Thursday, September 16, 2010

BPO sector jobs in Sri Lanka 2 - Recruiting experts

We have vacancies. But no one to fill those!!!

People always complain that there are no jobs in Sri Lanka. It’s true that unemployment rate is quite high. I’m seeing people standing on queues near every single embassy/high commission and consulate, to take visa for foreign jobs.

Ironically, in the same country I have come across many situations that there are jobs, but no suitable people to fill those. You will understand what I'm trying to say after you read this. Literacy rate in Sri Lanka is very high. But its just people do not know that which areas of studies has a higher demand for jobs and which areas they should specialize on to meet the demands of current market. This is my effort to fulfill that information gap.

What can we do to create more jobs in Sri Lanka?

1. Be a responsible and a reliable employee


Fortunately or unfortunately there is something call "recruitment by recommendation". It’s a civilized way of describing a 'pandama' or something similar. Unless in a rare instance, just likes banks in Sri Lanka BPOs also recruit people only by recommendations.

Why do they recruit only by recommendation?

Because they need trust worthy people. They can't recruit someone and check on that person while working. These works are confidential and one single dishonesty can cost a whole project. That means millions of money and dozens of new jobs. Therefore they cannot take a chance with people they recruit. Once they recruit by recommendation, they have people to be responsible for their referees.

Company gets to know about the employee's track record from a known source. If the work is very confidential and important, some times they go to the extent of checking the parent's back ground as well. Because if a parent is known in his field for taking bribes or any other misconducts and not doing his job properly, there is a high tendency that their children also are like that. So how parents behave does have a huge impact on their children's life even after so long. Easy money has to pay the cost.

Companies usually take the police reports without the knowledge of the applicants. Because if they were involved in any small thing, other than the obvious issues they might have to face issues in getting immediate visa to a foreign country for training. So if your name is in a police record, you are not the one they look for.

2. Study targeting the job market

I have seen the employers in the BPO sector going around each and every person they know to find a suitable person for the roles available. In fact some companies award the people who bring employees to them. Mind you, these are not domestic servant jobs. I’m talking about high profile professional roles which only can be performed by experts and paid in 6 digit salaries! I know you won't believe me. But it’s true. We have roles. But no people to match those.

What are the jobs which have vacancies but no suitable employees?

I would like to mention some of those specific jobs which I know that there is not enough work force to meet the demand.

(a) Strategic Business Managers with an expert knowledge in finance

There are good managers, but they are not experts in finance. There are good accountants, but they are not good leaders. Therefore, if you believe your self as a 'Born Leader', make sure you expertise on a specific areas such as finance.

If you are not a born leader, just like to explain how to atleast try being  a leader. Studying is good, but it doesn't mean you run and do some management studies makes you a manager. Its how much you know about the world and around, how good you are at dealing with things, specially with the employees who work under you. People should respect you for your work. Not because they are scared of you and not because you buy them expensive gifts or treats.

(b) IT Project Managers with computer programming skills

There are good programmers, good developers, but they are not good in managing the large scale IT projects. There are good managers, who are technically not sound. This makes a niche for this job slot in most IT BPOs.

If you do not understand the client requirements, you cannot convey it to a set of technical engineers who are developing a product. If you are not capable of understanding the technical issues, you cannot explain it to the customer. If you are not a good manager, you will not be able to keep the teams happy while delivering the product on time agreed. Unless you have a balances talent in both these areas, all in all you will be messing the whole project.

(c) Accountants with the knowledge of foreign languages

Sometimes we receive business from countries such as France, Spain, Switzerland and the countries in the American continent. We have experts in any field, but they are not fluent in any foreign language other than English.

On the other hand, there are graduates who have done languages for their degree, but they are not capable of handling accounting work. Therefore it also adds a value if you can learn one other key language use in the world along with your professional studies.

(d) Investment Analysts

This is a sector which we have much jobs but still not much popular among Sri Lankans. In our universities still we do not have a major BSc on Investment Analysis but only a subject. Investment analyst would need to have strong technical skills in accounting, financial statement analysis, and valuation fundamentals. I have met very few people who are studying for CFA (, but that few are not enough to cater for the demand. If you are interested on checking on a field to learn, this is one good choice.

What we should study, if we are to get a job?

What I have highlighted above in only concentrated on the BPO industry. But if you really want to check, what is the best field to study in order to get a job, best thing is to go through some job advertisements. ( Once you read all the requirements in those, you will realize what you are missing and what you should obtain in order to reach your task.

This is just a small guidance. I will write another article on more specific job categories which you cannot find from job seeking web sites. But before that I need to collect those information. Until then, if you need something, drop me a mail :)

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