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LONDON-If you are thinking of opening a UK call centre, choose the north of England. That’s the conclusion of new research published by recruitment consultant Adecco. Harrogate is the best location, with Crewe in fourth place, Carlisle fifth, Gateshead sixth and Warrington seventh. Fareham in Hampshire took second place and Dunfermline in Scotland third.

OMIS Research received 147 replies from contact centre managers throughout the UK who each employ more than 50 staff. The operators said workforce availability and quality was the most imoprtant location factor with 93% of respondents putting it in first place. Premises scored just 20% and incentives nothing at all. The biggest disadvantage of existing locations was staff attrition.

The worst UK locations for contact centres were in West and North London. Greenford came 210th out of 210, with Feltham 209th, Enfield 208th, Wembley 207th and Barnet 206th.

The biggest international threat to the UK contact centre industry is felt to come from India, with nearly 60% of respondents mentioning this emerging market. Central Europe also showed well because of cheap wage costs and a well-educated workforce. On paper, China scored highly for its combination of people attractiveness and location attractiveness.

Adecco UK Managing Director Richard MacMillan said: “Higher lifestyle expectations among contact centre management as well as fundamental workforce considerations have played a significant part in this year’s Best Locations rankings. As a result, there is more focus on smaller and secondary urban centres than two years ago. Nearly a quarter of the ranked centres are towns with less than 30,000 residents.

“Similarly, the downgrading of the cost issue in this year’s survey has elevated selected locations in the South East and North West that can offer sizeable numbers of skilled and suitable staff to contact centre operators, albeit at a higher cost.

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