Consider these two headlines:
UK Call Centers A More Attractive Place To Work, But Keeping Talent Will Be Critical
56% of Gen Y’s will leave their current job within a year
A study by Hays Contact Centres and 50 Top Contact Centres for Customer Service revealed interest in working in call centers is high, but concerns over keeping the best talent will increase as the economy improves and it is already driving an emphasis on flexible working and training.
- 55% of call centre managers say speculative job applications have increased since 2009
- 58% of agents want to develop a long-term career in the call centre industry
- 35% of workers are educated to degree level, up 10% from 2009
- 54% of call centre workers feel there is a clear career path in a call centre
The good news is one-third of agents in the UK are college educated. (You may not think so when calling in a support ticket!) Most of these new workers appear to be flocking to the contact center hoping they will be guaranteed a promotion at some point.
But from the Sodexo Motivation Solutions report with Generation Y, they found a negative perception of call centers in particular with only 5% of this generation regarding working for a call centre as exciting, while 55% consider it in a negative light. Moreover, 1 in 3 of those surveyed who are currently seeking work would rather claim unemployment benefits than work in a call centre.
Generation Y is defined as people aged 16 to 28.
In light of the recession, we still have some challenges ahead of us.
Below are the two press releases in full.
UK call centers are experiencing an increase in job applications and interest from graduates in 2010, reveals new research by the recruiting expert Hays Contact Centres, in conjunction with the Top 50 Call Centres for Customer Service. The survey reveals that 55% of call centre managers received more speculative job applications in 2010 compared to 2009, and 72% have seen an increase in applications for advertised jobs.
The study, which questioned 286 call centre managers and agents, reveals an increasing interest from graduates. As many as 43% of call centre managers say they have seen more applications from graduates, adding to an already qualified workforce, where over a third (35%) are educated to degree level.
“Call centres are becoming more demanding of their staff so it isn’t surprising that the profession is attracting more people with degrees, particularly when we are still faced with a challenging economy and high unemployment levels,” commented Geoff Sims, Managing Director of Hays Contact Centers. “A clear career path is always a strong draw for graduates and it is increasingly being recognised that call centers offer excellent opportunities for progression,” he continued.
The survey suggests call centre staff have a positive attitude towards building a career in the industry. Over half (54%) of agents agreed that call centers offer a clear opportunity to progress, compared to just 40% in 2009, and 58% stated they would like to develop a long-term career in the call centre industry.
However, call centre managers highlighted concerns around keeping talented employees, with 67% saying they believe it will be more difficult to retain their best staff as the economy improves. When asked about the factors that could improve staff retention, offering career progression opportunities topped the list, followed by providing better training and flexible working. Encouragingly, 41% of call centre managers say they are already focusing on staff retention measures, such as flexible working.
Simon Thorpe, Programme Director at Top 50 Call Centers for Customer Service commented, “Through our work with call centers across the UK, we know many are working to improve their performance and ensure best practice in both customer service and employee engagement. While it is encouraging to see that the industry is attracting an increasing number of job seekers, the clear focus needs to be on retaining the best talent to ensure high standards across the industry are maintained.”
The research was carried out by Hays Contact Centres, in conjunction with the Top 50 Call Centers for Customer Service, a benchmarking initiative created to improve the performance of call centers and instill best practice across the industry.
And this report:
Sodexo Motivation Solutions, one of the world’s largest motivation solutions providers, today releases the results of its new survey highlighting Generation Y’s (employees aged 16 to 28) perceptions of working. The survey finds that more than half of Generation Y employees are looking to leave their jobs within a year.
The survey represents the views of Generation Y on a range of work-related topics and uses a sample group of 401 respondents drawn at random from an online panel of individuals.
The findings identify a negative perception of call centers in particular with only 5% of this generation regarding working for a call centre as exciting, whilst 55% consider it in a negative light. Moreover, 1 in 3 of those surveyed who are currently seeking work would rather claim unemployment benefits than work in a call centre.
In more positive news, of those polled, 25% identified flexible benefits as a key reason for considering a career in call centers with 43% naming flexible working as the single most attractive benefit. However, over 46% of the respondents identified the fact that they were not offered any benefits aside from their salary by their current employer.
Iain McMath, managing director of Sodexo Motivation Solutions said:
“Clearly many employees view flexible benefits as central to the attractiveness of their jobs and it is a shame that a larger percentage of employers don’t offer these. Flexible benefits, be it childcare or retail vouchers, gym memberships and cycling to work schemes are both tax-efficient and provide a very personal style of reward. Strategies are easy to implement and should notably decrease the turnover rates in call centers. What this survey shows is that much more needs to be done to engage these Generation Y employees.”
“Although Generation Y presents its own set of challenges and has different priorities in the workplace than older generations, it is undeniable that these employees are vital to the call centre industry. They are quick to adapt, hard working, creative and not afraid of a challenge. They will require careful management and motivation in order to get the best out of them and retain them for any length of time. Managers therefore need to make it clear that the call centre industry can offer a career path in which additional responsibilities can be earned, and where hard work is both acknowledged and rewarded in a way that meets the specific needs of Generation Y.”