People are at the heart of the employment and recruitment business. This applies to all workers, but it becomes especially relevant for people living in the informal economy. In 2017, the number of people in vulnerable employment is expected to reach 1,4 billion. It is generally acknowledged that the undeclared economy lowers the quality of work and working conditions, undermines the business environment through unfair competition, and puts the financial sustainability of social protection systems at risk.
Part of this are rogue operating recruitment agencies charging high fees to these vulnerable workers, with the risk of ending in situations of forced labor, abuse and human trafficking. Especially, in South Asia (e.g. India, Philippines and Bangladesh) and the (corridor of Asia to) the Gulf States people are confronted with these situations. Due to a lack of regulation in many countries, the shady practices of these rogue operators can persist, and workers aren’t protected properly. The challenge is to transform undeclared work into formal work, leading to the so wanted creation of decent jobs, contributing to economic growth and prosperity.
Importance of ethical recruitment for Randstad
As an industry leader in HR services that wants to shape the world of work, Randstad recognizes the need to always act with integrity and to respect human rights. Our Business Principles are established around and are supportive of our core values: to know, to serve, to trust and simultaneous promotion of all interests; they guide us to do what is right.
International Business & Human Rights Conference
Randstad hosted the International Business & Human Rights conference on April 19th with key-notes from Dutch Minister of Foreign Trade Lilian Ploumen and Randstad CEO Jacques van den Broek. Around 150 participants from governments, civil society and the private sector joined this conference to discuss topics like fair and ethical recruitment, compliance in the supply chain and the role of the private sector helping to achieve the UN Sustainability Development Goals.
The joint fight against rogue recruitment
To fight rogue recruitment everyone needs to do their part: governments, civil society and the private sector who should always be compliant throughout the whole supply chain. It is important to underline the responsibility of the State to protect, to establish and enforce regulation, while business observes the existing laws and carry out effective due diligence in amongst others their total supply chains. Randstad as a member of the World Employment Confederation (WEC) commits itself to the Code of Conduct prescribed including the principle never to charge fees to workers even in countries where this is still allowed by law. We support and contribute to the ILO Decent Work Agenda and their ‘Work in Freedom strategy’. This strategy fights human trafficking in South Asia & the Middle East.
ILO Convention 181 provides for a solid, protective regulatory framework on private employment agencies, guarantying decent working conditions and preventing fee-charging of workers. Until now 32 countries ratified it. We hope many more will follow soon. Furthermore, initiatives the ILO Fair Recruitment Initiative and the International Recruitment Integrity System by the International Organization of Migration (IOM) can, when implemented broadly, support companies to be compliant in the full supply chain and thereby eradicate rogue recruitment once and for all.
Together, we can make a difference and ensure that recruitment is a safe and enriching experience that brings mutual benefits to workers, business and countries!