Almost 2.7 million people around the world have been victims of job cuts by the longest-lasting economic crunch in the world. This economic meltdown which began in the middle of the last year and is very much on the high even now; has taken a massive toll on workers across industry verticals and has made people rethink their expenses and their saving patterns.
Call centers too have felt the jitters from this global economic weakness and have tightened up their sleeves to fight back the meltdown with increased productivity, cutbacks in perks, skipping several training expenses, and generally tightening up on their spending. Although there has been no mass exodus of employees from Indian Call centers, everyone can feel the heat of the economic pressures. But the good side of this pressure is that the employees have upped their productivity like never before and the sense of insecurity and the possibility of losing their job has made them put their best foot forward in order to avoid the pink slip!
For some, it is a time of great vindication, especially those who have blamed the Indian call centers for the job cuts in America. They seem to be getting great joy from the reduced hiring; delayed salaries and postponement of new investments at these call centers. The call center industry seems to be gripped by an unfamiliar sense of uncertainty about the future. As the end of this economic uncertainty does not seem to be in sight the whole industry is waiting with bated breath.
The call centers have not been hit as badly as the banking and the financial institutional sector, but that is no consolation for the industry. The downturn in profits has also shown that although Indian call centers are the biggest and the best front and back-office services provider; it too is not immune from the global economic downturns.
Indian call centers and outsourcing services have provided cheap talent resources to the Western world and have helped them save millions of dollars yet they have not been able to make themselves indispensable because their work is more manual and regular in nature rather than technical and specialized.
The only hope in this dim economic situation came from the front runner of the industry INFOSYS that showed profits in its quarterly results and has been able to successfully dodge the recessionary trend. Technology Partners International, a consulting firm that makes an index of global outsourcing deals has categorically said that outsourcing deals are almost down by 10% the world over.
The NASSCOM (National Association of Software and Service Companies) estimates that although there will be 50,000 job cuts in 2009, yet it is hopeful that the recession will not crumble the edifice of the call center industry and it will continue to thrive as always. All those who thought that the outsourcing industry is ‘recession-proof’ have to now think twice.
To fight the threat of recession; the call center industry has pulled up its socks and is now giving greater productivity and making its business operations more efficient. More and more call centers are offering better deals to all their clients in order to cushion themselves from the downturn. This is great for the outsourcers who can now draw up improved contracts and further save costs.