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News : NI Contact Centres are Struggling to Fill Roles

#contactcenterworld, @CCNNIre

Belfast, Northern Ireland, Feb, 2022 -- Contact centres in Northern Ireland have said they are struggling to fill vacancies with the number of applicants for roles paying an average of £20K falling steadily.

Industry body Contact Centre Network NI said they wanted to help members identify the recruitment challenges they are facing while highlighting the benefits of working in the industry.

A survey found that there are over 1,000 vacancies in contact centres in Northern Ireland. And with a starting salary of £20,000 on average, the roles would contribute £2m to the economy if filled.

Some contact centres reported a 50% fall in applications for live vacancies, while growing numbers where no-shows at interview without giving notice in advance.

Jayne Davies, director of Contact Centre Network NI, said: "Although our members represent many household names, we believe there is still a significant amount to do to raise the profile of the contact centre, the range of careers they offer and how the people that work in contact centres play a central role to so many of these high-profile businesses.

"Contact centre workers are often the only people in the organisation that have direct contact with customer. Besides having to have great communication and empathy skills, they have to know all the products and process of the business. It’s this vast amount of knowledge that can give colleagues the power to fast their careers in an incredibly short amount of time compared to other sectors."

Where candidates were applying for jobs, contact centres said applicants wanted clarity on working models. But hybrid working was being embraced and was benefiting staff wellbeing and flexibility, which was helping retention.

However, work from home rules had caused challenges in the industry when they were introduced.

Another plus with call centre vacancies was that many of the customer-facing roles on offer didn’t require any specialist qualifications.

Joanne Wilson, head of customer service delivery at Danske Bank and chair of CCNNI, said: "Most of these organisations don’t look for specialist qualifications, instead they value transferable skills and the right attitude such as a willingness to learn and the ability to work in a team.

"Our members provide robust training as well as ongoing personal development opportunities making it accessible for committed individuals to carve out a successful career."

He said new technologies such as artificial intelligence and robotics were shaking up the industry. He added:

"It’s fantastic that employers of our industry are being proactive in delivering the best working models for both their businesses and their staff."

CCNI said the pandemic had promoted many people to reassess what they sought from a job, with some changing career, others working fewer hours and many demanding more flexibility.

Many industries have been reporting skills and staff shortages since the onset of the pandemic.

A flood of people giving up their jobs in the pandemic in the US has been labelled The Great Resignation.

Anthony Klotz, a psychologist and professor at Texas A&M University who coined the phrase, told CNBC: "It’s not just about getting another job, or leaving the workforce, it’s about taking control of your work and personal life, and making a big decision – resigning – to accomplish that."

#contactcenterworld, @CCNNIre

Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent

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More Editorial From Contact Centre Network NI

Published: Thursday, February 3, 2022

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2024 Buyers Guide Speech Technology

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