Cornell University

Global Call Center Project

169 Ives Faculty Building, 607-254-4437

India

National Country Report

Batt, R., Doellgast, V., Kwon, H., Nopany, P. Nopany.  2005.  Indian Call Center Industry Report: Strategy, HR Practices, and Performance.  National Benchmarking Report. 

Highlights of the National Report

Workforce Demographics and Characteristics

The typical call center employee holds a Bachelor’s degree; but almost 30 percent of managers in this study reported that they primarily hire employees with a secondary degree.   Moreover, while the call center workforce in most countries is predominantly female, in India fully 55% of the workforce is male in the centers in this study.  The average center serving international customers hires 1-in-10 applicants while the average domestic-oriented center hires 1-in-4.  Initial training averages 6 weeks in international centers, but it takes over 3 months for employees to become proficient on the job, on average.  Centers serving the domestic market provide 2.3 weeks of initial training and it takes 7 weeks to become proficient at work.

Work Organization and Teams

Indian call center employees have very low levels of discretion over daily tasks, procedures, pace of work, schedules, and how to handle unexpected customer inquiries or complaints.  Between 60 and 75 percent of managers report that their employees have little or no discretion in these areas of work.  The use of problem-solving groups and teams is also infrequent, with fewer than 10 percent of employees involved in such initiatives.

Turnover

Turnover averages 30 percent, according to the reports of managers in this study.  And over 50 percent of call center employees in this study have less than 1 year of tenure with their employer.  Poaching is common among international centers, with managers reporting that almost 40 percent of their current workforce came from other call centers.

Internal Promotion

Seventeen percent of employees in international centers and 11 percent in domestic centers have been promoted to higher positions in the call center.  However, beyond the call center, only 1 percent of employees are promoted to higher positions in the larger corporation.   Thus, call center jobs do not serve as a meaningful point of entry to higher level positions in companies.

Employers Association and Local Networks

Managers from international centers make considerable use of local employer networks, with 59 percent involved in local networking groups and 39 percent in employers associations.  These are sources for exchanging ideas on business strategies and best practices. They also make widespread use of management consultants in the areas of technology, training, and quality management.  

Indian Research Team

Rosemary Batt
Alice H. Cook Professor of Women & Work
ILR School, Cornell University
387 Ives Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853
rb41@cornell.edu

Co-Sponsors of the Report: Center for Advanced Human Resource Studies, Cornell University

For more information, contact Rosemary Batt at rb41@cornell.edu.