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Picking your Recruitment Partner

Posted By APSO, Wednesday, 12 February 2014
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Driving Best Practice!

Posted By APSO, Thursday, 06 June 2013

The Federation of African Professional Staffing Organisations (APSO) was established in 1977 and continues to represent its members in their dealings with government and related bodies. APSO promotes and ensures, for the benefit of both clients and candidates, the adherence to high ethical and professional standards of business.

The recruitment industry currently has no, or very low, barriers to entry and this means that clients could find themselves dealing with inexperienced or unprofessional operators. Given that the industry, particularly the temporary employment services (or labour broking as it’s often referred to), is currently under the spotlight, this could be severely detrimental – and costly - to the client.

Many clients are unaware of the fact that, when using a Temporary Employment Service (TES) provider, they are jointly and severally liable in the case of contravention of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act, Bargaining Council collective agreements, binding arbitration and determinations under the Wage Act, as outlined in Section 198 of the Labour Relations Act.

For this reason, clients should be extra careful when choosing their TES provider and rather choose to deal with an agency that is a member of a professional body such as APSO, or the Confederation Associations in the Private Employment Sector (CAPES).

CAPES is currently heading up the NEDLAC negotiations relating to the proposed regulation for the employment sector and APSO, as a founding member of CAPES, is perfectly positioned to provide our members – and their clients – with accurate, up-to-date information about the impending changes to the industry. It is critical during these uncertain times to have access to reliable information to inform your business decisions.

Setting standards

APSO membership is not automatic and so any staffing company that wishes to join the professional body is required to meet certain minimum criteria before membership is granted. These include among others, legal compliance, professional standards of operation, fair labour practice and adherence to the APSO Code of Ethical & Professional Practice.

This code prescribes the minimum standards, including levels of services to clients and candidates, expected by APSO. It sets clear guidelines on issues such as search and selection, recruitment practices, reference checking, interviewing and fee dispute resolution, in the case of a dispute between two agencies.

APSO is a proud member of the Institute of Ethics of South Africa and our code has been vetted accordingly. The code is aligned to international best practice standards and is recognised by various stakeholders, government and business alike, as the benchmark for professional recruitment in South Africa.

APSO is a proud member of the International Confederation of Private Employment Agencies (CIETT) and maintains active relationships with other international recruitment bodies to ensure that the South African industry remains on par with our global counterparts.  

Driving professionalism

In addition, APSO is focused on improving the professionalism of the recruitment industry by providing training and continuous professional development opportunities for our members and their employees. All APSO staffing consultants are expected to write the APSO Entrance Exam, a 10-module induction programme, designed to ensure that APSO accredited consultants are empowered to offer professional and compliant recruitment services.

At present APSO is awaiting formal recognition by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) as the professional body for the staffing industry and once approved our three professional designations for individual staffing consultants will be ready for launch. APSO understands the importance of currency of knowledge, especially in the field of recruitment where clients and candidates are relying on their consultant to provide guidance. To this end, APSO is thrilled at the prospect of providing clients and candidates the opportunity to choose their consultant by assessing their professional designation and ensuring that they maintain continuous professional development.

Today, many client companies – public and private sector – choose only to deal with APSO member agencies and list this as a requirement for preferred supplier status.

Benefits to clients:

  • Access to advice and information pertaining to the staffing industry;
  • Assistance with fee dispute resolution (between two member agencies);
  • Recourse in the case of unprofessional business practices via the Ethics Arbitration Process;
  • Knowledge that their recruitment partner has been vetted to ensure compliance and best practice.

For more information about APSO or to view the APSO Code of Ethical & Professional Practice, visit our website Contact APSO:

Head Office

Tel:         (011) 615 9417 

APSO Chief Operating Officer

Natalie Singer


APSO Manager: Ethics & Compliance

Attie Botes


Tags:  APSO  best practice  compliance  ethics  membership  preferred supplier listing  risk  standards 

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Creative reward solutions required in tough times

Posted By Natalie Singer, Thursday, 06 June 2013
Updated: Thursday, 06 June 2013

The concept of incentives has been pretty simple over the years; a cash bonus or luxury holiday has often been the norm. But, in tough financial times, companies are also trying to balance their financial situation with the need to keep their employees motivated, especially if they’re expecting them to do more, for less.

