Last week, three call center companies in different locations ceased operations which led to almost 1,360 employees being unemployed at the start of the year.
Sears Canada announced its closure, where jobs will be phased out by the end of 2014. The threat of big American stores entering Canadian shores has caused many major retailers to change directions. However, Sears Canada’s long-term strategy might not be able to sustain them, according to marketing professor Robert Soroka. Hence, they are trimming down workforce.
Meanwhile, Ann Arbor operations was also terminated by Teleperformance USA last Sunday due to “business circumstances that were not reasonably foreseeable” after operating for two years. Though they did provide severance for its laid-off employees, the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act saw this announcement quite too soon.
Lastly, the sudden closure of Leadamorphosis call center in Cebu, Philippines caused a riot amongst its employees. According to the call center agents, they were not properly informed nor compensated for the unforeseen suspension of its call center operation. Although it is not definite if the company name change in May 2013 from Vector BPO to its current name has something to do with this outcome, there was no certain indication that it will close down. As per Iristelyn Galimba, a spokesperson of the employees, they have sought assistance from the Inter-Call Center Association of Workers (ICCAW) for this untoward incident.
These events, albeit happening at the same time, could very well be isolated cases in the call center industry. Here are our takeaways from this recent news:
- Call center professionals, or people who are considering to apply in one, should do an extensive background check of the BPO company they’re applying to. Call center companies operating for less than ten years has a higher probability of closing down. Factors leading to this may differ. So if you are seeking job security and a long-term career in the call center industry, find one in a company which is among the top earning BPO firms and has been established for more than five years. You may also research previous news and press releases about the company, get to know the accounts they currently serve, and maybe even search forums for reviews from previous employees.
- Layoffs can be expected not only among call center companies but also in other businesses, which is caused by several aspects, economic and otherwise. People seeking call center jobs should not only look at the salary they will be receiving but also study the company’s termination and layoff benefits. Call center companies must have fitting separation coverage for their workforce in the event that operations cease or some other unforeseen circumstances arise.
- We see that the call center agents were clueless and left unrecompensed in spite of their loyal service to these companies. In cases that closure is apparent based on comprehensive projections, call center companies should begin appropriate preparation for its employees. Such employee benefits should include business updates and standing, offering alternative job posts and opportunities within the call center industry or similar business venture, or extensive layoff provision within considerable duration until the employee finds a new job.
Future of the Philippine Call Center Industry
Fortunately in the Philippines, call centers and BPO companies present favorable employment possibilities for Filipinos this 2014. According to Pasig Representative Roman Romulo, 124,000 new full-time jobs will open for this year alone. He shows confidence in BPO firms stating that this industry will be one of the key players in providing jobs especially to college graduates. Job openings in call centers will continuously grow from this year to 2016 where 372,000 new posts over the next three years will be available.
This projection clears away any anxiety call center workers may have. Considering those that we’ve mentioned above, job security is achievable for those who are seeking career stability in the call center industry.