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Despite fears that the opening of Germany and Austria’s job market could lead to a shortage of European workers, specialist recruitment agency Jark plc is continuing to recruit skilled foreign workers to meet growing UK demand. Jark’s specialist European recruitment team proactively recruited over 175 European workers from overseas in 2010 to fill both short and long-term projects and positions ranging from seamstresses to butchers. This number is set to increase in 2011 as Jark has already recruited 164 workers in the first half of the year.

Jark has been recruiting skilled workers from across the A8 countries – Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia – since the countries opened their doors in 2004 and gave European qualifications the same merit as the UK’s. To ensure a smooth transition for foreign workers and a robust recruitment procedure, Jark has a dedicated European Recruitment Manager, Irina Nanevic, who is responsible for meeting client demand and sourcing foreign workers. Irina’s specialist skills ensures clients and candidates are kept happy throughout the entire recruitment process. She makes sure that only the best candidates – and those guaranteed a job – come to the UK. Candidates are also tested, for suitability, productivity and skills, in their own country, which means there is no unnecessary time or expense wasted. Irina has a boundary-spanning role between Jark’s UK branches, meeting the demands and needs of clients and recruiting and looking after Jark’s European workforce. Despite the recession, the EU had approximately four million unfilled vacancies last year, many in professional sectors such as engineering, technology and healthcare.

For a recent project, Jark needed to recruit skilled seamstresses and over 100 European workers applied. Jark’s success rate is clear when considering that 33 people attended the test, 29 were offered a position, and 27 came to work in the UK.

In addition, Four Seasons Health Care, an independent healthcare provider of nursing homes, care homes and specialist units, asked Jark to fill temporary care worker posts over the summer months. The quota required was achieved and reserve candidates were placed on a waiting list. All have now taken up these positions.

Jark’s clients expect flexibility and perfect delivery, as Irina Nanevic comments: “Our emphasis is on matching clients and candidates, not overpromising, ensuring that we find the right people for the job and delivering an excellent service. We treat our workers extremely well – we often pay for travel and help them settle in a new country. I oversee the whole process from testing to ensuring that workers are treated well. We have to ensure that our European workers are treated the same as all our UK-based candidates.”

Jark prides itself on assisting clients with planning their production in advance, as well as being able to deliver workers at short-notice. The specialist recruitment agency counts a British luxury fashion house, who it has worked with for over two years, as one of its clients who benefits from the European service. Jark provides them with a number of skilled European seamstresses and Jark’s quality of workers is second to none as a representative from the luxury fashion house, explains: “Jark provides an excellent service – they understand the calibre of candidates we require, including the skills and experience we need in our specialist industry. They are adaptable, provide us with a great support system and can provide us with skilled staff at late notice.”

It has been projected that Europe will need 20 million skilled immigrants over the next two decades to deal with skills shortages. Jark’s attention to detail, thorough knowledge of European recruitment and incentive programme for workers is proving even more vital as Germany and Austria opened their borders from 1 May this year, as Irina explains: “While the majority of European workers want to come to the UK, I have noticed a difference in application rates as some workers are choosing to remain nearer their homes and work in Germany, Austria and other EU country’s which can be attractive due to high pay, free accommodation and close distance to their homes. It means that we have to work harder to highlight the benefits and incentives we offer and expand the range of sectors open to foreign workers – especially as demand from clients for skilled workers is high. I’m currently looking into the driving and engineering sectors to see what opportunities this presents for European workers.”


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