Australian Contact Centre industry

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Australian Contact Centre Industry Information

The Australian Customer Experience Professionals Association (ACXPA) is the only industry association in Australia that provides support, resources and advocacy for the Australian Contact Centre Industry as well as the customer experience (CX), digital service and customer service professions to help businesses deliver great customer experiences across voice, digital and in-person channels.

The information below is specifically about the Australian Contact Centre industry to provide some insights, data and commentary about the local industry.

Frequently Asked Questions about Call Centres in Australia

Below you’ll find a list of Australian Contact Centre Industry Information. We also have a range of other industry insights, benchmarks and data you can view >

How big is the Australian Contact Centre Industry?

It’s always been difficult to get an exact number of how many people work in Australian call centres given the definition of a call centre varies greatly within different industries so for the past 30-odd years, we’ve been flying blind as to how many people truly work in our industry.

Until now!

We’ve been working with the Australian Bureau of Statistics to determine not only how many people work in Australian contact centres, but in any role that involves dealing directly with customers.

Using the 2021 Census Data, we’ve listed below a high-level summary of the number of employees by different functions.

It is a little tricky as:

  • There are lots of people who work on the phones all day, but they don’t classify themselves as working in a ‘call centre’ due to the often unfortunate (and uneducated) stigma associated with the job.
  • Some people tend to say they work in customer service for example – but that could be in a retail store or a call centre etc.
  • There are lots of people who may work in a call centre all day, but rather they associate as working in a particular industry. For example, someone working in a banking call centre would most likely identify as working in the banking sector in a customer service role.

The good news is we’ve spent a lot of time refining the data to give us as clear a picture as possible and will release more granular data soon.

We are also working with the ABS to help improve data for the Census due in 2026 to ensure we can more accurately the number of people working in our industry so stay tuned for more information!

Contact Centre Specific 30,598 29,230 20,307 8,162 8,845 2,455 646 2,088 102,373
Contact Centre Related 27,221 20,072 11,386 4,858 5,536 1,083 305 690 71,137
Customer Service Manager 14,414 10,836 7,115 2,433 3,576 618 285 684 39,960
Retail 239,429 224,992 178,397 63,042 88,257 20,021 6,371 13,845 834,377
Office & Admin 45,131 39,505 32,790 10,904 17,536 3,301 1,456 2,619 153,277
Hospitality 60,894 56,572 47,978 16,895 24,981 5,899 2,090 5,081 220,387
TOTAL 417,687 381,207 297,973 106,294 148,731 33,377 11,153 24,997 1,421,461

The Difference Between a ‘Call’ Centre and ‘Contact’ Centre

In the old days, if you worked in a call centre that is predominately what you did – answer phone calls.

These days the ‘contact’ centre has evolved to support multiple forms of contact from customers including email, social media (e.g. Facebook and Twitter) through to Live Chat and now even Video Chat.

So basically, a ‘call’ centre is an old term, but as it’s widely known, it’s still very much in use today.

As a rule, those working in the industry now refer to them as contact centres, those outside of the industry still use the term call centre.

Australian Contact Centre Industry Benchmarking & Statistics

The industry has been devoid of robust benchmarking data for many years so in 2019, a recruitment agency known as SMAART Recruitment published their first Australian Contact Centre Industry Best Practice report and it quickly became the go-to resource.

It’s been published (and continued to grow) every year and whilst now a few others have tried to copy the format, the SMAART Recruitment report is the absolute benchmark and is the biggest and most robust survey of them all and ACXPA is proudly a key contributor to the report.

View a summary of the latest Australian Contact Centre Industry report here > (Free, no sign-up required)

New – Australian Call Centre Rankings & Benchmarking Data

In August 2023, we launched the new Australian Call Centre Rankings Report – a monthly snapshot into the performance of Australian Call Centres across a range of different industry sectors.

Via Mystery Shopping calls, we assess the contact centres across 80 different metrics to determine an overall ranking score, and a score for accessibility (how easy was it to connect to a live agent) and quality (the interaction with the customer service agent).

View the Latest Call Centre Rankings >

How much do call centre agents get paid in Australia?

