Where from here? The Barack Obama effect

People working in BPOs have recently started to discuss another fear factor. It is the Barack Obama effect. What would happen now?

The Barack Obama effect is another syndrome that is very fast catching the BPO population. You might find people in groups, standing at a canteen or, in the cafeteria discussing what would happen to the BPOs, now that Obama has been elected the President of the US. His policies were clearly against outsourcing and that would mean loss of jobs in the BPOs again. As such companies were now handing over the pink-slip toits employees and there were huge retrenchment happening.

The problem with most of the people working in BPOs is the fact that they tend to speak on subjects that they don’t really research about and know much about. Gradually these casual talks take the form of a rumour and tend to hurt everybody from the employees to the employer. Having said that, I would certainly want to discuss on the subject in question so that at least a few of us understand what the actual story is.

It is true that Obama has said something about outsourcing. What precisely is it that he has said? In one of his speeches he happened to say that "he would bring back jobs to America – jobs that are being offshored to countries like India, by withdrawing subsidies that companies outsourcing such jobs normally receives". It is indeed true that he wants to cut down on the jobs that are bing outsourced. But is it possible for one president to decide one fine morning that he would stop ‘Globalization’. Of course, not. Globalization is a phenomenon on which many a country, even the ones like that of America thrives and survives. Cost effectiveness, economies of scale and quite a few things are all what globalization has leveraged. So withdrawing a subsidy to a company that outsources business is a very small part of the benefit that such a company derives from outsourcing. In addition to these subsidies, there are multiple other advantages that these companies get by outsourcing their businesses. Will they be willing to sacrifice all of that? They have to be given quite a bit of compensation in order to do that. Is it possible for Barack Obama to do that? The answer would be a big "NO".

Finance minister Chidambaram was the best to sum it up. Chidambaram, who said he was speaking as an individual and not for the Indian government, maintained that the Indian software and information technology-enabled services industry should not be worried over Obama’s policies.’A comment here or a comment there on outsourcing should not bother us,’ he said when asked to comment on the promises by Obama during his campaign to look into the issue of Americans purportedly losing jobs to countries like India.’Once he is in office, he will realise that this is an inter-connected world and countries have to work together.’

So, just chill guys. There is no threat to the outsourcing industry. There could be a slight decrease in the growth, but the outsourcing industry is here to stay.