India will need one million trained and qualified call centre workers by 2009, according to the Indian government, but by that time about a quarter of those positions will remain unfilled.
Gartner warned that the shortfall in call centre agents will cause offshore outsourcing firms to hire fewer qualified staff and could lead to reduced due diligence.
The analyst firm advised its clients to pay close attention to attrition rates and security measures, and make sure that contracts guarantee service level agreements and penalties.
Security at outsourcing companies is an ongoing concern. Last July a call centre worker in India sold the account details of 1,000 customers of a UK bank to an undercover reporter for The Sun at £4.25 per account.
In addition to the security risks, the shortage of operators will increase the labour costs for skilled operators. This in turn could erode the competitive advantage of offshore call centres, and the average quality level of the services.
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