Status of Women Canada
Sexual division of labour; Canada; Call centres; Case studies; Women; Economic conditions
This project, a case study of the emerging call centre industry in Canada, examines the impacts of restructuring on those in the lower tiers of the labour market. The first stage of the study surveyed managers at call centres in three sites in Canada: New Brunswick (St. John, Moncton and Fredericton), Winnipeg, Manitoba, and Toronto, Ontario. Issues surveyed included types of call centre applications, labour force composition (age, gender, race and disability), wage rates, hiring, training and promotion. The survey results clearly established that women and youth make up the majority of the call centre work force across Canada. The balance of the study, drawing on 53 in-depth interviews with current and former call centre employees, qualitatively examines this rapidly expanding form of service sector employment. Through the observations of the workers themselves, it also explores the stresses of this type of work, the nature of the training and skills involved, and the career prospects for call centre workers. In particular, the study examines the processes through which this work is “feminized”—that is, how it has emerged in most sites as unskilled, part-time and low-paid employment. In light of the limited career trajectories, the high burnout rates and the insecure working conditions at many call centres, the study recommends that provinces should become much more selective in their support of call centres as an employment creation strategy.
2000, "Gender on the Line: Technology, Restructuring and the Reorganization of Work in the Call Centre Industry, Policy Report", (October, 2000).