Finding employment in an Indian call center

In India where PhD (doctorates) are willing to work sometimes for as little of Rs.5000/- () per month, the call center industry has been a life-saver.

It is true that even today; inspite of all the fanfare the call center jobs involve, this career is not high on serious people's priority lists. But for those who have tested the bitterness of being unemployed and unemployable, the call center job is a wish-come-true from God.

Today the call centre accounts for 0.1 percent of the total labor mass in India which comes to approximately 500 million. The call center jobs have indeed solved unemployment problems to a great many unemployed Indians in the age bracket of 18-50 years. However, it has its limitations since these jobs can go to only people who speak and understand good English. That of course, leaves out the village people as well as those who are not familiar with English - these account to as much as 70 percent if not more of India's population.

What is the benefit however, if that a person who is barely a graduate, or even an undergraduate will definitely be able to earn at par if not more with a Assistant Professor - due to the call centre jobs which start with a salary of Rs. 8000/- () and go upto Rs.30,000/- (). There are call centers such as 24/7 Customer and Accenture which have grown from a strength of 100 to 3000 in the course of one year and have plans to expand to 8-10000 in the course of the next one-and-half years.

This sound great isn't it? So, how can you land this wonderful you will ask? There are many ways to do this and though the jobs are offered left-right-and-center they are not really easy to land as it seems. If you want to get employed in a call center job, this is what you have to do:

  • You need to be basically a graduate, though many times call centers will accept an under-graduate with good accent
  • You will need to speak impeccable English, though if you have a good accent the call centers may take you and ask you to get trained
  • You will need to enlist either with the placement agencies which conduct interviews on behalf on the call centers (very rarely the call centre directly conducts the recruitment process - like Satyam, Wipro Spectramind, Infosys which have a written test preceding the interview) or apply directly to be directed to the placement agency which has been hired by the company
  • You may like to enlist in a good training program for English speaking course, or accent neutralization which are actually tied up with a number of call centers who employ those who pass out from the courses
  • Visit any of the metros (Kolkata, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad) and attend the thousands of walk-ins organized every day for this purpose
  • Ask a friend who already works in a call center to recommend your name when the next recruitment spree takes place in the company; the attrition in call centers is very high, and there are always sufficient vacancies
  • Opt for call centers who want you to work in night shifts - these call centers have high demand for people, since working in night shifts is extremely strenuous and a bit uncomfortable for women (though the atmosphere that the call centers have are good and safe for women, and they are picked and dropped)
  • Answer to the ads placed in the newspapers by the dozens for call center employees
  • Learn a new international language - such as French, Japanese, German - which are in high demand with international call centers
  • Specialize in skills - Learn the basics of the banking and account keeping, or travel related courses (ticketing, visa and passport, IATA regulations, etc), hospitality business, mobile phones, engineering, etc which will give you better entrance to call center jobs
  • In case you are good at the local language and know one or two more Indian languages, then you can always apply for domestic call centers who more than welcome people who know English and the local and neighboring states languages

Call centers are indeed a good means to an end - if you look at the power of wealth creation that these jobs offer. Of course, career wise, there is not much growth direction, but for an educated person in India who struggles for a salary - even below minimum wages - this job can offer great opportunities. And then, if you are a talented person, you can always leave it when you get a good job, or start a business with the money saved in this job. However, many youngsters get so used to the life the call centers offer that they stabilize in it and stop thinking of professional growth.

This could be the worst side effect the call center jobs have on the Indian youth, but with time, I am sure that this will change too. For the better! Till, then the call center jobs will be a good way to raise the per-capita income of many families in India.