Nova Scotia

Call centre industry strong despite layoffs, says association

The head of Nova Scotia's call centre association is defending the industry after 215 people were given layoff notices in Halifax earlier this week.

The head of Nova Scotia's call centre association is defending the industry after 215 people were given layoff notices in Halifax earlier this week.

Mario Colaiacovo, president of Contact Centre Nova Scotia, said companies that outsource service are more susceptible to worldwide economic conditions.

"Any type of business, be it manufacturing, be it retail, you have your gains and you have your losses," he said. "Unfortunately, business decisions dictate that sometimes we have losses like we did with TeleTech."

On Wednesday, TeleTech Holdings Inc. announced it will close its Bayers Lake call centre on Nov. 30 if it does not get a new contract.

"Remember this is an industry that may be more transferable than other industries, so the economic climate, not only in Canada and worldwide can have impacts, but overall I've got to say the sector in Nova Scotia is strong," said Colaiacovo.

He estimates 13,000 Nova Scotians are employed in the call centre industry.

He said losses in out-sourced companies have been offset by growth in in-house call centres. Companies such as Staples and Xerox have large company-owned call centres in the province.

Colaiacovo said there's also a new trend to have agents work from home instead of in a large centre.

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