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Recruitment industry in good health

HeartbeatThe recruitment industry in in a healthy state, according to recently released data from Plimsoll’s Industry Analysis of 1000 recrutiment agencies.

The data has revealed 456 of the firms surveyed are ‘powering ahead’ with their targets, whilst 149 firms are struggling and 159 are currently subject to a takeover bid.

David Pattison, who headed up the survey, has commented:

“Having rated 149 struggling companies as ‘danger’ and given 456 others a ‘strong’ rating, I am surprised at the gulf in performance in the market. Despite all other factors, success still comes down to how well a company is run.

“The market, in the current economic climate cannot support this many companies. There has to be further, more radical consolidation in the market. Strong companies will be buying up distressed competitors in the next 12 months.”

Recruitment Service Fined £50k for Misleading

Jobseekers are being urged to exercise caution after PhonepayPlus, the premium rate telephone services regulator, issued a £50,000 fine to a recruitment service for misleading customers into subscribing to expensive mobile content.

Playphone Europe was also ordered to refund vulnerable jobseekers who were left out of pocket after unwittingly signing-up for expensive mobile subscription services the company was promoting on a number of websites, including “workjobs.net”. The one most commonly subscribed to cost jobseekers £4.50 a week.

One complainant visited workjobs.net looking for a delivery job only to find when he signed up to receive information about jobs he also unknowingly subscribed to premium rate services, including quizzes and ringtones. “I was asked to enter my mobile number and then send ‘yes’, so I did, thinking it was for a job application,” the victim said. “I am not a teenager and did not request a ringtone.”

PhonepayPlus’s Bradley Brady said: “We’ve recently seen instances where jobseekers are being misled by a small minority of providers on the charges for using premium rate recruitment services. We understand how difficult the job market is right now and we have taken tough action where we have seen a lack of pricing transparency by providers, particularly as jobseekers are facing a challenging job market as a result of the recession.”

Recruitment Key for Social Mobility in Finance

The keynote speech from deputy prime minister Nick Clegg on social mobility and has been welcomed by the Institute of Chartered Accountants for England and Wales (ICAEW).

It believes that corporate finance recruitment can do its bit to help encourage social mobility, while simultaneously strengthening the UK’s economy.

Chief executive of the ICAEW Michael Izza stated that social mobility was crucial in order to create a fairer society.

He also welcomed the impact an increased focus on social mobility would have in economic terms, by creating equal access for all.

Mr Izza said: “Through our participation in the Gateways to the Professions work, the accountancy profession is continuing to look at our education, training and recruitment practices to ensure fair access is incorporated.”

His comments followed June’s announcement of over 900 young professionals qualifying as chartered accountants by passing the ACA Professional Stage exams.

Talent mismatch hits China’s booming economy

dragonAs China overtakes Japan as the second largest economy in the world, the country is suffering a talent mismatch, according to David Arkless, executive board member at Manpower and vice president of the China International Council for the Promotion of Multinational Corporations (CICPMC).

China has moved ahead of its Asian neighbour with Japan’s economy growing by just 0.4% in the second quarter of the year.

Arkless told Recruiter that China is experiencing growth in all areas but domestic talent is not keeping pace with demand.

“One of the issues that China has is that it has plenty of skills but not enough people with the right skills at the right time, which is causing a talent shortage in most sectors. The financial sector is growing fast as is infrastructure and the services sector is booming. There is broad demand right across the board.

“The rise to number two and the inevitable rise to number one was always going to happen. It has happened more quickly due to the recession that has hit Japan.

“The US is recognising that China is going to be of equal status in terms of its economy and it is bracing itself to become number 2. It will be interesting when that happens in around 2028.

Richard Goddard, managing director, technology at RP International, which has an office in Hong Kong, adds: “Over the last decade China has gradually seen increasing numbers of multinational corporations migrate their Asia Pacific headquarters into China from the more traditional hubs of Hong Kong and Singapore.

“This trend is set to continue as China aggressively grows its services based industries and continues to attract increased investments as western organisations seek growth outside of their flat domestic markets. With increasing importance placed on translating China investments into profitable returns, organisations continue to fight for talent which can effectively bridge and deliver on the needs of western organisations within a complex China marketplace.”

Medical recruiters deny ‘rip off’ claims

medicalRecruiters have hit back at claims by unions that recruitment agencies have been guilty of “ripping off” hospitals by charging “outrageous fees”.

Following an announcement by the department of health that it would explore options for private sector investment in the state-owned NHS Professionals, Unison Karen Jennings, UNISON Head of Health claims it makes no sense at all to bring back private companies who will want a “slice of the action” in return.

She adds the very reason managed flexible services provider NHS Professionals was set up 10 years ago was to prevent recruitment agencies from “ripping off” hospitals by charging them “outrageous” fees for recruiting or finding staff for shifts.

But a spokesperson for medical recruitment specialist Healthcare Locums (HCL) told Recruiter that the union’s promotion of NHSP as a cost-effective part of the Health service is as “misguided” as the claim that independent staffing agencies are “ripping off hospitals”.

