Recruitment agencies under threat as employers tighten up on compliance
“Agencies are caught in a triple-bind that could result in catastrophic loss of revenue, redundancies or even closure,” says Ben Stoneham of cloud service provider NowWeComply Ltd.
This is because the standards required for compliance in onboarding increasingly go beyond the regulatory minimum and are subject to constant change.
"Landmark developments in regulatory and non-regulatory compliance have been around for years, and the rate of change is accelerating," says Ben Stoneham, citing APSCO’s new Compliance standard in Education recruitment and new Rail industry standards as well as waves of regulation in areas as diverse as Right to Work, Data Protection and Health & Safety.
Ben Stoneham argues the flexibility to deal with change rapidly is a key capability that agencies need to survive and grow.
"Employers need proof that their staffing suppliers are agile enough to guarantee that standards of candidate vetting and verification won’t drop," he says.
According to Ben Stoneham, this means recruiters now also bear a higher level of business risk. "The prospect of losing clients by failing to meet an industry-given standard such as the GPS framework or new Sentinel rules in the rail industry has become a very real threat," he says.
Ben Stoneham contends that there is an irreversible direction of travel towards on-demand auditing, where agencies must capture and retain any form of evidence needed, and be able to produce simple, quality reporting transparently when required.
All of this imposes a demand for resources, expertise and manpower that most agencies are not geared up for.
"Automation is the only way forward,” says Ben Stoneham, “Recruitment firms need to adopt simple, low-cost technologies that already exist to help them raise their game, achieve what they need to do, and adapt to change more readily," he says.