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NI Contact Centre Industry Survey
Reveals Extent of Recruitment Challenges

Before the interview

Contact Centre Network NI recently conducted research with members, to identify and understand the difficulties organisations were experiencing recruiting new talent to the sector.

Having reached out to Operational Managers and HR Managers at businesses across Northern Ireland 100% of respondents reported that they’re facing challenges with recruitment and 72% reported a decrease in overall applicants. It was found that collectively, CCNNI Members had over 1,000 live vacancies being advertised, which based on an average 20k annual starting salary, means those vacancies are worth £20 million to the regional economy.

Contact Centre Network Northern Ireland have been working closely with their members and local agencies to help identify the major recruitment challenges and are working together to highlight the benefits of working in the industry and the opportunities for long term, rewarding careers.

 

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.”

Anecdotal feedback to the recent changes in working models varied with some organisations reporting that candidates wanted clarity around specific working models prior to saying yes to a role, while others reported the benefits of hybrid working on staff wellbeing and flexibility, making it a real positive for attraction and retention.

Contact centres were faced with significant challenges when the pandemic hit and the “work from home” rules came into force and the impact of these changes are still in place as organisations try to balance the best options for their staff as well as business productivity.

The research also found that 90% of current roles on offer within contact centres are frontline, customer facing roles which in many cases don’t require any specialist qualifications to be successful in.

 

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. The industry is evolving with AI and Robotics and businesses are investing heavily in digital, customer centric solutions so it’s an exciting place to be. It’s fantastic that employers of our industry are being proactive in delivering the best working models for both their businesses and their staff.”

 

Another stand out finding of the research was that some Contact Centres reported a drop in applications to live vacancies by 50%, as well as an increase in no-shows for interview without notification of non-attendance.

The current candidate shortage has been affected many industries across the UK and competition for candidates at entry level roles has spiked due to the wide range of alternative employment options available.

The pandemic has made many employees reassess what they want from a career with many changing vocations entirely, others opting to work less hours as well as the widespread increase in demand for flexibility.

 

That said, the contact centre industry offers a wide range of roles, huge scope for progression, various levels of hybrid or homeworking, and good rates of pay, making it an attractive career option for people regardless of their lifestyle or preferences.

 

CCNNI continues to support its members to address these recruitment challenges and help attract more people to a career in contact centres. For any further information please contact info@ccnni.com

Membership

Membership is open to any contact centre, shared service centre or IT helpdesk based in Northern Ireland. Membership also available to associates and suppliers to the contact centre industry.

For more details view our membership page.