SAFERjobs, the non-profit organisation created by the Metropolitan Police, has today announced a new framework for recruiters, drawn up with assistance from its membership, which contains a key strand aimed at preventing work-seekers from being subject to attempted fraud when looking for work. The 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. Ben Howlett MP unveiled ‘SAFERjobs Principles of Good Practice for Recruitment’ at the House of Commons, encouraging all UK job boards and recruiters to pledge their support and commitment to SAFERjobs’ objectives.
In 2016 over 700,000 job seekers contacted SAFERjobs for free advice, reporting over £500,000 in potential fraud. Scams seen by SAFERjobs include advertising fake jobs and falsifying information, designed to defraud individuals and organisations.
A recent study of 12,000 job seekers demonstrated that more needs to be done to raise awareness of the issues – 72.1% of job hunters admitted they do not know and would not recognise the signs of a job scam. Meanwhile, of those targeted by scams, 46.7% suffered financial loss, parting with up to £2,600*. Separate research also showed that more than half of recruiters (56%) believe job scams and job-related fraud are now a big issue facing the sector.
To tackle the scale of employment 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 recruitment industry to create a voluntary Code of Conduct for all job boards and a voluntary set of Principles for recruiters to raise awareness and protect job hunters as well as compliant businesses. The initiative is extremely timely in light of the Government’s Taylor review on modern employment practices in the UK’s labour market, and aims to complement the ongoing government enforcement as well as existing activities within the sector.
Companies within the industry should:
- Explain how vacancies appear on their site and only advertise jobs that do exist and the company has permission to advertise;
- Perform agreed standards of due diligence and/or agency staff compliance upfront and meet any requisite legislation ongoing relevant to the sector;
- 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;
- Pay job seekers promptly and correctly within openly agreed timescales and be upfront about any charges to job seekers;
- Treat job seeker information confidentially and only share with express consent;
- Obtain job seeker’s permission before transferring their data and/or supply in writing clear and full information to the job seeker about the work assignment;
- Have an agreed, transparent process in place to investigate breaches and job seeker complaints quickly and professionally;
- Actively support working with under-represented job seekers such as people with convictions, disabled groups, ex-military personnel, and ethnic minorities;
- 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;
- Have a duty to report and share information with SAFERjobs.
Speaking at Parliament, Ben Howlett MP, House of Commons sponsor for SAFERjobs, commented: “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 job seekers.”
Chairman of SAFERjobs, Keith Rosser, added: “SAFERjobs is committed to ensuring that job seeker welfare is front of mind for recruitment industry professionals. 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.”
Detective Chief Inspector Gary Miles, from the Metropolitan Police FALCON Unit said: “Recruitment fraud is particularly cruel because it is targeted at individuals who are out of work and genuinely seeking re-employment. The framework has been designed to raise awareness as well as providing more protection to job seekers and I would strongly urge job boards and recruitment companies to adopt them as business as usual.”
Created by the Metropolitan Police in 2008, SAFERJobs works with investigative and enforcement agencies to prevent and disrupt criminal activity, and actively leads the widespread sharing of experiences, giving much greater visibility to any threats encountered. SAFERjobs investigates any situation reported by a job seeker about a potential scam, and will provide impartial advice on how to proceed. Working closely with law enforcement and trusted bodies such as Get Safe Online and Action Fraud, SAFERjobs guides candidates on how to resolve pay and rights issues, as well as deal with any complaints regarding their job search.
For advice on how to avoid being a victim of a job scam, or to report an incident, visit the SAFERjobs website at: www.safer-jobs.com.
The number of scams reported to the non-profit fraud fighting organisation have risen a staggering 300% in the last year alone; 380 reports were made between September 2014 and September 2015, but jumped to an alarming 1,241 between the same period this year. 138 alone were received in October 2016.