University graduates make up at least half of the workforce in a third of call centres according to recent research.
And many of the graduates sought call centre employment as a good way into the business world. On average, these graduates stay in the call centre for over a year.
The survey was conducted by Thus across its own helpdesks employing more than 1,500 staff. It was designed to provide an insight into the profile of these employees.
“We are pleased that this workplace offers such an attractive environment to graduates,” said Bill Allen, Thus chief executive. “We have worked hard to ensure that these centres provide a stimulating environment, a challenging role and a chance to utilise the skills that they have learnt at university.
“Operators are given the chance to test products before answering calls, to increase their understanding of them. Most recently, this happened when we took on the Sega account, our operators were given the opportunity to test out our new Dreamcast console.”
The research showed that graduates working at the call centres are able to use the skills acquired at university. Seventeen percent of those surveyed said that fluency in at least one other language was essential for the job while 40% said that a technical understanding was the most important skill for their position.
“At Thus we put a lot of effort into bringing on board staff of the highest calibre,” Bill Allen added. “This survey was designed to gauge how successful we had been in that area and what, if anything, we could do to improve it.”
Thus former graduate trainee Lucy Robb said: “After leaving university, I looked around at the opportunities that were available to graduates who wanted a career in communications. I quickly reached the conclusion that call centres were the way forward. I choose this call centre for its fun environment, as everyone was relatively young and working towards the same goals. I also chose it, as I knew my communications skills would improve greatly. The skills I learnt in the call centre enabled me to move across to the PR department after nine months. For graduates, the call centre can act as a stepping stone to bigger things.”
The company is now looking at ways to ensure that it continues to attract and retain a high proportion of graduates. Thus offers the chance of secondments and roles in other departments so graduates get to see as much of the company as possible.
Thus plc offers a wide range of data and telecommunication services, primarily to the UK business market, including direct and indirect switched, freephone, premium rate and other number translation services. The company provides non-switched products including capacity, leased line and managed data services.
The company is also a leading provider in the call centre services market delivering telemarketing, call centre integration, fulfilment, consulting and disaster recovery services on a fully outsourced basis.