Wanted a BMW, got a Lada

Call centre operator, TeleTech, is opening up a call centre in northern New Brunswick.

Up to 300 jobs could be created in the Edmundston area when a call centre sets up shop as early as next month, the Telegraph-Journal has learned. Denver, Colo.-based TeleTech is looking to fill 130 positions at its new Saint-Basile operation. That number is expected to grow after day-to-day business begins in late February.

This is interesting to me on a couple of fronts. One, I was involved in an effort to pitch TeleTech over a decade ago. Kinda neat that they end up here eventually.

Second, someone called me to complain that it seems all New Brunswick can attract these days is call centres. That’s actually quite true. Here’s a list of projects dating back to 2004:

TeleTech (call centre)
Advantage Communications (call centre)
Virtual-Agent Services (call centre)
Virtual-Agent Services (call centre)
Spielo (Gtech) – expansion of local firm (with foreign ownership)
AV Nackawic Inc. (Birla, Tembec)
SNC-Lavalin (call centre)
Virtual-Agent Services
Asurion (call centre)
SalesBridge** (call centre)
Help Desk NOW (call centre)
Uponor Wirsbo
Floating Pipeline Company
Virtual-Agent Services (call centre)
Uponor Wirsbo

But why? he asked somewhat rhetorically.

However, I gave an actual answer.

We have the ‘product’ for the call centre sector

Pockets of people willing to work for $10/hour and a government willing to provide incentives at $10/hour. Most US states won’t provide any form of incentive at $8.50/hour (US dollars). We do.

We have cheap telecom. Bilingual workers. Low costs. As long as the labour pool holds out, this is still a good location for call centres.

But, to my point in about 43 blogs over the past two years, if you want better paying jobs, you have to have the ‘product’.

When companies look at NB they see a good location for call centres.

I would like companies to look at NB and see a good location for an animation studio. Or how about a data centre. Or how about an auto plant. Or a solar panels manufacturing plant. Or wind turbines. Or how about a content publishing and localization centre (English/French). Or how about a financial back offices centre. Or how about a…

You get the picture.