“Since its inception the NHSP has succeeded in losing almost £100m of taxpayer money to a deficit black hole. This amount far outweighs the annual retained profit of the UK’s biggest independent healthcare staffing agencies.

“As far as “ripping off hospitals” is concerned, independent research conducted by Laing & Buisson has found that the average NHSP doctors costs £2,41 per hour more than the equivalent doctor supplied by leading private agencies – approximately £4,500 more expensive per annum.

“As for Unison’s concern about the impact of private sector investment on patient safety, they should note that Laing & Buisson has found that NHSP can only fill 35% of requests for bank medical staff – wholly inadequate to the NHS’s needs. The remainder of requests are filled by independent agencies. The number of Trusts willing to use NHSP is falling, and many only do so reluctantly because they are contractually obliged.”

Sailm Shaul, chief executive at dr-locums, adds: “One of the reasons the strategic direction of NHS Professionals was changed was the business model was not reliable which is why it has become a more commercial facing organisation. Its track history isn’t the most spectacular.

“Agencies have to now charge VAT on supply of workers. There is little left for agencies to provide manage its operations effectively and deliver a decent quality of care but agencies manage do that.

“The hurdles for placements have been placed increasingly higher. Agencies have had to meet these costs internally.”

BlackBerry ban in Asia will threaten recruitment

black berryPotential bans on the use of BlackBerrys in India and in the Middle East is set to hit the world of recruitment hard, robbing both in-house and agency recruiters of a key communications tool.

Governments there have raised concerns over the ability of security forces to intercept email sent via BlackBerrys, which they say could pose a potential security risk if they are unable to access correspondence from suspected terrorist organisations.

Earlier this month the United Arab Emirates government announced that BlackBerry’s internet-enabled services will be banned in the country from 11 October. Although Research In Motion (RIM), the Canadian company which makes BlackBerry smartphones, has said that it will not agree deals with specific countries, it has agreed to hand over user codes which will let Saudi Arabian authorities monitor BlackBerry Messenger activity in a bid to stop the Kingdom from imposing a BlackBerry ban. In India, the government has given RIM until the end of August to address security issues.

Maria Brown, associate director for the Middle East & North Africa (MENA) at Reed Specialist Recruitment, told Recruiter that the Middle East has a high number of BlackBerry users and any ban will hit professionals’ ability to do business on the move. “It will cause a lot of upheaval. You can walk into any hotel and see a few dozen business professionals working on their BlackBerrys. If those options are not available, it is going to affect all areas of business and their ability to do business on the go.”

Jaspreet Khurana, HR director at Premier Inn in India, part of the Whitbread group, told Recruiter that any ban there would primarily affect the hotel chain’s internal communications as the firm encourages staff use of BlackBerry’s Messenger service. And with the hotel chain’s impending opening in Delhi, which will require around 50 staff initially, Khurana said it will be imperative that UK operations can be contacted on the move via email as some Whitbread professionals will relocate from the UK to India to fill certain roles.

“We need constant access to emails, especially in organisations like ours where there is a time difference. I leave work after 6pm but our UK colleagues are still at work. Until 10pm and 11pm at night, my phone is buzzing with emails,” Khurana said.

Annil Chandel, country director of IT recruiter Huxley Associates’ Indian operation, told Recruiter that he thought that RIM and the Indian government would reach agreement. Usage of BlackBerrys is currently most common among management. However, its use is growing among lower level workers, he said.

Ben Hutton, consultant at IT recruiter Vertex Solutions, which has an office in Mumbai, told Recruiter that a ban in India would mean that candidates, employers and recruiters will turn to alternative handsets such as landlines and phones that use Google’s Android operating systems which uses an open source platform. “There are other ways around the ban,” Hutton said.

Headhunters Report Massive Increase in Executive Search

According to the Association of Executive Search Consultants (AESC) – a body representing headhunters across the world – the second quarter of 2010 saw the highest quarterly rise in executive search industry revenues since the low point of the recession only 15 months ago.

The latest figures from the AESC show a quarter-on-quarter 12 per cent growth rate in revenue worldwide and substantial year-on-year growth in the number of search assignments started across most industries and regions.

But more significant than that, they also record a 38% year-on-year increase in the number of new executive searches started globally.

In other words, they provide clear evidence that companies are actively recruiting senior-level executives across a whole range of industries and functions.

Executive searches within financial services saw the greatest year-on-year growth in Q2 2010, rising 50 per cent from Q2 2009. This growth was closely followed by increased search activity in the technology sector, up 43.5 per cent year-on-year, and then industrial (+39%) and consumer (+37%). Such positive trends suggest a resurgence for those industries hit hardest by the recession.

REC: Market polarised

Recruitment Employment ConfederationLatest data from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation suggests that there is an increased polarisation between the public and private sector in terms of employment prospects.

