Call Centre Report Gives Snapshot of Emerging Sector: Important source of new job creation in Canada and abroad

    Working in teams leads to lower turnover

    LONDON, ON, Aug. 1 /CNW/ - When faced with an intrusive telemarketing
call over the dinner hour, we rarely empathize with the person on the other
end of the line. But with the enormous growth that has occurred in the contact
centre segment of the Canadian economy over the past decade that may change as
an increasing number of Canadians are making a living working the phone.
    A new study by Associate Professor Ann Frost at the Richard Ivey School
of Business, Danielle van Jaarsveld at Sauder School of Business, along with
40 scholars around the world, examines nearly 2,500 call centres in
17 countries around the world - encompassing more than 475,000 call centre
    It's no surprise that call centre employees face monotonous tasks, low
pay, low job discretion, high performance monitoring, and that they experience
high stress from the call centre environment. This leads to high turnover
rates - as much as 31% of the workforce in Canadian call centres turns over
each year - as employees quit, retire, are promoted or fired.
    The costs of turnover are high. On a global basis, replacing one agent
equals on average 16% of the gross annual earnings of a call centre worker.
    But there are specific steps that employers can take to stem the
turnover, including forming problem-solving groups and organizing workers into
    The study found that contact centres in Canada with at least 30% of the
workforce in problem-solving groups had quit rates of almost a half compared
centres with less than 30% of workers in these teams. And centres with at
least 30% of employees in self-directed work groups have considerably lower
quit rates.
    "Adopting strategies that contribute to lower turnover, absenteeism, and
better job quality is in the interest of managers and companies. Contact
centres make an important contribution to the economies of the cities and
towns where they are located. They are an important source of employment and
new job creation," said study co-author Ann Frost.
    The Canadian Call Centre Report - a subsection of the Global Report - is
a first step in creating a deeper understanding about employment practices in
contact centres in Canada, and about outcomes of interest to both firms and
the workforce. The results of the Canadian study are based on responses from
over 400 centres from a broad range of industries and site visits to centres
located in all ten provinces across Canada.

For further information:

For further information: Prof. Ann Frost at or (519)
661-3236 or Marisa Kanas, Richard Ivey School of Business, at (519) 850-2536

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