Recruiters not cowboys: Aacorn boss

A top IT recruiter has hit back at criticism of the industry as it launches a new trade body.

A top IT recruiter has hit back at criticism of the industry as it launches a new trade body.

Twenty IT employment agencies meet in Wellington next week for the inaugural meeting of a New Zealand version of the IT Contract and Recruitment Association (see following local approaches to the Melbourne-based body.

It also follows controversy within the industry about ethics and professional standards. As reported by Computerworld in December last year, agencies were accusing each other of making up jobs and salaries, making exclusive deals they could not keep and 'bullying' candidates into taking certain jobs.

However, Steve Green, co-director of IT recruiters Aacorn International and last year's New Zealand president of the existing Recruitment and Consultants Association of Australasia, rejects the common view that the Kiwi IT recruitment industry has many cowboys, saying there have been "very few complaints" made to the RCSA about agncies in recent years.

"I think the New Zealand recruitment industry is very good ethically, with decent people out there to do a good job. If somebody does not do a good job, they are usually open [about it]," he says.

Green has worked in recruitment in New Zealand for 10 years and before that was both an employer and recruiter in the US and UK. He says RCSA members go through a lengthy auditing and probation process to ensure high standards and the body runs an extensive range of training courses.

"Compared to what I experienced in the US and UK, we deserve to be considered professionals by the marketplace and customers," he says.

Green, however, backs the formation of ITCRA, agreed by recruiters at a meeting in December, to run alongside the RCSA, saying both will have similar ethics and codes of conduct. "We see ITCRA as a forum for the IT industry as the IT recruitment industry has no specialist body."

The February 13 meeting will also include leaders from five major Australian recruiters, plus ITCRA executive director Norman Lacy. It will look at how the association will operate and how it will link up with the 50-strong Australian body.

ITCRA Australia runs professional development courses, industry breakfast forums, careers shows, industry surveys, newsletters, websites, discounted superannuation and other services.

"We think we are doing good things here [in Australia] and our members are happy with us," Lacy says. "New Zealand members wanted to join and participate in our activities. We are not setting up ITCRA from the point of view that the New Zealand industry needs to be cleaned up."

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