Australia’s contact centres recruitment market is fairly active, led by a spike in demand within the insurance sector, particularly in travel as well as building insurance following adverse weather conditions.
The financial services industry is also active, especially for Customer Service Consultants since call times are high and support is required. Employers in financial services are focusing on temporary recruitment and will only offer the most outstanding temporary candidates a permanent role – provided they have headcount approval.
Over the last quarter there has been a distinct increase in organisations hiring outbound sales consultants – including inbound call centres adding an outbound sales focus. This is a response to business growth plans across a large number of private sector industries including insurance, education, energy and telecommunications.
For these roles, employers have shifted away from temporary to permanent recruitment. We’ve also seen cases of employers appointing two to 10 new hires at a time. Strong sales candidates have in turn been difficult to attract; with more roles available, demand is high and the available talent pool has reduced.
We’re also seeing employers recruit phone-based account service staff to manage low yield customers, rather than invest in field staff.
In the public sector, the Federal Government has lifted its permanent recruitment freeze and candidates are being recruited for permanent roles again. At the same time, departments continue to recruit candidates in rolling temporary and non-ongoing contracts.
The State Government continues to primarily recruit on a temporary basis. In a new trend, departments have started to include two competency based questions that candidates must answer when applying initially.
Local governments are reacting differently depending on the Council and their amalgamation prospects. Some have a recruitment freeze in place while others are operating with a business as usual policy.
Skills in demand
When they recruit, employers want candidates who are engaging, motivating and can lead by example.
In terms of skills in demand for the October to December 2015 quarter, we’re seeing high demand for Outbound Telemarketers. Candidates with general customer service experience are still available, but sales experience is in very short supply and skilled outbound telemarketers are secured quickly. Lead generation professionals are also sought as businesses add to their sales focus.
Customer Service Managers with specific industry experience are sought, such as managers who have led an outbound sales team and have change management experience. In general, employers also want candidates with solid experience in the same or a very similar industry.
Customer Service Representatives with specific industry experience are also sought. When recruiting such staff, employers want candidates with like-for-like experience in order to minimise training time.
Team Leaders are needed too. Employers are not promoting from within and are instead recruiting external candidates to fill these senior roles.
Retentions Officers/Retentions Specialists are in high demand in financial services companies that have a renewed focus on retentions. In addition, this is a role that people often progress from, which means there is a shortage of candidates for these positions.
Order Processing professionals are also sought. While demand has increased, there is a shortage of quality candidates with relevant skills and experience.
Finally, candidates with system experience in SAP, Salesforce or EDI processing are increasingly sought.
In terms of candidate trends, those with solid outbound sales experience are aware of the demand for their skills and have more control of the job market at present. Many of them seek a role in a reputable, large organisation that offers career progression and a good commission structure. They also steer more towards the higher paying sales positions.
For all other contact centre roles salaries are remaining steady and candidates are therefore looking for a role offering them career growth and potential. This is most obvious in the financial services sector.