Wage rises not enough to keep staff in call centres

Nearly half of all employers in the call centre sector are experiencing
problems with high staff turnover, a new report claims.

The Call Centre 2001 reward and retention report reveals that average staff turnover
in the sector is 18 per cent, but one in 10 employers admits to losing almost
half their staff each year.

The majority of employers surveyed in the study for the Call Centre
Association Research Institute and Industrial Relations Services report staff
turnover difficulties, despite frontline salary increases of around 10 per

Report editor Philip Pearson argues that the problem cannot be resolved
through wages alone and that HR departments must look at the overall package.

"Pay is part of the answer, but it is only a part. It’s much more
complex than that and firms must start to win commitment from their staff.
Companies that do that provide employees with a good range of benefits in
addition to pay, as well as training and feedback from management," he

"The strategic HR issues are to do with getting the remuneration and
reward packages right. It’s also about the way work routines are organised and
there are concerns about the opportunities to progress within the call
centres," he added.

The report highlights a broad range of factors, which are driving the high
turnover rate including a lack of progression, repetitive work, high pressure
and a tough labour market.

"I think the HR function within the industry is learning a great deal about
best practice, but we need to inform HR about the key priorities. The HR sector
within the industry is keen to learn and is looking at ways to spread best
practice," added Pearson.

The survey covered 143 employers, operating 331 call and contact centres in
the UK with a combined workforce of 53,570 staff.


By Ross Wigham

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