Time to Think Again about a Career at a Call Centre
Byline: By SION BARRY Western Mail
The negative stereotypes of sweat shop conditions, low wages and poor career prospects in the call centre industry are being broken down, research claims.
According to an independent report produced by Miller and commissioned by industry employers' group the Welsh Contact Centre Forum - the sector is increasingly being seen as an attractive employment choice.
Forum managing director Sandra Busby says the report's findings are crucial in helping employers and prospective employees gain a true understanding of Wales' 27,000-employee strong contact centre industry.
Ms Busby said, 'The industry has moved on a great deal since the last of these reports was produced for us in 2000.
'We now have a great many more people employed in contact centres in Wales with a sizeable amount of these involved in a lot more technical and high value added type work which includes the use of email and the internet.
'Our mature industry is also faced with increased competition, not just from outsourced contact centres in the Indian sub continent and South Africa but we are also experiencing fierce competition in the recruitment of staff from sectors such as retail, hospitality and the public sector.'
The 40-page report underlines current perceptions of the industry and gives pointers to the sector on how best to market itself and target fresh recruits in future.
The report says, 'There were few aspects of the industry that were seen as negative. Pay was generally perceived to be good as were employment conditions and the flexible hours available.'
The report, however, noted there is a lingering view that work in contact centres is not regarded as a longer-term career and advises immediate steps be taken to reverse this misconception.
Ms Busby said the true picture is that many contact centre professionals were forging high value careers in the industry. She cited forum board member Ireen Lock who was recently appointed head of contact centre services at Newport's newly-established Prison Service facility after starting in the industry as a frontline customer service adviser at Welsh Water.
She said, 'There are many, many other examples across Wales of people developing and sustaining valuable careers within our dynamic and vibrant industry. …