India which is the second most populous country in the world has been experiencing an explosive growth in the field of outsourcing in the recent years. As more and more work is being outsourced from US and Europe, countries like India and Philippines have become the favourite destinations of outsourcing. Outsourcing industry has immensely contributed to Indian economy by employing a large number of people including women. According to a study done by NASSCOM along with HR consulting firm Mercer the percentage of women employees in BPO sector has increased by more than 60%. There are a lot of studies which highlights the contribution of outsourcing sector to the Indian economy but there are very less studies on how it is affecting the society especially women.
The outsourcing industry in India is said to be having a love hate relationship with women. There are many women who are coming forward to work in BPO’s and Call Centres and there are many business organisations who are giving special preference to women. Companies like Google have a rule wherein 20% of the engineers would be women and they don’t allow it to dip. This rule was formulated by the co-founders of Google. What is mainly driving women to this profession is flexi hours and gender sensitive transportation policy. The women employees in BPO have started experiencing an economic liberalization and they are now standing on their own feet. This has resulted in making them independent in their outlook and they have now more career choices.
IT-BPO industry in India has been able to offer a gender balance and this has resulted in more women coming out for jobs in this sector. The companies are offering women friendly policies, which includes maternity benefits, 24/7 child care, pick up and drop facility and many more. Because of these women friendly policies the Indian families who are basically conservative in nature are allowing these young women to walk out of the house and work at odd hours. Call centres often hire women because they are found to be extremely hard working, are loyal, less aggressive, and patient and have better interpersonal and analytical skills.
Like there are pros of women joining outsourcing industry there are cons too. Some of the cons are:
- There are women who are found to have multiple personality disorders and psychiatric problems since they take some other names when they are working in call centres.
- The women working in call centres are spending less time with their family and friends which is resulting in very less social life
- There have been instances where women have complained of stress, alcoholism, sleeping and eating disorders and other types of depressions.
- Women working in call centres have also been sometimes subjected to racial abuse.
- Security issue has also been raised by women in some cities related to their late hour working
IT-BPO industry is going through a transition phase and is trying to move up the value chain. The industry would require employees who have good domain knowledge so as to offer vertical services. The industry is aggressively looking for the right talent and this has ironed out the gender bias issues. As this transition happens, there will be a lot of pressure on women employees to perform.