Call centre jobs: Which are the best call centres to work at?

Are you looking for a customer service job, but want something that isn’t face-to-face? A call centre job might fit the bill.

The same can go for people who can’t be on their feet for long periods. Call centre jobs are usually done sitting down.

If you have caring responsibilities or transport difficulties, again call centre jobs might be something to consider.

One of the effects of COVID-19 is that many call centre jobs can now be done from home.

Want to find out more about call centre jobs? We’ll be going through:

To explore these, we’re looking at what real call centre workers have shared on Breakroom.

They’ve shared their call centre experiences, from pay to hours. Everything you want to know about a call centre job.

Everything we’re going to look at comes from them.

Let’s get going.

Here’s how call centre workers have rated their employers on Breakroom.

So this is more manageable to read, we have narrowed down all the companies that hire call centre workers into a top 10 list.

The top 10 call centres to work for

  1. Aviva: 8.2/10

  2. Sykes Enterprises: 8.0/10

  3. Wescot: 8.0/10

  4. Hastings Direct: 8.0/10

  5. South West Water: 7.9/10

  6. Nationwide Building Society: 7.7/10

  7. Kura: 7.4/10

  8. EDF Energy: 7.3/10

  9. DVLA: 7.2/10

  10. Sky: 7.2/10

  11. Yorkshire Water: 7.2/10

  12. RAC: 7.2/10

  13. SSCL: 7.2/10

  14. Santander: 7.2/10

  15. Tesco Bank: 7.2/10

Interested to learn more about call centre jobs and whether they are right for you? Keep reading.

What jobs can you do in a call centre?

Call centres, also known as contact centres, are typically known for their customer service jobs.

Let’s take a look at some of them.

Types of call centre jobs

As we just mentioned, call centres are known for hiring people for customer service jobs. Different companies give this job different names.

Here are some examples:

  • Customer service assistant/ advisor

  • Contact centre agent

  • Call centre operative/ operator/ officer

  • Customer experience specialist

  • Call handler

In this job, workers will talk to the company’s customers on the phone, over online chat or email.

Customers might be getting in touch to buy a service, get something fixed, make a complaint or generally get some help.

These types of calls and responses are handled at what is called an inbound call centre. The focus at an inbound call centre is to help solve problems for customers.

There are also outbound call centres. This is where workers will call potential or existing customers.

Outbound calls have a slightly different aim than inbound calls. These range from selling a customer a new product or service, letting the customer know about new promotions or asking them to take a survey.

These are some of the job titles that an outbound call centre job can have:

  • Telesales executive

  • Telemarketing agent

  • Telephone service representative

In both of these jobs, you may need to follow a script. It is also very likely that you’ll have targets you have to achieve.

These targets can include the number of calls you answer, how many problems you have solved or sales targets. They will vary based on what job you are doing.

Both inbound and outbound call centre jobs can be done from a virtual call centre. This means you don’t have to go to a physical call centre to work, so you can work from home.

However, not all call centres are virtual call centres. If you want a call centre job where you can work from home, you’ll need to double check the job description.

These call centre jobs are entry level. There are also call centre jobs where you can manage or supervise others.

These types of jobs can be called:

  • Contact centre team leader/ supervisor

  • Customer service manager

Read here for more information on what a call centre manager job involves.

What are the types of companies that hire call centre workers?

Some companies have their own call centres and some outsource them. This is where one company runs a call centre on behalf of another company.

The types of companies that tend to have call centres include:

  • Insurance

  • Retail

  • Banks

  • Energy

  • Charities

  • Broadband, TV & Phone

What are the entry requirements for a call centre job?

This largely depends on what type of job you are applying for.

If you are applying for an entry level customer service role, you’ll need the following:

  • The right to work in the UK

  • Some GCSEs (although this isn’t the case for all call centres)

  • Basic computer skills

If you’re looking for something a bit more senior, you may need:

Whilst having qualifications may help in getting a managerial call centre job, it’s not a requirement. You can work your way up to a managerial job from an entry level position.

What are the best things about a call centre job?

You’ve seen what a call centre job might involve. So what are the best things about it?

Call centre workers have shared what the best things about their job are.

These are a handful of them:

“Satisfaction from helping customers”

“Lots of different things to learn”

“I love the people, the complexity and the freedom to do what I like when I like.”

“Great team, flexible around personal life”

“Good perks, great staff”

From reading these, you can see that the best bits of a call centre job are:

  • Getting to help others

  • Opportunities to learn new things (and keep things interesting)

  • Flexibility

  • Teamwork

  • Some companies offer good benefits

What do you get paid for a call centre job?

Now you’ve seen what call centre jobs you can do and what’s good about them, let’s get into the nitty gritty.

Pay is an important part of understanding whether a job is right for you.

Here is what call centre workers earn on average, as shared by actual call centre workers:

25% workers earn this or less 50% workers earn this or less 75% workers earn this or less Average pay rate
£8.74 £9.15 £9.85 £9.73

Let’s compare this to the Real Living Wage (RLW).

The Real Living Wage is calculated based on the actual cost of living in the UK. As of 2020, the RLW is £9.30 across the UK, and £10.75 in London.

Click here for our guide to the Real Living Wage - including why it’s important, who sets it, who has to pay it, how it’s calculated and more.

