It so happens a good friend who works at Concentrix had tipped me off about the 1000 new jobs announcement at the very moment I wrote this, but it rather demonstrated my point! Twice in the last few months an announcement of 1000 new jobs for Belfast has come; such announcements are almost unknown in comparable cities in England outside London and the Home Counties.
There is a tendency to “chide” call centre jobs. That tendency is an example of the negativity I speak of. Actually, Call Centres are highly pressurised environment; teamwork is essential; IT skills are necessary; managers are consequently comparatively well paid; and in many cases language skills are also necessary (with an added salary bonus there too).
Furthermore, they may be below average salary level but they offer a clear skills progression route particularly to people starting out in work. In an era where “starter jobs” such as check-out attendant are in dramatic decline, we have to be forceful to fill the gap. These are 1000 jobs which had to go somewhere. They could easily have gone somewhere else – to Cardiff, or Newcastle, or Bristol. They didn’t, they came here. We have to compete for such jobs to create that skills progression route, and compete successfully. In this case and others, we have managed that.
All of this is not to mention that Concentrix derives from Owen Lamont’s “GEM” firm, so is to a degree a story of local entrepreneurial success as well.
It’s all good! So let’s say so!