Want employees want

In good times, employees would often look to their incentives to provide something exciting that would allow them to do something outside the norm, such as buy a new car or take an overseas trip. Today however, their immediate challenges relate to "making ends meet”.

Incentives by nature only work if the person who is being incentivised wants what you’re offering. So, it’s high time that companies research what the real pressure points are for their employees and devise creative incentives that will ease their real burdens. Some companies have been known to offer vouchers for their local grocery store, petrol for a month or time off to spend with family.

Determining what to offer

The simplest way to find out is to ask. Survey employees to learn what they would prefer and go from there. And don’t feel compelled to make the same offer to every employee. If you determine what the value of the incentive is, why not consider having a range of options available for employees to choose from? This way, you’ll be able to incentivise each employee in a way that speaks directly to their needs.

Do incentives work?

This is a difficult question to answer, and seems to depend on the reason for implementing an incentive scheme in the first place. According to employee and recruitment guru Bill Boorman, it has more to do with when you offer the incentive. He says that in cases where an incentive was provided upfront and employees were given a clear expectation of what was required to be achieved going forward, a 90% success rate was achieved, compared to just 20% for those that promised a reward after the fact. Bill’s conclusion; people are more likely to deliver when they feel they have to repay a reward.

Daniel Pink also cautions against using incentives randomly, and especially in roles or environments that require cognitive skill or creativity. His research shows that people will amend their behaviours over time, from enjoying the task and being proud of an ideal outcome, to only being motivated to reach the reward. Pink believes that incentives cannot achieve the true outcome desired by most companies, that is, to foster a more motivated workforce. Rather than simply dangling carrots, he believes companies should focus on encouraging and empowering their employees to find creative ways to do better business, to improve productivity and performance, and to reward this kind of creative thinking, rather than simply achieving a targeted outcome.

Pink believes that intrinsic factors exert the greatest influence on employee motivation, in particular, he identifies three: autonomy, mastery, and purpose.

Incentive success

Consider the following when creating your incentive programme:

  • Ensure that the desired outcome is within the individual employee’s control
  • Group bonuses can have a negative effect on performance if high achievers are denied their incentive despite their over-achievement, due to the poor performance of others. Equally if poor performers are rewarded due to their peers, this leads to feelings of unfairness and a likely drop in the overall performance of the team.
  • Establish specific accomplishments and clear criteria for achievement. Be sure that you clearly explain what the incentive will be rewarding, i.e. the exact results desired. It may appears to be a "gift” (something that happens regularly, irrespective of achievement) if linked to an unclear, non-specific target. Remember too that the criteria for being awarded the incentive should be clear to all and then fairly applied so that those who meet the agreed accomplishments are seen to be rewarded.
  • Keep rewards regular, rather than delayed for maximum impact. People respond best to rewards that immediately follow their achievement of the desired goal. This is especially true of Generation Y who are used to immediate gratification. Annual bonuses just seem too far into the future. Why not consider smaller, more regular incentives to keep momentum and achieve specific targets related to a project or desired outcome?Incentive programmes should be as unique as the company (or even department) that is offering them.

Don’t feel pressured to follow the age-old traditions, discuss the concept openly with your staff and then brainstorm with management how to achieve the desired output with maximum positive impact for employees and minimum financial burden for the company.

Tags:  Bill Boorman  creativity  Dan Pink  employee  incentives  remuneration  rewards  work-life balance 

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Performance Managing your Recruitment/Staffing Providers

Posted By Natalie Singer, Thursday, 06 June 2013
Updated: Thursday, 06 June 2013

Most companies have structured performance review systems in place for their employees but only a handful have anything to assess their recruitment/staffing provider.

Recruitment costs are significant and whilst many companies have strict tendering requirements and service level agreements in place with their preferred suppliers, too few have a system to accurately assess delivery. After all, what do you measure?

  • Price / Spend?
  • Number of CVs submitted per vacancy?
  • Number of interviews set up with candidates?
  • Number of placements?
  • Success of the placed candidate over a period of time, i.e. 6 months?

People are not products

Applying simple service delivery assessments, as associated with products, doesn’t work. People are by nature flexible, unreliable and open to a myriad of things that can change their circumstances and affect their employment. You can’t say that if "employee A” doesn’t work out the provider should simply substitute with "employee B”, as would be the case with a defective product. 

