Outbound Call Center Featured Article

The Hardest Job to Fill is in the Call Center

April 16, 2014

It's hard to imagine jobs going unfilled these days, especially considering the unemployment statistics we see, but as it turns out, finding people to fill some jobs is tougher than others. A new report from the Bureau of Labor and Employment Statistics (BLES) in the Philippines offers some new light on this topic, showing us what one of the hardest jobs to fill is—at least in some places—and just what that job is likely to prove a surprise indeed.

The BLES Integrated Survey covered fully 7,061 establishments between the time frame of January 2011 and June 2012. In that time frame, fully 63,212 vacancies came up for customer service slots, an average count of about nine per establishment, or roughly one new vacancy every other month. The report went on to further note that demand for call center agents was set to remain tight, as “the country emerged as the global leader in the voice outsourcing business.”

This didn't prove to be the only place where it was hard to find workers. Clerical positions, for example, represented almost half—49.7 percent—of all vacancies, while bet bookmakers, coding clerks, proofreaders and other occupations proved difficult to fill. Managerial and supervisory positions also proved difficult to fill, as finance and administrative managers, sales managers, and similar positions all had issues being filled. Professional fields, meanwhile, found difficulty in finding engineers to fill positions, particularly civil engineers thanks to a real estate boom and an accompanying boom in construction.

A variety of issues made filling positions difficult, including lack of competency, lack of professional licenses and issues of compensation. There was also a preference for similar positions located in other countries, though this was a comparatively smaller proportion of jobs going unfilled. On average, jobs took about 3.3 months to be filled, while professionals took slightly longer at 3.6 months. Laborers, meanwhile, could be had in about two months.

Anyone who's worked in a call center for any length of time knows how difficult it can be. The public perception of telemarketing, for example, is sufficiently horrifying that most anyone wouldn't have an interest in it unless the only other option was starvation. Plus, in working in a call center environment, reps frequently have to handle angry callers; being yelled at on a regular basis isn't exactly anyone's idea of a great job, and it's not any easier when the call center expects unfailing politeness in the face of all that screaming. But there are ways to improve the position, starting with things like flexible schedules and work-at-home opportunities—both made a lot easier these days with the advent of bring-your-own-device (BYOD) principles and the mobile workforce—as well as the simple expedient of offering regular vacation time. Everyone needs a break from time to time, and that kind of time can make a tough job easier.

Still, call center jobs are likely to continue being difficult to fill for some time, and finding just the right people to fill said jobs may prove only more so as time goes along.

Edited by Alisen Downey

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