Call centres redux

Chris Morris interviewed me on Friday about the call centre industry in New Brunswick (on the heels of a national report on call centres). Morris’ work seems to get lots of play – it was picked up by the CBC, News 91.9, front page of the TJ, etc.

Ultimately, I don’t want to be a call centre basher. There are some really great call centres in New Brunswick – good employers offering good salariers. There are some that aren’t. But my focus is not on the ‘goodness’ or ‘badness’ of them. It’s just that the ones offering $10-$12/hour will have a hard time attracting workers from outside New Brunswick and that level of salary does not help the province with its goal of self-sufficiency.

And this quote:

David Campbell, an independent economic consultant in Moncton, N.B., says New Brunswick should take a page from Nova Scotia’s business plan and put more emphasis on attracting financial service and hedge fund centres, which pay bigger salaries.

…should not imply that New Brunswick should go after financial services per se. Halifax seems to have cornered the market somewhat in that area. But the concept of targeting sectors and jobs that have higher average salaries and would appeal to immigrants and folks living in other parts of Canada – is the right way to go.

I’ve heard some encouraging things lately about New Brunswick’s emerging economic development focus. The national advertisment “Rack your data, not your brains” meant to attract data centres and other related facilities is a good one.

But there certainly is lots of work to be done.