In Australia, what employees are paid is determined by industrial awards, workplace agreements or employment contracts. It can get a bit tricky in contact centres as workers are often considered admin staff and can come under same agreeement, award or contract as the industry their employee is in.

However, there is a formal award for contact centres called the Contract Call Centre Award – you can read more about it here along with common Q&As, minimum award rates and the latest benchmarking salary data.

The latest (2023) Australian Contact Centre industry benchmarking data revealed that the national average for a customer service frontline role is $57,700 + Superannuation. WA has the highest state average of $64,500, and South Australia has the lowest at $55,000.

Senior roles (e.g. Head of Customer Service/CX) can earn $204,600 + super + $19,400 bonus making the contact centre/CX industry a very rewarding career choice for many.

View the latest Australian Call Centre Salaries here >

Why do people choose to work in a call centre?

It would be fair to say that currently, most people don’t go to school or university to hopefully one day work in a contact centre!

People typically start their call centre journey as a first job or to earn some money whilst studying through to people looking for a career change.

There are lots of great things about working in a call centre and thankfully more and more people are seeing call centres and customer experience (CX) as a great career choice that provides a great mix of technology, people and customers!

What’s the average of someone working in an Australian Call Centre?

Despite a perception that call centres are often full of young people, the truth is call centres attract all sorts of people and all stages of life.

From people fresh out of school, uni students and actors through to retirees who have decided to return to the workforce.

Given the diverse range of call centres, it’s also not uncommon to have qualifications relevant to the calls you might be taking e.g. Nurses, Technical Support, Building Advice, Poisons advice, emergency services, financial advice etc.

As such, and despite common belief, you will often find highly qualified people working in a call centre providing professional service and advice.

What’s the average tenure of an Australian Call Centre worker?

The widely accepted average in an Australian Contact Centre is anywhere between 18 months and 3 years with the most recent data (2023) revealing:

  • Frontline agents still employed after 12-months (68%).
  • The average attrition for a call centre in Australia is 32%. Of those leaving, 35% leave to other internal roles, the remainder (65%) leave the business completely with the leading reasons:
    • Pursuing a different career (56%)
    • Financial Reasons (38%)
    • Personal Reasons (33%
    • Dissatisfaction with the work (23%)
  • Best practice – 18% of contact centres have an average tenure of over 3 years.

As many now consider a call centre job a career, it’s now not uncommon for people to have worked over 20 years in the call centre industry!

What are the career options when working in a contact centre?

The Australian call centre industry offers great career opportunities with a huge variety of roles from on the phones, to social media management, HR, Finance, Training, Recruitment, IT, Reporting, Forecasting and more, shifts that offer a flexible work/life balance, fast promotion opportunities, substantial training and development commitments and workplaces that celebrate and reward performance.

According to our research, there are over 60 job types that you will find in a call centre. Now that’s a lot of choice and room to grow!

Still not convinced? Read our article on the 15 best things about working in a call centre

Is there a list of all the call centres in Australia?

Sadly no.

You can view the list of outsourced call centres (also known as BPOs/Business Processing Outsourcers) in Australia on the ACXPA Supplier Directory but there is no list available with all call centre locations, sizes etc available.

As we alluded to earlier, given the sheer diversity of businesses with people on the phone and the different definitions of a call centre, it’s currently impossible to collate the data.

We do, however, have a fantastic Members Directory (exclusive for ACXPA members only) where they can search and connect to other Contact Centre Professionals using powerful purpose-built search filters like location, size of contact centre, number of contact centres, technology in use, channels in use, business sector, job title and more.

Once connected (it’s like Linkedin, but just for our industry!),  you can then directly message the member on our platform so its a great way to build your professional network and connect to others in similar roles to benchmark, get support or pick their brains about their experiences.  See a demo of how it works >

Is there a list of businesses that use Australian Call Centres?

Yes, but it’s not public yet!

We are working on our new website called Where is the Call Centre that will enable consumers to search by business name or industry sector to find out where the call centres are based.

We don’t advocate a position either way as they both have their benefits, our plan is to simply provide consumers with the ability to make an informed choice.

