One in three call centre workers now have university degrees, with graduates increasingly seeing such employment as a career opportunity amid dwindling options elsewhere.
According to a study among nearly 300 call centre staff undertaken by recruitment consultancy Hays Contact Centres and Top 50 Call Centres for Customer Service, some 43% of call centre managers have seen a rise in graduate applications despite the industry’s reputation for offering repetitive, badly paid work.
Geoff Sims, managing director of Hays Contact Centres, said: "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."
The findings come amid rising competition for jobs linked to graduates’ degree courses. A study by High Fliers Research earlier this year revealed that an average of 45 students were applying for every graduate position.
Simon Thorpe, programme director at Top 50 Call Centres for Customer Service, which represents the industry, 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."
Despite its negative perception, the UK call centre sector offered "excellent training opportunities and competitive salaries", plus the opportunity for graduates to move up the ladder both within the contact centre itself and the wider business, he added.