Hays reports graduates turning to UK call centres to get a foot on the career ladder

From: Hays
Published: Mon Oct 04 2010

Hays, in conjunction with the Top 50 Call Centres for Customer Service initiative, has reported that UK call centres are attracting more graduate employees.

Hays Contact Centres revealed that over two in five (43%) call centre managers have experienced a rise in graduate applications over the last twelve months and 35% of call centre workers are now educated to an undergraduate university level, compared to 25% in 2009.

The level of interest from graduates is not surprising, given that there are currently around 70 graduates for every job vacancy compared to just 31 graduates in 2008, suggesting that graduates are making a smart move in turning to UK call centres for employment opportunities.

According to the survey of 286 call centre professionals, working in the industry offers a real chance for career progression, with 54% of call centre agents agreeing they have a clear opportunity to progress beyond their current position, compared to just 40% in 2009. Over half (58%) stated they would like to develop a long-term career in the industry and the signs are encouraging, as 55% of UK call centre managers started out as agents.

The survey also suggests that graduates will benefit from excellent training and development opportunities in the call centre, as 65% of managers spend more than 20% of their time coaching or training team members, and one in four at least 40% of their week.

Simon Thorpe, Programme Director at Top 50 Call Centres for Customer Service, said: "There are record numbers of graduates looking for work this year and it’s encouraging that so many are attracted to the call centre industry. UK call centres offer excellent training opportunities and competitive salaries, plus the opportunity for graduates to develop their careers and move up the ladder, both within the call centre and across the wider organisation."

Graduates joining a call centre can look forward to a highly interactive environment, according to the survey. When asked about the one aspect of call centre work they enjoy the most, 65% stated that it was the interaction, whether with colleagues (37%) or customers (29%). An impressive 75% said that they would recommend a career in a call centre to a friend, indicating high levels of job satisfaction.

However, graduates should factor in the softer skills that are needed to be successful in a call centre. . When questioned on the number one attribute they look for in new employees, 45% of call centre managers said a positive attitude, followed by customer empathy (17%) and good communication (16%).

Geoff Sims, Managing Director of Hays Contact Centres, commented on the findings: "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, A clear career path is always a strong draw for graduates and it is positive that the call centre workers clearly thrive on interaction with customers and colleagues so they can put their strong communication skills to best use."

- Ends -

Notes to Editors:
Survey methodology
Hays Contact Centres surveyed 286 call centre workers across the UK in August 2010.

About Hays:
Hays plc (the "Group") is the leading global professional recruiting group. The Group is the expert at recruiting qualified, professional and skilled people worldwide, being the market leader in the UK and Australia and one of the market leaders in Continental Europe. The Group operates across the private and public sectors, dealing in permanent positions, contract roles and temporary assignments.

As at 30 June 2010, the Group employed 6,845 staff operating from 270 offices in 28 countries across 17 specialisms including contact centre jobs, teaching assistant jobs, banking jobs, HR jobs and housing jobs.

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Company: Hays
Contact Name: Claire Fowler
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