Retention key to ending the call centres exodus

Recruitment and retention policies must be the priority for the UK’s call
centre industry if it is to fight off the threat of jobs going overseas.

Call Centres 2002, a sector study by the Call Centre Association and
Industrial Relations Services, shows that staff turnover has increased from 18
per cent to 24 per cent, as the industry has expanded by 3.9 per cent.

The author of Call Centres 2002 Philip Pearson said the fightback had
already started "but there is still some way to go. Some employers are
leading the way and should be seen as examples of best practice.

"UK call centres have some of the longest operating hours in Europe.
Many employers open, or can readily arrange to operate their call centre for 24
hours a day, 365 days a year. With workers under increasing pressure, the
industry has to address the problems of finding and keeping good staff,"
he said.

The study shows that the majority of staff who resign leave the profession
completely. Just 18.8 per cent of those who resign take up call centre work
with another employer.

Pearson said employers know offering competitive pay and conditions
packages, personal development and career development programmes, and
attractive work environments are the most effective ways to retain staff.

"It’s not rocket science and the industry could make simple adjustments
to hold on to valuable staff so that fears about a mass exodus abroad don’t
materialise," he said.

By Quentin Reade

The sector’s key figures

– UK call centre employment has risen by 3.9 per cent

– Staff turnover has increased from 18 per cent to 24 per cent

– Trainee rates increased by 8.6 per cent to £11,400 a year.
Salaries for lower-grade frontline customer service representatives (CSRs) rose
by 8.3 per cent, to a median of £13,000 a year

– The public sector pays the highest rates for frontline staff,
while management rates tend to be higher in the finance sector

– The highest-paying regions are: London, the east of England,
and the East Midlands

– More than 70 per cent of respondents say their work-life
benefits improve staff retention; others claim they help control absenteeism
and stress

– Employers were asked to suggest which of their HR strategies
were most effective in retaining staff. Pay and conditions packages, personal
development plans and strategies to improve morale and motivation were the most
common initiatives.

Comments are closed.