Are all Australia Call Centre Jobs going overseas?

It’s true that there have been lots of Australian call centre jobs that have gone offshore, initially to India and then to the Philippines, South Africa and Fiji as the new go-to locations.

But according to ACXPA CEO Justin Tippett, COVID-19 changed things pretty quickly when many Australian businesses suddenly found themselves with NO contact centre support as the overseas contact centres were decimated with COVID-related issues including the inability to operate a work-from-home model.

As a result,  businesses were forced to either re-activate their Australian-based call centres or set up brand new ones, fast. Where this wasn’t possible, they enlisted the support of Australian-based contact centre outsourcers/BPOs to handle the calls on their behalf.

It wasn’t surprising to see that companies started to switch their marketing to proudly announcing the use of their “Australian Call Centres” and conveniently didn’t make any reference to the fact that prior to COVID they couldn’t move their call centre offshore quick enough.

So post COVID there has been a gradual shift back to onshore but with a tightening economy there is no question that the pressure will be on again to look at using offshore call centres.

Why Australian companies send their call centres offshore

Let’s not beat around the bush.

It’s primarily a cost-saving exercise because it can save companies millions of dollars in the short term.

You can expect to save between 25% to 75% off the operating costs of running a contact centre overseas compared to running the same centre here in Australia and that can equate to some serious money when you consider the average cost for a fully-loaded seat (including all the on-costs like accommodation, management, training, annual leave, technology etc) can be around $85,000, so assuming a saving of 60%, that’s a saving of $51,000 per employee.

For a call centre with just 20 staff, that’s over a million dollars a year in savings.

And for Australian Call Centres with hundreds of staff, you can do the maths.

Now the savvy reader will note I mentioned ‘in the short-term’ above.

Customer expectations are continuing to rise and it’s becoming much easier to vote with your feet.

If customers don’t like the experience they are receiving (which can often be the case with offshore call centres) then there is a real risk of losing that customer, offsetting any potential savings that may have been realised.

Which is the right strategy for businesses to adopt?

Whether a business uses an offshore call centre or one right here in Australia, what is critical is ensuring the experience is right.

And there is a lot of room for improvement on both sides.

Learn more about Call Centre Outsourcing in Australia including costs >

Where you can find Australian Call Centre Jobs

If you are looking for a job in the Australian contact centre industry, we’ll soon be launching a brand new jobs website for the contact centre industry called – a purpose-built jobs website featuring specially designed categories and search filters for the contact centre, customer experience, digital service and customer service industry making it easy for people to find the perfect job to suit their lifestyle.

Search by powerful filters including preferred shift times, pay frequency and lots more!

With our background in contact centres, our innovative search filters and platform (including video applications), FlexibleJobs really does provide a fresh alternative to finding your first (or next) contact centre job.

There is also a range of specialist call centre recruitment agencies that you can find in the ACXPA Supplier Directory.

You will also find call centre jobs on Seek, Jora, Indeed and Gumtree.

More information on the Australian Contact Centre Industry

We’ve got some other useful articles and resources about the Australian Contact Centre Industry you might find helpful including:

If you still can’t find what you need, please contact us and we’ll do our best to help.

Upcoming ACXPA CX Roundtable - Next Guest Announcement
Upcoming ACXPA Contact Centre Roundtable July 2024 - John Stavrakis

Upcoming ACXPA Member Bites Sessions

Short, sharp interviews and presentations on specific topics to fast-track your knowledge!

The ACXPA Member Bites are only available to ACXPA Members! 

ACXPA Members can watch all the ACXPA Member Bites at any time in their Video Library. Discover which membership is right for you >

Nadine Power, ACXPA National Advisory Board Member

IVR Best Practice

Over 90% of contact centres are using an IVR (Press 1 for this, press 2 for that), and we've encountered many contact centres with over four layers of options for customers to select from. In this session, Nadine will be sharing some best practice tips on IVR design for 2024.

Presented by Nadine Power, Client Success Manager, VERSA Connects (and ACXPA National Advisory Board Member)

More sessions announced soon! 

(If you're interested in speaking at one of our events, click here to learn more >)

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