It’s official: Colombia is the top Nearshore location for low-wage call center agents, according to a Nearshore Americas study.
Colombia’s strengths as a call center/CRM delivery hub have traditionally revolved around the country’s highly educated workforce, bilingual skills, technical programming and consulting skills, and decent opportunities for firms to avoid saturation in secondary and tertiary cities outside of Bogota.
We can now add affordability to this list of strengths.
How Has Colombia Achieved This?
Agent wages are attractive for investors in cities across the country. Although the capital of Bogota is a major delivery point for nearshore call center services, the northern city of Barranquilla is an increasingly attractive destination for call center operators seeking bilingual and Spanish language delivery at low costs.
What explains Colombia’s cost advantage? In two words: peso weakness.
This helps make Colombia a surprisingly low-cost destination for agent services, coming in below the perennial low-wage call center market of Guyana.
The Currency Factor
Latin American currencies have experienced record weakness between 2014 and 2016, especially the Mexican and Colombian pesos. The silver lining is that peso-denominated operations have become more attractive to call center operators and other dollar investors since mid-2014.
Nearshore Americas’ research indicates that different forces are at work in high-increase markets. Should the peso strengthen, which is an open question for 2017, the bilingual agent wage may well prove sticky, not increasing as much in peso terms as the native-only agent wage – this would diminish the pay gap.
Colombia stands out for being the lone market where inflation exceeded the average wage gain enjoyed by call center employees, which increased by an average of 6% over the past year. This is the only market where annual wage increases trailed inflation.
Ultimately, Colombia’s wage competitiveness offers unique opportunities, thought it remains an open question as to how long this will persist.
The Real Wages of Nearshore Contact Centers: 2017
This Nearshore Americas wage study provides detailed information on call center wages across ten Latin American delivery markets: Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, and Nicaragua.
The report examines wages for key call center/customer relationship management roles, including agents, supervisors, coordinators, managers and directors. It places wage data within the context of the nearshore call center/CRM market by analyzing, among other factors, bonus structures, total costs of employment, and wage growth over the past year.