REC’s Jobs Barometer shows employer confidence fell by three points in July after five successive months of improvement.

JobsOutlook suggests that although business confidence has generally stabilised, this has not translated into short-term hiring due to continuing economic uncertainty.

Whilst long term prospects for jobs growth remain optimistic, the number of redundancies reported in July has edged upwards.

Roger Tweedy, the REC’s Director of Research, believes the data reveals some interesting trends:

“The results show a growing public sector ‘drag’ effect on overall labour market optimism. We know that certain sectors within the private sector are currently buoyant and expect growth to continue throughout 2010 and it is likely that this polarising effect will continue for a while as different parts of the economy emerge from the recession at different rates.

“At a national level, continued uncertainty about the strength of the economic recovery makes it difficult for many employers to be more positive about their immediate hiring plans. The encouraging news is that medium term optimism remains relatively strong and this is likely to be a good indicator of underlying sentiment.”

He continued: “Recent surveys have suggested that large numbers of workers are now seriously looking to change jobs for the first time in two years in spite of low levels of overall consumer confidence. This activity could well improve trading conditions for many recruiters as the jobless recovery continues.”

Firm claims deaf charity owes £100,000

A SPECIALIST recruitment agency for deaf people is to take legal action against a leading charity for “suffocating” the company into administration.

Dering Employment Services, which has helped thousands of deaf or hard of hearing people find and retain work, claims it is owed £100,000 by the Shaw Trust.

Stephen Dering, 33, chief executive of the firm based in Park Lane, Croydon, accuses the charity of being responsible for “90 per cent” of his company’s financial woes.

He said that due to the specialist expertise of his company, it was subcontracted by the Shaw Trust to deliver services other companies cannot.

Mr Dering said: “Shaw Trust has not paid up for service fees, job outcomes and sustained outcomes for several months.

“Some fees date back over a year.”

Shaw Trust is the UK’s largest provider of employment services for disabled people and a Government-backed charity.

It should have paid Dering a monthly service fee, whenever someone who used the company found work and if they kept that job for six months or more.

Mr Dering claims that, on numerous occasions, Shaw Trust failed to pay these fees.

He has instructed his solicitor to begin legal action against the charity in a bid to recover the money.

“I am bitterly disappointed and incredibly frustrated by what has happened,” he said.

“I have spent a lot of time chasing Shaw Trust for payment, meeting different people and asking why they haven’t paid.

“But they kept using delaying tactics, claiming it was someone else’s responsibility or that they had never received invoices.

“I have personally handed invoices to them, but they still claim they have not got them.”

Mr Dering accuses the charity of using other tactics to effectively “suffocate” Dering.

He said Shaw Trust creamed off the easy to get into work deaf people and found work for them itself.

Mr Dering said: “For instance, as a deaf person with experience and a good education, had I gone to them they wouldn’t have referred me to Dering.

“Even disabled people who specifically needed the specialist services we provided were never referred to us.”

Since it was established in 2006, Dering Employment Services has helped 2,000 deaf people.

The company employs five people in Croydon and 26 in total, who were put on gardening leave when the company went into administration last Monday as part of a 30-day redundancy consultation.

Having been made aware of Mr Dering’s allegations, Shaw Trust dismissed his claim that it owes his company £100,000.

A spokesman said: “We are extremely sympathetic on the part of Dering and its staff, and acknowledge it is a stressful time for all concerned.

“However, we can confirm that the majority of any outstanding payments have been made.

“Further smaller amounts will be paid if they are outstanding.”

Food group Vion creates 250 jobs

chickenFood group Vion has announced the creation of 250 new jobs in Scotland.

About 150 jobs will be created at the company’s chicken processing facility in Coupar Angus and a further 100 jobs at its plant in Cambuslang.

The jobs follow a multi-million pound investment programme which included the installation of a new finished packing line at Coupar Angus.

A further 234 jobs at Cambuslang have been safeguarded with the help of a Scottish Enterprise grant of £650,000.

The company said its investment programme, along with the efforts of its workforce, had boosted business at Cambuslang by 25% in 2010.

Andrew Fisher, Vion Poultry’s regional director for Scotland, said “This is very positive news and just reward for the tremendous efforts not only of the teams at Cambuslang and Coupar Angus, but also through the wider Vion supply chain from our farmers and feed mill operators, through to our production, sales and administration colleagues.”

Glasgow Rutherglen Labour MSP James Kelly welcomed the announcement of new jobs in South Lanarkshire.

He said: “This is a tremendous boost not only for Cambuslang but also for the Scottish economy.

“I have actively supported the superb efforts of the workforce and the management which have turned the plant around to secure new contracts and create jobs.

“The investment linked with the strong team that are operating at Cambuslang will provide a platform to allow Vion to go from strength to strength. This will protect and create jobs locally and also make an important contribution to the wider Scottish economy.”

Last year Vion cut 150 jobs at Cambuslang after losing some of its business supplying deli products and ready meals to Marks and Spencer.