18 Jun 2013

NZ's lower wages attract Australian call centres

12:04 pm on 18 June 2013

Cheaper wages and more flexible labour laws in New Zealand are luring Australian companies to outsource their call centres to this side of the Tasman.

Last month ANZ announced plans to send 70 jobs from Australia to New Zealand, while Telnet in Auckland, which operates call centres, says it currently has four Australian clients, including Quickflix and Sony Mobile.

Telnet managing director John Chetwynd said Australia is a growth market, as firms across the Tasman realise they can get the same quality call centre cheaper.

"We probably pay $18 an hour ... for our contact centre agents and in Australia a similar agent is probably earning about $22 or thereabouts - Australian dollars, so that's about a 35% advantage."

Mr Chetwynd said New Zealand's close cultural ties and similar accent are also a big advantage over Asian call centres that may offer even lower wages.

Meanwhile, CallActive of Melbourne has secured three floors of commercial real estate in central Wellington for what will become a call centre with 1000 seats.

Contact Centres Australia opened its first New Zealand call centre in Wellington earlier this year.

In April, Unity4, another call centre provider, also announced plans to transfer jobs to New Zealand.