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A rush for BPO careers amongst A/L students as industry shows huge growth potential

Sep 7, 2011 2:35:50 PM - www.ft.lk

Among the many sectors showing exceptional growths like tourism during the past couple of years, is also the BPO sector. The key reason behind this success is that it inherently produces professional employment opportunities in an international setting.
Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) is contracting certain operations and responsibilities of specific business functions/processes like accounting, financial analysis, customer service, legal services, human resource services etc. to a third-party service provider. Usually these operations and responsibilities are from organisations in the USA and other European countries transferred to organisations in Asian countries like Sri Lanka.

Nowadays most of the students are well aware of the concept of outsourcing as well as opportunities in BPOs, thanks to these concepts being included in their school curriculum. But this awareness is mostly concentrated in and around urban areas since these new concepts are more familiar to the urban youth segment. One reason for it, is that most of the BPO companies are operating from Colombo and Kandy.
The younger generation who are working in this sector display a wider skill set against their counterparts. Differences in communication skills, IT skills and work ethics are the most obvious skills that differentiate a BPO employee from others. Also they are enjoying higher salaries and other benefits like foreign trips etc. from the day they join this sector. These employees are preferred by the other sectors as well due to their wider skills and international exposure. According to statistics there are about 50,000 employees working in the entire outsourcing sector.
Global BPO industry is estimated to be around US$ 300 billion whereas the Sri Lankan contribution is around US$ 400 million making it the fifth largest export earner for Sri Lanka. The expectation is that export revenue will be US$ 1 billion by 2015 with an additional 50,000 employment opportunities. For this goal to be realised there are many initiatives undertaken by the government and the private sector.
During the last quarter of 2010 the world’s largest body for BPO training and certifications entered Sri Lanka with Lanka BPO Academy to support the development initiatives for the BPO industry. LBA provides training for all prominent BPO domains like customer service, transaction processing, back-office services and finance & accounting. Further details can be obtained from www.lankabpoacademy.lk.
During the past year, they have being involved with major projects which instill industry specific skills in various sectors. For example with the Ministry of Higher Education and University of Colombo, LBA is involved with training graduates with the BPO specific skills. Similarly, with the National Human Resource Development Council (NHRDC) of the Ministry of Youth and Vocational Training, LBA is involved in a training project.
Most of the experts in various disciplines like economy, Information Technology, government policy etc. are expecting this sector to grow really fast. Hence to support the required human talent development, the LBA has expanded its operations from Colombo to major cities like Kandy, Gampaha and Kurunegala affording a chance to anyone from these districts to enjoy the benefits of the BPO sector as a qualified professional.

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