The Canadian Press reports that Dell will be closing their Edmonton Call Centre as part of company-wide cuts. 900 employees will lose their jobs as Dell abandons a $20 million building it finished only a year and a half ago. Workers will be let go gradually over the next five months.
This story is an interesting juxtaposition of another recent story, warning of an Alberta IT shortage. Dell originally chose Edmonton in 2003, encouraged by generous tax breaks offered by the city and the available, educated workforce. Since then, the rise of the Canadian dollar and drop in unemployment have made Edmonton less attractive, and likely contributed to the cutting of the young call centre. When it was first announced, Dell’s expansion was toted as a major influx of high tech jobs to the region. How “high tech” is a call centre when the jobs move if the price gets a little high?
Fortunately, there is little tragedy for the workers that have lost their jobs. I have three acquaintances that worked at the Dell Edmonton Call Centre. One still has a job until April, ample time to find another position elsewhere. Another related that he left immediately and was able to find another job in “8 hours”. There is a decent chance that ex-Dell employees will be able to find better jobs, with a host of Edmonton tech and non-tech companies welcoming them with open arms.