Tampa-based call center operator Sykes Enterprises is on a hiring spree away from its home base, pledging to add up to 900 workers in job-hungry South Carolina.
The new jobs will be split among Sykes' three South Carolina locations. It will expand its Williamsburg County operations, creating up to 400 jobs; establish a new center in Sumter County, creating 100 jobs; and expand its recently opened Greenwood County operation, creating 400 jobs.
Sykes spokeswoman Andrea Burnett said the new hires will be offering technical support on behalf of clients in the communications industry.
In a statement, Sykes president and CEO Chuck Sykes said the company continues to see "strong demand for outsourcing amidst current economic conditions."
Sykes has weathered the recession better than most. In 2008, it was the sole stock to come out ahead among more than 30 locally based public companies tracked by the St. Petersburg Times. Its stock has slipped 6 percent so far this year, but its balance sheet remains strong, with $209 million in cash on hand and no outstanding debt.
Globally, Sykes employs more than 31,000. It has 12 locations in the United States.
News of the expansion comes on the heels of Sykes' decision to close its call center in Minot, N.D., putting 200 people out of work. Sykes had planned to expand Minot to 450 workers but couldn't find enough workers there. North Dakota enjoys one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country: 4.2 percent.
Finding call center recruits shouldn't be as difficult for Sykes in South Carolina, where the unemployment rate reached 11.4 percent in March.
Jeff Harrington can be reached at (727) 893-8242 or firstname.lastname@example.org.