Ben Howlett MP launches new SAFERjobs framework

Last year, over 700,000 job hunters reported losing more than £500,000 in alleged fraud – and in just two years, there’s been a 300% rise in job scams.

That’s according to SAFERjobs, the non-profit organisation created by the Metropolitan Police, who today announce a new framework for recruiters and job boards, launched by Ben Howlett MP.

Unveiled by Howlett at the House of Commons, the ‘SAFERjobs Principles of Good Practice for Recruitment’ framework contains a Code of Conduct for job boards and a set of good practice principles for recruitment agencies, which complements and reinforces established industry standards.

Speaking at Parliament, Ben Howlett MP, House of Commons sponsor for SAFERjobs, comments: “The UK’s jobs market is booming, with unemployment levels at their lowest since 2005 – however the rise in job scams threatens to destabilise this growth.  The UK’s recruitment industry must do all it can to encourage and support those who want to get on to the employment ladder. I call on all recruiters and job boards to sign up to the new SAFERjobs framework, thereby validating themselves as meeting current legislation and industry requirements, safeguarding the welfare of jobseekers.”

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More than half of recruiters (56%) believe job scams and job-related fraud are now a big issue facing the sector. SAFERjobs' research found that 72.1% of job hunters admitted they do not know and would not recognise the signs of a job scam and of those targeted by fraud, 46.7% suffered financial loss.

To tackle these issues, SAFERjobs has partnered with the Department for Work & Pensions, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, as well as the Metropolitan Police and the industry, to create a voluntary Code of Conduct for all job boards and a voluntary set of Principles for recruiters.

Companies within the industry should:

1. Explain how vacancies appear on their site and only advertise jobs that do exist and the company has permission to advertise.

2. Perform agreed standards of due diligence and/or agency staff compliance upfront and meet any requisite legislation ongoing relevant to the sector.

3. Have a limit as to how many times the same advert can be published and do not advertise adverts that portray themselves to be something they are not.

4. Pay job seekers promptly and correctly within openly agreed timescales and be upfront about any charges to jobseekers.

5. Treat jobseeker information confidentially and only share with express consent.

6. Obtain jobseeker’s permission before transferring their data and/or supply in writing clear and full information to the job seeker about the work assignment.

7. Have an agreed, transparent process in place to investigate breaches and jobseeker complaints quickly and professionally.

8. Actively support working with under-represented job seekers such as people with convictions, disabled groups, ex-military personnel, and ethnic minorities

9. Have an easily accessible area of the site dedicated to offering advice of common and prevalent scams with a link to SAFERjobs and carry the agreed SAFERjobs text.

10. Have a duty to report and share information with SAFERjobs.

Chairman of SAFERjobs, Keith Rosser, who also sits on Recruitment Grapevine's Advisory Board, adds: “By signing up to our new guidelines recruiters and jobs boards can demonstrate their commitment to tackling the issue of job scams, and protect vulnerable job seekers from unprofessional and criminal conduct.” 

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