People who are looking to benefit from the ever-increasing demand of expanding in the call center industry have always told me they would be going into the business of search and staffing (or recruitment), soft skills and hard skills training, food delivery, food concessionaire, software, hardware, consulting, and host of many more ideas – the same kind of business that every interested person wants to do. It’s as if they were all eavesdropping with one another and just copying as the ever-copycat many have been.
After listening to them espouse their not-so-interesting thought in ten paragraphs, my usual quip is: “Why not set up a school?”
“A school? What on earth for?”
Since time-a-memorial, the large, multinational call center companies in the Philippines always mentioned the challenge (“complain” was a better word to describe it) that the ratio of qualified reps to the total number of applicants have always revolved around 1:10. Yep, that’s one hired person for every ten applicants. Besides verbal English communication skills, education acquired in the collegiate levels increase the ability of the applicant to get hired. Other life-acquired skills like common sense, patience, respect, and honesty, to say the least, add value to being recruited and hired.
Sun Star’s online news today quoted Philippine Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz as saying there were 22,144 vacancies in the call center industry in October, 2012, alone. If we do simple math and multiply that by 12 months, that’s 265,728 job openings in this industry with raging hormones. But we go back to how many qualify – even if 2.6 million apply, only 265,000 will get the job.
Therein lies the opportunity for a school owner and the entrepreneur.
Existing colleges and universities have to establish a call center degree, akin to a finishing a degree in hotel and restaurant management (HRM). In the latter, the student goes through education and training in all functions and positions as if you were working for a hotel or a medium-to-large size restaurant. From cleaning the room to kitchen work and front desk functions, when the HRM student looks for a job, he or she applies as a well rounded applicant who knows the ins and outs of any kind of hotel or restaurant job. For some, they are entitled as management trainees rather than just a waiter or a cook. Likewise, if a school had a bachelors degree in call center studies (call it whatever you want) and every student goes through all the possible functions and position in a real, live call center company, they graduate with the possibility of being hired as management trainees, too.
Entrepreneurs who do not own a school but would like to enter this niche world of preparing young people to get hired right away can set up a finishing school with a focus on fast-tracking the call center bachelors degree in a few months, including skills not necessarily taught in school like patience, respect, e-mail etiquette, advance written and verbal English skills, and a host of others.
For these two endeavours – think about the many board review schools who espouse their hit rates in the number of their students who pass – your reputation of the number of students being hired will be your best marketing campaign to woo more of the young to study with your collegiate or training school.
Ask the executives from the Contact Center Association of the Philippines (CCAP) and non-members in the same industry, and a majority will tell you the demand for more call center seats is still higher than the supply, as it has always been more than a decade ago when this industry reached puberty.
Think about it!
References: Sun Star Sunday, November 11, 2012 online news.
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