Most of the staffing industry provides a form a guarantee but companies are cautioned against viewing this as a guarantee on the individual. After all, no one can predict what another person will do in the future. Rather, this guarantee should talk to the delivery of the service that has been agreed between the provider and the client. For instance, it would not be reasonable to expect an agency to replace a candidate who suddenly becomes ill and incapable of doing the job, except if it could be proven that the agency knew about the illness and purposely did not disclose this to the client, knowing full well that the placement would not be successful.

The controllable aspects are the recruitment methodologies and due diligence undertaken by the agency in assessing the candidate, not the decisions of the candidate or employer once the placement has been made.

Avoid comparing apples with oranges

On the surface most recruiters seem to be offering the same service, but don’t be fooled. There are a myriad of different recruitment methodologies and clients should ensure that they fully understand what they’re buying. When assessing a provider, ask the following questions:

  • What is their area of specialisation?
  • Can they prove success?
  • How do they source their applicants?
  • What processes are followed to screen applicants?
  • Method of interview, assessments, verification checks etc
  • What is the experience/expertise of the consultant assigned to manage the account?
  • What kind of success do they have in terms of placement and do their candidates remain in employment for a significant period of time?How much do they know about your business?
  • Will they be able to effectively source people who not only meet the technical requirements but would also be a good "culture fit”

It may be worthwhile to invite interested providers to do a formal presentation to your HR team. This way you can access their level of expertise, question their methodology and determine whether there is a "fit” for a mutually beneficial partnership going forward.

Annual Reviews

There is no point in having a preferred supplier list as long as your arm if the companies on it are not performing. Spend time each year assessing the suppliers against your expectations and their actual delivery and chop those that haven’t made the grade.At the end of the year, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Which agencies actually made placements in the past year? Remove any that haven’t.
  • Of those who made placements, what kind of placements did they make? For example, have the tended to excel in placing IT people, finance, or technical? Separate your suppliers into subject-matter experts. Keep these lists separately and only send them specs for relevant positions, rather than the shotgun approach of sending all specs to everyone on the list.
  • Of the candidates who were placed, how many did not make it through the probation (or guarantee) period? Interrogate why this happened? Was it related to poor recruitment, or something else? How often has it happened per agency? If the problems appear to be with the initial recruitment process then consider ditching agencies that consistently don’t perform.
  • How many of the placed candidates have proven to be value-added employees who are contributing to the overall goals of the organisation? These are the agencies you want to work with so invest time in these relationships.

A shorter list of specialised providers is not only easier to manage, but you’ll be surprised at the increased quality levels that will come from providers who are no longer competing with every Joe Soap and who feel they can invest time and effort in developing long-term relationships with you.

Tags:  agency  APSO  assessment  candidate  CV  guarantee period  interview  performance management  placements  preferred supplier listing  recruiter  shortlist  skill  staffing  verification 

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Choosing a TES provider

Posted By APSO, Thursday, 06 June 2013
Updated: Thursday, 06 June 2013

With the current uncertainty around the temporary employment services (TES) regulations, many companies are worried about engaging new TES suppliers or beginning new contracts. And because of the joint and several liability risks that already exist under current legislation, this is a critical decision that businesses should not make lightly.

So how do you know who to choose?

At present there are low or no barriers to entry and this means that companies may find themselves dealing with an operator that is inexperienced or incapable of delivering a compliant service. To mitigate risk, we recommend that companies choose only to deal with TES providers who belong to a recognised professional body, such as the Federation of African Professional Staffing Organisations (APSO), where they are required to meet minimum compliance standards and subscribe to a code of ethics and best practice.

APSO membership hinges on compliance of the TES in terms of statutory regulations and meeting minimum operational standards to protect clients, work seekers and the image of the industry as a whole. For more specific detail on the exact compliance requirements, please visit

What questions should you ask?

