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In the past two years record numbers of recruitment companies have been established operating across a very wide range of industrial, commercial, technical and public sectors. No one knows quite how many agencies there are in total and just what is a recruitment company anyway? For example some job boards try to attract clients directly to assist them with their recruitment, there are also other service providers to the sector whose primary focus is not recruitment but who still take on assignments to assist with their own client’s needs. 
 
 
Competition is a good thing it has the potential to drive up standards, it mitigates against monopolies appropriating too much profit without accountability and provides innovation and diversity. However the recruitment sector has a number of almost unique features which make entering the sector very easy, these include, no barriers to entry, minimal set up costs, no pre-qualifying registration, qualifications or training, poor service differentiation and easy access to information. This has inevitably leads to the commoditisation of many areas within recruitment, the erosion of margins and profitability of recruitment businesses and in many instances the driving down of standards. 
 
To thrive the recruitment sector needs new entrants, but it also needs to be able to charge rates that enable recruiters to grow and become better, more innovative and most importantly to be able to provide our clients with an excellent service. The challenges are constant from technological developments, lack of qualified and capable recruiters and legislation (look at the government’s recent proposal on employment practices for agency personnel and the new public sector IR35 ruling) 
 
To this end I think the following could start to make the sector a little more attractive 
 
Registration: A formal short but proper system for vetting entrants perhaps this could include assessing suitability and undertaking of a short introductory course to the sector 
Check on Director suitability 
The undertaking of a short course that covers the basics on legal aspects of recruitment and employment 
Establishment of a “gold” standard in some sectors this is granted by Chartership 
Recognised Apprenticeships, when I started working I undertook 4 years of training initially an as engineering apprentice after which I received my indentured papers which were recognised across engineering 
 
These are just few ideas all have been kicking around for some time and I am sure there are others. The point of what I am trying to convey is that recruit is a dynamic and tough sector to work in and in many quarters does not have a good reputation. Is it not time those of us who work in the sector and are passionate about what we do to look at driving standards up so we can justify our margins and provide an environment that attracts capable people looking at our sector and providing real career opportunities. Would you allow someone to fully audit your accounts for publication to companies house on the basis that they told you they were an accountant, I hope not! 
 
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