Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Firm eyes city for call centre; has job fair

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A call-centre company is prospecting in Winnipeg to see if there's enough interest from job-seekers to staff a 500-seat centre.

P.E.I.-based Hinduja Global Solutions Canada Inc. (HGS Canada) will hold a job fair at the end of the month to see whether the Winnipeg labour market can fill 500-plus positions that would include front-line customer-service associates, support and management-level positions.

During the past several months, the company has gone through the same process in Ontario, in Guelph, Kingston and Windsor. Media reports say Guelph has been ruled out.

Bill Morrissey, the head of Yes! Winnipeg, the Economic Development Winnipeg agency that works to attract and retain jobs, said it's exciting.

"Needless to say, we are hoping the job fair is a resounding success," Morrissey said. "As far as we can tell, it is the last criteria within their selection process."

HGS already has 11 customer-contact centres in Canada with five locations in the Maritimes and six in Ontario, half of which are in northern Ontario.

The Canadian operations of what used to be called On-Line Support, were acquired by HGS, a Bangalore, India, firm in 2011.

HGS has 24,000 employees and operates 56 outsourcing centres in India, Canada, the U.S., the U.K., Mauritius, France, Germany, Italy, Jamaica, the Netherlands and the Philippines.

Cheryl Barsalou, CEO of the Manitoba Customer Contact Association, said she believes there is plenty of capacity in the Winnipeg labour force for another 500-seat centre.

She said a recent industry survey indicated there are 9,500 people employed in that sector in Winnipeg this year. That's down from 12,000 in 2009.

HGS officials were unavailable for comment Friday but Ross Beattie, president and CEO of HGS Canada, said in a prepared statement, "We recently expanded our research into Manitoba and our analysis of Winnipeg is very promising. Although we are a global company, we pride ourselves on being good local corporate citizens and a community-minded employer."

He said the company's growth is great enough to sustain another 500-seat facility.

The company is holding a job fair in Winnipeg Nov. 29 and Nov. 30 at Red River College in the Voyageur Lounge and Dining Room located at 2055 Notre Dame Ave., and is also accepting applications online at www.JoinHGS.com.

martin.cash@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 9, 2013 B10

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