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Career options in BPO support functions
Sunder Ramachandran
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April 12, 2007

Part I: Want a career in the BPO industry?
Part II: Why BPO is a serious career option

Should you have a career in the BPO industry?

You might want to if you get to know that BPOs train their employees extensively on communication and domain specific skills -- these can be deployed across sectors when you wish to.

You might want to if you understand the growth paths that BPOs present.

In this last part of our three part series on BPOs, we present the various career options and growth paths that BPOs offer. Take your call.

Career map

The career map in a BPO is fairly simple. There can be two types of movements available, a lateral movement, or a vertical one.

The former usually occurs when you intend to change your domain. For example, moving from operations to training, quality or HR. A vertical movement is when you take one step up the hierarchy, like moving from an executive level to a senior executive level, team leader or assistant manager.

Your success in the industry is not determined by the level you are at; it depends on the exposure you have had across domains.

If you have performed exceedingly well at the front end, you could potentially be promoted to the level of a team leader within 2-3 years and then to a manager's role within 5 years. The industry offers a wide variety of jobs to young professionals in areas like IT, customer support, human resources, training and logistics.

BPOs actively encourages employees to move up the ladder or gain cross-functional skill sets. Most companies fill their front-end leadership roles from the talent pool available within the organisation. The industry acknowledges the aspirations of its young workforce and grooms them through its training programs. This aspect of employee development is unique and is being adopted by several other sectors.

Quality department

Most companies have dedicated quality departments that keep an eye on the day-to-day processing of jobs. People working in quality departments are usually tenured executives from the frontline workforce as they have a deep insight of the product under surveillance.

Typically, quality executives monitor interactions between the call centre agent and customer and provide feedback to the agent for improvement.

Training and development

Training can be a part of Human Resources in some organisations or can be a separate division in some. If you enjoy mentoring your peers, possess excellent communication skills and have been in the industry for 3-4 years, a career as a communication or soft skills trainer could be the next step.

A lot of companies outsource their training intervention to third party vendors, thus opening options for a new set of outsourcing industry -- training and consultancy. You could also join such organisations as a consultant or trainer.

Human Resources

You could broadly look at two career paths within HR -- you could become a recruitment consultant where your key responsibility would be to hire candidates for your organisation. The other profile is in corporate HR, where you will be responsible for employee engagement activities, pay roll, day-to-day employee issues etc.

You must also have an MBA in HR for the same. Make sure you take advantage of the company-sponsored MBA programmes that most BPOs offer in case you are targeting HR jobs in future.


Most BPOs invest heavily in infrastructure and require manpower to manage the facility. This involves coordinating with external agencies in maintenance of infrastructure, procuring the necessary equipments, etc.

Transportation is also a huge department in most BPOs and you could also transition into a career in logistics and transportation management.

Leadership roles

Leaders are the group of visionaries who keep close track of all processes working under the flagship of a company, whether a captive centre or third party vendor. Their goal is to align their efforts and objectives to the company's clients, shareholders and employees.

As the industry is maturing, we see leadership comprising tenured executives who have moved up their debut company's hierarchy. You could look at transitioning into a senior leadership role within 8-10 years of joining the industry.

Career options in other industries

BPOs train their employees extensively on communication and domain specific skills. It could range from learning about several financial products to technical skills. This enables employees to build specialist skill sets that could be leveraged across sectors in the long run.

Employees also learn sales and customer service skills during this phase that could come in handy for jobs in the service industry at a later stage. Skills acquired in a BPO job are also relevant to jobs in the telecom, IT, hospitality, travel and tourism, retail, banking and finance, and the media domain.
From being seen as a fun place to work, BPOs are working hard to ensure stable career paths for their young employees.

So, if you are contemplating a BPO career, there is no better time than now to make the most of the opportunities the industry offers.

Part I: Want a career in the BPO industry?
Part II: Why BPO is a serious career option

-- Sunder Ramachandran is Managing Partner at WCH Training Solutions. He can be reached at

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