Nova Scotia

Web.com opens new customer-service centre in New Glasgow

Florida-based Web.com officially opens a New Glasgow digital customer service centre Wednesday, its third Nova Scotia operation.

Pictou County location marks the third Web.com office in Nova Scotia

Web.com has opened its third Nova Scotia office. (CBC)

Florida-based Web.com has officially opened a New Glasgow digital customer service centre, its third Nova Scotia operation.

"Team Nova Scotia just got a little bigger,"  Web.com executive vice-president Vikas Rijsinghani told the first 70 hires at an opening event in New Glasgow on Wednesday. "You'll be joining another 400 individuals in Halifax and Yarmouth. We have history here."

Web.com designs websites for small businesses. The New Glasgow centre will help customers promote their identities online. The company said it plans to have a total of 130 employees by the end of 2016.

Badly needed jobs

This is good economic news in a part of Nova Scotia that has seen major job losses in recent years, including major layoffs at the Michelin tire plant, and the closures of the DSTN wind tower plant and the Convergys call centre.

Web.com moved into the same space that used to house the call centre at the Aberdeen Mall. Its closure threw hundreds of people out of work.

Web.com moved into the same space that used to house the Convergys call centre at the Aberdeen Mall. (CBC)

"I'm excited to be employed again," said Christine LeBlanc, one of several former Convergys employees now back to work at the same location.

Said Marjorie Clarke: "It certainly couldn't have come at a better time. I'm happy to be here."

And Paula Balesdent said, "It's been a year in May since I left here ... I never dreamed I'd be back."

Office brings local back home

For Pictou County native Damien Betts, Web.com helped him to fulfil a dream of finding work back at home. His last job was as a corporate trainer in the oil and gas sector in Dubai.

"I was back visiting and looking for work," he said. 

Betts is now a corporate trainer on the floor at Web.com.

"Me and my family always wanted to move back to the area. That was our priority but there's not always as much work as we would have hoped for. Now we have a great opportunity," Betts said.

Damien Betts, a corporate trainer on the floor at Web.com's New Glasgow office, took the job back home after similar work in Dubai. (CBC)

What's in it for the company

Taxpayers are helping pay for the expansion. The company is eligible for up to $6.3 million from the Nova Scotia government if it meets an employment target of 330 employees by 2019.

Rijsinghani told employees Web.com is making a commitment to them, the community and their families. He said the company is "doubling down" on Nova Scotia.

"We love the work ethic that they have. The solid level of education the community brings," he said. "As we expand into ever-increasing levels of digital marketing services we need more people to provide the expertise."

Vikas Rijsinghani, Web.com's executive vice-president, says the company is "doubling down" in Nova Scotia. (CBC)

How's the pay?

The company said the average wage with bonuses comes to between $15 to $18 an hour. The starting rate is $12.50.

New Glasgow Mayor Barrie MacMillan said the area needed the jobs.

"Convergys, in these very premises, left and vacated. By the end they were 600 jobs. Last year, Michelin layoffs. So this community suffered greatly and to see this firm come in — Web.com — that has tremendous history in Nova Scotia, 15 years in Yarmouth, it's a wonderful thing," he said.

About the Author

Paul Withers

Reporter

Paul Withers is an award-winning journalist whose career started in the 1970s as a cartoonist. He has been covering Nova Scotia politics for more than 20 years.