Top dogs in call centres get R1m

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An annual salary survey by Questconnect, the call centre division of Quest Personnel, has found that top executives in the SA call centre industry can earn up to R1 million a year.

The Questconnect survey, now in its third year, reveals that the best-paid call centre jobs are customer care directors, call centre directors and call centre managers. These positions in Gauteng typically command salaries between R650 000 and R900 000, depending on the specific industry.

"Higher salaries are being paid for specific skill sets," says Sheila Campbell, GM of Questconnect. "In addition, salary increases are increasingly being based on deliverables rather than length of service."

The Questconnect survey also reveals that salary increases on higher levels, such as managers and directors, have exceeded the consumer price index by an average of 10% over the past two years.

Inbound call centre agents in Gauteng earn on average R73 994 per year, while their colleagues in KwaZulu-Natal earn R73 910. The Western Cape remains the region with the highest paid inbound call centre agents with an average salary of R109 789. This is mainly because of the large number of insurance and financial companies based in that region, says Questconnect.

The figures are averages taken across all industries and carry slight distortion due to the fact that not all industries are present in each region.

Outbound call centre agents, who are on fixed salaries which are lower than inbound agents, have a higher earning potential when commission-based incentives are added in.

"Other trends revealed in the survey show that due to the fast growing nature of the industry, about 100 000 jobs can be created in SA within five years," says Campbell.

She adds that the demand for skilled personnel is on the increase, resulting in educational institutions offering specialised call centre courses. "This in turn will drive the demand for higher salaries as more technologically-capable people are required to fill the new posts."

The shift towards customer-focused activities, as driven by customer relationship management and other "customer-centric" policies, has created an industry with a skill base that is in high demand, according to the survey.

"Top individuals are fast joining the ranks of top executives commanding strategic positions in organisations, holding positions which would not have existed just a few years ago," says Campbell.

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