Firms "Reshore" Jobs As COVID-19 Upends Outsourcing To India, Philippines

Restrictions on normal activity in these countries and others have created a logistical nightmare for the managers of call centres and other back-office operations for foreign corporations.

Firms 'Reshore' Jobs As COVID-19 Upends Outsourcing To India, Philippines

Some firms have resorted to having staff live at their place of work.

Mumbai, India:

Coronavirus is permanently shaking up the global outsourcing industry as lockdowns from Bangalore to Manila prompt firms to "reshore" jobs and, with AI, to move further away from needing humans at all.

Restrictions on normal activity in these countries and others have created a logistical nightmare for the managers of call centres and other back-office operations for foreign corporations.

Having their staff work from home is difficult because of rules governing the handling of sensitive material such as financial transactions for bank customers from Scotland to San Francisco.

Also, many workers in places like India and the Philippines live in crowded housing with poor-quality broadband, while some firms do not have enough equipment like laptops to provide to employees.

"The outsourcing industry doesn't lend itself to working from home," consultant Vivek Sood, author of "Outsourcing 3.0", told AFP.

"We are talking about companies which used to ask employees to leave even their pens and pencils outside the office because of security concerns."

'Temporary stay arrangements'

Desperate to stay operational, some firms have resorted to having staff live at their place of work.

Vodafone India, for example, says it has "organised temporary stay arrangements at our data centre locations, (and) made food and groceries available at critical locations".

Similar practices by others have sparked the ire of trade unions.

Mylene Cabalona, president of the Business Process Outsourcing Industry Employees' Network (BIEN), told AFP the union had received reports of some workers "effectively quarantined and locked down in their offices".

The Financial Times in early April published photos that it said appeared to show workers sleeping on the floor of a call centre in the Philippines, living in what they described as "subhuman" conditions.

Don't call

Anthony Esguerra, who works at a Manila firm handling data for a Chinese online gaming company, admitted that 80 percent of its operations were disrupted.

"The workflow of processing players' requests really slowed down, since our internet access was limited compared to when we were working at the office," he told AFP.

Companies like telecom firm Spark New Zealand and Taiwanese computer maker Acer, which uses a Philippine facility to serve Australian and Kiwi customers, have simply told people not to call.

Australia's Telstra and Optus and Britain's Virgin Media -- all of which have offshore units in India and the Philippines -- have announced plans to recruit hundreds of staff back home.

Telstra, which heavily relies on its Philippine facility for customer service, initially said it would hire 1,000 temporary workers, but later raised that figure to 3,500. 

Optus sought to fill 500 vacancies, saying that while the company had previously believed "its diversity of locations would make us resilient to any disruptions", this was no longer the case.

OK computer

But the bigger lasting change from the pandemic will likely involve the wider use of artificial intelligence to handle tasks currently performed by human beings, experts said.

"AI doesn't go on strike, it can work 24/7 and throws up fewer complications," said Michael Czinkota, who teaches international business at Washington's Georgetown University.

Telstra, for instance, which was already planning to slash customer service calls by two-thirds by 2022, now intends to accelerate its use of AI.

"(We) will be using this as an opportunity to further digitise and automate our business," CEO Andy Penn told The Sydney Morning Herald this month.

Trailblazer

"COVID-19 (has) achieved in six to eight weeks what the evangelists of automation have not managed... for more than five years," Ilan Oshri from the University of Auckland's Graduate School of Management told AFP.

But the "onshoring" of jobs and the increased use of AI will have a big impact on countries that for years have benefitted from taking on the back-office operations of multinationals.

India, in particular, was a trailblazer. As of 2017, the industry employed nearly four million Indians and raked in revenues of more than $150 billion, according to trade body NASSCOM.

In the Philippines, the industry started from scratch in the early 1990s but by 2019 its revenues were equal to 7.3 percent of the country's gross domestic product, employing 1.3 million people.

"We will have to rethink the whole outsourcing model," said consultant Sood.

"The assumption that you can offshore everything to Bangalore and Manila and relax has gone out of the window."

