Stephen Jenner, Deputy Head Corporate Training, British Council India, poses this question as one of the parallel speakers for the Session ‘Meeting the Recruitment Challenge’.
Stephen stresses the need for a global benchmarking tool and suggests the CEF, or rather ‘CF’ as it is more commonly being referred to.
Stephen summarises the BPO recruiter’s daily challenge:
1. I need people with good English, but what does that mean?
2. What exactly are the communication skills I need for this specific process?
3. What do I do with borderliners?
4. How do I transform new recruits into first class employees?
We would love to hear your ideas, suggestions and answers to these questions! Keep your comments coming in…
Stephen Jenner, Deputy Head Corporate Training, British Council raised a number of issues and challenges which BPO recruiters face on a daily basis.
Stephen showed how the British Council has used the CEF, a global language benchmark, as a tool to help overcome some of the challenges.
We’d be interested in hearing of any other companies who have used the CEF in areas of recruitment and language training.
I want to draw your attention to Manish Sabharwal’s presentation at the Third Policy Dialogue, Session 3, Building Skills for Employability. Manish is CEO and President of Team Lease.
Manish spoke with such eloquence, wit and at such breakneck speed, that he managed to keep us all on the edge of our seats straight after lunch! His talk is peppered with so many wonderful soundbytes that I urge you to view at it in your own time. Find out what he meant by ‘the ovarian lottery’ and why ’English is like (Microsoft) Windows.’
David Graddol interviewed key figures in the corporate sector around the challenges they find in recruiting employees. The corporate sector wants candidates who are immediately employable as there is the danger that they may invest in people who then move on to join other companies. The skills they are looking for are more than just communication skills, although these are of course of extreme importance, but also inlcude other skills such as teamwork. It was argued that school often kills initiative and confidence, and certainly does not produce the kind of candidate that the corporate sector wants.
What do you think? Whose responsibility is it to produce the kind of candidates who are ready to enter the corporate sector? Is it the resonsibility of the education system or the responsibility of the corporate sector?
The fact that 85-90% of college leavers in India are not considered immediately suitable for employment in the ITES sector presents a huge challenge for the industry. So what is the solution? One of the action points from the 2008 NASSCOM-Everest BPO report is to:
“Increase employability and access untapped talent pools by creating greater linkages between the current education system and the needs of the BPO industry, and facilitating the development of BPO-specific education models.”
The report goes on to make a number of recommendations in this area:
“Initiatives related to education are required to expand the employable talent pool in India. The industry needs to work more aggressively with the Government to create greater linkage between the current education system and requirements of the BPO industry. This can be done by 1) policy changes like liberalization of higher education, 2) increased collaboration between industry and academic institutions to take up initiatives such as introduction of BPO-specific curriculum and improving students’ access to funds for higher studies, 3) introducing coursework changes and teacher training at the school level in accordance with future requirements of the BPO industry. There is also a significant opportunity for private players to step in and create a BPO education industry. Such a move should be based on creating longer-term training programs to improve communication and other skills required by the BPO industry. Specific training programs need to be developed to create several intermediate levels of skills and specialisation (between generalists and highly trained specialists), and to bring alternate talent pools (e.g. high school graduates, educated housewives) into the BPO workforce.”
I think educationalists would probably disagree that the purpose of education is to provide employees for the BPO sector, although they would probably agree that teacher training and curriculum development are needed.
What are your views?
The 2008 NASSCOM Everest report warned that the ITES sector in India needs to recruit beyond the ‘ready to eat’ pool of talented graduates. With BPO expanding into 2nd and 3rd tier cities and even into rural areas, what does this mean for the future of the Indian corporate sector? How can India take advantage of its demographic dividend (nearly half the population is under 25)? What measures are necessary in the education and corporate sectors, and who is responsible. These are some of the questions we will be debating at the Third Policy Dialogue in Delhi, 19-20 Nov. What are your views?
The line up for the British Council’s English for Progress: Third Policy Dialogue looks impressive, with NASSCOM President Mr. Som Mittal set to speak during the first panel discussion on Thursday morning 19th November at the Hyatt Regency, New Delhi.
Some background information…The National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM) is the most important trade body of the IT and BPO industries in India. It has more than 1200 members, which include both Indian and multinational companies that have a presence in India, including the British Council . NASSCOM’s membership base makes up over 95% of the industry revenues in India and employs over 2.24 million professionals.
Don’t miss the coverage we will be giving to this event, live and online!