British job losses to India over-hyped

Friday, 28 November 2003, 08:00 Hrs
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LONDON: The loss of British jobs to India has been over-hyped, according to a corporate leader who believes call centres in Britain are "alive and kicking".

According to Tom Drury, managing director of Vertex, a major customer services operation set up in 1996, more British jobs might be relocated to India, but he believed that "the situation is over-hyped".

The 42-year-old Oxford graduate, who has been with Vertex since it began in 1996, is putting his money where his mouth is.

In the last few weeks the company, a subsidiary of Warrington-based United Utilities, has embarked on its biggest-ever recruitment campaign.

Around 1,600 people are being taken on at the firm's hi-tech centres in Speke and Knowsley with another 400 being hired in Bolton.

At least 700 of the positions will offer permanent or long-term contracts to successful applicants.

With a turnover on 370 million pounds, Vertex has been a success story for United Utilities.

It was set up in 1996 as a customer services operation for customers of United Utilities and the newly acquired Norweb.

Since then it has grown into a major outsourcing operation with clients in the public and commercial sector which include Cable & Wireless, Marks & Spencer, Littlewoods, Vodaphone, Companies House, Powergen and several local authorities.

Drury is at pains to point out Vertex offers a lot more than just call centre services.

"Just under half our employees work in call centres with others working in back office roles. We are not simply a call centre bureau, we manage many other facilities.

"When we started back in 1996 we didn't have the processes and procedures we have now and it was difficult to recruit really good people.

"You couldn't go out and hire someone who'd been in the business 10 years because nobody had.

"The type of business we were in was really in its infancy in those days and it was a real journey into the unknown.

"It was exciting then and it continues to be exciting now. The business has changed dramatically over the last few years and it is still very fast moving."

Source: IANS
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