World

1,96,36,388Cases
69,71,169Active
1,19,38,444Recovered
7,26,775Deaths
Coronavirus has spread to 188 countries. The total confirmed cases worldwide are 1,96,36,388 and 7,26,775 have died; 69,71,169 are active cases and 1,19,38,444 have recovered as on August 9, 2020 at 9:21 am.

India

21,53,010 64399Cases
6,28,747 9659Active
14,80,884 53879Recovered
43,379 861Deaths
In India, there are 21,53,010 confirmed cases including 43,379 deaths. The number of active cases is 6,28,747 and 14,80,884 have recovered as on August 9, 2020 at 8:00 am.

State & District Details

State Cases Active Recovered Deaths
DistrictCases
Akola757
Aurangabad1974
Dhule228
Jalgaon1039
Mumbai45478
Mumbai Suburban5363
Nagpur692
Nashik1575
Palghar1421
Pune9920
Satara629
Solapur1291
Thane13660
Yavatmal150
Ahmednagar190
Amravati291
Beed54
Bhandara41
Buldhana88
Chandrapur32
Hingoli208
Jalna201
Kolhapur646
Latur139
Nanded176
Nandurbar42
Parbhani78
Raigad1462
Ratnagiri350
Sangli145
Gadchiroli42
gondia69
Osmanabad125
Sindhudurg114
Wardha11
Washim13

503084 12822

147355 1466

338362 11081

17367 275

DistrictCases
Chittoor319
Guntur511
Krishna557
Kurnool795
Sri Potti Sriramulu Nell*296
Anantapur428
East Godavari356
Prakasam104
Srikakulam183
Visakhapatnam103
West Godavari199
Y.S.R.205
Vizianagaram23

217040 10080

85486 832

129615 9151

1939 97

DistrictCases
Bengaluru Rural40
Bengaluru Urban529
Mysuru107
Bagalkote103
Ballari60
Belagavi337
Bidar219
Chikkaballapura149
Dakshina Kannada179
Dharwad61
Gadag45
Kalaburagi669
Mandya346
Tumakuru36
Uttara Kannada95
Vijayapura201
Chamarajanagara0
Chikkamagaluru19
Chitradurga14
Davangere204
Hassan205
Haveri24
Kodagu4
Kolar29
Koppal5
Raichur369
Ramanagara3
Shivamogga67
Udupi1176
Yadgir538

172102 7178

79773 2079

89238 5006

3091 93

DistrictCases
North Goa57
South Goa69

8206 259

2332 50

5802 207

72 2

DistrictCases
Chengalpattu1314
Chennai23324
Kanchipuram503
Madurai322
Namakkal83
Ranipet133
Thanjavur130
Thiruvallur774
Thiruvarur67
Tiruppur116
Vellore71
Virudhunagar185
Ariyalur444
Coimbatore188
Cuddalore477
Dharmapuri15
Dindigul175
Erode75
Kallakurichi324
Kanniyakumari110
Karur88
Nagapattinam99
Perambalur133
Pudukkottai53
Ramanathapuram119
Salem258
Sivaganga46
Tenkasi103
The Nilgiris17
Theni129
Tiruchirappalli119
Tirunelveli433
Tirupathur45
Tiruvannamalai496
Tuticorin333
Villupuram509
Krishnagiri43

290907 5883

53481 722

232618 5043

4808 118

DistrictCases
Kannur357
Kottayam73
Alappuzha76
Idukki40
Kasaragod333
Kollam118
Kozhikode90
Malappuram119
Palakkad224
Pathanamthitta98
Thiruvananthapuram104
Thrissur106
Ernakulam60
Wayanad36

33120 1420

12152

20862 1715

106 4

DistrictCases
Raipur46
Korba100
Balod41
Baloda Bazar85
Balrampur17
Bastar2
Bemetara21
Bijapur2
Bilaspur100
Dantewada0
Dhamtari6
Durg31
Gariyaband10
Janjgir-Champa56
Jashpur77
Kabirdham52
Kanker19
Kondagaon0
Korea39
Mahasamund54
Mungeli87
Narayanpur0
Raigarh47
Rajnandgaon52
Sukma0
Surajpur9
Surguja14

