If you’re stuck in a rut and need to move your work life to a new level, National Careers Week is a good time to focus the mind. Running between 2nd and 7th March 2020, the mantra of the movement is ‘empowering positive change through career education’ and the National Careers Week website is a good place to start.
It’s packed with guides, information and a useful blog page with posts about careers in different industries, from the obvious (the NHS and teaching) to the more unusual (horse racing and the probation service). While pretty extensive, you can forgive the organisation for not addressing every single career opportunity and an employment avenue that has been overlooked is the call centre.
Call centres (or contact centres as they’re sometimes referred to) are big employers. In fact, the UK Contact Centres: 2016-2020 The State of the Industry & Technology Penetration report showed that 4% of the UK’s working population were employed by one of the country’s reputed 6,200 call centres. Those working within this industry will be fielding calls, emails, texts and social media messages in a customer support, telemarketing and answering service capacity – working hard to keep customers happy and service levels high.
Start straight from school
The beauty of a call centre career is the ability to work your way up through the ranks from a very early entry level. As long as applicants have a polite manner, basic computer skills and can prove passes in core GCSE subjects, including English and Maths, there is no barrier to applying for a call centre vacancy as a school leaver. When it comes to salary expectations, call centre advisors (also referred to as agents, handlers or operators) can expect to earn in the region of £14,000 to £21,000 per year.
Carve a call centre career
There are, however, college courses tailored more towards the customer service industry, such as the Level 1 Certificate for Introduction to Customer Service and the Level 2 Certificate in Contact Centre Operations. These may be useful for those who want to progress a call centre career – and why not?
With an estimated 1 million call centre workers here in the UK, a mass of that size needs managing. Call centre advisors can progress to a team leader position – a role that can attract a salary in the region of £20,000 to £30,000 per annum.
The largest call centres will present even more senior career opportunities, with a need for managers and directors. It is these positions where past performance and an intimate working knowledge of a call centre environment gives current employees exciting promotional prospects. For these senior roles, wages can start at the £30,000 mark and rise according to experience.
Earn as you excel
Many call centre positions are advertised with OTE in the description – ‘on-track’ or ‘on-target’ earnings – meaning the salary comprises a set basic wage and the potential to earn extra via bonuses and commission. The OTE earning potential is usually related to performance and the ability to reach targets, giving hard-working employees the opportunity to boost their pay packet.
Many call centres operate long days, seven days a week or even on a 24-7 basis and it’s this constant need for staff that gives rise to flexible working patterns. It’s not unusual to find part-time hours, weekend roles and night shifts within call centre recruitment. And if trend forecasters are to be believed, it won’t be long before call centres are more decentralised than ever, with the ability to work remotely or from home.
The side step career move
Usually the businesses who invest in call centres – insurance companies, marketing agencies, banks and tech manufacturers, for instance, are large organisations with many different departments. Working in such an ecosystem gives call centre workers the chance to make a sideways career move, to HR or finance perhaps, taking with them their experiences from the front line.
If you are thinking about a career in a call centre, or are already working in the industry and would like to change roles or chase promotion, contact our commercial division at Bond Williams today.