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BPO industry needs an image boost, says NASSCOM chief

Special Correspondent

Training system needed to educate people hired in sector


  • One incident cannot tarnish name of industry
  • Need for industry-academia to interact more
  • More students must be encouraged to do research

    CHENNAI: The Business Process Outsourcing industry in India was in need of an image boost, Kiran Karnik, president, National Association of Software and Service Companies (NASSCOM) said here on Tuesday.

    The recent events involving the BPO industry had led the media to tar all units with the same brush, generalising what was true about one unit. Consequently, the industry had received an image bashing and this had to be remedied soon, Mr. Karnik said emphasising the need to recreate the image of the industry.

    Need for skill sets

    Mr. Karnik was speaking at the inaugural of the two-day HR Summit 2005 organised by NASSCOM to focus on capacity building and talent management in the country. He highlighted the need to define specific skill sets required for these professionals and to evolve an entire training system to educate people being hired by the sector.

    Mr. Karnik dwelt at length on the need for industry-academia interaction. The IT industry was recruiting candidates immediately after their graduation, leaving few to carry on high-end research that would be of use to it. "Even as we take the best and brightest, we need to put enough back into the pool," he said adding that the shortage of highly qualified faculty in many colleges was a cause for concern.

    Anna University Vice Chancellor D. Vishwanathan said communication skills, performance management, training, team work were the factors that would help any organisation to move from adequacy to excellence. He offered to involve the industry in drawing up the modules for the varsity's Common Technology Aptitude Tests for final year engineering students.

    "India ahead of U.S."

    Delivering the keynote address on human resource practices for a global organisation and strategies for India, Peter Cappelli, director, Wharton's Centre for Human Resources, said he believed that the country was ahead of the United States in some HR practices in the IT sector. "India is ahead of the U.S. probably because IT work is more important here than it is in the U.S."

    Mr. Cappelli said relying on universities alone to produce skilled IT personnel was not a good idea. There was a crisis of supply in the mid 1990s when IT students switched to other fields following the IT downturn in 1991. This had led to a collapse of enrolments at a time when the dotcom industry was booming.

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