11743 335

3072 70

8582 263

89 2

DistrictCases
Hyderabad2475
MedchalMalkajgiri75
Ranga Reddy183
Suryapet87
Vikarabad40
Warangal Urban32
Adilabad22
Jagitial77
Jangoan8
Jayashankar Bhupalapally9
Jogulamba Gadwal40
Kamareddy11
Karimnagar17
Khammam26
Kumuram Bheem Asifabad8
Mahabubnagar30
Mancherial43
Medak11
Nalgonda33
Narayanpet3
Nirmal21
Nizamabad76
RajannaSircilla16
Sangareddy26
Bhadradri Kothagudem5
Mahabubabad10
Mulugu3
Nagarkurnool8
Peddapalli5
Siddipet7
Wanaparthy1
Warangal Rural4
YadadriBhuvanagiri40

79495 1982

22869 301

55999 1669

627 12

DistrictCases
Baleshwar190
Bhadrak137
Jajapur322
Dhenkanal36
Kalahandi33
Kendrapara164
Khordha238
Koraput16
Sundargarh102
Anugul26
Balangir129
Bargarh16
Boudh34
Cuttack155
Deogarh33
Gajapati61
Ganjam581
Jagatsinghapur91
Jharsuguda8
Kandhamal28
Kendujhar34
Malkangiri20
Mayurbhanj73
Nabarangpur2
Nayagarh86
Nuapada69
Puri103
Rayagada2
Sambalpur16
Sonepur29

44193 1643

13692 87

30242 1544

259 12

DistrictCases
Barwani60
Bhopal1880
Dewas140
Dhar132
East Nimar266
Gwalior211
Indore3839
Jabalpur276
Ujjain799
Agar Malwa15
Alirajpur3
Betul35
Burhanpur351
Chhindwara16
Dindori29
Harda4
Hoshangabad37
Khargone196
Mandsaur112
Morena109
Raisen71
Ratlam51
Sagar228
Shajapur39
Shandol14
Sheopur26
Tikamgarh18
Vidisha37
Anuppur22
Ashoknagar13
Balaghat9
Bhind87
Chhatarpur35
Damoh26
Datia12
Guna8
Jhabua14
Katni3
Mandla15
Narsinghpur17
Neemuch319
Niwari0
Panna20
Rajgarh31
Rewa39
Satna24
Sehore12
Seoni2
Shivpuri15
Sidhi17
Singrauli13
Umaria10

38157 859

8827 112

28353 732

977 15

DistrictCases
Ahmadabad17125
Anand107
Arvalli134
Banas Kantha147
Bhavnagar146
Gandhinagar410
PanchMahals107
Surat2311
Vadodara1555
Bharuch56
Botad55
Chhotaudepur37
Dang5
Dohad43
GirSomnath45
Jamnagar63
Kachchh99
Kheda98
Mahesana159
Mahisagar125
Narmada25
Naysari35
Patan105
Rajkot135
SabarKantha101
Surendranagar55
Tapi6
Valsad47
Amreli16
DevbhumiDwarka22
Junagadh31
Morbi4
Porbandar11

69869 1101

14386

52855 1135

2628 23

DistrictCases
Ajmer379
Banswara91
Bharatpur563
Jaipur2177
Jhalawar329
Jodhpur1748
Kota503
Nagaur500
Alwar90
Barmer34
Bhilwara250
Bikaner112
Chittorgarh188
Churu81
Dausa61
Dholpur60
Dungarpur374
Hanumangarh31
Jaisalmer53
Jhunjhunu64
Karauli17
Pali352
Rajsamand140
SawaiMadhopur26
Sikar231
Tonk171
Udaipur724
Baran59
Bundi5
Ganganagar8
Jalore164
Pratapgarh14
Sirohi130

51328 1171

13387 192

37163 968

778 11

DistrictCases
Faridabad867
Sonipat404
Ambala93
Bhiwani60
CharkiDadri43
Fatehabad38
Gurugram2950
Hisar98
Jhajjar114
Jind38
Kaithal48
Karnal104
Kurukshetra55
Nuh68
Palwal120
Panchkula39
Panipat78
Rohtak145
Sirsa50
Yamunanagar19
Mahendragarh47
Rewari56

