development rate of 50% BPO Industry has so far provided employment to over 74,400 job seekers in India.

This number is perpetually growing on an annual basis. The BPO sector of India is going to employ approximately 1.1 million people in the coming years.

Indian BPOs specifically hold 56% of the world’s business process outsourcing services.

People tend to associate BPOs with call centers and some small project work mostly, can you tell us if it is indeed about working on technology platforms and customer services?

Most people tend to address BPO as call centers only but it’s certainly a vague interpretation of it. BPO’s are not restricted to call centers or small projects but it offers a lot more in terms of services from technical assistance to customer services

There are a host of services that Indian BPOs offers such as customer support, technical support, telemarketing, data processing, forms processing, bookkeeping, and any form of online market research.

 Is BPOs as we know in practice mostly catering to foreign B2C companies or are there some Indian clients as well?

It’s a common illusion that BPO companies only cater to foreign B2C companies. All companies small scale or long scale are in need of outsourcing services to build a stronger base for further operations. As I previously told outsourcing internal processes of the company also helps them in achieving higher operational efficiency with lower working expenses. Alternatively, Indian companies are no different and BPOs do provide services to Indian clients as well.

In terms of entrepreneurship, what pathways are available under the BPO sector?

If we talk purely about the entrepreneurship, the entire concept depends upon the funding capabilities and work experience in a specific niche.

BPOs have majorly 3 processes :

Inbound or outbound voice process

Nonvoice

Blended: a mix of both

For starters you have to show some stable work experience, I mean as a BPO company you have to run some in-house or small scale sales process for Client Acquisition. Once you make your profile strong enough, you can hire business developers or process consolidators for getting contracts from overseas.

In terms of requirement both technological including internet connectivity and human capital, do you feel small towns can also host BPO businesses?

Yes, why not? Approx 46,000 BPO jobs were created in small towns and cities, from 2017 to 2018 under the India BPO Promotion Scheme (IBPS). IBPS set up 240 companies and employed 19,200 people across the country in two years. 18 BPO units have been set up under the scheme across nine cities including Sangli, Dhule, Nashik, Aurangabad, and Kolhapur. These 18 BPOs employ approx 3,500 people. So, definitely, there is a massive opportunity for BPO sector flourishing in small towns and providing employment.

 In terms of jobs, what are some top job roles and what kind of remuneration is there?

According to me, experience matters the most in this industry which also helps in a promotion. Also, expertise in the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool automatically makes one eligible for a high pay job.

The average BPO sector monthly salary ranges from approximately ₹ 10,000 per month for an HR Specialist to ₹ 45,000 per month for Technical Associate.

Also, there is a perception about the monotony of these jobs. So enlighten on career progression?

There are immense learning and development opportunities in the BPO sector, right from improving your communication, articulation and business presentation skills, to managing large teams, situation handling, creating efficiencies in time management, and problems solving abilities.  There are various levels of growth in the BPO sector. One can begin at ground level, say taking calls or doing the back office processing, but if you are very good you move up to handling teams, then handling large projects wherein dealing with clients is necessary and hence you get good exposure. Then there’s the sales division where you forage new clients or delivery end where you set up the processes and new delivery models which cut costs.

The initial work can be repetitive and monotonous. But, according to your interest and talent, you can keep moving up the ladder. 

 Future outlook of BPO and any other comment.

Indian BPO companies can branch out into Tier II and Tier III cities and tap on the skilled workforce that exists beyond the cities. The most vital step is that Indian BPO companies can move up the “value chain” which means that they can migrate to higher end knowledge work or KPO which is more cerebral and pays well. It is the need of the hour that the Indian BPOs take this phenomenon to next level and this will precisely be the reason for many Indian BPOs to take up KPO work as well as opening centers in smaller or remote cities. This will also give various career options to the youth and better pay package.