BIS proposals will give GB jobseekers a level playing field for EEA job ads

Recruiters may soon be prohibited from advertising vacancies in other EEA [European Economic Area] countries without also advertising them in Great Britain and in English

Tue, 11 Nov 2014

Recruiters may soon be prohibited from advertising vacancies in other EEA [European Economic Area] countries without also advertising them in Great Britain and in English.

The Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Businesses Regulations 2003 (Conduct Regulations) does not currently regulate where, or in which language, job vacancies are advertised.

This means that agencies and employment businesses may be advertising vacancies in Great Britain to jobseekers in other EEA countries in languages other than English, thereby not giving workers in Britain the same opportunity to apply.

Following a consultation from the Department for Business Innovation & Skills (BIS) on prohibiting employment agencies and employment businesses from advertising jobs exclusively in other EEA countries, the government wants to create a level playing field for jobseekers in Great Britain, according to an ‘Impact Assessment' from BIS.

The consultation received 31 responses from a range of stakeholders, including trade associations, employment agencies/businesses and individuals. Just two respondents said they had evidence of overseas-only advertising, with 61% saying they believed the draft regulation meets the government’s objective of creating a level playing field.

Just under half (45%) said they could see downsides to the proposal, including costs to business and concerns that the proposed regulation does not go far enough to address the problem of overseas-only advertising and recruitment.

However, the BIS ‘Impact Assessment’ asserts that there is ‘little evidence that employment agencies and businesses physically advertise vacancies based in Britain only to workers resident in other EEA countries’. Further, although the evidence is limited, ‘on balance it appears that the number of firms undertaking this activity is very small’.

The preferred option by the government is to regulate to ensure there is a level playing field for workers in Great Britain, ‘prohibiting employment agencies and employment businesses from advertising jobs exclusively overseas’.

The regulation would also require recruitment advertising to ensure that ‘job adverts are published in English (they would be free to publish advertisements in additional languages if they chose to)’.

For firms currently solely advertising abroad and not in English, BIS estimates that it would take ‘an additional 50 minutes of an HR manager or director’s time to understand the implications of the regulation for their business if it were affected’.

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