40843 789

6338 195

34031 587

474 7

DistrictCases
Agra933
Aligarh215
Amroha80
Bareilly17
Bijnor157
Bulandshahr166
Firozabad190
Gautam Buddha Nagar1119
Kanpur Nagar286
Lucknow386
Mathura129
Meerut504
Moradabad252
Muzaffarnagar117
Rae Bareli78
Rampur203
Saharanpur298
Sant Kabeer Nagar132
Varanasi243
Auraiya37
Ayodhya120
Azamgarh138
Baghpat68
Bahraich73
Balrampur49
Banda27
Basti214
Bhadohi60
Budaun23
Etah52
Etawah46
Ghaziabad794
Ghazipur159
Gonda59
Gorakhpur166
Hapur225
Hardoi49
Jalaun41
Jaunpur194
Jhansi41
Kannauj69
Kasganj16
Kaushambi6
Mainpuri46
Mau48
Mirzapur22
Pilibhit15
Pratapgarh15
Prayagraj30
Sambhal116
Shamli40
Shravasti23
Sitapur32
Sultanpur97
Unnao42
Ambedkar Nagar92
Amethi206
Ballia60
Barabanki168
Chandauli38
Chitrakoot4
Deoria143
Farrukhabad36
Fatehpur3
Hamirpur3
Hathras43
Kanpur Dehat4
Kheri72
Kushi Nagar67
Lalitpur3
Maharajganj85
Mahoba3
Shahjahanpur25
Siddharth Nagar159
Sonbhadra10

118038 4660

46177 1614

69833 2999

2028 47

DistrictCases
Central4817
East2472
New Delhi3405
North3059
North East1914
North West5463
Shahdara1580
South2329
South East2446
South West2391
West4768

144127 1404

10667 258

129362 1130

4098 16

DistrictCases
Dhubri30
Goalpara19
Marigaon50
Baksa14
Barpeta28
Biswanath16
Bongaigaon12
Cachar80
Charaideo29
Chirang6
Darrang20
Dhemaji47
Dibrugarh61
Dima Hasao86
Golaghat203
Hailakandi57
Hojai89
Jorhat24
Kamrup42
Kamrup Metro276
KarbiAnglong13
Karimganj85
Kokrajhar37
Lakhimpur57
Majuli2
Nagaon143
Nalbari23
Sivasagar20
Sonitpur27
South SalmaraMancachar4
Tinsukia84
Udalguri28
West KarbiAnglong5

57714 2218

16983 428

40591 1782

140 8

DistrictCases
East District3
North District0
South District3
West District0

860 6

389

470 64

1

DistrictCases
Buxar134
Gaya115
Munger188
Patna279
Rohtas256
Arwal52
Aurangabad75
Banka134
Begusarai243
Bhagalpur266
Bhojpur103
Darbhanga143
Gopalganj123
Jehanabad178
Kaimur (bhabua)105
Lakhisarai72
Madhepura82
Madhubani199
Nalanda123
Nawada122
PurbiChamparan138
Purnia135
Saran101
Siwan139
Vaishali87
Araria68
Jamui47
Katihar175
Khagaria253
Kishanganj75
Muzaffarpur96
Pashchim Champaran57
Saharsa88
Samastipur139
Sheikhpura118
Sheohar20
Sitamarhi73
Supaul87

75294 3990

26669 216

48243 3761

382 13

DistrictCases
24 Paraganas North1031
24 Paraganas South281
Darjeeling97
Howrah1435
Jalpaiguri88
Kalimpong18
Kolkata2777
Maldah235
Medinipur East153
Medinipur West159
Hooghly604
Murshidabad125
Nadia139
Paschim Bardhaman70
Purba Bardhaman130
Alipurduar39
Bankura116
Birbhum206
Coochbehar210
Dinajpur Dakshin50
Dinajpur Uttar216
Jhargram9
Purulia66

92615 2949

25486 834

65124 2064

2005 51

DistrictCases
South Andamans33
Nicobars1
North And Middle Andaman1

1351 129

831 53

500 75

20 1

DistrictCases
Pondicherry111
Karaikal2
Mahe4
Yanam0

5123 261

1989 116

3054 140

80 5

DistrictCases
Anjaw0
Changlang31
Dibang Valley0
East Kameng0
East Siang1
Kamle0
KraDaadi0
KurungKumey0
Leparada0
Lohit3
Longding0
Lower Dibang Valley0
Lower Siang0
Lower Subansiri0
Namsai2
PakkeKessang1
Papum Pare8
Shi Yomi0
Siang0
Tawang1
Tirap0
Upper Siang1
Upper Subansiri0
West Kameng0
West Siang1

