The growth of call centers is set to continue across Europe. By 2007, they will account for 1.6% of European jobs, as new technology allows companies that previously couldn’t afford call centers to invest in them. Much of the growth will take place in eastern Europe, as the new prospective EU members follow Ireland in providing skilled, cheap labor.
New research finds that 1.2% of European workers are working in call centers.
According to new Datamonitor research, there are 25,000 call centers in the Europe, Middle East and Africa region today. These call centers contain 1.3 million agent positions (APs), and by 2007 this figure will have risen to 37,000 call centers containing 1.8 million APs. The vast majority of these call centers are situated within the EU, and call centers are playing an increasingly important role in the labor market in the region.
Despite the recent hype about offshore outsourcing and a number of high-profile call center closures, the EU call center market will continue to grow. Although more mature markets are beginning to slow down and the top end of the market is becoming saturated, it is the growth in small call centers that will drive the growth.
Just 3.3% of call centers in EMEA contain more than 250 APs; the vast majority contain less than 100. The fastest-growing call center size-band in EMEA is the 10-30 APs size-band, and they currently account for 47% of all EMEA call centers. By 2007 this will have grown to 56%. The advent of new technologies, such as Internet protocol (IP) and call center hosting, combined with price erosion, has made call center technologies more affordable. Consequently, call center technologies are now within the reach of companies that could not previously afford to invest in them.
However, the EMEA call center market remains fragmented, from mature but slow growing markets in the EU, such as the UK and the Netherlands, to new markets in Eastern Europe and Middle East. Much of the growth over the next five years will take place in these regions, and Eastern European countries readying themselves for EU membership look set to follow Ireland to become the new call center markets of choice for companies looking for cheap, skilled labor.
Related research: Datamonitor, Call centers in EMEA to 2007 (DMTC0852)
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