when a country has half of the population as ‘youth’ and other half still
aspires to remain ‘young’ (by wearing denim and shorts, eating pizza, visiting
Comic Con, playing with X box and getting addicted to Facebook)? The
demographic dividend sounds ‘cute’ and promising indeed, but the real picture
might be scary, unless attended immediately.
Along with other industries, the service industry is also slugging off . The India Today magazine wrote “… call centre culture, that mushroomed in Indian cities like Bangalore, Mumbai, Gurgaon and Pune in the early 2000s, is dying a slow death. After a boom in the 2004-06 period, which saw business margins, a measure of a company's profitability, as high as 40 per cent of total revenue, the sector has slowed down to modest margins of 15 per cent of revenue. Many Indian bpo companies have scaled down their 'voice' business by as much as 60 per cent. Others have shifted their English language call centres, servicing US clients, to countries such as the Philippines, Malaysia and China. Almost all of them have turned focus to more value-added 'non-voice' work that includes high-end analytics, it services bundled with BPO, and cloud computing offerings. The industry likes to call this a transformation for the better, but it is painful for the thousands of young people without job prospects… In the last five years, India has lost one million jobs in the customer contact business to countries like the Philippines," says T.V. Mohandas Pai, former director of human resources at Infosys Technologies, which started a BPO arm in 2002 in Bangalore. For a sector that employs 1.98 million directly and 7.5 million by indirect means like those providing transport and security services, the loss is significant. This has had an impact on the combined IT-BPO space too, whose growth slowed to just 6 per cent in 2009-10. Although it recovered to 10.9 per cent growth last year, it is still a far cry from the 30 per cent-plus growth in the pre-Lehman Brothers collapse days… "India as a delivery location is still challenged by English being spoken with strong accents, which can sometimes be hard to understand," says Cathy Tornbohm, vice-president, BPO research, at Gartner, based in the UK. Countries like the Philippines, on the other hand, have had a history of cultural exchanges with the US and are becoming a better choice for call centre operations, despite high staff cost. While an entry level BPO worker in an international call centre in India would earn Rs.17,000 to Rs.18,000 a month, a Filipino worker would get 15 per cent higher. At team leader levels, comparative salaries would be 20-25 per cent more in that country, and at senior management levels, as much as 50 per cent higher. "Each country has its own location-specific differentiators," says Keshav R. Murugesh, Group CEO, wns, a bpo firm based in Mumbai. In the last two years, India has lost 75,000 jobs in the BPO space to the Philippines alone…. Pradeep Udhas, head of IT-ITes at KPMG in India, says that rising wage inflation, declining quality of the talent pool and rising infrastructure cost have dimmed the lure of India as a bpo destination. "If the trend continues, it can have a massive impact on those employed in the sector, as well as people who see the BPO industry as a future employer," he adds. Recent reports say Vodafone is shifting 750 call centre jobs from Mumbai to Kingston in Australia, the largest BPO market in the Asia-Pacific….”
Internationally, with all the chest-thumping in India about being premier, IITs (Indian Institute of Technology) don't figure in the list of top 200 universities in the world. As per QS World University Ranking 2012/13, which evaluates 700 universities in the world, the best rank was of IIT Delhi at 212! Bombay (227), Kanpur (278), Madras (312) and Kharagpur (349) followed. The National University of Singapore was ranked 25th, Hong Kong University of Science (which started much later than IIT) was ranked 33rd and Nanyang 47th. (data source Business Today May 12th 2013).