Outsourcing is the new frontier of globalisation, pitting call-centre workers around the world against each other in the battle for jobs. Over the past five years India has emerged as the leader in this new...展开global market, threatening white-collar office workers in countries like Australia.
OUTSOURCED! portrays the lives of four young Indian women who work in call-centre jobs at a company called Gecis (now Genpact). Through the eyes of the women, the documentary explores how the outsourcing industry is dramatically changing Indian culture, and turning cities like Gurgaon, located on the outskirts of New Delhi, into technological boomtowns.
In contrast Australia’s call-centre workers do not consider their jobs as careers. They are young, itinerant workers, earning as much as five times their Indian counterparts. The film canvasses the experiences of four Australian call-centre workers, and shows telemarketing teams on the job during peak hour in Melbourne.
For call-centre workers everywhere, the work is stressful, repetitive and tiring. Every day workers in both India and Australia face racist and abusive phone calls. In the film we hear Indian workers receiving challenging calls, while the Australians also talk about the flak they cop.
But as call-centre jobs continue to flow out of Australia, the industry is exporting more than just employment to India. It’s exporting Western culture. The parents of Santosh Kohli are anxious about their daughter working at night. Ekta Jaiswal is also breaking with the past, drawing criticism for a lifestyle that includes drinking, smoking and sex. Minal Varma is firmly focused on her career, much to the consternation of her mother who desperately wants her daughter to marry. Renuka Chibber Khot defiantly married a Gecis colleague who belongs to a different religion, and is now trying to juggle work and family life.
Their boss, Gecis CEO Pramod Bhasin, describes this as a “defining moment” for India.
Australia is also at a crossroad. Over the next few years 40,000 finance sector jobs are predicted to go offshore. Industry analyst Bob Hayward says only the public’s desire to speak to a familiar voice will keep some call-centre jobs at home. Instead Australia’s future lies in developing high-skilled IT jobs. The film looks at a project developed by the multinational outsourcing company Computer Sciences Corporation. The project was designed in Wollongong and then sent offshore to Hyderabad in India, where workers manage the 24/7 help desk. It’s an example of where Australia’s future lies.
But in this sweeping global trend to outsource white-collar work, even India is not safe. Already it’s vying with other developing countries, illustrating that in this new era of globalisation, no country has a monopoly over jobs.
The Director's Statement:
We always thought when we were making this film that if its only outcome was that the public was more polite to Indian call centre workers, then that is a good impact. And it certainly achieved that.
The film garnered a lot of media – full page articles in the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, big write ups in all the TV sections, an extensive interview on Radio National’s Late Night Live, radio interviews throughout Australia, and a story on Channel 7’s Today Tonight.
The film exposed the benefits of call centre jobs in India for women, giving them financial freedom and with that more social status. It showed audiences that globalisation and the movement of jobs to developing countries has positive as well as negative effects.
2006 US International Film and Video Festival Awards – 2nd Place, Silver Screen Award, Documentary Category
2006 South Asian Journalists Association Awards – Outstanding story about South Asia, Broadcast (TV/Radio)
Winner 2006 Cine Golden Eagle award