Have you ever considered working in a call centre? If not, you probably didn’t realise that it’s one of the fastest growing sectors in South Africa, offering call centre job opportunities that can lead to successful, long-term careers in outsourced business services.
Call centres have changed significantly in recent years, with advances in training and technology making it a more attractive career path than ever before. “In South Africa, the Global Business Services (GBS) sector has grown 10-fold in six years and we enthusiastically support the industry’s and government’s joint commitment to create 500 000 new jobs via this sector,” says Dylan Koen, Group Commercial Director of Rewardsco, one of the biggest single employers in the call centre industry with 1900 staff and more than 1200 new jobs set to become available in the near future.
According to StatsSA, youth unemployment is 63.9% for those aged between 15 and 24, which is more than four times the global average of 13.6%. However, the BPO industry in South Africa is poised to make a dent in these dire statistics as it has experienced exceptional growth in recent years due to strong support by government through incentives offered by the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition.
For the right candidates, jobs in modern call centres have a great deal to offer, not just in terms of income but long-term career growth and personal development as well. Let’s look at three of the best reasons to consider a call centre career:
Higher Earning Potential
One of the first questions most job seekers ask is, “How much does this job pay?” In South Africa, an entry level call centre agent can expect to earn an average compensation of between R5000 and R7000 per month, which is higher than the minimum wage of R23.19 per hour.
Right off the bat, it’s clear that job seekers can make more money as a call centre agent than they would working a minimum wage job. In time, the average income of a call centre agent can increase as they gain more experience, training and exposure to different campaigns in different business sectors.
In addition to above-minimum-wage salaries, call centres outshine other types of employers when it comes to giving staff opportunities to boost their incomes through commissions and ongoing incentives. These commission-earning roles enable dedicated, hard-working agents to double or even triple their basic incomes as they are generally uncapped. Incentives offer further chances to earn cash or rewards worth hundreds or even thousands of Rands.
Access to Valuable Training and Experience
Call centre agents could have over a hundred conversations per day, along with a checklist of tasks such as coverage checks and data capturing. Each call is an opportunity for agents to either improve their efficiency or learn from their mistakes on the job, thereby acquiring invaluable communication and problem-solving experience in a much shorter time compared with other jobs.
“Newcomers to this business are often not highly skilled and find themselves in an unfamiliar environment. The most crucial period is the first four weeks. I think businesses such as ours have an important custodial role during this period,” Koen states. “First and foremost, we want to prove and highlight that we can take someone who doesn’t even know what a call centre is and grow them into a skilled employee through our business”.
In addition to valuable experience, call centre staff at Rewardsco get access to expert training and ongoing e-learning modules to become team leaders and managers through proprietary initiatives like Rewardsco’s Make Me a Manager programme.
Career Growth Opportunities
It’s no secret that call centres have a high rate of employee turnover. They are fast-paced, high-pressure environments, but competitive people who are driven to achieve their goals can find long-term career success quickly, especially with access to high-quality training and management programmes.
“Now, more than ever, in the context of our business, we have to acknowledge that people are the ultimate differentiator and the one thing that truly sets us apart,” says Koen.
The call centre industry has evolved significantly in the past 20 years, with customers now preferring the convenience of purchasing online and receiving customer support via their preferred channels, be it the internet, email, webchat or telephone. The industry is no doubt growing exponentially, and with that growth comes incredible opportunities for South Africans to build careers that develop their skills while giving them financial freedom.