London, November 12 : A British study has shown that workers associated with customer services, such as call centre operators, are more likely to be off sick than those with different jobs.
According to statistics from the Office of National Statistics, customer service workers are twice as likely to call in sick as the average employee.
The survey revealed that 4.8 per cent of the customer service workers had taken at least a day off in the previous week, compared with the national average of 2.5 per cent.
It certainly might explain those long waits, listening to the hold music, receiver pressed to your ear.
Karen Darby, a call centre veteran who founded the price comparison service SimplySwitch, said that she was not surprised by the figures.
She said that the findings had little to do with call centre workers being more sickly than average.
"It is a reflection of the type of people who work in call centres. They are notoriously underpaid and, you know, if you pay peanuts ..." the Guardian quoted her as saying.
"Absenteeism and attrition are the two biggest issues you face. Not many people will admit this but some call centres will go through 100 per cent staff turnover every year," she added.
Claudia Hathway, editor of Call Centre Focus magazine, added: "It is an incredibly stressful job. They are on the phone dealing with quite complex problems and often people who are not very happy that they are calling you."
The quarterly Labour Force Survey from the ONS also revealed that women were more likely to be off sick than men.
Younger employees were also more likely to be off than older workers, while public sector workers were off sick far more frequently than those working in the private sector.
Sickness rates among civil servants are even higher.
Transport workers, including train drivers, pilots and air traffic controllers, were found to be the most reliable workers in the country. Only 0.8 per cent of them had taken any time off.