The study, by risk management consultancy Hill & Associates, puts the current staff attrition rate in Indian call centres as high as 40 per cent.
This has in the past been put down to the long unsocial hours associated with servicing overseas customers in different time zones and higher salary offers from rivals who poach each other's staff.
But the survey of BPO workers found the main reason for leaving, as cited by over 50 per cent of respondents, was that it is a dead end job. The staff attributed their exits to a lack of growth opportunities, expectation mismatches and dissatisfaction with company policies.
Night shifts, monotony of work and better salary offers elsewhere were given as reasons for moving on by only 39 per cent of the BPO workers questioned in the study.
Over a third said the main reason for taking a job in the BPO industry is to be part of an international work environment, ahead of salary and lifestyle incentives.
Ashish Sonal, country manager at Hill & Associates in India, said the offshore outsourcing sector needs to better manage employee expectations from the outset if it is to keep up current phenomenal growth rates.
"Attrition has become one of the biggest risks faced by the outsourcing industry as it not only pushes up costs incurred on the training of employees but also affects productivity along with the ideal level of 'knowledge maturity' of the organisation and the employees," he said.
Respondents from both third-party outsourcers and captive operations were questioned for the study.
Andy McCue writes for Silicon.com.