Sramana Mitra: The telecom industry is looking very interesting in Africa.
Manish Dugar: Yes.
SM: Now, what is your read of the attrition trend in India. You have a lot of people. You have to manage very large workforces. What kind of attrition do you have to deal with? What kind of salaries, raises or wage inflation, are the dynamics metrics that you measure?
MD: I guess the amount of fresh talent that comes into this industry regularly is so significant that as long as you are able to get the talent at relatively similar joining salaries, raises do get taken care of automatically because of either attrition or growth. As far as attrition is concerned, I think it’s an industry phenomenon. Some attrition happens from one BPO company to another, but a majority happens from BPO to outside of BPO. And many times as an industry where people come in, they get trained, hone their skills, move on to do things in other industries.
SM: Like what? What industries are the BPO workers typically going to?
MD: I have technical help desk resource after being in the technical help desk for a couple of years, I would typically move into doing infrastructure management in an IT company.
SM: I see.
MD: If someone has already worked for a year and a half or two years, they will move into a hospitality industry. You look at the airline industry or the hotel industry, and you will find many people who have moved from a BPO industry. Then if you look at back office people who do F&A, people who do HR and procurement, they move on to other teams in all industries and in other companies. Typically, all of what we do has a link to something upstream, and people do see this as a typical . . .
SM: Stepping stone of some sort.
SM: Does the deep, troublesome recession that has set upon much of the Western world have implications for your resourcing strategy? Do you see yourselves hiring more in America because of what’s going on? Are you getting incentives from the government? Would you accelerate your hiring in America because of what’s going on right now?
MD: Hiring is clearly an outcome of what we agreed with the client in terms of the transition and in terms of delivery plans. We are watching what’s happening on the issue in the U.S., and we see the stock market indexes not looking good at all. We are also hearing about what would be the fall out. But there are differences between the 2008 crisis and now. There is a view that it may not be the same situation as last time. So, if it is a recession and if growth rates go down, that need not worry us much. But if it’s a panic situation, as it was last time, there is a certain reason for worry. We are waiting and watching, and we are doing our own scenario planning. We are looking at potential situations. In each circumstance, what should be our reaction? We are waiting to see signs of a trigger, which will force us to take a particular action. But at this point, we believe it is not similar to what we saw in 2008.