An attrition rate of 90% over the course of a year? That's what Rosemary Arackaparambil states in "Indian outsourcing firms battle to keep staff" for Wipro's back-office (read: call center) arm Spectramind. The author quotes Wipro vice-chairman Vivek Paul, "The high attrition rates we have had really limited our ability to continue to add people once we get to the scale and range we are in."
According to the article, "the battle for talent has led to a 10-15 percent rise in employee salaries… Recruitment and training makes up 3 percent of the overall per employee cost of about $13,000 per year, including administration and telecoms costs, according to Evalueserve."
To battle attrition, companies "provide free transport, subsidised meals and housing to retain staff, and try to enliven the environment with musical entertainment, yoga classes and costume contests." Sounds like Silicon Valley in the dot-com heyday.
Of course, the end of the grow-grow environment isn't foreseen. "The industry is on track to employ 350,000 people by the end of March, up from 253,500 a year earlier. With international businesses increasing call-centre and other back-office operations in India, the industry is expected to need a million people by March 2008."