Monday, October 22 14:16:00
The number of employees within the contact centre sector has grown by approximately 14pc over the last year, according to new research carried out by the industry body, the Contact Centre Management Association (CCMA).
The study came with the support of the IDA and Enterprise Ireland. Launched today and reveals that there are now approximately 33,000 people working within the sector, having grown from 29,000 last year.
The research also revealed that nearly eight out of ten (77pc) contact centre employees are Irish nationals and over half (58pc) of companies surveyed are Irish based subsidiaries of multinational companies, while three in ten (30pc) are Irish owned. Furthermore, less than a third (30pc) of companies surveyed stated that they outsourced some of their service operations and almost all (94pc) stated that their employees were permanent full or part-time staff.
There is also a considerable level of investment in training by the sector, with E2,500 on average spent on each employee last year.
Speaking at the launch, Dorothy O'Byrne, Managing Director of the CCMA said: "Over the past 12 months we have seen great success with job announcements by large blue chip companies such as PayPal, SAP, BSkyB and Electronic Arts strengthening the sector. Ireland is recognised as one of the best locations in the world for contact centres so it's important that we promote the sector and encourage graduates and job seekers to consider working in this growing industry. This research highlights a growing industry that has a diverse and rewarding career path in spite of challenging economic times."
Despite growth within the sector, with companies surveyed stating that they plan to recruit approximately 6,000 extra jobs across the sector over the next 12 months, companies continue to face recruitment challenges, with one in five (18pc) citing the stigma attached to "contact centre jobs" as the main challenge. However over a third (34pc) also stated that social welfare being more attractive to potential employees, a shortage of staff with language skills (32pc) and a shortage of technically skilled staff (28pc) were the main challenges for their business.
"These statistics also show the challenges facing the sector that need to be tackled head on for continued growth," added Ms O'Byrne. "We are seeing a clear need for improved language skills in the sector, and investment in this skills development at grassroots level is key to the continued success and diversity of the industry, in addition to improving areas such as our IT infrastructure. I look forward to working closely with Government and other bodies in order to achieve this and truly show the value of the sector to the Irish economy."