Best Practices for Talent Managment in India: Report Live 5/5
I’m thrilled to report that the long-awaited whitepaper, “Talent Managment in Emerging Markets: Best Practices for Attracting, Developing and Retaining Talent in India,” is now complete, and a press release dropped today announcing it.
A committee of SSPA members, many based in India, have been working on this project for nearly a year, including participants from Symantec, Cisco, Avaya, Microsoft, Oracle, MeritTrack, EMC, Sun and other companies. The report will be released at the SSPA Spring Best Practices Conference on May 5th, and a presentation on the findings and recommendations will be given by Dheeraj Prasad, Director, Developer Support, Microsoft Global Technical Support Center, at 10:45am on the 5th.
Here are some findings of the study.
- Technical support attrition rates in India are twice as high as in the US: 13% in NA, 23% in India (SSPA benchmark)
- While there are an estimated 1.2 million graduates with technical degrees being minted annually in India, the percentage of employable engineers to be around 25% when abilities including Verbal Ability, Analytical Reasoning Skills and Process Orientation were analyzed. If spoken English skills are factored in, the percentage drops even further. According to the majority of companies surveyed, support organizations have an average interview to hire ratio of ten percent or less—a huge productivity hit for hiring managers who must devote enormous blocks of time to interviewing candidates and then only extend offers to a minute percent.
- When hiring managers were surveyed, the overwhelming majority, 73%, defined the ideal candidate as having more than two years of experience. However, the expectation for experienced candidates is in conflict with the average years of experience for India’s customer service and support workforce. When managers were asked to give the years of experience for their current support staffs, across all degree and certification types, nearly 50% had less than two years of experience. The ideal candidate, with two to four years of experience, composes only 26% of the current workforce.
- The average tenure of a support engineer is brief, with 48% of companies surveyed saying the average tenure is 12-24 months. Only 10% of support techs stay in a support role for more than 4 years. Not only are experienced reps in great demand by other companies, but the accompanying chart shows that rapidly expanding Indian support centers are cannibalizing the talent pool with quick promotions to management: 30% of management promotions occur after only 12-24 months on the job.
- Customers typically rank accent and language as the #1 satisfaction issue with offshore agents. However, when surveyed, 43% of Indian hiring managers say their company’s accent and language classes are only one week in length—hardly a best practice. Furthermore, at least two-thirds of respondents are pleased with the current amount of training allocated—clearly customer requirements are not factored into training plans.
I think this report will be hugely useful for companies operating support centers in India, or those planning to expand to India in the future. I also think many of the talent management recommendations are applicable to other emerging markets. Those of you attending the conference can pick up a copy there; the report will also be available for SSPA members to download from our website on May 5th.
A huge thank you to all of the committee members for your hard work–be sure to attach a copy of the report to your annual review this year!