Why is the Treasure Valley becoming hub for big call centers?

BOISE, Idaho (KBOI) -- Call centers jobs are becoming more a part of our local economy.

But why has the Treasure Valley become a hub for this industry in the past few years?

The Idaho Department of Labor says that in 2011 there were 27 call centers with close to 5,000 employees in the Treasure Valley.

But the number has increased to 34 call center companies with more than 5,200 workers in 2012. The average pay for call center employees also went up from $26,388 in 2011 to $27,086 last year.

Brock Frazier works in one of the many call centers. Right now he's happy to have the job.

"Someone with startup experience and a master's degree who had shotty work experience over the last five years in the current depression, let me tell you I am happy to be going to work," Frazier said. "One of the nice things about the call centers is it's very direct. It's more like delivering pizza, when you deliver pizza you know that people ate."

The Boise Valley Economic Partnership recruits new business to Boise and says call centers are not exactly on their radar for business they want to move here.

"When you think of the word call center, there are good call centers and there are some that we're a little less to go out and get and help," said Clark Krause, executive director of the Boise Valley Economic Partnership.

Call center employees say one problem is that if you gain seniority and make more than the average salary you may be a liability, there are a lot of people willing to come in and do your job for less.

"A lot of them will call us and want to know if this is a good place for them, we definitely want to go for the right kind of call center," Krause said. "There are call centers with high paying jobs and good benefits and those types of things and those are the ones we're interested in."

So, what's the big attraction to Boise over a call center say in India that pay their employees a fraction of what we pay here?

"What you'll find is they need a neutral accent or accent neutral is what they call it," Krause said. "And we certainly fit that bill for them."

Experts say a person who turns to a call center for help is usually frustrated to begin with and will want a person who can empathize with their problem.

"They want a certain type of person when speaking to a certain type of person," Krause said. "All of those things can work for you or against you in whichever community you are in."

The Boise Valley Economic Partnership says it would rather have hi tech businesses come into Boise, with highly-skilled workers and high-paying jobs.

They say right now food processing is the leading industry in the area.