Monday, March 20, 2006

Adventure Workers - IT Companies and BPOs hiring foreigners

No search on Google goes a waste. I happened to search for the terms 'India+Outsourcing+Foreigners' on Google News in connection with some information that one of my friends had requested. Not happy with the results, I was about to punch in a re-phrased query when one particular result drew my attention. It read 'Westerners Follow Outsourcing to India to Work at Call Centers'.

Though it did not fetch anything for my friend, I got an interesting issue to post at this blog.

It spoke NOT of the people who having lost their jobs in their countries and are making a beeline to India to regain their lost jobs. Rather, the article was about people dubbed by New America Media as 'Adventure Workers'. A fancy name you might say. Wait till you know how they got that name.

These 20 something aged individuals come to India from various Western countries of Europe and North America and South America. They come to the subcontinent to earn quick bucks and enjoy the subcontinent while they are here. They work for 5-6 months at a stretch and make a quick buck. They then use the same money to tour the subcontinent and chill out before heading back to their countries. This is how an 'Adventure Worker' works. Aptly named, did you say.

The outsourcing industry where these workers chiefly pursue work options also receive them with outstretched arms. These people who hail from different countries make up for the lack of Indians who have gained the exact accent and knowledge of local languages in the countries from where these foreigners come from and which also incidentally happen to be the same countries to which Indian BPO(Business Process Outsourcing) companies offer outsourcing advantages. These foreign workers address the most common complaint by customers abroad that native English (or French, German, Spanish or Dutch) spoken by Indians has a very different flavor/accent that makes it difficult to understand. Then there are the requirements of cultural and geographical knowledge to be able to address specific queries. During their tenure in India, they may also end up imparting skills to their Indian colleagues.

NASSCOM estimates these adventure workers to be around 30,000 in India and growing. And not to underestimate the enormous tourism potential they constitute for the India.

I think talent flow has come a full circle in India due to the Information Technology and BPO companies. Earlier it was Brain Drain of Indian talent, followed by Reverse Brain Drain of Indians back to their homeland and now it is Brain Gain.

Useful Links

Firangs discover India for BPO jobs

Passage to India


theBhc said...

Hi Vijay,

Huh. That is interesting. I had no idea so many Anglos were migrating to India for this sort of opportunity.

I have to say, it is something I have been pondering myself. My job here is coming to end and I have always wanted to visit India. This seems like an economic way to do this for an extended period of time.

It seems you view this as more postive than negative. Is that correct?



aka thebhc (anything they say)

p.s. thanks for your previous comment on my blog.

Vijay said...

You are right. I view this development as positive since we have more to gain in terms of cultural exhange with no frills attaced, tourism boost and image makeover of India in the minds of the next generation of Westerners.


Balaji said...

India is a funny and adventuresome country. So many of my friends, here in US, wanted to see this wonderful country. I always tell them that it will never stop to astonish you. From the variety of climate to variety of races, religions, technology... India is a miniature world.... No doubt so many adventure tourists come to work in call center and at the same time make quick buck...

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