Covid impact: Global in-house centres to diversify as companies look to de-risk

June 08, 2020

Covid impact: Global in-house centres to diversify as companies look to de-risk

Global in-house centres or GICs are looking to diversify and expand to multiple geographies as companies minimise risks and continue need-based hiring of critical talent amid the covid-19 crisis.

“Companies are looking to de-risk by having multiple GICs in different markets rather than putting all their resources in one country, especially with borders being closed due to the ongoing pandemic," said Harish Pillai, director and country head, Randstad Sourceright India, a talent management solution provider.

GICs, commonly referred to as captives or contact centres, are offshore units that emerged during the 1990s as large companies such as GE, Texas Instruments, Citigroup and American Express began embracing the model to perform designated operations, mostly related to technology.

India continues to be a hotbed for setting up new GICs. Indian GICs are expected to gain from the covid-19 crisis as companies which traditionally thought certain work can’t be done remotely have now realised otherwise.

“…We might see a lot more new work coming to India by 2021," Pillai said.

Sun Life Asia Service Centre (ASC) India, the GIC of Canada-based Sun Life Financial located in Gurugram with 1,800 employees, plans to hire more than 200 employees in the next six months. The GIC centre in India, along with its counterpart in the Philippines, work together to support Sun Life’s clients in U.S, Canada and Asia.

“We will be hiring in skills like product development and data analytics that sharpen offerings of our parent organisation. Data, digital, mobile architecture, and artificial intelligence/machine learning still remain some of the hot skills in the industry and there is dearth of people," said Rajeev Bhardwaj, chief human resources officer, Sun Life ASC India.

A leading Australian bank plans to set up a GIC in India with 5,000 employees over a three-year period, a person familiar with the development said.

“They have already identified a location and 40% of the talent is expected to be insourced from IT services companies," the person said.

At least two large GICs, one each in the telecom and healthcare sector, have continued to hire during the lockdown, Pillai said. “There have been a lot of layoffs during this period so it’s also a good time to attract new talent from the market."

Despite the global slowdown, GICs which cater to niche and high-end IT work seem to be in hiring mode albeit with a cautious approach.

Experts believe GICs and IT services companies will continue to coexist despite competing with each other.

“Most GICs also have a partner presence. While the GIC is primarily responsible for the planning part, the execution is outsourced to the service providers," Pillai said.

The healthy growth trajectory of GIC investments in India pre-covid is expected to continue.

“We estimate that GIC investments should be consistently on the rise," said Anne Soumya, director of HR, Adecco Group India. “At the same time, we have also witnessed an increase in the outsourcing space particularly to Tier 2 and 3 software service integrators, majorly due to the cost arbitrage they offer."


About Sun Life Asia Service Centre

Sun Life Asia Service Centre (ASC) in India provides Business Processing, IT, and Investment Research shared services to Sun Life's global businesses. The 24*7 centres also offer contact centre and enterprise infrastructure to Sun Life’s businesses. ASC India and ASC Philippines work in perfect harmony to support Clients through all stages of Client and software life cycle for Sun Life in Canada, the US, and Asia. Over the years, the ASC has achieved scale and operational maturity by integrating closely with Sun Life’s corporate functions. The centres support Individual Insurance & Wealth, Group Benefits, Group Retirement Services, Document Services and Client Solutions services for Sun Life.

For additional information on Sun Life ASC, please visit:


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