01 August 1998

A RECENT REPORT uncovers high levels of staff turnover in one of Britain’s fastest-growing business sectors - call centres. The study, by research group Incomes Data Services, reveals that ‘intensity of work’ coupled with ‘constant pressure of repetitive tasks’ are key factors behind the departure of up to one in four staff every year. However, all is not gloom for the UK’s 150,000 call centre workers: the rate of pay is better - over half the rises awarded within the sector were 4% or more, with a fifth of workers receiv-ing pay increases of 7-8%, compared with an average of 3% in the economy as a whole. Starting salaries for ordinary staff range between £9,000 and £11,000, whilst team leaders are paid between £15,000 - £19,000 a year. Call centre bosses deny that their sites are ‘the new satanic mills’, claiming they provide a ‘pleasant work environment’. However, most concede the need to alleviate the constant pressure of repetitive tasks on the workforce.