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Exploring the Contact Centre Salary Landscape

Now in its third addition, the Contact Centre Salary Survey remains an invaluable source of benchmarks relating to salaries paid to agents, supervisors, management and associated support employees across all types of contact centres in South-Africa. The data contained in this report is aimed at providing executive and operational management with the knowledge and information necessary to review and align remuneration models in order to effectively attract and retain the staff required to deliver on ever increasing client and customer demands.

Click here to view the Salary Survey

The South African contact centre / BPO sector has matured a great deal and is responsible for creating thousands of jobs for youth despite the challenges experienced on both the economic and labour relations fronts. The Department of Trade and Industry (dti) has recognised this potential and has pledged their support through the establishment of the dti BPS incentive scheme.

It is for this reason that CallForce and the CCMG have taken the decision to focus the research this year on a comparison between salaries in the Captive Contact Centre market and in the BPO market. This is significantly different to the previous survey, which compared salaries of temporary / flexible staff in contact centres to those of permanent staff.

The online survey was completed by 146 contact centres, representing 58 841 agent seats. Gauteng represents 49% of the participating contact centres, and 60% of the responding contact centres are Captives.

  • Predictably, Captive contact centre salaries are higher than BPO salaries for all agent and management levels. This can be related directly to the pressure placed on BPO operating margins in order to remain competitive with countries such as India and the Philippines.
  • Once again, salaries paid in Gauteng and the Western Cape tend to match or exceed the national average, with KZN continuing to trail behind national salaries across all contact centre types.
  • The survey reveals that the majority of responding contact centres contribute to medical aid and pension / provident funds, which is encouraging to see, as access to benefits rates highly amongst job seekers when considering employment opportunities. This is an indicator that the industry is attracting a higher calibre of worker.
  • With Customer Experience high on everyone’s priority list, it is not surprising that between 50% and 60% of Customer Service Contact Centres are now paying incentives / commission in addition to basic salaries, in an attempt to boost performance and improve output.
  • It is encouraging to note that two thirds of contact centre staff have received annual increases of between 5% and 8%, despite the economic realities of the past three years.
  • The importance of analytics in improving operational output is evident as the highest salary bands for support staff are recorded for MIS Analysts. In terms of support management the highest median salary bands are recorded for IT Managers.

The 2018 survey promises to shed much needed light on remuneration trends in the sector, which will undoubtedly stimulate debate. Considering that between 70% and 75% of most contact centres’ operational costs are rooted in staff salaries, it is vital that we ensure that the industry is constantly benchmarking against competing sectors and searching for innovative approaches to remuneration, in order to achieve the much needed growth the country requires.

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