Regular readers of my blog will know that I’m vocal about my belief that the recruitment industry just isn’t fit for purpose. I know from experience that the majority of professionals are wary about using recruiters, which is something that I’ve blogged about on many occasions. This has driven me to start work on research which will find out exactly what level of distrust there is towards the sector. Recently, one of my professional contacts, Guy Shone, an economist and CEO of Explain the Market, was interviewed for BBC Radio Five’s ‘Up All Night’ programme in a feature about the problems with the UK job market – you can listen to it here. For those of you that missed it, Guy mentioned AnyGood?, citing us as an example of a business which is shaking up the sector by highlighting its flaws. He echoed my own thoughts by questioning if we can really be sure that agencies are treating candidates and clients in a way that is fair, ethical and transparent.
The perils of an unregulated recruitment market
It came as no real shock to me that Guy mentioned how half of people using recruitment agencies don’t feel that they are being treated honestly. While there are, of course, some agencies which do operate in the right way, this highlights yet again that far too many people are having negative experiences.
During the interview, Guy explained that, as a nation, we’ve become ‘totally reliant on recruitment agencies’ which has created ‘big structural problem’ in the market. He argued that although people aren’t happy with the experience that comes from using recruiters, they don’t know of any better ways to look for jobs or search for candidates, so stick with them. And, with 30,000 recruitment agencies across the UK – a figure which has tripled in the past five years – and no regulation for any of them, he says it’s no wonder that we see dodgy practices. I’ve seen a number first hand myself, and Guy mentioned three specific ones that he’s been made aware of:
- ‘Contingency recruiters’ – where recruiters make up positions to get jobseekers to sign up, then try to find something similar to the non-existent vacancy
- High fees – agencies charging a lot of money without adding much value. Guy urged clients and candidates alike to ask direct questions about exactly how and why they are earning the fees that they charge
- Being unable to match professionals’ skills with the right positions. He said that people trust individuals who are doing the job to make recommendations about how suitable they are for the role, not recruiters or algorithms.
Lifting the lid on the hiring industry
It’s clear that the industry is under real pressure from increasingly discerning candidates and clients who want to see more fairness, equality and transparency. In my view, this lack of trust can’t continue.
I’ve never been afraid to be vocal about things that I’m passionate about, and so I’ve decided that enough is enough. We’re taking action here at AnyGood? In fact, we’ve started a campaign to lift the lid on the recruitment industry. We’ve already kicked off our research – watch this space!
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