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Risks of working in call centres.

Jobs in North-east call centres face a greater risk of being moved abroad than in most other parts of the country, a new report warned today.

The region has nearly 30,000 people working in call centres.

But a higher than average number of local centres are large operations - which experts fear are more likely to be "offshored" to cheaper locations, such as India.

According to a Department of Trade and Industry report, published today, the industry is booming with the creation of an additional 200,000 jobs nationally expected over the next three years.

Across the UK, the call centre business has grown by 250pc since 1995.

But there has been growing concern that a substantial slice of this business is being "exported" to South Asia where wage costs are just 10 to 15pc of those in Britain.

Today's report identifies the financial services sector as the most likely to "offshore" call centre jobs.

This is particularly true of larger call centres employing more than 250 people.

The report warns: "Those areas where businesses were encouraged to set up large contact centres in order to alleviate high levels of unemployment - including Scotland, South Wales, South Yorkshire, the North-east - now face a particular challenge."

However, the report also said that employers tempted to axe call centre jobs in Britain by exporting them abroad may be making a mistake.

The DTI found evidence of a large number of hidden and "poorly understood" costs associated with "offshoring" - such as relocating senior management plus customer discontent.

Another of the report's findings revealed substantial public dislike of dealing with call centres based overseas.
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:May 6, 2004
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