2023 Call Center Saturation Report: Call Center Labor Markets

by King White, on May 16, 2023 8:00:00 AM

Few industries have agreed upon a metric that measures overall competitiveness of a labor market. The call center industry is unique because a standard saturation rate is applied to measure a market’s overall call center concentration. There are those in the industry that believe call center saturation can greatly impact the performance and profitability of a call center due to employee attrition, wage increases and labor quality decline. Others have a different philosophy and view saturation as a measurement of a trained talent pool which could be beneficial in today’s challenging hiring environment. It could also indicate the existence of diverse skill sets which could be attractive to those call centers requiring a more complex need. 

To better understand call center saturation, Site Selection Group analyzed more than 920 metro areas to identify metropolitan areas with the greatest call center saturation rate to help companies identify metro areas with greater call center concentration.


Click Here to Download the Full Report


How do you calculate call center saturation?

The call center saturation rate is defined as the percentage of the labor force employed in a call center or related back-office operation such as shared service centers, transaction processing and other densely occupied entry-level operations. It is calculated by tallying the total call center employment of a market, and then dividing by the labor force. Saturation rates typically increase as a result of net new jobs created due to the opening of new call centers or internal growth of call centers already in the labor market. Conversely, the saturation rate will decrease as employers close call center sites or lay off employees.

When is a labor market saturated with call centers?

Typically, markets will have between 1% and 3% of their labor employed in call centers. A labor market saturation rate between 1% and 2% is considered most desirable as an indicator that call centers operate in the market — providing a talent pool of trained call center workers without being overly competitive with too many call center employers. Additionally, there is growth within the market before reaching critical saturation metrics. However, when a labor market reaches a 3% or greater saturation rate, these labor markets are considered “saturated,” which may cause concerns for companies that there is too much local competition.

Where are the most saturated metro areas?

Site Selection Group identified the most saturated call center labor markets by population size, broken down into three different population categories. Below you’ll find the rankings for metro areas with populations over 1 million. Please refer to the full report for additional metro area rankings.

Top 10 Most Saturated Call Center Metro Areas
with Populations over 1 Million
Metro Area
Labor Force
Total Call Center Employment
Call Center Saturation Rate
1 Buffalo-Cheektowaga, NY 1,136,557 545,817 30,099 5.51%
2 Phoenix-Mesa-Chandler, AZ 5,013,228 2,709,391 137,047 5.06%
3 Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL 3,219,903 1,625,671 74,550 4.59%
4 Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, NC-SC 2,664,100 1,436,763 64,455 4.56%
5 San Antonio-New Braunfels, TX 2,533,182 1,337,641 59,392 4.44%
6 Rochester, NY 1,077,258 508,925 22,284 4.38%
7 Salt Lake City, UT 1,263,890 786,923 32,021 4.07%
8 Columbus, OH 2,127,049 1,146,294 42,048 3.67%
9 Tucson, AZ 1,059,949 526,419 17,649 3.35%
10 St. Louis, MO-IL 2,819,783 1,505,423 49,700 3.30%

*Click the link below to download the full report identifying the saturation rates of other metro areas.


Click Here to Download the Full Report


How will this impact site selection decisions?

Call center saturation remains a powerful metric in determining overall competition in a market. It is a good indicator of potential risk as it pertains to labor scalability, labor market longevity, employee attrition and wage inflation, but it can also be an indicator of a trained workforce with a higher skill set level. Although the saturation rate alone provides valuable insight into the overall competitiveness of a labor market, it is critical to evaluate all location factors such as demographics, labor costs, business climate, labor laws, accessibility, economic incentives and real estate to make an informed site selection decision.  

Source: Site Selection Group, Bureau of Labor & Statistics

Topics:Call CenterSite Selection GroupSite SelectionNearshoreOffshoreBusiness Process OutsourcingCall Center SaturationSaturation



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