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Valley call centers struggle to fill jobs amid more competition, rise of virtual options

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Posted at 8:55 AM, May 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-03 11:55:52-04

The abundant space, lower cost of living and lack of natural disasters have long made the Valley an attractive place for companies to set up call centers and other back-end operations, but recently those in the industry say it has been a challenge to find and retain employees.

The Valley’s concentration of call centers and the fact that so many of these jobs are available means candidates are able to move at will, according to Joe Mizzi, a vice president at Menlo Park, California-based recruiting firm Robert Half International.

“As I speak with candidates, I see them jumping ship for $1. I've seen some jump ship for 50 cents,” he said in referencing differences in hourly rates. “That might be the motivation, why they move around so much, that they're able to increase their pay, or just might be that they don't enjoy the job. They know there's [another] opportunity out there.”

Mizzi, who lives and works in Phoenix, said that the labor market for these jobs has been tight for the past four years and that he sees many resumes with strings of short stints at various call centers around town, but very little gap time between jobs.

He estimated that about half of the call centers in the area want employees with previous industry-specific experience, and that specialization makes finding candidates even more challenging.

“A lot of these candidates, they bounce from one call center to the next because there are plenty of call centers that will hire you, regardless of what industry you've worked in, as long as you've been in a call center environment,” he said.

Read more of this subscription-only story from the Business Journal.