U.K. backpackers heed call of India firms

British companies are hiring backpackers to work in India-based call centers to try to bridge culture gap between agents and customers.

2 min read
U.K. backpackers and college graduates are being hired by British companies to work in India-based call centers in an attempt to bridge the culture gap between agents and customers.

The travelers can earn from $250 per month at entry level to $900 per month as team leaders working in Indian call centers supporting U.K. customer service operations.

In terms of the cost of living in India, that would rank the workers at a similar level to teachers and other young professionals.

Delegates at this week's Offshore Customer Management Conference in New Delhi said there were a few recruitment agencies now starting to target this market. The graduates and backpackers are able to help Indian staff understand the cultural nuances of U.K. customers.

One of these agencies is Launch Offshore, which has just signed a deal for a pilot of six travelers to work for HSBC in its operations in Bangalore, Hyderabad and Colombo, Sri Lanka. It also has a successful project with 10 U.K. graduates working for global contact center company GTL in the Indian city of Pune.

The workers are typically 21 to 25 years old. They usually go out to India on a 12-month contract, working for 10 months with an additional two months' salary paid for them to travel the country. Accommodation and flights are also paid for.

Tim Bond, founder and managing director of Launch Offshore, said his company is more involved in recruiting graduates with previous travel experience than backpackers.

"The cost of living in India is so low," Bond said. ?The graduate call center agents are better off than they would be doing it in the U.K."

Andy McCue of Silicon.com reported from London.