No sooner has Labour leader Ed Miliband had his wrist slapped by the REC over his Conference remarks about recruitment agencies than another major industry body, APSCo, weighed in with further criticisms.
During his keynote speech at the Labour Conference this week, Mr Miliband spoke of “Shady gangmasters exploiting people in industries from construction to food processing” and “Recruitment agencies hiring only from overseas.”
His remarks earned him a sharp rebuke from the REC’s Kevin Green, who bluntly described the statements as “untrue” and unfairly “demonising” toward the recruitment industry.
Many skilled Umbrella Company Employees contracting in the professional sector, for example, would not recognise themselves as vulnerable workers exploited by recruiters.
Now APSCo’s Head of External Relations, Sam Hurley, has stepped into the fray. She conceded that a minority of unscrupulous staffing companies may have exploited immigrant workers, but objected strongly to what she described as a “stereotyping generalisation of the entire recruitment profession.”
Ms Hurley said that, yet again, a leading politician had highlighted his own misconceptions about the recruitment industry and insisted that it was “absolutely not the case” that APSCo members, who specialise in the professional sector, recruited exclusively from overseas. This was so in spite of the fact the UK has “severe skills shortages” in several professional sectors where home-grown talent appears to be absent, she said.
She added: “If we are to adequately address the issues affecting the UK labour force, political parties need to stop talking in absolutes. This broad brush approach does nothing to help those recruitment consultancies in the professional sector that are helping to drive the recovery of UK plc through employment.”