Call Center Wage Guide: The Impact of the New Wage Paradigm on Site Selection Strategies

by King White, on Sep 18, 2018 2:14:26 PM

The U.S. call center labor market continues to tighten as unemployment hovers at historic lows and minimum wage law changes take effect. As a result, call center wage inflation has been increasing, and there appears to be a new call center wage paradigm being established that will reshape corporate budgets as well as call center site selection strategies. To help understand this new call center wage paradigm and its impact on your location decisions, Site Selection Group has provided a wage guide and some useful site selection tips to help you stay competitive in your hunt for qualified call center labor.

Employee attrition is on the rise

Employee turnover is reaching an all-time high as shown in our blog last month on Rising Employee Attrition Causes Companies to Rethink Site Selection & Economic Incentive Strategies. Many call centers paying in the lower wage band in a labor market are once again seeing attrition rates exceeding 100% per year. This is a huge expense when employee training can last between two and six weeks depending on the complexity of the position. In order to control attrition, companies are increasing wages to stay competitive. Recommended wages are outlined below in the Call Center Wage Guide. 

Millennials and Generation Z want nicer call center facilities, better work environments and amenities

Higher wages are not the only thing employees are wanting today. Employees are looking for a much different call center environment than the old 2X4 cubes packed into as little space as possible. They will often take less pay in exchange for a better workplace. To attract millennial and Generation Z workers, call center employers have been changing their facilities to a more tech-oriented design style. The design changes also include stand-up desks, workbench workstations, exposed ceilings, collaboration space and more amenities than ever.    

Higher wages can mean more economic incentives

Call centers are often not eligible for economic incentives due to their low wages. With wages increasing, it can create opportunities for accessing economic incentives such as cash grants, payroll rebates and tax credits. These economic incentives can help reduce your up-front investment and your on-going operating costs. 

Call Center Wage Guide identifies new wage paradigm for employers

Call center wages stayed relatively flat from 2009 through 2015. However, in the last few years, call center wages have increase by 15% to 20% which can create challenges for employers as they try to attract and retain top call center talent. To help understand the wages you should anticipate paying today, the following Call Center Wage Guide provides a summary of the entry level wages an employer should anticipate paying in different size metro areas of the U.S.

Call Center Wage Guide 2018

Base Wage Net of Bonus, Commissions & Benefits

  Tier 1 Metro Areas Tier 2 Metro Areas Tier 3 Metro Areas
Customer Service Representative Level 1 $14.00 $12.00 $11.00
Customer Service Representative Level 2 $16.00 $14.00 $13.00
Customer Service Representative Level 3 $18.00 $16.00 $15.00
Outbound Sales / Market Research $12.00 $11.00 $10.50
Inbound Sales Representative $12.00 $11.00 $10.50
Billing & Collections $13.00 $12.00 $11.00
Claims Processing $15.00 $13.00 $12.00
Technical Support Level 1 $16.00 $14.00 $13.00
Technical Support Level 2 $18.00 $16.00 $15.00
Technical Support Level 3 $20.00 $18.00 $17.00


With the economy peaking during this prolonged expansionary period, it is completely understandable why call center wages have increased by 15% to 20% over the last few years. If employers want to attract the best talent and the next generation of worker then they need to be prepared to pay higher wages and provide a modern workplace. Hopefully this quick snapshot of labor costs will provide insight into determining the optimal site selection strategy that meets your business objectives.

Topics:Call CenterEconomic IncentivesSite Selection GroupSite SelectionLocation Advisory



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