Call centers, once the star of India's outsourcing industry, are increasingly viewed as an undesirable employment option by Indian university graduates, reports TIME.
In fact, several colleges have barred call center recruiters from their campuses. Call centers have gotten a negative image due to the long hours and stressful conditions they impose on their employees, according to TIME. Retail, airline and hospitality industries now offer salaries equitable to call centers, and the most skilled students aspire to jobs in more sophisticated sectors like product development.
Indeed, India's stiff competition for talent and wage inflation have hit the call center industry especially hard because of its traditionally low margins and high attrition rates. In the face of a tight market in India, more North American companies are taking a closer look at alternatives like the Philippines, which has attracted big companies like Dell and Convergys, and Kenya, which is spending $100 million to install fiber-optic cable in an effort to boost its call center business.
Other companies are keeping call centers on their home shores and, in the case of some firms like the UK's NatWest and Powergen, are promoting the domestic centers as an added customer service.
Still, contact centers won't vanish from the Indian landscape any time soon. In an effort to reverse their fortunes, some call center specialists like India's MphasiS are experimenting with offering more flexible scheduling, such as splitting night shifts between two employees, and offering perks like reimbursement for education.