We all know that a quality workforce plays an essential role in a contact centre’s ability to provide efficient and effective services. And it’s no secret that a country cannot sustain a frontline business process offshoring position and maintain international competitiveness if its BPS&O human resources are not developed to contribute significantly to its value proposition.
With the contact centre industry being marketed as a viable career option for South African youth, one would hope (and expect) that the South African education system is efficient enough to feed the industry with a competent workforce. Let’s hope again!
Our research on the challenges and trends in the BPS&O and Contact Centre industry seems to be painting a dire picture, with many of our respondents making it clear that the quality of South African school graduates leave much to be desired. As one respondent put it, “people are not ready (with basic work/like skills) to enter the workplace. There is a big disconnect from what business expects and what people can do. (The matriculants) are not being prepared properly for the contact centre environment.”
While some organisations are putting in an immense effort to try and “bridge the gap” between candidates’ schooling and the workplace with in- or outsourced training programmes, others lowered their employment criteria by appointing agents who did not even graduate from high school and (hopefully) investing in the further education or development of these young individuals.
In the meantime, government is addressing this challenge with initiatives like the Monyetla Work Readiness Programme, but Knowledge Executive seems to be getting mixed messages from respondents about its success. One respondent in the training and skills development sector noted that Monyetla “seems to be improving every year”, whilst a reputable respondent in the Human Capital sector believes it “has totally collapsed”.
The fact remains that the industry needs work readiness programmes, or incubator models, in order to maintain its prominence and growth momentum in the local job sector and the international arena.
- What, in your opinion, is the best way to address this challenge?