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As a relatively young industry, high rates of labour turnover are identified as a key characteristic 3 (Taylor and Bain, 1999; Bain and Taylor, 2000) and general perceptions of call centre work are far from positive. Deery and Kinnie note that call centre work is ‘characterized as “dead-end” with low status, poor pay and few career prospects’ (2004: 3). Internationally call centres tend to exhibit similar characteristics in terms of job design (Pal and Buzzanell, 2008; Neus et al., 2013). Indeed, it has even been suggested that high rates of labour turnover are in fact beneficial, with, for example, Wallace et al., finding that high rates of turnover were ‘tolerated, if not encouraged’ (2000: 175). Such ‘sacrificial’ (ibid.) managerial policies, it is claimed, present opportunities to avoid the problems of employee burnout and emotional withdrawal by actively seeking to replace existing employees after a defined period of service: a mode of organizational catharsis.

Brannan MJ (2015) “You”re not going anywhere’: employee retention, symbolic violence and the structuring of subordination in a UK-based call centre. Sociological Review Monograph 63(4): 803