Almost three quarters (72%) of employers say that recruiters do not offer value for money, according to research from IT and engineering recruiter Modis.
Jim Albert, managing director, at Modis International recently said: “These figures show the reputational issue recruiters have faced in the past remain as persistent as ever. There has been a movement within the industry in recent months aimed at achieving a more serious shift in how we’re seen by the wider business community. That movement is failing to have a significant impact so far.”
“For the situation to change to any great degree, recruiters need to put action behind their words, invest more heavily in understanding clients and candidates, hire and train the brightest consultants possible and use their skills and expertise to deliver truly consultancy advice.”
Adrian Marlowe, Chairman of the Association of Recruitment Consultancies (ARC), commented “The results of Modis’s research that 72% of employers say that recruiters are ripping clients off, seems somewhat surprising in one sense but easily understandable in another. The reality is that recruiters invest heavily in their companies to provide an extremely valuable resource to hirers. This same resource has enabled the country to offer a far more flexible and choice-rich work force than nearly any other country in the EU. It is hard to see that those organisations that benefit from using recruiters are really being ripped off unless the fees being charged are exorbitant.”
However it is often the perception that counts. He points out that all fees seem high if a placement is achieved quickly, and better value if a placement appears to be worked on harder and for longer. On the other hand a quickly filled placement saves the hirer more time and effort, resulting in arguably better value. “Agencies cannot win unless they educate their hirers better on what they are doing and the resources they have collected together to ensure that the hirer recognises the skill time and effort involved. So I would supplement Mr. Albert’s comments in that respect that the perception should be addressed in this way.”
Adrian Marlowe adds that this research reflects a long standing malaise within the recruitment industry. It has constantly been talked down, agency workers are described as ‘vulnerable’ by government departments and recruiter trade bodies alike. The ARC was set up to change this negative and often unwarranted perception.
“After all why grudge an agency a respectable profit, if you hire the best recruit possible or, as with estate agents, a vendor sells his house quickly for a good price?”
Marlowe warns of the danger of talking the recruitment industry down. “The purpose of forming the ARC was to ensure that users of recruitment agency services appreciate the money, effort, and blood sweat and tears that are involved in providing a first class service. I am sure Modis has invested heavily for a very long time in understanding its clients, through hiring and training the brightest possible consultants. It is certainly true of many other recruitment companies. But while no industry is perfect, it is really important that the industry promotes its strengths rather than indulges in an almost morbid interest in its weaknesses. That is the driving motivation behind the ARC.”