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Monday, 15th April 2024
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Consultants agree regulation is needed in hot labour market Back  
Recruitment agencies have called for stricter controls on standards within their industry but there is disagreement over whether the Irish Government or the industry itself, should lead the way.
Up to 90 per cent of recruitment agencies want more regulation and tighter controls on their industry, as they believe that poor standards at some companies have tarnished the image of the industry as a whole, according to Finance’s recruitment survey.

However the survey shows that there is disagreement over who should oversee this regulation.
Almost 50 per cent of respondents to the recruitment survey backed self-regulation by an industry body.

Brendan Murphy of Osborne Recruitment and a founding member of the Irish Federation of Personnel Services said ‘There are now approximately 450 agencies in the country. Of the 450 only one quarter are members of the Irish Federation of Personnel Services, the umbrella organisation for recruitment agencies. The IFPS has a voluntary code of conduct, but does not enforce this via a Disciplinary Committee.’

Echoing this Ursula Hannon, business manager at HW Group said ‘The sector would benefit enormously from the articulation of minimum standards and no professional organisation in any industry should fear transparency and accountability.’

However 19 per cent of respondents to the survey want the Irish Government to make entry into the profession stricter. Criticism was levied at the Government for the ease with which recruitment agencies may set up shop in Ireland. Brian Fowler, managing director of Accountancy Solutions said ‘The Department of the Environment have a licensing section, but it appears that they do not do any checking on the ‘competencies’ of an individual to run a recruitment firm.’

Collins McNicholas called for the Government to ‘give additional powers to the Department of Enterprise Trade and Employment to monitor the performance of recruitment agencies and complaints made against them.’

A further 19 per cent wanted a dual approach from Government and industry to improve industry standards. This may be a more workable option, with both a self-regulated environment and perhaps Government licenses being issued to consultants themselves on a stricter basis.

The survey shows that 43 per cent expect financial salaries to rise by 10 per cent in the coming year, although a further 33 per cent are forecasting a more moderate rise of 7-9 per cent.
But other perks in the financial services area are taking on more significance. Sign-on bonuses, flexible working hours and other inducements are likely to play an increasingly important within financial recruitment.

Sarah Meagher of HRM Recruitment believes that the types of inducements needed differ from sector to sector. ‘For general financial services positions sign on bonuses, flexible working hours and other inducements aren’t too much of an issue. For accounting positions within financial services a higher basic salary and a well-documented career structure are important. Within insurance flexible working hours and out of city locations are important.’

Ben Sugarman, general manager of Atlas PG, thinks that ‘the development of innovative salary and incentive schemes is crucial for competitive advantage in attracting and retaining the best candidates. We particularly feel that retention is a big issue - it is no use attracting lots of candidates only to see them walking out the door a few months later.’

(Survey: page 7)

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