For Whom the Phone Rings: The Turkish Call Center Industry and Experience of Work in Multilingual Call Centers
This study scrutinizes the main features of the call center industry of Turkey and how the workers experience the work in multilingual call centers. The expansion of call centers is examined pertaining to the characteristics of workforce, the geographical distribution of centers, the relations with the state and public institutions, internationalization of services and the place of the Turkish call center industry in the world. Semi-structured interviews are selected as a research method in order to examine what kind of employment is being generated in these brand new workplaces, who works there, workers’ skills, considerations of work, expectations and job satisfaction; in this sense interviews are conducted with workers from four different types of companies. Two different groups of workers are detected as immigrants and non-immigrants and it is suggested that different life experiences lead to different experiences of work. This study claims that contrary to widespread assumptions, even in relatively high-waged multilingual call centers, the generated employment is temporary and only those who have limited alternatives consider call centers as a job opportunity.