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BPO companies heave a sigh of relief

By Divya Ramamurthi



Job seekers filling applications at the jobs information stall at the IT.Com in Bangalore on Thursday. — Photo: Sampath Kumar

BANGALORE, NOV. 4. India's Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) companies feel that they have nothing to fear for the next four years now that George W. Bush is back at the White House.

Like most Americans, BPO personnel here have been closely monitoring the U.S. elections and several say they have been rooting for a Republican win. Increased rhetoric from the Democrat's camp against outsourcing in the last few months, they say, has brought job orders down.

"As American companies were under fear of new policies regarding outsourcing, they were not giving us a lot of orders. But now, we are going to be flooded with offers. The uncertainty about the future of the Indian BPO industry is definitely lower,'' says J. N. Rampal of Accent Infoways, an animation outsourcing company.

In fact, companies here are certain that the Bush regime will remain committed to outsourcing and they are expecting a surge in offers. "Their policies on Iraq may be severely flawed. I don't think they should ever have gone to war. Their views on gay rights are atrocious. But for the BPO industry, Bush is the main man,'' says an executive of Vigent Information Technology. Almost 70 per cent of the revenue earned by the Indian information technology industry is from the U.S.

It is not only BPO executives who are heaving a sign of relief over Bush's victory. Job seekers are also happy with his win. More of them queued up in front of BPO job centres, filling out applications and setting up job interviews. The BPO assessment centre was overflowing with people taking up tests. Compared to the 70 people assessed yesterday the numbers shot to more than 120 today. "With more job offers expected, we are going to need to build up their work force. This is probably the best time for people to enter the market,'' adds the executive.

The last few months have produced some nervous moments for the BPO industry. With the threat of a replay of the 2000 presidential poll mess, and with the Ohio results not being in for a long time, the worry levels for few grew higher.

"The last two days, I have been really tense. I relaxed only when I saw the news of Bush's victory this morning,'' says Sujatha Ramesh, head recruiter at ISEEC, a BPO company.

Ms. Ramesh is now planning to throw a party to celebrate Bush's victory. "We need to celebrate it. We deserve to celebrate it."

But, there are several people in the industry who believe that the Democratic candidate, John Kerry, even if he had won, would not have changed the outsourcing policy radically. "The U.S. is a capitalist nation. They won't want to pay higher wages for the same work."

According to the Assocham BPO Council, as long as the Indian Government is committed to outsourcing, the $3 billion industry is expected to soar to $15 billon market in 2007.

Revenue generation through BPO will exceed $17 billion by 2008 even if India captures 25 per cent of the total global BPO offshore market.

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