The call-centre industry is growing in leaps and bounds in Cape Town, so if you answer a call from someone trying to sell you insurance or a new phone contract, they are probably sitting in an office somewhere in the Mother City. So let’s be nice, shall we?
In all seriousness though, the job creation potential of the industry was spotted several years ago by the Western Cape Government and City of Cape Town and they actively sought to lure investors from abroad to open up their call-centres here in Cape Town.
And it’s paying off.
The City says just between July and December 2018, just over 2200 job opportunities were created via so-called Special Purpose Vehicles, which offers incentives to companies to invest here, translating in investments of over R1,8 billion.
The bulk of the jobs that were created were in the call-centres and off-shoring sector. Off-shoring is the practice where international companies move some of their processes or services overseas.
Youth from previously disadvantaged communities in the Cape Flats have benefitted from the employment opportunities on offer.
The City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Economic Opportunities and Asset Management, James Vos, says international companies are increasingly looking to Cape Town because we really have everything to offer.
The availability of a strong talent pool (which includes excellent English and an accent that the UK market finds acceptable), first-world infrastructure, significant cost savings, and a strong foundation in contact centres, are just some of what Cape Town has to offer firms abroad.
Amazon.com, the world’s largest online retailer, set up a call-centre in 2010 in Cape Town to service British, American and German clients. Other global companies that offer office services and operate in South Africa include Teleperformance, Mindpearl Group and Chase Response.
With over 200 000 South Africans currently employed to service clients abroad, James Vos says his goal is to grow the sector even further.
“My immediate priority has been to schedule engagements with key sectors and business partners to understand their challenges, and further explore growth opportunities. Together we are going to ensure optimal return from our joint efforts.”
We might not always like getting a phone call from a call-centre agent, but they are just doing their jobs, so try and be polite!