IT, BPO cos tap talent from travel industry

Written by Diksha Dutta | Diksha Dutta | New Delhi | Updated: Nov 22 2011, 07:23am hrs
Higher pay package, better exposure to the corporate sector and an opportunity to be a business consultant or an analyst, are some of the reasons for which talent from travel sector is moving to IT and BPO companies.

This at a time when niche companies in tech sector, like NIIT Technologies, WNS Global Services and InterGlobe Technologies (IGT), which cater to travel clients, are in need of domain experts to cater to the increased demand of airline and airport clients. The number of people joining the niche IT/ITeS companies from travel agencies or travel portals is on the rise and the trend is expected to continue, industry experts feel. A 15% year-on-year growth in the $15-billion travel vertical has compelled the information technology sector to rope in talent from the travel domain.

Bhaskar Chavli, chief delivery officer, NIIT Technologies, said, At least 15-20% of our staff serving travel clients like British Airways and Singapore Airport is from the travel industry at present. We give these professionals training and some of them become business analysts or travel consultants. People who join us from the travel sector usually act as a bridge between our customers and the in-house IT team.

Chavli further noted that earlier the company had people serving the travel vertical from within the IT sector, but gradually NIIT realised that an ideal option is getting people from the travel sector. The travel vertical contributes 35% revenues to NIIT Tech and has been growing 25% year-on-year.

E Balaji, managing director and chief executive officer at HR firm Ma Foi and Randstad, confirmed the trend, The travel industry attrition stands at 15-18% at present, which has increased compared to last year. People in the travel industry tend to leave for better paying jobs. Ideally, IT and BPO companies have 15-20% higher salary than travel companies.

Even travel companies feel that the tech sector usually grabs their trained talent pool. Said Rohit Hasteer, HR head, MakeMyTrip, MakeMyTrip is a one-stop brand for travel experts as well as techies and online marketing skills. These profiles and skill set are niche and scarce in the market. The kind of exposure employees get in our company makes them poaching targets from travel/technology sector.

BPO companies have also been eyeing professionals from travel companies for quite some time now. Keshav R Murugesh, group chief executive officer, WNS Global Services, said that almost 40% people in the company have joined with a significant experience in the travel sector. We have an approximately 60-40 ratio of resources joining fresh with an intent to pursue a career in travel sector vis-a-vis employees who have been earlier with travel sectors or have spent at least 2-3 years in relevant travel BPO. As a recruitment policy, we also hire laterals from allied travel BPO or travel sector like airlines, GDS and other relevant travel domains, he said.

At present, the company employs approximately 5,500 employees in travel vertical and the vertical alone contributes close to 23% total revenues of the company.

On the same lines, Vipul Doshi, chief executive officer InterGlobe Technologies, a provider of IT and BPO services to aviation, travel and hospitality industries, said, About 60-70% of the laterals who join us are from travel agencies. People from travel agencies bring in-depth knowledge from travel industry. IGT only needs to train them on the IT and BPO processes. Almost 60-70% of our employees have travel related certification too.