Too few new jobs

Zweli Mokgata

Zweli Mokgata

The local call centre industry will not deliver as many jobs as government initially promised.

According to a report by Frost and Sullivan, the number of outsourced seats will only reach about 60000 in the next five to seven years.

The industry was forecast to create 100000 new jobs and contribute up to R8billion to the country's gross domestic product by next year.

Apart from the traditional challenge of high telecommunications prices, South Africa faces a range of other obstacles to the growth of the contact centre market.

Spiwe Chireka, Frost and Sullivan research analyst, said: "The planned growth in the industry is unlikely to be realised under the current circumstances.

"This is due to the fact that South Africa's value propositions are not all relevant. The country is relying increasingly of factors such as good language capabilities, favourable time zones, its advanced financial services sector and strong government support, which investors are not necessarily looking for anymore," Chireka said

Since the government's ambitious promises, the industry has created 20000 jobs.

Karen Geldenhuys, managing director of ICT-focused recruitment company Abacus Recruitment, agreed that investment in the sector, locally and globally, was taking a dive.

Jeff Qhena, Industrial Development Corporation chief executive, mentioned business process outsourcing as a target of new funding facilities that the organisation received from a French electronics group yesterday.

"There is still a huge potential to create thousands of jobs in the industry. We are well-timed with Europe and we have good capabilities in English, but a slowdown in the world economy is hampering investments," Qhena said.

According to a recent study by the ID, CIT outsourcing makes up more than a third of the R30billion IT services market, taking up the largest share of all IT service categories.