By Pradeesh Chandran
The business process management (BPM) industry, which was traditionally known as the job provider for non-technical graduates, is likely to witness a drastic shift in the profile of the employees it may hire. The industry which employs BA, BSc and BCom graduates and standard XII apart from engineering graduates will require candidates with additional skills like coding and digital technologies. Currently, the Indian BPM industry employs over 38% of the employable graduates in the country. According to Nasscom, job aspirants who wish to enter the workforce in the BPM industry would need skills sets such as digital, analytics, artificial intelligence, virtual reality and cybersecurity among others. A recent released by the trade body said the Indian BPM industry is expected to touch $50-55 billion in size by 2025 of which 60-70% of the revenue is expected to come from digital technologies. In FY17 the digital quotient of the service offering of the Indian BPM providers was 15-20% of the overall revenue of $29.8 billion. “The percentage of revenue the BPM industry derives from digital activities will explode and the industry is going to look very different. A number of different elements need to be changed for us to achieve the growth. One of the most important things is to re-skill the existing workforce and also create a skilled workforce that will enter the industry,” said Rohit Kapoor, chair of Nasscom BPM Council, and vice-chairman and CEO of EXL Service.
The Indian BPM industry is also slowly following the path of the Indian IT services industry in terms of skilling the workforce to meet the requirements of the industry. Indian IT services majors like TCS, Wipro, Infosys and HCL Technologies among others have already trained a significant number of its people in new skills like cloud, analytics, mobility and social, among others. Unlike the IT services providers with structured training programmes of 3-9 months for freshers, the BPM providers are looking at industry ready talents as it saves huge cost for the companies. In order to reduce the skill gap in the industry, Nasscom is partnering with colleges and universities through its sector skill council to create new courses and curriculum.
“We are working with colleges to create skilled talent by introducing new curriculum which the BPM sector needs. If the colleges where our future employees are not teaching big data, analytics, design thinking among others, we will not be able to maintain the global leadership position. Getting a pure fresh employee would not meet the need in terms of time frame and cost,” said Raman Roy, chairman of Nasscom and chairman and managing director, Quatrro BPO Solutions. Hinduja Global Solution, part of the Hinduja Group, also believes in creating industry ready talent. “There is a skill shortage in terms of new technologies. However, the new employees need to understand about the changing job market and should come with skills that the market needs,” said Partha DeSarkar, chief executive officer of Hinduja Global Solutions. Apart from the initiatives of the industry, companies have also started programmes in partnership with various universities to launch the course to meet the demand.
For example, WNS Services have partnered with NIIT University to offering a two-year work-integrated MBA course in business analytics. The company is also planning to launch another course in design thinking soon. According to experts, the advent of digital, automation and robotics into the BPM industry may replace some of the lower end jobs. However, higher value services and offerings and better skilling of resources will continue to create jobs in the BPM sector. “With automation kicking in and customers also looking for more digital interaction channels, the Indian BPM industry is likely to add lesser people for the low voice based jobs. This may result in 25% decline in the overall hiring by the Indian BPM industry,” said Kris Lakshmikanth, chairman and managing director, Head Hunters India.
However, Nasscom believes that further use of automation and technologies and use of robotics will create jobs in the sector. Currently, the Indian BPM industry employs around 1.2 million people with an addition of 100,000 people in FY17. “Indian providers are able to help the clients during a period of uncertainty. This has resulted in creating confidence in them and they have also started outsourcing jobs in many new areas. The industry will definitely create jobs, but may not be in the same rate as the revenue growth,” said Keshav R Murugesh, group chief executive officer, WNS Global Services.