Thursday, December 5, 2013
A week after Barclaycard call center in Wilton announced it would be hiring 200 people, neighboring call center Sykes Enterprises announced it will be laying off employees at its Wilton operation.
BY THE NUMBERS
Sykes Enterprises is the ninth-largest employer in Franklin County.
Barclaycard is the 12th-largest employer in Franklin County.
Top employers in the county, and the number of people they employ, according to 2012 fourth quarter data, the latest available, from the Maine Department of Labor:
Verso Paper Corp. 1,001-1,500
Franklin Memorial Hospital, 501-1000
Sugarloaf Mountain Corp., up to 500
Walmart, up to 500
Jardens Plastic Solutions, up to 500
Hannaford Bros., up to 500
LEAP, up to 500
North Country Association, up to 500
Sykes Enterprises, up to 500
Sandy River Center, up to 500
Care & Comfort, up to 500
Barclays, up to 500
Franklin Savings Bank, up to 500
Tranten’s Family Shurfine, up to 500
Maine Wood Turning, up to 500
The population of Wilton is 4,116.
The population of Farmington is 7,760.
Source: 2010 U.S. Census
Franklin County workforce
The civilian labor force in Franklin County is 14,182, including 12,903 employed and 1,279 unemployed.
Franklin County unemployment rate: 9 percent
State unemployment rate: 6.6 percent
Source: July 2013 data from the Maine Department of Labor, not seasonally adjusted
Sykes’ Wilton operation, where an undisclosed numbers of employees work, will close Dec. 1, according to Dan Hernandez, executive vice president for the Florida-based company, which provides technical and customer service support to other companies.
Hernandez wouldn’t say how many employees work at the Wilton operation or how many employees would be laid off.
According to the Maine Department of Labor, Sykes’ Wilton operation employs more workers than the one run there by Barclaycard, which reported last week that it has 150 employees.
Doug Villone, senior director of operations at Barclaycard, said the company is not taking over any of Sykes’ business, but is expanding into the space that Sykes will vacate.
Barclaycard announced Aug. 27 that it is expanding its credit card business operations in Wilton and expects to bring 100 new jobs to its call center in the town by the end of the year and another 100 next year, increasing its total number of Wilton employees to 350.
Sykes Enterprises is Frankllin County’s ninth-largest employer, with up to 500 employees, according to Maine Department of Labor figures for the last quarter of 2012, the latest available. By comparison, Barclays is listed at the 12th-largest employer.
Sykes employees facing layoffs can apply to work from home and continue working for the company, Hernandez said.
Villone said the Sykes employees are welcome to apply to work at Barclaycard, either directly at the 128 Weld Road call center, at the Wilton Career Center at 865 U.S. Route 2, or at www.joinbarclays.com.
Villone said the company plans to expand the Barclaycard operation throughout the building and into the area now occupied by Sykes.
Barclaycard has been growing rapidly over the past few years, Villone said, but the move to more than double the size of the company’s Wilton call center operation is still a sizable move for the company.
“This is a pretty big expansion for us. It’s the largest expansion we’ve announced this year,” he said.
Villone said even though he is based at the company’s Delaware headquarters, he graduated from University of Maine at Farmington and is familiar with the community.
The workforce in Wilton has been a “great cultural fit” for the company, which services the L.L. Bean credit card, Villone said.
“As we continued to grow and needed to expand, Wilton was high on our list,” he said.
Barclaycard, the credit-card business of Barclaycard PLC in the United States, opened in Wilton in 2008 with 50 employees. Jobs at the time started at $26,000 annually with full health, dental and retirement benefits.
Villone wouldn’t say what the starting pay is for the new Barclaycard employees, because the company wants to protect the financial privacy of new employees and because their starting pay varies.
The Sykes company website said Sykes employees who work from home get paid an average of $9 per hour and are eligible for benefits after 30 days.
Franklin County has the state’s third-highest unemployment rate, at 9.0 percent, down from 9.9 percent at this time last year, according to the Maine Department of Labor.
The state’s unemployment rate was 6.6 percent as of July. The national rate was 7.4.
Kaitlin Schroeder — 861-9252