Hailed as the ‘Call Centre Nation’, Scotland is home to some of the largest contact centres in Europe, supporting a variety of sectors including Financial Services, Telecoms, Utilities, Retail, Motoring, Technical Support, Travel and Media. In this blog, I provide a nationwide overview of the industry and highlight why you should start your career in one of Scotland’s industry-leading call centres!
The Call Centre Nation
Scotland is undoubtedly a world leader for contact centre operations. There are currently over 90,000 people employed within 400 contact centres throughout the country. These outlets support a range of widely recognised brands, including Tesco, Amazon, Dell and John Lewis.
In addition, Scotland is home to many global and pan European contact centres such as NCR, IBM and Sykes, due to the wealth of multilingual capability available locally. Approximately 26 different languages are currently utilised in contact centres in Scotland, including Portuguese, French, Spanish and German.
A study by Scottish Development International shows that the call centre sector has grown by over 60 percent since 2003. Over 36 percent of employees are engaged in financial services sector while the Public Sector accounts for an estimated 15 percent. Approximately 16 percent of employees represent Media/Communications brands, followed by over 8 percent in Telecoms and Utilities.
Although the Scottish accent is said to be one of the most difficult to imitate and sometimes tricky to understand, another study has recognised that it has been found to be friendly and honest throughout the UK. The Scottish lilt scores highest for both trustworthiness and competence, which instils confidence in people.
Why you should start your Call Centre Career in Scotland
One of the secrets to Scotland’s call centre success lies in the continuous investment by employers towards training and development. Below, we highlight why you should start your career in a Scotland-based call centre:
1. You can get your foot through the door of the job market
A growing number of graduates are turning to call centre work in a bid to give their career a flying start – as well as reduce that graduate overdraft, of course!
Getting your foot in the door is more vital now than ever as the recession bites particularly hard for graduates. With the number of students graduating steadily rising and the graduate job market shrinking, the sector has become somewhat unbalanced. Recent studies have shown the average graduate job is now attracting more than 100 applicants for each position.
Call centre work enables you to get a great overview of a company and its operations, and the results can be extremely rewarding. You will also have the opportunity to research and familiarise yourself with whatever market you specialise in, obtaining a thorough understanding of the products or services you represent. This knowledge could ultimately open more doors for you further down the line in your career.
2. It's not just about phone calls
As the call centre industry has moved towards the internet, email and data management, Scotland has kept abreast with all the latest trade developments. This means that call centre workers in Scotland can expect a diversified role that goes beyond simply dialling to and receiving calls from customers. For example, with more customers utilising social media as means to present their queries or complaints, contact centre workers need to be proficient in utilising online social platforms to engage with customers and meet their demands.
3. You'll be able to add reputable brands to your CV
Scotland-based call centres represent a wide range of locally and internationally recognised businesses which will ultimately stand out on your CV. These include Amazon, Tesco, Dell, John Lewis, NFU Mutual and Vertex. What’s more is that you will be able to learn the ins and outs of products or services that you are representing within a call centre, allowing you to become a true industry specialist with the ability to apply your knowledge and expertise to other roles - such as marketing or recruitment - on a consultative basis.
4. You will learn transferrable skills to progress in your career
For employees, the call centre industry offers plenty of career progression opportunities. Many workers who start off as Call Handlers steadily progress up the career ladder – training as Team Leaders and Managers. Furthermore, many of the skills honed within a contact centre are also easily transferable into other areas of work. Nearly every employer would welcome the addition of an experienced and professional communicator and problem-solver into their team.
In conclusion - and I may be biased here - Scotland has always been a desirable country in which to live and work. Apart from our friendly approach and charming accents, Scotland boasts economic diversity, a laidback quality of life, beautiful scenery and a bustling social scene. Honestly, what more could you want from the birthplace your working life?
About the Author
Alison Campbell is Senior Divisional Manager for Search Consultancy's Call Centre Specialism in Scotland. Based in Glasgow, she boasts over 16 years of recruitment experience, driving performance, reducing inefficiency and motivating teams. Versatile and personable, Alison continuously strives for success, managing relationships and improving service delivery.
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