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Absorbing the One.Tel fallout

THE shortage of call centre personnel in Perth should ensure workers laid off by One.Tel find work quickly, according to local recruitment agencies.

About 100 Perth One.Tel staff members were retrenched from their St George’s Terrace office last week. The move came after days of media speculation concerning when administrator Steve Sherman would close One.Tel offices, with the company losing $12 million a week.

While the employees still are unsure whether they will get their full entitlements from the telco, local recruitment agencies said the retrenched workers should be able to find work in similar roles.

“There has always been a shortage of good call centre staff in Perth,” Kelly Services WA manager Mike Nicholson said.

“We certainly believe those people should be able to find alternative employment if they’ve got the skills.”

Hays Personnel State manager Geoffrey Harris said experienced and talented call centre staff would always be employed.

“A lot of people put their hand up for call centre work, but the number of people who are high quality is somewhat limited,” he said.

“So those people who have got good skills and experience, especially those who are prepared to make outbound calls, rather than just taking inbound calls, will always find themselves a job.”

Drake account manager Connie Datillo said the industry was reasonably buoyant in Perth and was growing at between 25 to 30 per cent nationally.

Despite the bad taste One.Tel’s collapse may leave in many workers’ mouths, the training they received while working for the company is valued by many employment agencies.

“We know the training that they have is good, it’s at the top end of the market,” Kelly Services’ Mike Nicholson said.

“I wouldn’t say they get the best training, but certainly they are at the top end of the market in terms of the training they are given (and this) adds to the transportability of their skill.”

Hay Personnel’s Geoffrey Harris said One.Tel was known for its aggressive marketing and it had carried through to the skills of its employees. He believed many of the former staff would be picked up by other telcos stepping into claim part of One.Tel’s 22,000 customers.

But Drake’s Connie Datillo warned the market was subject to fluctuations, and the peaks and troughs of the industry could affect employment chances.

One Perth recruitment agent, who declined to be named, said there was little demand for call centre staff at present.

She said the industry tended to hire on a quarterly basis and those looking for work wouldn’t see a favourable market until after the end of financial year.

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