Whether you choose to work with a company that belongs to a professional body or not, there are a few questions that you should ask every TES provider who you intend to work with including:

  1. Are they registered with the Department of Labour and in possession of a Private Employment Agencies (PEA) certificate?
  2. Are they registered, and in good standing, with SARS in terms of tax, VAT, PAYE, UIF, SDL and other employee deductions?
  3. If you work within a regulated sector, is the TES provider registered, and in good standing, with the applicable Bargaining Council and are their employee contracts and operations compliant with the collective agreements?
  4. Do they have sound internal policies and procedures to ensure fair labour relations practices and have they clearly explained the expectations of your role in the triangular employment relationship?
  5. Are there sufficient resources to ensure that TES employees are paid regularly, on the agreed dates, and that all associated employee administration is managed in accordance with legislation?

Choosing to work with an APSO member agency will provide you with comfort that the agency has undergone the compliance checks and is held accountable to the APSO Code of Ethical & Professional Practice. In the event of a dispute with the member agency, the company can lodge a complaint with APSO and have the matter resolved at no cost. For more information on the benefits of working with an APSO member agency, please don’t hesitate to contact us on 011 615 9417.

Tags:  APSO  compliance  Department of Labour  employee  fees  joint & several liability  preferred supplier listing  risk  SARS  statutory costs  temp  TES 

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Don't be caught short!

Posted By Natalie Singer, Thursday, 06 June 2013
Updated: Thursday, 06 June 2013

Desperate times call for desperate measures and most research conducted recently, and specifically since the global economic crisis, has shown that CV fraud is on the increase.

CV or application fraud refers to any act that involves providing fictitious, exaggerated, or otherwise misleading information on a CV or job application in the hopes of persuading a potential employer to hire an applicant for a job they may be unqualified or under-qualified for.

In researching this article I stumbled across a myriad of forums and websites where the general consensus of participants was "it’s ok to lie, just don’t get caught”. Some respondents were a little more circumspect and advised other bloggers to avoid lying about the important stuff because it’s more likely to get you caught out.

Scarily, there appears to be a distinct difference, in the minds of most job seekers about the seriousness or guilt between outright lying and omission. Both however can have detrimental effects on the recruitment and selection process.

Most common CV lies

By far it appears that altering dates on CVs is the most common fraud employed by job applicants. For many, the reason touted as an excuse is to hide "too many jobs” with short lengths of service. There is a still a clear tendency amongst employers (and recruiters to a large degree) to dismiss out of hand an applicant that appears to be a job-hopper. However, with the dramatic changes in the world of work and the entrance of more Generation Y candidates into the job market, this discrimination will need to change. Research has shown that today’s 20-somethings are likely to have had at least 14 jobs by the time they’re 38 years old and this equates to an average tenure of just 16 months, a statistic that will horrify most Baby Boomers.

Of course, the reason for changing jobs should always be investigated – as we all know there are good, and bad, reasons for making a career move. The simplest way to uncover this sort of lie by omission is to employ a thorough interview process and to take several references with previous employers.

The next most common fraud is the substitution of friends or family as a "previous employer” for reference purposes. With the increased use of cell phones and email, it is now far easier for an applicant to arrange with a relative or friend to pose as their former boss who will naturally give them a glowing reference.

In my experience as a recruiter, most people who resort to substituting a referee do so because they’re unsure about the kind of reference they will get from the real ex-boss. Most often, this could have been avoided by simply being honest with the recruiter about the problems in the relationship etc. If doubt exists, a recruiter should conduct more than one reference to compare testimonials and make a judgement about the person based on several references rather than a single one that may well be tainted due to personal conflict. A small percentage, usually the cleverest and most charming applicants, will be using this ploy to hide a trail of disaster where they’ve been dismissed from several jobs, usually for the same reason, like substance abuse or theft. These are often the most difficult to uncover because the applicant is skilled at lying and committing fraud.

Other, more serious examples of fraud relate to fake credentials. In South Africa these are most often citizenship documents, drivers’ licenses and degrees/certificates. Whilst I acknowledge that some of these may be difficult to verify due to the inherent problems within the departments that issue them, recruiters should still satisfy themselves, as best possible, as to the authenticity of the documents. Qualifications should be verified, particularly if they have been issued by institutions outside of South Africa.

I personally experienced a situation where a candidate presented a degree from a university in Australia and where the qualification was confirmed and verified by the administration office of this institution. I later discovered that the degree had actually been bought online with the ‘added feature’ of a dedicated office specifically available for reference and verification of this false qualification.

