Ottawa Citizen

Sitel to add 500 jobs at Ottawa call centres

Deal driven by service for ‘ world’s largest software company’ could grow to 700 jobs, company says

- BY KRISTIN GOFF

Sitel Corp. has launched a hiring blitz to add at least 500 workers to its Ottawa call centres over the next few weeks.

The company, which pro- vides outsourced technical and customer support services for various clients, said its latest expansion is driven by a deal with an unnamed Fortune 500 company.

In a news release yesterday, Sitel described its new global client as “ the world’s largest software company” which, by revenue, is acknowledg­ed to be Microsoft Corp. Neverthele­ss, officially declined to identify the company, saying names of its outsourcin­g confidenti­al.

“ We’re recruiting for over 500 positions. That could be as many as 700 before 2007 closes out,” said Mike McAra, director of Sitel’s Kanata operation.

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Sitel, with 1,900 employees, already ranked as Ottawa largest call centre before yesterday’s announced expansion, according to the Ottawa Centre for Research and Innovation ( OCRI).

The region has already seen significan­t growth in the sector, said Michael Darch, executive director of global marketing for OCRI.

Dell Canada, which opened its new call centre last May with about 600 workers, has announced plans to increase that to 1,500 by some time in 2007. MBNA and Convergys are also big players in the Ottawa industry.

Because call centres compete for clients and staff and maintain a low profile when outsourcin­g for other clients, it is difficult to get accurate numbers on how fast the industry has been growing, said Mr. Darch.

OCRI is negotiatin­g with the Ottawa Regional Call Centre Associatio­n to do a survey to determine how large the industry has become in the area, he said.

Sitel’s new positions will provide support for two lines of business, which include a new media player and a new operating system, according to Sitel, which also will be looking for some general customer support workers.

The company, whose headquarte­rs are in Omaha, Nebraska, has its Ottawa operations in Bells Corners and in Kanata.

Sitel has set ambitious targets for its hiring blitz. It hopes to fill up to 500 of its new positions “ within the next month” if possible and by no later than the end of the year, said Mr. McAra.

“ We’re going to be looking for everything from A- to- Z,” in the recruitmen­t, he said. That will include technician­s with skills ranging from entry level to advanced, as well as a range of team leaders, management and operations staff, he said.

There are plans for a job fair, which will be announced once details are completed, he said. The company is accepting applicatio­ns online at jobs@ sitel. com or in person at Sitel’s Kanata office at 415 Legget Dr.

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