Call centre staff saw salaries rise by 3% at the median over the past year, in line with figures for the whole economy at that time, according to research from IRS and the Call Centres Association.
With 63% of organisations reporting that they had increased staffing levels this year, the indications are that the tight labour market is feeding through into better pay rates for employees – particularly for those on the lower grades.
Nine out of 10 organisations questioned said they expected to award a pay increase to contact centre employees in the coming year. Pay increase expectations overall ranged from 1.5% to 7% with a predicted median of 3%.
Settlement levels are unlikely to vary greatly according to size of contact centre or public/private sector split, despite significant differences between the two sectors and across the UK regions.
Other key findings include:
- 43% of call centres provided an across-the-board pay increase in the past year, worth 3% at the median. Others operate individual or team-based merit pay systems
- 32% of organisations reported making changes to their salaries outside their usual annual pay review
- Lower level customer service representatives formed the largest staff group to see changes to their pay rates; 19% of organisations uprated pay levels for these staff
- The median pay award was expected to be 3%. This is in line with current UK pay settlement expectations and those reported in the contact centre sector over the past 12 months
- Median mid-scale annual salaries by occupation range from £12,500 for a trainee, to £34,618 for a call centre manager.
IRS Employment Review managing editor, Mark Crail, said: “The increases to pay rates can be explained by the nature of pay in the sector, which is able to react to changes in the market.
“Call and contact centre managers have scope to increase individual pay packets using individual and team-based merit awards – operating in 57% of centres – linked to the annual pay review, achieving financial targets or attaining set competency levels.
“It is also likely that these changes to pay rates reflect the industry’s need to attract new recruits and retain staff at a time when many local labour markets are experiencing extreme skills shortages and very low levels of unemployment.”
The research covers the reward packages of 191 organisations, which operate more than 400 centres and employ an estimated 150,000 staff.