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Aussie targets NZ for another 150 new call centre jobs

Wednesday 5th June 2013

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The latest in a recent spate of back-office jobs heading from Australia to New Zealand is a move by call centre operator Unity4 to hire 150 kiwis to service customers in both countries and on the US West Coast.

Privately-owned Unity4's business model has telephonists working from home using the company's proprietary call centre management software, sales of which make up around half Unity4's total annual revenues.

So far, some 29 New Zealanders have been hired, initially to take calls on behalf of travel agency Flight Centre, with the company expecting to have 75 local staff by the end of July, ramping up to 150 over the next 12 to 18 months, chief executive Dan Turner told BusinessDesk.

Unity4 has 500 staff in its main Australian operation and around 50 in Britain.

Turner says doing business in New Zealand is "around 20 percent more cost-effective" than for the same work in Australia.

The company is also expanding a UK workforce and plans to use a tag-team in Australasia and the UK to service markets on the American West Coast, mainly making outbound sales calls.

Common culture and language were a major selling point for the target markets.

"Australians talking to New Zealanders, or New Zealanders talking to the UK or US seems to be very well accepted," said Turner.

Home-workers tended to be older, more mature, better suited to complex call types, he said. They were also more likely to remain with the company, justifying investment in training.

"It allows us to unlock all this human capital that isn't being used," he said.

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