Nearshore Americas

Atento to Generate 1,200 Positions With Third Contact Center in Guatemala

Atento aims to create around 1,200 new jobs at its newly inaugurated contact center in Guatemala City’s World Technology Center. According to Atento CEO Alejandro Reynal, is in addition to the 2,000 jobs that the firm has already created as its other two Guatemalan contact centers.

“When Atento first considered breaking into the United States market, we decided that Guatemala was the best place to set up,” stated Reynal.  “We have an excellent infrastructure and have invested heavily in new technology and procedures.  We also have the human resources needed to provide the United States with the high quality service they are looking for.”

Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina officially opened the center, and highlighted how this sector is currently providing somewhere in the region of 35,000 jobs. His administration is currently working to attract new investments, with the ultimate goal of hitting the 100,000 mark, he added: “We have been in contact with the private sector in order to find out exactly what we, as the public sector, need to do to facilitate these types of investments.”

The new jobs created by the contact center, many of which will pay over the minimum wage, will go a great way toward combating poverty, which, in turn, will help fight child malnutrition. With this in mind, Juan Carlos Paiz, President of the Investments and Competitiveness Commission, has set up several English language programs, as it is generally acknowledged that this is a skill that greatly enhances the BPO service provided.

Talent Base

Reynal told Nearshore Americas that Atento aims to become the leading nearshore service provider.  With this in mind it has undertaken an in-depth appraisal of the Guatemalan labor market.  “As in many Central American countries, you have to carefully weigh up the availability of human resources.  One of the biggest concerns for the public and private sectors, is ensuring you don’t run out of man power.  The analysis we carried out has shown us that the current talent base is substantial, with potential for further development,” he said.

From its Guatemala-based contact centers, Atento services both the local and global market, collaborating with countries such as Costa Rica, El Salvador, Mexico and the United States.

According to Bruce Dawson, Executive Vice-President of Atento’s Nearshore Operations and Business Development, working from Asian countries, such as the Philippines, is becoming less and less popular, as, finding sufficiently qualified personnel is proving difficult.  The long distance issue is also causing problems.  On the other hand, operating from Central America is rapidly becoming a financially attractive option, especially when taking into account the improvements made to the quality and cost of services provided and their ability to attend to the Spanish, Portuguese, English and even Mayan speaking markets.  “This is what sets us above the competition,” Reynal affirmed.

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According to Dawson, 23% of Atento’s income comes from their technological solutions, and it is estimated that this could well rise to as much as 45% in the foreseeable future.  “We try to ensure that our revenue comes as a result of our overall performance, rather than from payment for specific services,” Dawson concluded.

Atento is currently the third largest BPO service provider in the world, operating in 15 countries and employing over 150,000 workers.

Norberto Gaona

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