Although the average pay rate for a call centre worker is above the RLW, 50% of call centre workers earn under the RLW.

This means that 50% of call centre workers don’t earn a pay rate that covers the cost of living in the UK.

Call centre workers deserve to get a pay rate that meets living costs, as well as help cover any financial commitments they may have.

How does call centre pay compare to other customer service jobs?

You’ve seen that call centre pay can be a bit hit or miss. But how does it compare to other customer service jobs?

Let’s take a look:

Company 25% workers earn this or less 50% workers earn this or less 75% workers earn this or less Average pay rate
Call centre £8.74 £9.15 £9.85 £9.73
Shop £8.38 £9.00 £9.35 £9.01
Front of house £7.70 £8.41 £9.00 £8.32

As you can see here, customer service jobs in call centres pay on average 8% more than customer service jobs in shops, and 17% more than front of house (pub or restaurant) customer service jobs.

If you’re looking for a customer service job, it may be worth checking out call centre jobs - you may get paid more.

Let’s look at one final thing to do with contact centre pay - do workers get proper sick pay?

Here’s what call centre workers told us:

60% of call centre workers get proper sick pay

The good news is, that the majority of call centre workers do get proper sick pay.

No one can help getting ill. And no one should have to lose out on pay if they have to take time off.

What hours do you work in a call centre job?

Now you’ve seen what call centre workers earn, let’s take a look at what sort of hours they work.

Here’s what call centre workers on Breakroom shared with us:

Hours worked % working these hours
0-16 3%
16-34 29%
35+ 68%

Most call centre workers work 35+ hours a week. This is the equivalent of a full-time job.

When we asked call centre workers if they worried about getting enough hours, here is what they shared:

80% of call centre workers don't worry about a lack of hours

Good news! A significant number of call workers don’t worry about getting enough hours.

We also saw earlier on that many call centre workers were happy about how flexible their job was. So even if you work a full-time job, there can be flexibility in this.

It’s worth noting that some call centres require workers to work over the weekend and bank holidays. If this would be difficult to commit to, a call centre job might not be suitable for you.

Is working at a call centre stressful?

You’ve seen the types of call centre jobs, average pay and hours worked.

So now let’s take an even deeper look at them.

Let’s find out how stressful call centre jobs are.

Here’s what call centre workers shared about how stressful their jobs are:

73% of call centre workers are stressed at work

As you can see, almost three quarters of call centre workers are stressed.

Let’s look into the reasons why.

Do you get breaks on call centre jobs?

A big cause of stress can be overworking. So let’s see if call centre workers are taking proper breaks.

62% of call centre workers get proper breaks

It’s good to see that the majority of call centre workers get to take proper breaks.

It’s really important to have a proper rest break during work. This allows you to take time to relax and re-energise, ready for the rest of your shift.

Whilst the majority of call centre workers take proper breaks, are they paid for them? Let’s see.

57% of call centre workers don't get paid breaks

Sadly, most call centre workers don’t get paid when they take breaks.

Whilst it’s good that most are able to take breaks, they should be paid for them.

All workers should be paid for all the time they are at work.

What is the management like at call centres?

Most call centre workers are taking proper breaks (although most of them are not paid for), so let’s see what else could be contributing to their stress.

With any customer service job, there’s the potential to deal with tricky customers.

In fact, one call centre worker shared the following as the worst thing about their job:

“Taking abuse from customers and getting no support”

How well your manager supports you is important, especially when dealing with difficult customers.

This can make a huge impact on how you can take on the challenges of the job.

So let’s look at what call centre workers think about management.

Here’s what call centre workers shared about their managers:

63% of call centre workers feel respected by their managers

It’s good to see that the majority of call centre workers feel supported by their manager. As we discussed, this is really important for a job that involves working with the public.

Let’s go up the line a little bit. What do call centre workers think about senior management and head office?

60% of call centre workers don't think head office understands what's happening where they work

As you can see, the majority of call centre workers don’t think that head office understands what’s happening and what call centre jobs are really like.

Here’s some examples of what call centre workers have shared around this:

“Continually changing the commission structure”

“Stretch targets, as only 60 percent of the workforce will ever make bonus”

“Unnecessary pressure from higher management”

“Some managerial decisions baffle me!”

“No leadership, a place-the-blame mentality”

“Micromanaged times, including toilet breaks”

From this, you can see that there can be a lot of confusion, pressure and strictness on call centre jobs that come from senior leadership.

All this can lead to a very stressful environment to work in.

So although line managers can be okay to work with, the decisions of head office and senior management have a big impact on how stressed call centre workers are.

The Breakroom verdict on call centre jobs

Call centre jobs are great for people who are happy to work with the public and can think on their toes.

They offer opportunities to learn about different industries and products, and can come with good benefits.

However, not all call centre jobs pay the Real Living Wage. They can also be stressful due to tricky customers and pressure from senior management.

Companies that hire call centre workers can improve their Breakroom rating by doing the following:

  • Increase all call centre workers pay to be in line with the Real Living Wage

  • Offer paid breaks

  • Support the wellbeing of call centre workers, particularly around stress in reaching targets and dealing with difficult customers

  • Create a supportive environment where call centre workers feel trusted and respected

Do you work in a call centre? What do you think of our verdict? Let us know about your job by taking our job comparison.

Published on 9 October 2020