The social and economic impact of the call center industry in Ireland
Purpose – This paper seeks to build on a previous article published in International Journal of Social Economics Vol. 33 No. 10 titled, “A case study in the globalization of jobs in Ireland” by objectively assessing many socioeconomic implications of the call center industry in Ireland. The paper first builds a foundation of understanding on what comprises the call center sector and highlights the fact that it is a large, complex and stratified business. It investigates the socioeconomic impact of this industry on Ireland by analyzing how Irish call center jobs pay compared with other Irish industry sectors and the impact of immigration on salary levels. The paper also assesses the evolution of the business model of Irish call centers and Ireland's international recruiting patterns as they impact the Irish labor pool. Finally, it seeks to explore in depth the nature of call center sociopolitical activity and influence. Design/methodology/approach – This general review is based on a field research project including survey data obtained by a team from the University of Southern Mississippi and supported by The Irish Development Agency (IDA). The survey collected data about the workers, management and demographic trends of the Irish call/contact center sector. This information is enhanced by review of literature and available secondary data. Findings – This paper builds a foundational understanding for the reader of the true nature of the call center business within Ireland and in global terms. It offers a balanced assessment to the common perception that call centers are white-collar sweatshops and articulates the true nature of this stratified and evolving business sector. The paper then explores the socioeconomic impact of the evolution of this key employment sector in Ireland. Originality/value – It builds on the case study paper featured in Vol. 33 No. 10 of the International Journal of Social Economics by investigating in greater detail the social and economic impact of this research on Irish workers. The value is that the paper studies a significant Irish industry sector in terms of social effects brought on by change due to advances in technology and the globalization of jobs. This is important to economic development groups such as IDA Ireland and development agencies in other countries facing similar situations.
Call centres, Ireland, Socio-economic regions, Work psychology
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