Don't limit yourself in recruitment process outsourcing

Consultants can enjoy good long-term career prospects in RPO, if they limit their dependence on a particular technology and build their business knowledge.

Looking for IT career advice? Post your question here, and we'll get our experts to answer.

Q. I have been working in the Indian BPO (business process outsourcing) industry for the past four years, and for the last two and a half years, I have been in RPO (recruitment process outsourcing).

In terms of specialization, which is a better choice for me: SAP or PeopleSoft? What sort of formal education and training should I pursue?

Career advice from John Brand, research director with IT analyst house Hydrasight
A. In most markets, RPO has done reasonably well from a growth perspective in recent years, simply because the overall market demand for resources has been relatively strong. As markets decline, however, work will once again shift to lower-cost labor markets where access to specific technology becomes secondary. To specialize in any one 'application' would certainly limit your options in the longer term. Having said this, you're more likely to find that PeopleSoft expertise will ensure you have a more stable market opportunity, though not necessarily the highest paid. SAP HR tends to suffer from the 'inflated peaks' and artificial troughs' of the market due to its overall high investment in organizations. So if long-term stability is what you're looking for, I'd stick with PeopleSoft. Both organizations and their partners have certification programs, but ideally you would probably want a formal degree in human capital management, I would imagine. This will give you a great long-term career option and limit your dependence on any one particular technology.

Career advice from Michael Rehkopf, partner of IT outsourcing consultancy TPI
A: It's always difficult to say what is better for you without knowing a lot more about your individual background and what is important to you. I would offer the thought that attempting to choose which platform will be most successful in the long run is a risky proposition for an individual--most CIOs and corporations agonize over just such decisions. I would suggest that you focus on building a strong background in the business of RPO. Assuming you enjoy the technical side of things, ensure you have good technical depth recognizing that the real value will be your ability to apply your knowledge to a new platform quickly should the need arise.

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