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An article relating to this blog post on Finextra:

HSBC takes the axe to UK back office and operations staff

HSBC is to undertake a cull of 1200 UK staff, with the cuts affecting back office processing, IT, human resources and finance roles. Finance sector union Unite says a further 1700 jobs will disappear...

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HSBC redundancies and their call centres

It's always sad to see bad news on jobs and HSBC's announcement last week was no exception.

The BBC report is that while the bank says that 1,200 jobs are at risk, the unions are talking about up to 3,000 jobs potentially going. The jobs will go at an operation centre in Leamington Spa, (for about 280 positions), London will loose about 150 jobs and a call centre in Newport, south Wales, will be shut down according to an HSBC spokesman. The Yorkshire Evening Post reports that 70 of the job losses will be at HSBC's direct banking arm, First Direct.

What's particularly sad is that the Newport contact centre announced in June last year that it was creating 250 new jobs (I covered it here on the blog "HSBC creates 250 UK call centre jobs & offshore in decline") and presumably these will go as will all the existing jobs.

What is better news (and I've only seen reported discretely on the CCF website), is that the bank will be creating 200 jobs at a centre of excellence in Southampton and hopes many of the workers will re-locate.

Although the Unite union is angrily warning about the dangers of offshoring, I suspect that this is something of red herring. Most of the banks are moving IT and back-office offshore (see Lloyds TSB here or Barclays here on Finextra) and there is little sign that this will change. In the contact centre space I do detect that the march back onshore continues.

Although it is expensive to run a UK based contact centre, and the credit crunch is hurting many organisations badly, it is becoming clearer that the real problem in contact centre is broken processes rather than simply the cost of agents. Add in the brand damage that a bad move off-shore can do, and I suspect only the lower end of the market may continue with a push to offshore their contact centres. Of course, consumers can't see where their web-page was coded, so the chances are that IT will accelerate its push offshore.


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