Some candidates, particularly those with limited or no experience, may be tempted to falsify their CV by creating a list of fictitious employers some of whom may actually never have existed. Be aware of a string of "companies that have closed down” because this is often the best way to disguise a fake employer and avoid any reference verification from taking place.

The Pinocchio syndrome

Almost all applicants will admit to exaggerating their previous experience and see this as "stretching the truth” rather than outright lying. The most common exaggerations relate to job title where candidates will list themselves as "Office Manager” when in fact they were the only one in the office and so handled administration, reception and other similar duties.

In order to uncover exaggerations relating to duties and responsibilities, a structured interview process should be employed and a suitably qualified and experience person should handle the interview process. It would be very easy for an IT programmer applicant to bluff their way through an interview with someone who clearly didn’t know the difference between C# and C++

It is for this reason that employers would do well to retain the services of a specialist recruiter in instances where they are recruiting candidates with a very niche set of skills and where the results of hiring an un- or under-qualified candidate would be disastrous.

In an economy that is putting increasing financial strain on individuals many candidates will look to exaggerate their current salary in the hope of getting a significantly bigger offer from the new employer. As a result, it is now common practice for recruiters to request a copy of the most recent pay slip to verify actual earnings.

Who’s more likely to fabricate their CV?

According to research conducted by The Risk Advisory Group (TRAG) annually since 2005, younger more junior people are more likely to have a discrepancy on their CV. Someone in a junior administration position is 23% more likely to have a discrepancy than someone in a managerial role. Furthermore an applicant aged under-20 years old is 26% more likely to have a discrepancy than a 50 -60 year old.

Interestingly, women are marginally more likely to have a discrepancy with 13% of all applications submitted by the fairer sex having a discrepancy compared to only 10% of those of men. Graduates too are less likely to feel the need to alter their CV fraudulently with only 13% compared to 17% of non-graduates. Perhaps it’s a sign of the times when employers place greater emphasis on applicants with tertiary qualification?

TRAG’s CEO, Bill Waite said that the motivation for lying on a CV was often simple ‘survival of the fittest’. "In a tougher job market, it is clear the temptations for exaggeration or downright lying increase dramatically,” he said. Getting a job can be highly stressful and candidates feel pressure to enhance their achievements to present themselves in the most favourable light.

In their book Deception in Selection, Liz Walley and Mike Smith suggest that, in such circumstances, people are pushed to deception in the belief that "everyone else is doing it". Walley and Smith put forward the theory that job candidates often fabricate an element of their CV in the belief that it will only be a short-term measure. Yet, if not discovered early on, they find it hard to turn back the clock and escape their deception.

How do you safeguard your business and avoid being caught short?

A good recruitment agency should provide you with a comprehensive service that includes:

  • thorough interviewing aimed at interrogating the applicant’s employment history;
  • skills assessment to verify actual ability;
  • verification of employment history through reference checks;
  • verification of qualification; and
  • credit and criminal checks (where appropriate)

Not all recruitment companies are the same, nor are their recruitment methodologies or processes. Question your provider to be sure that you’re getting the service that you expect and so that you can determine whether or not you need to conduct any pre-employment verification yourself before making an offer to the candidate.

The APSO Code of Ethical & Professional Practice does not dictate service offerings to members but does make it clear that an APSO member agency is required to clearly outline their service offering to the client and to ensure that the candidates that are submitted have been properly interviewed and verified, in accordance with their agreed terms of business.

Should you experience a problem with an APSO member who has not fulfilled their terms and conditions in terms of candidate verification, you are able to lodge a complaint with APSO. For more information, and to view our Code of Ethical & Professional Practice, visit

Tags:  APSO  baby boomer  compliance  CV  experience  fraud  Gen X  Gen Y  interview  qualification  risk  verification 

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The Tipping Point: SA staffing industry on verge of drastic changes

Posted By APSO, Thursday, 06 June 2013
Updated: Thursday, 06 June 2013

This article first appeared in the Global Recruiter magazine in June 2012

The South African staffing sector is facing many changes, not least of which is the impending legislation being driven by Government to curtail the use of Temporary Employment Services (TES) and to limit the impact of flexibility in the workplace. Unfortunately the political will to push this legislation largely, it appears, to appease political allies within the trade union movement and achieve ideological goals, goes against the drastic state of a labour market that is characterised by frightening levels of unemployment, education system failures and struggling, disillusioned businesses.

