Rural BPOs, a success model to be adopted in Sri Lanka

Business process management companies contribute a major share of foreign revenue for Sri Lanka. The 15,000 odd workers in BPO and IT sectors have contributed to making the industry the 5th highest in terms of foreign revenue generation for Sri Lanka. Recent years witnessed the mushrooming of many BPO and IT companies in Sri Lanka which have contributed much to its 79th rank in the Forbes list of best countries for business.

Cheap and skilled labor, employment generation and reduced congestion in main cities are the main factors driving rural BPM in Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka is known more for its tourism. Photo courtesy:

According to EDB survey conducted last year, ICT/BPO industry is one of the largest export earners for Sri Lanka. SLASSCOM (Sri Lanka Association of Software and Services Companies) claims that around 78% of the companies are quality certified by international standard agencies. This combined with the flexibility of Sri Lankan work force has made it a fertile land for BPM growth.

However, most of the operations are based in and around Colombo and there is a need for more rural BPOs to be established.

Potential growth of rural BPM in Sri Lanka

Although, there are only a handful of BPO operations in the rural sector, villages of Sri Lanka are emerging as business hubs on account of the following factors:

  • Cost effectiveness
  • Quality of work
  • Better utilization of ICT infrastructure
  • Ready availability of skilled man power

Advantages of rural BPM

Villagers can take advantage of their immediate vicinity with more rural BPOs coming in. People can make a decent living without traveling long distances and have to leave their families and communities. This enables them to save more money and moreover avoid the constraints to the country that arise upon urban migration.

Rural empowerment and employment generation is another important benefit of rural BPO. This often presents a win-win situation for both villagers and companies. There are already companies who have initiated rural BPO like Hayleys and John Keells.  They have created benefits in rural areas which have been backward for a long time.

Large companies have a responsibility in emulating these examples and doing their part for the rural sector of Sri Lanka. Rural BPOs are certainly a great industry that can create many jobs for the youth of Sri Lanka.  However, a willingness to set forth into other areas of the country other than Colombo has to come in from investors and due support given by the Government.

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