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Call Center Attrition Rates

call center attrition

In order to effectively measure the health of your business, you must understand employee turnover and attrition. Employee turnover causes major headaches for call center operators, and getting a better understanding of what it is can help you take the steps to reduce it. But first, let’s take a look at how employee attrition is calculated. 

Calculating attrition rates is a fairly simple formula. In order to calculate the attrition rate, you just take the number of attritions (or employees who left the company), divided by the average number of employees, and then multiplied by 10. 

Attrition rate = number of attritions/average number of employees x 100

For example, if you had 47 agents leave in a year, with an average of 340 employees, your attrition rate would be 13.82%. In our 20 years of experience with both outbound and inbound call centers, we consistently find that this is one of the biggest costs that contact centers face. At the same time, it's one of the most difficult metrics to improve.

Average Age of Call Center Employees

The average age of call center agents varies greatly by region, but there is one theme that stays pretty consistent across the board: Call center employees tend to be younger in age, as the stress that can be associated with the job may drive older people away. 

  • Average age of call center agent in all sectors is roughly 30 years old, and the average age of call center sub-contractors is roughly 27.
  • Employees who are 20 - 24 have an average tenure of 1.1 years at call centers.
  • Employees who are 25 - 34 have an average tenure of 2.7 years at call centers.

Call Center Absenteeism Statistics

Absenteeism in call centers is just a big of a problem as other industries. Since a call center is so dependant on people being available to answer phone calls and resolve issues, people missing work can be a big problem. Missing work leads to increased workloads for other agents, who may already be inundated in calls. 

According to studies, contact center workers are absent roughly 8.2 days per year, which is higher than other industries, which according to their survey, was roughly 7.4 days per year.

Per their study, "Personal emergencies, elder and childcare, on-the-job harassment, routine health or lifestyle appointments, transportation access, and disengagement are all behind many absences."

Research performed by Cornell University found that call center absenteeism on a typical day averages 6%, with the highest rates being in outsourced call centers and retail (10% and 9.3% respectively).

Cost of Call Center Turnover

Replacing employees is expensive. And with the high turnover rates of call centers, the costs to replace employees can add up quickly. The costs to replace a call center agent can range greatly, but it will typically cost between $5,000 - $7,500 to hire and onboard new employees.

A Cornell study estimates that replacing one agent equals about 16% of their gross annual earnings.

Attrition Rates by Industry

Attrition can vary greatly both by the size of the business and the type of industry the call center caters to. As to be expected, the larger the business, the higher the turnover rate will likely be. Below is a study conducted by DailyPay on various attrition rates segmented by industry.

Call Center Turnover Rates

  • Small-sized call centers: 17%
  • Medium-sized call centers: 37%
  • Large-sized call centers: 44%
call center turnover statistics

Call Center Turnover Rates by Job Title

  • Entry-level - 27%
  • Intermediate agents - 20%
  • Senior agents - 12%
  • Team leads - 11%
  • Supervisors - 7%
  • Managers - 6%
call center attrition rate

Industries With the Lowest Turnover Rates

  • Federal government positions: 1.3%
  • State and local government positions: 1.4%
  • Finance and insurance jobs: 1.7%
  • Wholesale trade: 1.9%
attrition rates call center

Industries With the Highest Turnover Rates

  • Staffing: 352% (Source: American Staffing Association)
  • Hotels: 60-300% (Source: CHA International)
  • Supermarkets: 100% (Source: Small Business Chronicle)
  • Retail: 59% (Source: Small Business Chronicle)
  • Fast food: 100%

Attrition Rates by Country

Turnover rates vary greatly depending on where you are located, and if you work at an in-house call center or are a subcontractor. Below are a few call center attrition rates in various countries. This research was performed by the Global Call Centre Research Network, consisting of over 40 researchers and scholars from 20 different countries. See more about their research on call center attrition and management.

In-house call centers attrition rates:

  • Austria - 5%
  • Denmark - 14%
  • France - 13%
  • Germany - 9%
  • Israel - 25%
  • Spain - 15%
  • Sweden - 8%
  • Canada - 22%
  • Ireland - 23%
  • UK - 19%
  • USA - 26%
  • Brazil - 20%
  • India - 28%
  • Poland - 20%
  • South Africa - 21%
  • South Korea - 20%

Subcontractor call centers attrition rates:

  • Austria - 4%
  • Denmark - 17%
  • France - 20%
  • Germany - 16%
  • Israel - 28%
  • Spain - 24%
  • Sweden - 19%
  • Canada - 29%
  • Ireland - 35%
  • UK - 29%
  • USA - 36%
  • Brazil - 30%
  • India - 38%
  • Poland - 16%
  • South Africa - 13%
  • South Korea - 18%

In general, turnover rates tend to be much higher in call centers that contract out their workers. There could be a variety of explanations to this, but a lack of attachment to the company is likely one of the leading causes.

Top Factors That Lead to High Attrition

There are lots of things that can lead to high attrition at call centers. Here are a few of the top causes of high attrition:

  • Improper training
  • No upward mobility
  • Low wages
  • Micromanagement
  • Low morale

Related: See our blog on lowering call center attrition for a more in-depth view. 

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