The Importance of Call Center Jobs

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The entry-level typing pool jobs of yesterday and the call center jobs of today both serve an important role.

I often read disparaging remarks about call center jobs. These articles lament the decline in high paying manufacturing and timber jobs while claiming they are being replaced with low paying call center jobs, implying the economy is weaker as a result. However, a recent article in the The Register Guard got the story of call center jobs right, although it took until the end of the article for that message to be delivered.

The point, which was finally made in the end, is the reality that call center jobs are entry-level office jobs and a critical part of the economy.  One does not have to go back that far in time to see job titles such as Stenographer, Keypunch Operator, Switchboard Operator, Typist, Tabulating Machine Operator and File Clerk.  Back in the day, these were all important entry-level office jobs, but office automation has replaced or significantly reduced the need for these positions.

A case in point would be the job of Switchboard Operator, of which there were 25,787 of those jobs listed by the Department of Labor in 1970. By comparison, only 700 existed in 2013 while more than 37,000 Customer Service jobs, which I would regard as predominately call center work, were listed.

The entry level office jobs of old paid equivalent wages to call center jobs. Like call center jobs, they typically required only a high school diploma. They offered advancement opportunities while training the individual in the skills necessary to be a successful employee, much like the call center does today.  They were and are a good option for those who cannot or do not want to work in the more physically demanding jobs of the manufacturing or timber industries.

At FCR our entry level jobs often lead to advancement, but even if it doesn’t our colleagues receive sick days, vacation days, profit sharing, medical and dental benefits. We are proud of the role we play in the economy and the lives of our colleagues.

~ John Stadter

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