Mission Critical: Reduce unemployment

At the heart of South Africa’s many problems lies the ever-increasing scourge of unemployment. All of Government’s plans, most especially the National Development Plan, released in mid 2010, focus on the need to create millions of jobs in the next decade. This will not be possible if the proposed labour legislation amendments were to be passed.

South Africa already struggles to compete favourably with our African neighbours and BRIC counterparts in respect to education standards, labour relations and productivity, and unless we create an environment that businesses – both local and International – believe is conducive to economic success, we will not stimulate the economy and attract the much-needed foreign direct investment required to have a real impact on job creation.

According to the Labour Market Performance Report for First Quarter 2012 released by the University of Cape Town’s Development Policy Research Unit, the initial labour market recovery observed in 2011 is faltering. The unemployment rate, calculated on the expanded definition to include those who are disillusioned as well as those actively seeking work, stands at 33.8%, more than seven percentage points higher than the pre-recession low of 26.6% measured in the fourth quarter of 2008.

Youth: A ticking time bomb

Throughout the world youth unemployment is a critical factor and none more so than in South Africa where high levels of unemployment are being experienced amongst the youth. The report sets unemployment rates amongst 15 – 24 year olds at 62.4%, nearly double the national average and 25% higher than the rate for 25 – 34 year olds. 

The education system is failing desperately and many young people are exiting the secondary education system with Matric certificates yet still functionally illiterate. Skills development in the workplace therefore becomes essential and adds a significant burden, both cost-wise and administratively to employers, who would rather engage with a more mature worker.

The economic slowdown and existing draconian labour legislation has resulted in the inability of the South African labour market to generate sufficient numbers of jobs, especially for younger, less experienced workers. Employers are simply too afraid to "take a chance” on a younger worker, for fear that it does not work out.

Curtailing the use of TES will have a direct negative effect on access to employment for young people as the PrEA industry is proven to be a stepping stone to gather work experience, access additional skills and training and to secure permanent employment.

Enforcement is the real issue, not lack of legislation

South Africa is recognised to have some of the most rigid labour legislation in the world. The 2011 World Employment Forum ranks South Africa 138th (out of 139 countries) in both Flexibility of Wage Determination and Cooperation in labour-employer relations. We also rank worst, 139th, in respect to Hiring and Firing Practices. This clearly outlines the fact that our existing regulations are already too stringent in this economic climate.

The real issue however is in relation to compliance and enforcement. Currently, those companies who operate outside of the legislation, are not being investigated and punished and there is no real effective deterrent for non-compliance. Extensive research, conducted globally by the Boston Consulting Group, proves that over-regulation of any labour market – established or emerging - leads to a direct increase in the number of non-compliant "underground” operators and a decrease in employment in the formal sector where the highest levels of compliance exist.

Organised business in South Africa is highly concerned that attempts to further regulate the labour market, resulting in over-regulation, will only serve to increase the cost burden on the already compliant, thereby increasing the non-compliant element. This will have a severe impact on the number and quality of the jobs in South Africa. As costs increase, compliant businesses will simply seek opportunities to reduce the number of people employed through automation and mechanisation, thereby resulting in the loss of more decent jobs.

The "f-word” - Flexibility

Government and unions in South Africa, and elsewhere in the world, are struggling to come to terms with the changing world of work and the increasing use of flexibility within the labour market. Gone are the days that an individual was employed ‘for life’ at a single employer with full benefits and a gold watch on retirement. Chronic skills shortages, increasing global competition and improving technology have created a labour market that favours flexible, project-based employment. This more flexible labour model need not mean precarious work.

"Flexicurity”, a concept coined in Europe, promotes the balance between flexibility and security for the employee through effective regulation and the availability of suitable social protection schemes.Companies, in order to remain competitive, are choosing to outsource their non-core functions and to bring specific skills, for specific projects, in "just-in-time”. The nature of these employment relationships varies but is most often defined as "a-typical”.

To effectively manage the sourcing, recruiting, assessing and administering of flexible labour, businesses have turned to specialists, in the form of Temporary Employment Services (TES) companies. And South Africa is no different.PrEA is a significant contributor to the South African economy.