2117 68

684

1430 104

3

DistrictCases
Dimapur20
Kiphire3
Kohima7
Longleng0
Mokokchung0
Mon8
Peren2
Phek1
Tuensang3
Wokha0
Zunheboto0

2688 31

1785

896 72

7

DistrictCases
Dadra And Nagar Haveli20

1456 19

417

1037 23

2

DistrictCases
Ranchi148
Bokaro16
Deoghar5
Dhanbad32
Garhwa80
Giridih19
Hazaribagh110
Jamtara2
Koderma58
Simdega48
Chatra1
Dumka5
East Singhbum170
Godda2
Gumla28
Khunti10
Latehar14
Lohardaga8
Pakur4
Palamu27
Ramgarh75
Sahebganj0
SaraikelaKharsawan20
West Singhbhum21

17094 629

8816

8123 732

155 4

DistrictCases
Gomati74
North Tripura14
Dhalai196
Khowai24
Sepahijala174
South Tripura53
Unakoti49
West Tripura45

6146 147

1929 51

4176 92

41 4

DistrictCases
Kargil77
LehLadakh43

1639 25

416 5

1214 20

9

DistrictCases
Anantnag395
Bandipora175
Shopian255
Srinagar300
Baramulla271
Budgam110
Ganderbal37
Jammu138
Kathua53
Kulgam295
Kupwara231
Rajouri39
Ramban151
Reasi26
Samba25
Udhampur155
Mirpur0
Muzaffarabad0
Doda27
Kishtwar10
Poonch35
Pulwama108

24390 463

7264 4

16667 449

459 10

DistrictCases
Chamba29
Hamirpur117
Kangra105
Sirmaur11
Solan32
Una41
Bilaspur21
Kinnaur2
Kullu4
Lahaul And Spiti0
Mandi21
Shimla10

3264 114

1169

2081 127

14

DistrictCases
Jalandhar297
Ludhiana293
Patiala132
Amritsar485
Barnala25
Faridkot74
Firozepur50
Gurdaspur154
Hoshiarpur140
Kapurthala44
Mansa31
Moga65
Pathankot86
S.A.S Nagar137
Sangrur107
Shahid Bhagat Singh Nagar (Nawanshahr)99
Sri Muktsar Sahib71
Tarn Taran163
Bathinda60
Fatehgarh Sahib57
Fazilka53
Rupnagar (Ropar)74

22928 998

7486 135

14880 840

562 23

DistrictCases
Haridwar94
Dehradun370
Nainital323
Almora71
Bageshwar31
Chamoli36
Champawat45
PauriGarhwal36
Pithoragarh43
Rudraprayag30
Tehri Garhwal110
Udam Singh Nagar83
Uttar Kashi24

9402 501

3322 264

5963 232

117 5

DistrictCases
Bishnupur7
Chandel5
Churachandpur32
Imphal East10
Imphal West21
Jiribam3
Kakching2
Kamjong5
Kangpokpi26
Noney1
Pherzawl3
Senapati6
Tamenglong2
Tengnoupal9
Thoubal18
Ukhrul4

3635 169

1697 167

1927 1

11 1

DistrictCases
Chandigarh313

1426 52

530

872 52

24 1

DistrictCases
East Khasi Hills22
East Garo Hills0
East Jaintia Hills0
North Garo Hills1
Ribhoi0
South Garo Hills0
South West Garo Hills4
South West Khasi Hills0
West Garo Hills5
West Jaintia Hills1
West Khasi Hills1

1023 17

594 4

423 12

6 1

DistrictCases
Aizawl10
Champhai0
Hnahthial0
Khawzawl0
Kolasib11
Lawngtlai2
Lunglei2
Mamit8
Saiha0
Saitual1
Serchhip0

593 27

297 20

296 7

0

DistrictCases
Lakshadweep District0

0

0

0

0

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)