- Associated Press - Sunday, August 16, 2015

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Call center companies are now among Ohio’s largest job creators along with distribution warehouses, automakers and banks, state records show.

Labor costs overseas have been increasing and companies are being encouraged to open centers in the U.S., Christine Haerich, senior vice president of the Professional Association for Customer Engagement, told the Hamilton-Middletown Journal-News (https://bit.ly/1gDJBxs ). The trade group represents more than 400 member companies.

Bureau of Labor Statistics say there were more than 82,000 customer service representatives working in Ohio in May 2014 compared with nearly 78,000 in 2013. Ohio also ranked as one of the top 10 states for call center employment in the country, according to jobs4america, a business coalition that advocates for moving call center jobs to the United States.

Haerich said employers are taking advantage of cheaper property and labor.

“They’re bringing lots of jobs . no other industry brings in really those types of numbers,” she said.

Though call centers create hundreds of jobs at a time, critics have said they pay below-average wages.

Customer service representatives in Ohio earned a mean hourly wage of less than $16, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, whereas the average hourly wage was more than $21 in 2014.

But call center supporters contend the jobs pay above minimum wage and offer a career with flexible hours and don’t require a postgraduate degree.

Employers prefer to put customer centers in Midwestern states, such as Ohio, Haerich said.

“When you’re talking about where is the best place for customer service centers or contact centers it’s usually the Midwest and the reason for that is because there’s a neutral dialect,” she said.


Information from: Journal-News , https://www.journal-news.com

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