The Private Employment Agency Sector (PrEA), including Temporary Employment Services (TES), is a significant contributor to the South African economy. In addition to facilitating smooth transitions for workers between jobs, and assisting employer companies to remain competitive in tough economic times, it is also one of the largest contributors to skills development in the country.

A snapshot of the South African PrEA sector:

  • Introduced 5.4 million people to the world of work since 2000
  • Gateway to the world of work: Profile of work seekers/candidates:

o   Never previously employed: 57%

o   Youth aged 18-35: 83%

o   Previously disadvantaged: 93%

  • Average of 994 000 people deployed (via TES) on a daily basis
  • Of those initially employed as a temp, each year significant numbers are permanently deployed

o   30% within 1 year

o   42% within 3 years

  • One of the largest contributors to skills development – R415 million paid over in skills levies
  • Nearly 20 000 registered learnerships facilitated (30% of SETA total)

Proposed legislation threatens job creation goals

The proposed changes to the legislation, in particular the curtailment of the use of a-typical employees (temporary, fixed term and part-time) by limiting the time of employment to 6 months, before being considered to have all the rights associated with permanent employment, including access to benefits, will have dire consequences on the labour market.

It is estimated that in excess of 3 million people are employed in a-typical arrangements in South Africa and the local labour market is simply not able to absorb all of these. Further, the poor drafting of the proposed legislation has already led to confusion in the marketplace with different lawyers interpreting the drafts differently. This uncertainty, rather than specific legislative amendments, is more likely to cause a loss of jobs as companies battle to come to terms with administering it within their organisations.

Social dialogue between Government, business and labour has unfortunately not been fruitful and many areas of disagreement still exist. Unfortunately, with the ruling party’s policy conference, leadership debate and national elections pending, it is likely that the legislation will be pushed through in the next several months.

The staffing sector, in particular will need to adapt to the new environment and whilst it will not result in an outright ban of the TES sector, higher compliance regimes, complex legislation and increasing costs will likely impact the smaller operators and cause a consolidation within the staffing sector.

Commitment to professionalisation of the PrEA sector

The industry has long advocated the need for specific regulation to govern the PrEA sector. We are committed to regulation that is fair, effectively enforced and that recognises the dynamic nature of labour markets today. At this stage the internal political wrangling within Government and its allies is likely to have a direct impact on the acceptance and implementation of the proposed legislation.

We will simply have to see what the practical impact and resulting consequences will be.The Federation of African Professional Staffing Organisations (APSO) remains committed to working with stakeholders to establish an effective regulatory framework and to support our members in coping with the changes to ensure sustainability within their businesses.

Tags:  APSO  enforcement  flexibility  labour law amendments  recruitment  South Africa  staffing  unemployment  youth 

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Picking a Recruitment Partner

Posted By APSO, Thursday, 06 June 2013
Updated: Thursday, 06 June 2013

Choosing a recruitment agency is an important decision, after all, the agency is an extension of your company in the minds of candidates and you definitely don’t want desirable candidates to be turned off by their interactions with your recruiter.

Partnering with the right agency should save you time, ensure that you’re able to source the best candidates who wouldn’t be accessible to you via other means, and guide and assist you throughout the hiring process.

When one considers that the vast majority of the skilled workforce is not actively looking for a new job, you must ensure that your chosen recruitment partner is able to access the best people in the field, not just those who are unhappy and have sent their CV out everywhere. In order to do this, you have to form a strategic partnership with a well connected, experienced recruiter who can bring in the talent necessary to transform your business.

Because there are currently no, or very low barriers to entry, there are literally thousands of individuals and companies claiming to be recruitment consultants. How do you choose from the myriad of options that all appear to be the same if you listen to their rehearsed telephone sales pitches or read their generic company profiles?

For most businesses, appointing a recruitment agency usually comes down to the following four factors: 

  • Cost
  • Time
  • Quality of candidates
  • Advertising reach, i.e. who is their audience

Whilst these are common factors that should always be considered, the real debate is how you weight the factors – at the end of the day, it should always be about getting results!

An HR Officer recently told me, "Criteria important to me are cost, quality of candidate, turnaround time, and reputation for successfully placing candidates into regular positions.”

