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There is much speculation regarding how and when technological innovations including self-help applications, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and speech analytics techniques might affect the demand for live agents. This report answers these questions.


  • Many believe the voice channel will lose out to AI-driven digital channels in the contact center. This report examines live agent position forecasts in 39 countries grouped into five global regions and the findings regarding agent evolution are very interesting.

Features and Benefits

  • Analyzes the changes coming to live agent staffing and the evolution of their jobs over the next five years.
  • Evaluates the future of live agent growth/shrinkage in the contact center market in 39 countries through the year 2022.

Key questions answered

  • Will live agent head count shrink, or even disappear over time?
  • How will the profile of the typical contact center agent evolve in the next five years?
  • Will live agent compensation levels change as their jobs evolves to super-agent status?

Table of contents


  • Catalyst
  • Ovum view
  • Key messages


  • Recommendations for enterprises
  • Recommendations for vendors

Forecasted agent seat levels will shift slightly

  • Live agent position growth/shrinkage rates will vary by region
  • Less mature markets will grow and expand to meet demand
  • The effect of AI on agent levels will be gradual

Agent work profiles will change significantly

  • The conversion to hosted cloud solutions will affect agent plans
  • Agents will begin to morph into super-agents


  • Methodology
  • Further reading
  • Author