The changing face of contact centres – why industry leaders are moving to multi-generational teams

Call centre agent has traditionally been seen as an entry level job for a college leaver or graduate. There are around one million people employed in the Contact Centre industry in the UK as of 2023 and most of those are Gen Z and Millennials. However, with the contact centre industry struggling to navigate talent shortages, high churn rates and changing customer needs, many employers are rethinking their recruitment focus. There are four generations still in the workforce and, supported by Government initiatives, the number of working over 50’s is set to reach a record high by 2030; the change can already be seen with more than 210,000 rejoining the labour force in 2022 alone. In the contact centre industry, embracing an age-inclusive workforce can deliver a wide range of benefits: Stronger relationships with your customers. A multi-generational contact centre team is more likely to reflect the customer base they serve and therefore better able to relate to the customers they are talking to and build rapport. Thinking differently. Studies show multi-generational teams are more productive and innovative – different perspectives, experiences and skill sets encourage new ways of thinking and innovative approaches to problem-solving. Building loyalty. While younger workers are more likely to change jobs more frequently, older workers are more likely to remain loyal to the business, ensuring experience is retained and support is available for training and coaching new team members. Encouraging learning. Age-inclusive teams create an environment where learning and best practice can be shared; with each generation bringing their own distinct skill sets and experiences, there are a multitude of learning opportunities – from maximising the sales potential of social media to calming an angry customer or converting a sale. Against the backdrop of a global talent shortage that is likely to continue, businesses who can adapt their recruitment and management styles to embrace age inclusivity are likely to reap significant benefits. With working lives extending, there are new talent pools open to employers and forward-thinking businesses who embrace this opportunity are likely to both stand out in the competition for talent and retain their employees for longer.