Nova Scotia

Sydney call centre expanding payroll, planning job fair

ServiCom is planning to host a job fair in coming week to begin meeting its goal of adding as many as 500 people to the payroll by the end of next year.

Going from 600 workers to 1,100 by late next year

ServiCom call centre director Todd Riley says the company is looking to hire another 500 people for its Sydney-area operation. (Holly Conners/CBC)

A Sydney-area call centre is planning to host a job fair in coming week to begin meeting its goal of adding as many as 500 people to the payroll by the end of next year.

ServiCom currently employs about 600 people at its location in Sydney River. Centre director Todd Riley says it's bursting at the seams.

"Right now, a lot of the clients that we deal with are taking their work back offshore onto onshore. Ask me the reason why, it's because of quality and performance," he said.

Over the last 15 years, the company's clients have included General Motors, Onstar, Comcast Cable, AT&T DirecTV and Allstate. 

"All those programs have a big name in their specific industry, so right now they're really looking to up the ante with their customer service."

As a result, Riley says, all three of ServiCom's North American centres are expanding and the company is adding a fourth in the US. The hiring in Sydney could start soon and there should be a job fair within the next four weeks.

"We're really looking to lock and load with some individuals within the August timeframe and get them trained and ready to start rolling in the September timeframe," he said.

He says the first round of hiring will fill 100 to 150 new jobs.

'Very encouraging'

To accommodate the new employees, ServiCom plans to move its operation into the former Target store on Prince Street.

Riley says the move will increase the call centre floor from 304 seats to 524, and should be complete by late September.

Adrian White, CEO of the Sydney and Area Chamber of Commerce, says not only are the jobs good news, but also ServiCom's planned move to Sydney's downtown.

"And not too often you can get a big employer located that close to the downtown core," he said.

White hopes it will give the downtown a needed boost.

"Maybe we'll see some new retailers open up in the vacant spaces on Charlotte Street as a result of some of those employees drifting up there during the daytime or early evening hours to do some shopping, to go to the bank, to go to some of the restaurants," he said.  

"It is very, very encouraging. There's no question about that."

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