A new report published by Market & Business Development says that the number of call centres in the UK is believed to have increased by 3% to 6255 in 2007, consolidating growth of 6% in the previous year.
This follows year-on-year growth in the previous three years. Overall, the number of call centres increased by an estimated 17% between 2003 and 2007. The increase during the latter part of the review period is a partial reflection of companies returning call centre operations to the UK, as customer relationship management becomes a higher priority. In addition, the market has also been driven by the expansion of existing operations.
The number of agent places in UK call centres reached an estimated 586 294 in 2007, equivalent to growth of 4% in the year and of 22% compared with 2003. During the five year review period, annual growth levels have remained relatively consistent at between 4% and 6%. The number of agent positions has increased at a slightly stronger rate than that of the total number of call centres, reflecting the trend for larger call centres. Indeed, the average number of agents per call centre has increased from 90.1 in 2003 to an estimated 93.7 in 2007. Nonetheless, the number of agent places is believed to understate the total number of employees in the industry, as many centres operate a shift system, often operating a 24-hour service, resulting in more than one employee filling an individual workstation.
Market Forecast 2008 – 2012
The number of call centres in the UK is expected to continue to increase over the five year forecast period up to 2012. Annual growth levels are expected to be more moderate than ion previous years partly reflecting the increasing maturity of the market and the trend towards offshore outsourcing. However the growth in offshore outsourcing is expected to be more moderate than previously anticipated as an increasing number of companies are returning their call centres to the UK., thus generating demand for UK based call centres.
In 2012, the number of UK call centres is forecast to reach 7145, representing overall growth of 14% compared with 2007. Annual growth levels are expected to fluctuate between 2% and 4%. The sectors with the strongest growth potential for call centres are expected to include energy & utilities, banks, and the public sector.