Bridging The Geographic Gap In BPO Staffing

Updated: Sep 25 2004, 05:30am hrs
Human resource recruitment agencies have a new mandate: to headhunt for foreign nationals to manage middle level positions in BPOs. Reason: BPO clients believe natives of the client country can deliver better quality in voice-based operations, than an Indian who has learnt the foreign language.

According to one recruitment consultant, at least 5 to 6 of his MNC clients have lately asked him to find a foreign native to man senior positions in India. Voice based call centres in India are having problems delivering quality with their Indian managers. In some instances, the client is not very comfortable interacting with an Indian who speaks his language, said an industry source.

The demand is mostly for Europeans belonging to countries such as Turkey, Spain, Hungary, Norway, Bulgaria, Finland etc, that have cultures distinct from India. The positions offered include that of team leader or assistant manager, who may have to handle escalated calls (calls passed on to seniors when agents are unable to handle them effectively) say, in a sales operation.

Speaking to FE, Alp Mana-gement consultant Pvt Ltd director Jayachandran Pillai said, The thinking is that a foreign person who is more familiar with the culture in the client country can be more persuasive and effective when talking to his country people there.

Interestingly, contenders for the jobs include tourists who want to stay back in the India. Responses to the mass mails and advertisements sent out by Alps have come from visiting tourists, Mr Pillai said.

He said, More often, the job profile is more or less same as that of a manager The requirement stresses on the language and the age of the person so that it suits a managerial level.

Meanwhile, salary packages offered to foreign nationals in are yet to stabilise. Said Mafoi management consultants Ltd Centre head Aditya Narayan Mishra, Foreign expats who have been earning in dollar terms would look for a premium even if they are offered jobs in India. The issue would be whether the companies can afford to pay them a pay package which is 30 to 50% higher than what they offer an Indian.