Mar 2018

Do Offshore BPO workers have the last laugh?

Do Offshore BPO workers have the last laugh?

By: Odyssey Outsourcing
Tags: Career growth, offshore labour, Salary, Training

We were reading some reviews the other day of some of the Offshore workers comments on various review sites. Sites such as glassdoor.com, indeed.com or jobstreet.com can give some excellent reviews not only of the working conditions in the company, but also whether employees think they are getting a fair deal.

The “fair deal” includes not only remuneration, but the working conditions.

In terms of remuneration, there is usually an annual review, though some offshore providers artificially holding annual salary increases down to 5 or 10%, which has led to some offshore workers indicating there are no options for career growth in an offshore model.

The disconnect in remuneration arises when offshoring provides labour back to countries like Australia. It’s in the best interest of the offshore provider to ensure above market conditions and benefits, even if at the expense of the Australian accounting firm paying for the offshore worker. As we’ve mentioned before, offshoring service providers are very focused on ensuring their workers are paid above market rates (paid by the Australian accounting firm).

You can expect the working conditions for offshore workers will be advertised as above the standards applied in other companies in the country if not other BPO’s in the area. For instance, not working Saturdays when Saturday working is the norm. And it’s in the offshore providers best interest to promote a great work life balance, with competitive salary and benefits, when hiring new staff.

At the same time, offshore workers are still only “labour for hire” and it is the responsibility of the Australian accounting firms to provide training (and management, and direction and.. Etc) to staff. So you can expect offshore employees are looking to be trained really well (by the Australian accounting firms) as their focus is on an increase in their marketability, and not necessarily profitability for either the offshore BPO company or the Australian accounting firm. That is, when labour hours are the payment driver, (and not jobs completed), then the labour will focus on labour hours and not jobs.

Promotion prospects are usually very limited in an offshore model, especially as the Australian firm wants only a certain team structure. It is impossible for an offshore labour provider to easily switch out workers to other clients. This leads to the conclusion that unless the team is expanding, and unless they perform exceptionally well where the Australian client promotes you (which rarely happens), then offshore labourers have no chance of forwarding your career.

Some offshore workers have come to the conclusion that sadly if you want to get a higher salary then the offshore worker has no choice but to move to other companies. And in some hot markets such as the Philippines this is a constant risk for the offshore provider, and thus the Australian accounting firm engaging the offshore provider.

There is also a fear of job instability. Offshore workers have commented that working for a BPO company is a huge risk with no security at all since if the Australian accounting client halts the service with the 3 month notification then the worker only has 3 months to find another client or else they are let go (yes this does happen!). And even if they do stay with the same firm (relying on the sales/marketing department to find another client), there is still the risk that the new client won’t like you and will cancel within the month, even which you’ll still be at the same or reduced salary as before.

Offshore workers feel that they are actually better off applying to new companies and taking their experience elsewhere.

So certainly while on the surface it seems like the offshore BPO worker is in a great place, there are certainly limitations with the current BPO models being deployed at present.

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