The US Call Centre Bill may hurt Indian BPOs because the bill aims at bringing the large employment opportunity in BPO industry back to US, for which huge number of BPO employees in India will lose their jobs.
Although the proposed legislation, titled 'Call Centre Worker & Consumer Protection Act’ does not pin pointedly target Indian BPOs, still India’s IT and BPO industry has again been the target of such legislation, which seek to curb outsourcing as a means to protect jobs in the US.
Unemployment being a major concern for several countries, US has also faced the same. Again, when other countries are taking the benefit of large employment generated from outsourcing companies of US itself, why they will miss the chance when they are also going through a not so good time in respect of employment.
Tim Bishop, one of the representatives who have tabled the bill argues "Outsourcing is one of the scourges of our economy and why we are struggling so to knock down the unemployment rate". The bill has strong backing from the Communications Workers of America (CWA), a union which represents 150,000 call centre workers in the US.
The bill also aims to make companies that move call canters overseas (including India) ineligible for grants or guaranteed loans from the federal government. This seems a move aimed at stemming the tide of jobs heading to nations like India.
Under the protectionist legislation, not only would customer service representatives working overseas for US corporations have to disclose their locations upon request, they would also have to offer callers the option of being transferred to call canters back in America. The result will be great loss of business in the overseas countries like India and reshuffling profit to US.
In India There are hundreds of thousands of people who make their living off the industry either directly or through support functions. The support functions or related Industry includes Catering, BPO training and recruitment, transport (home pick up and drops for night shifts being the norm in the industry) Security agencies and Facilities management. The industry has been growing rapidly. It grew at a rate of 38% over 2005.
India only has some 5-6% share of the total Industry, but a commanding 63% share of the offshore component when The global BPO Industry is estimated to be worth 120-150 billion dollars, of this the offshore BPO is estimated to be some US$11.4 billion.
Again, a lot of employees in the BPO segment of India are in the 35 age bracket and will not find it easy to obtain another job if the call center industry were to collapse. Summing up all these, it is certain that if the bill is not repudiated, it will hurt the Indian BPOs.