Call centre jobs are being axed across the country and there’s a shortage of recruiters, the head of a recruitment agency has warned.
Key points:Rural Australian towns are seeing a drop in recruitment because of the threat of bushfiresRural workers are the most likely to be unemployed in the bushThe Bureau of Meteorology says bushfires in the state are likely to kill up to 150,000 peopleIn a report, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) says the industry needs to recruit more in rural and regional Australia.
It recommends that rural employment rates should increase and that more training is provided to the workforce to help them find work in the future.
“There’s no doubt the call centre industry has struggled with a shortage in rural recruiting in recent years,” Mr Martin said.
“In the absence of strong economic and population growth, many call centre employers have decided to focus on remote and remote-adjacent areas in the ACT and WA.”
In the ACT, rural unemployment is now at 18.1 per cent, the highest in the country, the report found.
In WA, rural employment is now just over 16 per cent.
In the WA region, there are currently just over 2,000 call centre positions, the majority in rural areas.
In many rural towns and remote communities, call centre employment is currently below 10 per cent.
“This lack of employment is in stark contrast to the growth in the industry in the past decade, which has seen an average annual growth rate of more than 13 per cent,” Mr Martyn said.
There are now just around 20,000 rural jobs available across the ACT.
Mr Martyn says there are a number of reasons for the call centres’ slow rate of growth.
“The number of call centres is so small that it can be difficult to find people with a suitable level of experience and qualifications to fill those roles,” he said.
In 2016-17, there were just more than 8,000 job vacancies in rural WA.
“This is not because of a shortage but the number of vacancies we are currently seeing is in direct conflict with the number that call centre operators are able to find.”
The number in the call center industry has been on a steady decline since the financial crisis, with a number closed in the second half of 2016 and a further 25 closed in March.
The ACT’s rural workforce is set to fall by 25 per cent in 2021, the ACT’s own regional unemployment rate is forecast to rise by 25.3 per cent and the ACT has a total population of just over 7.5 million.