CHICAGO — A frequent topic of conversation among attendees here at ACA International’s annual convention is where companies are finding quality job candidates these days and how they are managing with staffing levels that are well below what they would like to be. While The Great Resignation may be over, the search for qualified candidates is as hard as it has ever been, a number of agency executives said.
Attendees shared a number of potential reasons why collection operations are having such a difficult time attracting qualified candidates. The gig economy — driving for Uber, Lyft, and DoorDash — has upended the traditional 9-to-5 job dynamic and many younger people are more interested in working on their terms and where they have more control over their schedule, for example. The COVID-19 pandemic shifted the priorities for a lot of people who are focusing more attention on their quality of life and less on working as many hours as possible, others noted.
Regardless of the reasons why, companies are looking at deploying different strategies and making significant investments in technology to help them offset having fewer employees. This includes setting up arrangements to use nearshore or offshore operations to hire outsourced collectors, for example, and deploying technology tools to direct consumers to self-service their accounts or to try and resolve accounts without needing human intervention.
The expectation is that the issues related to staffing are to continue for the foreseeable future. Collection operations will have to continue to creatively find ways to maximize the efficiency of their operations while remaining understaffed.