Talent Gap

Feb 19, 2008 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) firms have called for more investment to improve English standards and reduce education costs to get the required number of qualified people for the growing sector.

“There’s got to be an opportunity for Sri Lanka there.” “If we tackle English, we may have a much larger pool of people who are employable in the BPO industry,” says Ravi Abeysuriya, managing director of Amba Research, a high end investment research outsourcing (IRO) for overseas clients including Wall Street.

The supply of graduates in Sri Lanka numbers in the hundreds while neighboring India turns out nearly two million per year with over 120,000 engineers which puts India in the focus of BPOs much more than Sri Lanka, BPO officials say.

The industry can encourage more outsourced businesses if English language skills of students are improved as this will increase the talent pool and improve workforce standards.

“The significant obstacle for operations to grow in Sri Lanka is the weakness in English and the shortage of talent,” Abeysuriya told a conference for BPOs organized by the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA).

Without the numbers business process outsour