Thursday, 17 June 2010

Efficiency vs employment

With the public sector required to make massive cuts in expenditure, "efficiency" is on the agenda. One suggestion is outsourcing and a typical outsourced job is the call centre. But how should call centres be paid? By the number of calls they take? By their speed of handling calls. Both have problems.

People calling a public sector organisation have a problem. Therefore if the call centre is paid per call, it is in their interest for there to be more problems. And if operators are measured on call handling times, will this lead them to sort out the problem? It won't, because there's a powerful incentive to keep the call short and if the problem's not solved, the customer will call again and the call centre will get paid more, which is inefficient and annoys the customer, but keeps people in work.

Another example of an efficiency I heard was combining the various welfare offices so the customer has a one stop shop. Yes, but if the system is more streamlined and efficient people will lose their jobs as we'll need fewer to do the same work. Again turkeys voting for Christmas.

Needless to say, the more people are unemployed the more people are needed in the "unemployment industry" to deal with them, paradoxically.

No comments:

Post a Comment