Call Center Jobs: 7 Facts You Need to Know

About a year ago, Kelly Services and teamed up to conduct a research on the call center job specialization in Asia and documented it into a report entitled Asian Contact Center Industry Recruitment Index 2006. Recruitment Index is an indication of an industry or specialization’s growth by comparing the number of newly recruited staff for a particular period to the overall staff employed in that particular specialization. The nine countries involved in the study were India, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, China, Hong Kong, Korea and Pakistan. And even though the research was carried out in 2006, I believe much of the information shared is still applicable to the industry today.

Kelly Services is an established, award winning recruitment agency that provides permanent and contract staffing, payroll outsourcing and headhunting services and operates in more than 30 countries worldwide, including Malaysia. is an online publishing, news and research company specializing in the call center industry and with focus on the Asia region.

There is a lot of information, facts and findings in the report. Here are 7 interesting facts you may find it interesting:

1. Malaysia has the largest number of contact centers compared to other countries

With 19 call centers, Malaysia has the largest number followed by Singapore (9), India (8) and Philippines (8).

Clearly, companies prefer to set up their call center in Malaysia than others. The fact that Malaysia can provide multi-language support enhances the country’s reputation as a preferred call center destination. As reported by AT Kearney, Malaysia is ranked the 3rd most attractive outsourcing destination after India and China, but when it comes to call center set up, Malaysia has the better advantage over the two.

However, in terms of growth (Recruitment Index), India has the best percentage at 12.7%, followed by Malaysia (7.3%) and Singapore (7.0%).

2. The 2 top industries where call centers are set up are:

a. Banking, finance and insurance
b. IT, telecommunication and media

As you can see, for these 2 top industries, the need for call center operation is prevalent. Some examples of the many countries with established call centers are:

Banking, finance and insurance – Citibank, HSBC, OCBC, Maybank, CIMB and Hong Leong

IT, telecommunication and media – IBM, Hewlett Packard, Maxis, Digi, TM, and Dell

3. Top reasons why call centers find it difficult to recruit people:

a. Shortage of skilled staff
b. Shortage of candidates in the marketplace
c. Uncompetitive salary
d. Location of contact center

4. Primary skills sought by the call centers when recruiting:

a. Verbal communication skills
b. Customer service techniques
c. Contact center experience
d. Written communication skills

5. More than half (56%) of recruitment exercise occurred due to resignation. The rest is expansion. The 56% means that the turnover (or attrition) rate for call center employees is very high. The report found that the average ‘life time’ of an employee working with a call center is only about 15 months (1 year and the half). After 15 months, they either join another call center or quit the profession altogether.

6. More than half of new possible recruits (63%) rejected offer from the call center. There is no reason established but I speculate this is mainly due to disagreement with the package.

7. 43% recruitment in Malaysia is done through recruitment agencies. That represents almost half of the total recruitment exercise. Hence, if you’re looking for jobs in the call center environment, always keep your choices open and do not close your doors to apply through recruitment agencies.

Click here to download the original Asian Contact Center Industry Recruitment Index 2006 report (PDF).

2 Replies to “Call Center Jobs: 7 Facts You Need to Know”

  1. Most call centre located in Cyberjaya. With its world class facilities, Cyberjaya seems like becoming home to call centre than development centre as I expected earlier when MSC was formed.

    Frankly, I’m not too happy with this. I’m glad they’re opening branch here, but MDC should promote and lure more companies to setup Data Centre or Global Development Center (such as India) instead of call centre only.

    IMHO, in terms of human capital, call center does not provide adequate knowledge transfer to Malaysia

  2. Where development is concerned, you are right. Companies like India provides better expertise in development, and with reasonable investment too.

    In fact, many companies here export Indian foreigners to work on their IT development. Malaysia looks to be better off as support destination now…

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