In the weeks ahead, the online furniture seller Wayfair Inc. will be seeking nearly 1,000 Mainers with college degrees or experience in customer service and sales to operate two massive call centers it is opening in Brunswick and Bangor.

However, some job market analysts said Wayfair may have a difficult time meeting its staffing needs in the state’s extremely tight job market, especially given that the company has provided little information about what it intends to pay workers in Maine. The state essentially reached full employment in December.

Wayfair’s Brunswick location will be in the former Navy Exchange at Brunswick Landing and will focus primarily on sales. It expects to employ roughly 500 full-time workers, the Boston-based home furnishings and decor retailer said. Hiring already has begun for a projected May opening.

In addition to sales reps, the center also will need managers, information technology specialists, human resources professionals, employee trainers, quality assurance experts and other support staff, most of whom will be new hires in Maine, said Wayfair Vice President of Sales and Service Liz Graham.

Sales employees in Brunswick will be taking customer orders and selling products to individual and commercial clients, she said. Salaries will be commission-based and will require at least two years of previous sales experience. A college degree is preferred but not mandatory, Graham said.

Leon Ouimet, manager at the Southern Midcoast CareerCenter in Brunswick, said it’s difficult to predict how successful Wayfair will be at hiring the 500 employees it seeks there, because the company has not responded to the center’s request for specifics about what the various jobs will entail and what they will pay.


“It’s kind of hard to do that without first seeing who they are,” he said. “We haven’t received any solid information back from them.”

Ouimet said the Brunswick-area job market is relatively tight – Cumberland County’s unemployment rate in December was 2.7 percent, the lowest in the state – and that it can be difficult for employers to meet their hiring needs unless they pay well enough to lure candidates from surrounding areas.

“Especially if they’re looking for people in volume,” he said.

Graham would not disclose any information about salaries, saying only that they will be competitive within the retail industry. According to the Maine Department of Labor, the average wage for customer service representatives in 2014 was $15.89 per hour, or roughly $33,050 a year.

A collection of responses from current and former Wayfair employees at shows that the average salary for entry-level sales and customer service jobs is about $34,000 a year. The company also offers bonuses, commissions, shares of stock, paid time off, medical insurance and 401(k) plans with the company matching up to 4 percent, the employees said.

The customer service workers in Bangor will take calls and messages from existing clients with questions or complaints, she said.


Typical issues range from questions about when a product will arrive to complaints about damaged or incorrect orders. Wayfair has distinguished itself with its hands-on customer service, Graham said.


“It’s very much a personalized customer service experience,” she said. Again, a college degree is preferred but not required. Graham noted that the company does extensive training, adding that workers at the outgoing L.L. Bean call center will be highly sought after. That call center is expected to close late this spring. She said all available job openings can be found at

Graham added that after six to nine months of opening a new call center, a number of initial hires who have proven their skills are typically promoted to higher-level positions.

Though the company is 14 years old, Wayfair has been expanding rapidly in recent years. It began in 2011 with a $165 million round of venture capital funding from four investment firms: HarbourVest Capital, Spark Capital, Battery Ventures and Great Hill Partners. Previously known as CSN Stores with dozens of websites specializing in different products, the company rebranded itself as Wayfair in 2011 and began consolidating most of its product offerings into the website.

In March 2014, the company closed on another $157 million venture capital round led by T. Rowe Price, and then in October of that year it completed an initial public offering, raising more than $300 million and becoming a listed stock on the New York Stock Exchange.


All the while, its sales revenue has continued to skyrocket, from $915.8 million in 2013, to $1.32 billion in 2014, to $2.25 billion in 2015. Most of that revenue has been reinvested into the expansion of Wayfair’s operations.

In Bangor, Wayfair is leasing the former L.L. Bean call center, where it will focus on customer service, responding to calls, emails and online chat messages from customers. That call center will employ about 450 full-time workers and should be up and running by late summer, Graham said.

“We’re targeting the July-August time frame for when we get the operation up and running,” she said.

Bangor CareerCenter manager Ed Upham said that while the unemployment rate in Bangor is just 3 percent, the departure of L.L. Bean’s call center from the city leaves hundreds of former customer service representatives who would be great candidates for a position at Wayfair.

Upham said Wayfair has a good reputation and is a welcome addition to Bangor’s stable of employers.

“From what I hear, these are not bad jobs as far as call center jobs go,” he said. “This is a regular job where you work your 40 hours a week and earn a regular salary.”

Wayfair employees surveyed by said positive aspects of the company include a fun corporate culture, opportunities for training and advancement, friendly and helpful co-workers, a good work/life balance and office perks such as free snacks and beverages.

Negatives cited by those surveyed included low pay, a relatively high turnover rate, heavy workload, difficulty standing out among such a large staff and instances of favoritism and biased promotion decisions by some management.


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