Non-graduates constitute a
significant per cent of the headcount in many companies due to the
rising demand for manpower in the ITES sector.
BY DEEPA BALAKRISHNAN
DH NEWS SERVICE,
You don’t need a degree to be a call centre professional.
Call centre recruitment seems to have touched a new peak —
many reputed call centres and business process outsourcing (BPOs)
units have begun hiring non-graduates (those with SSLC and 10+2
Leading BPO firm MphasiS BPO Services, British
financial services company HSBC, ITC Infotech’s ClientLogic,
and Transworks, the BPO arm of the Aditya Birla group, are some
of the leading companies that have expressed interest in hiring
non-graduates. With just one rider — good communication skills.
As a “non-traditional hire” strategy, some companies
are even trying out school dropouts who are communicative.
“Hiring non-graduates is definitely on the rise, as companies
are coming round to the fact that a fancy degree just doesn’t
matter,” said Gautam Sinha, CEO of headhunting firm TVA Infotech.
“The trend will intensify as more BPOs are going to Type
II cities, where they may have to prefer communication skills over
educational qualifications. What companies are looking for is team
work and communication skills. The pay-scales for non-graduates
may be slightly lesser, but they usually catch up with graduates,
in terms of salaries obtained,” observed Gautam Sinha, CEO
of headhunting firm TVA Infotech.
Non-graduates constitute as much as 15 per cent of the
total headcount in companies like MphasiS, which is adding undergraduates
to its payrolls more because of the rising demand for manpower in
the ITES sector than any effort to cut down salary costs.
“Why not? The task is simple and the pool of non-graduates
who are well-versed in English is almost the same as that of graduates,”
said a placement consultant, whose firm hires over 100 call centre
executives every month for its clients.
Explained Roy Sinai, Director - HR, at MphasiS, “A
degree is not the only qualification for suitability on the job,
so we are looking to non-traditional hires to expand the resource
pool. The high levels of attrition in the industry adds to the need
to expand the pool of qualified resources to give our business the
flexibility to meet varied needs of clients.”
Training imparted for graduates and under-graduates is
the same. And there has been no noticeable distinction in the performance
levels of both kinds of employees, said Mr Sinai. “In terms
of behaviour, graduates display more maturity while under-graduates
may have a more casual approach. Our behavioural training program
is focussed to close this gap. Companies need to develop flexible
work schedules and part-time opportunities to address the specific
needs of undergraduates, many of whom are simultaneously pursuing
further education,” he said.
While spokespersons of other companies refused to go on record
in an effort to maintain confidentiality, placement consultants
of these firms did say that companies were willing to sponsor higher
education of their employees through correspondence courses as long
as they stick on with the company.
Career growth possibilities for a non-graduate, too, is
as high as that for a graduate. “Incentives (promotions, increments,
bonuses and perks) are purely based on performance and meeting client
expectations. Graduation/qualification is an entry level criterion
and performance on the floor is determined on the job. Compensation
and perks are purely based on performance. To grow to higher responsibilities,
we do consider educational background, especially at the early stage
of joining. We are also tied up with educational institutions to
provide our employees with opportunities to further their educational
aspirations,” said Mr Sinai.