Jobs In Call Centres: Skills, Outlook, and Salaries

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

Call centres are in fast-paced environments that rely on strong communication skills. Learn about the salaries, career outlook and skills needed for this career and whether it is a fit for you.

[Featured image]: A call center worker is sitting at their desk working on her desktop in her office.

If you excel in communication and are passionate about helping people, working in a call centre could be an excellent fit. Many people work in call centres for the great benefits, flexible working environments, and customer interactions. For some call centre positions, you may earn a commission on products you pitch and sell to customers. 

To excel in a call centre position, you will typically need to use a mix of interpersonal skills, communication skills, problem-solving, and technical capabilities. Working in a call centre creates a great opportunity to expand your transferable skills and sets you up for many future professional opportunities.

What is a call centre?

A call centre is typically at the core of a business or organization and handles its communication services. This includes:

  • Reaching out to customers to market products 

  • Responding to customer questions 

  • Helping with technological difficulties 

  • Performing consumer research 

There are various options in the call centre space, and depending on the type, your responsibilities may vary. 

Inbound call centre 

If you work at an inbound call centre, you’ll receive calls directed to the company. This typically includes customer service calls, such as calls from customers asking about repairs or specific products. You may also be responsible for fielding staff calls about company processes and news. 

Outbound call centre 

If you work at an outbound call centre, you’ll typically market a product to potential customers. This includes reaching out to an identified list of numbers and convincing consumers that your company’s product will benefit them. You also perform surveys and conduct market research to inform future products. 

Remote call centre

While inbound and outbound call centres are the most common, there are additional variations and career options in this field. For example, remote call centres often let their employees work from home and call from their personal cell phones (usually through anonymous software). This can be a suitable option if you’re looking for a more flexible work schedule or if you don’t live in the same region as the call centre.

What skills and qualifications do call centre representatives need?       

Typically, the most important skill for a call centre worker is communication. Most call centre workers directly interact with customers, so you want to be able to build trust between you and the customer and ask specific questions to ensure you understand their needs. Depending on your role, you may interact with different types of customers. Having the communication and interpersonal skills to remain calm and compassionate is essential. Some skills and qualifications that a call centre representative may need includes:

  • High school diploma at a minimum 

  • Experience in consumer support, via telephone

  • Experience working directly with customers in a clerical or sales position

  • Ability to use technology 

  • Able to work as part of a team 

  • Demonstrate active listening 

Call centre agent job duties      

Your job responsibilities will vary depending on the type of call centre and organization you work for, but across most call centres, these are the job responsibilities you can expect:

  • Manage incoming calls or make outgoing calls

  • Actively listen to customers

  • Identify customer needs

  • Research customer problems

  • Answer questions and inquiries professionally

  • Offer solutions to customer complaints

  • Manage and track customer calls

  • Make updates to customer databases

  • Maintain call centre equipment and systems

  • Adhere to company policies and regulations

  • Transfer customer calls when appropriate

  • Work quickly and efficiently

  • Take opportunities to upsell to customers when appropriate

  • Train new members of staff on policies and procedures.

Working at a call centre: Pros and cons       

As with all positions, there are subjective pros and cons to working at a call centre. Remember that every person will have different aspects of careers that they consider to be positives and negatives, so take what resonates with you.

Some pros of being a call centre worker include: 

  • Building skills to transfer to other professional endeavors. This includes communication skills, problem-solving, data management, marketing, and interpersonal skills, among others.

  • Indoor work that’s not physically taxing. Working in a call centre could be a perfect fit for those with movement difficulties or who prefer sedentary jobs.

  • No student loan debt and minimal degree requirements. While advanced education can often increase pay, most call centre positions do not require a college degree. This is good news for those who would like to avoid costly student loans.

  • Flexible working hours. Often, call centres work on shift schedules, and workers can determine the shift schedule that works best for them. This is even more of a perk for call centres that allow workers to work from home.

  • Excellent benefits and oppurtunities for growth. Call centre workers often have paid vacation time, annual salaries, and convenient working hours. Many people desire this level of job security, and it can provide a stable income with predictable benefits.

  • Improving patience and interpersonal skills. Consistently working with customers may increase your ability to understand the perspective of others, speak empathetically to those in distress, and communicate with people of different backgrounds.

On the contrary, there are some factors to keep in mind when working in a call centre include:

  • Professional burnout. A call centre is a fast-paced environment, and often call centre workers have milestones they must meet. These milestones can rely on non-stop customer calls and work, which may lead to feeling burnt out, particularly when dealing with emotional customers.

  • Working with difficult clients. Some call centre jobs include interacting with customers who are unhappy with the product they purchased.

  • Lack of physical movement. Those who prefer an active profession may see the sedentary nature of call centre jobs to be negative.

  • Repititive tasks. When you work in a call centre, many of your days will typically involve the same types of responsibilities. 

  • High transer rate. Many people work at call centres for a short time before moving to another position. However, if you stay at the call centre for an extended period, internal promotion rates at some centres are high. This is an important question to ask during the hiring process.

Are call centre operators in high demand?       

Many companies rely on call centre operators to take important customer calls, manage customer relationships, and collect consumer data. Because of this, many jobs are often available in the call centre space. According to Job Bank Canada, the need for call centre customer service representatives is moderate to good over the next three years [1]. 

What is the average salary of a call centre agent?‎ 

Call centre salaries for agents in Canada are typically paid an average of $19.23 CAD per hour, according to the Job Bank [2]. The highest median wage is $22.50 CAD per hour and can be found in the Northwest Territories, while the lowest median wage of $14.50 CAD per hour to be found in Prince Edward Island. 

Career paths for call centre operators     

Call centre jobs are typically entry-level and are a way to get experience in the customer service industry before seeking higher-paying professional opportunities. Call centre hiring managers often look for demonstrated communication and computer skills. You will also stand out to employers if you have additional customer service experience, such as working in a restaurant or in retail.

Many call centres promote from within, and after a few years in the call centre, you may be able to begin managing other call centre employees and making strategic business decisions for the centre. With call centre experience, you may be able to grow into mid-level customer service positions, such as customer service specialists, product experts, and customer service management positions.

Next steps

Call centre jobs provide an avenue to gain customer service experience and build communication skills. If you’re interested in working in a call centre but don’t have a background in customer service, consider courses like Customer Service Fundamentals by Knowledge Accelerators on Coursera.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Article sources


Job Bank Canada. “Call Centre Agent - Customer Service in Canada,”  Accessed April 27, 2023. 

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