Whilst cost is important, you should rather measure your recruitment partner on other factors to more accurately determine the return on investment before simply choosing to do business with the agency that is prepared to charge you the least. Some key factors to be considered include:

Quality Recruitment Consultants

The quality of the individual recruiters working within the recruitment company will directly influence the success rate of finding, and securing, the best talent available. 

Do you feel comfortable talking to the recruiter, do they seem intelligent and do they have a genuine interest in understanding your business to ensure a good fit, not just of technical competence but also of culture fit within your business context?

Do they demonstrate a comprehensive knowledge of the current job market and do they utilize this information to make suggestions to you on how you can improve your recruitment and selection process to attract the top talent?

How does your recruiter interact with candidates?

Do they have a professional, honest and consistent process for candidate management?

And most importantly, do you believe that your recruiter operates ethically and honestly and will be a good brand ambassador for your company?

Recruitment Methodology

Not all agencies can be compared. Unless you ask what the agency’s recruitment methodology is, you might unfairly be comparing apples with oranges. Many "recruitment agencies” rely heavily on advertising and utilizing job portals to simply source a CV to send directly to the client, but this can be detrimental to clients who are looking to source candidates who are not actively in the market or who have been already been considered by all and sundry, including your competitors.

Ask the agency to fully explain their methodology including advertising, sourcing and networking to find suitable candidates. Do you know for sure how candidates are screened before they’re submitted to you for consideration? Don’t assume that all agencies interview candidates face-to-face, verify information contained on the CV and conduct reference checks. Check that you’re happy with the screening process and the level of information that is being provided to you so that you can effectively ascertain whether or not to bring a candidate in for an interview.

APSO member agencies are bound by the APSO Code of Ethical and Professional Practice which prescribes minimum service levels in terms of client and candidate service. If you choose to work with an APSO member and you’re unhappy with the level of service, you have recourse via the APSO Ethics complaint process.

Specialism & Experience

Does the agency specialise in the area you’re recruiting? It is perfectly reasonable to make use of several agencies for different areas of your business to ensure that you’re dealing with a recruiter who fully understands the environment in which the candidate will be working and who can leverage their networks in this area to source the best talent available for a specific vacancy.

Have they got a proven track record of previous success in placing candidates in this field? Working with a specialist recruiter means that you have a recruitment partner who knows the right people to contact and who can appreciate the technical and business nuances that will contribute to making a successful hire.

"A key criteria for me when choosing a recruitment provider is whether they have the business maturity to interpret the company’s Employee Value Proposition (EVP) and turn that into a compelling dialogue that will attract more of the right sorts of people for us to interview,” says a Marketing Manager responsible for recruitment of staff for his department.

Reputable & Referenceable

A good recruitment agency should be able to provide you, if asked, with strong testimonials from companies in similar industries who have made use of their service. Consider querying your own network about whether they’re aware of the agency’s work and reputation.

Personal Service

Your recruiter should provide you with personal service and this means you should have a designated single point of contact within the agency who you feel is always available and approachable. You should have open channels of communication that are direct and not driven through email. You should feel confident that your recruiter fully understands your business and the associated requirements of the respective positions so that they only send candidates who they know are a match. Furthermore your recruiter should be available to assist you with the full process, including providing guidance on setting up interview questions and even joining in on panel interviews.

A leading corporate Recruitment Manager says, "I tend to prefer external recruitment providers who know how to run an intelligent campaign, who take ownership of the vacancy or project and who I trust will source the right candidates.”

Terms of Business

Utilizing external recruitment providers can be very costly, but there are usually many different fee options available to clients who are willing to work with the agency. Many agencies are willing to offer reduced rates to clients who offer them exclusivity or who work with them on a continued, retained basis.

Above all, companies should remember that they will get the best possible return from their recruitment company if they are treated as partners rather than transactional suppliers. To this end, you should always be sure to invest the time to brief your recruiter to ensure that they have an in-depth understanding of your business and requirement so that you will receive the level of service you want. A close working relationship between recruiter and client has been proven to improve hiring success.

Tags:  advertising  APSO  cost  CV  ethics  preferred supplier listing  quality  recruiter  recruitment methodology  sourcing  verification 

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