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ABSTRACT 

This article presents findings from a labour mobility survey of 250 former call centre agents in India's National Capital Region (September 2008) exploring individuals’ employment before, during and immediately after leaving India's high-profile call centre ‘industry’. These data are combined with forty-two in-depth interviews conducted in India's NCR (July 2006 to August 2008) with call centre agents, managers, ex-call centre agents, labour organizers and economic development officials, as well as representatives from different labour market intermediaries. The study gives a cautiously optimistic account about the call centre work and employment opportunities on offer in India's ‘IT Enabled Services – Business Processing Outsourcing’ (or ITES-BPO) industry, and their implications for young urban middle class graduates based on: (i) the movement of around one fifth of the ex-call centre agent sample into further study, facilitated by relatively high call centre salaries; (ii) the movement of ex-call centre agents into higher paying job roles in a wide range of sectors including banking, IT, insurance, marketing, real estate and telecommunications; and (iii) the development of transferable skills in Indian call centres that are recognized by ex-call centre agents and their subsequent employers as conferring a labour market advantage in other sectors of India's new service economy relative to colleagues without prior call centre work experience.