Recruitment companies have existed globally for a long time. In Nigeria, these companies can be traced from as far back as the 90s’. In other parts of the world, they work as outsourcing companies. But in Nigeria, they seem to be a bit different from what is obtainable elsewhere.
21st CENTURY CHRONICLE set out to examine the operations of employment agencies in Nigeria.
Francis Njeru (not real name), a graduate of Accounting, moved into Abuja immediately after his National Youth Service in Taraba State in 2000 with high hopes of finding a befitting job. But finding a job became very difficult, until he ran into an old friend, who introduced him to an employment agency. Francis would get a job eventually and even though it wasn’t his dream job, it helped him to find his feet. Francis, however, said he was made to relinquish half of his salary to the company that helped find him the job.
Another young man also spoke to 21st CENTURY CHRONCLE about his experience with employment agencies and finding a job. Emmanuel Samuel, who hails from Plateau State, said he left the village in 2017 to seek for a better standard of living in Abuja. A relative advised him to get registered with an agency for a job which he did and after about two weeks, he was called.
Three jobs were presented to him to choose from. Samuel said he opted for the security job because of convenience. He also had to forfeit half of his first salary as agency commission, which was deducted at source.
Joseph James also spoke to 21st CENTURY CHRONOCLE about a friend of his who got a job as an office cleaner and had to make an undertaking to pay half of his salary for 3 months running. He, however, did eventually get his full salary from the fourth month. Joseph said, he knows many of these agencies, and that sometimes they collect between 30 to 75 percent of employees’ first salaries.
Despite having to forfeit their first salaries, more job seekers have continued to approach recruitment agencies for job placements.
The National Bureau of statistics pegs the number of youth unemployment at 53.40 percent, being an increase from 40.80 percent in the second quarter of 2020. This number represents a unit out of the 2318700 unemployed people in Nigeria during that period. ‘’This is the gap that we work round the clock to close,” said Olakpa Stanley who spoke to 21st CENTURY CHRONICLE on behalf of Vacancy Hunters Services, a job recruitment company in Abuja.
According to Olakpa, the government alone cannot meet the huge employment needs of the country, hence the need for more Nigerians to seek help through the recruitment agencies for job placements.
Ijeoma Kelechi, the Client Relations Manager for Mani Recruitments, another recruitment company in Abuja, said what recruitment agencies do is far more than just job placements.
“We also offer trainings for both job hirers and seekers,” Kelechi said, pointing out that more than 100 job seekers visit her company weekly, both online and offline, and they have been able to get jobs for many hundreds of candidates since 2009.
Kelechi said they offer trainings like employer-employee relations and other on the job skills, and selection services, outsourcing, executive trainings, testing, assessments and profiling to both domestic and corporate jobs and they take special care to ensure adequate documentation and proper application process.
“Candidates, who call our office wanting to register receive forms through their emails, which they are required to fill and email back. Once the job matching their skills and qualification is found, they are called for interview.”
She also said her company takes between 25 to 30 percent of employee’s first salaries, which are paid in instalments. She said that takes into consideration the fact that new employees have necessary bills to pay such as settling down in a new place, hence the considerate percentage of remittances from first month salaries.
Most recruiters in staffing agencies are paid on commission, earning a fee based on your first year’s salary when you get hired. It doesn’t come out of your pay. It’s just an added expense for the company who hires you. Since their bonus is typically 20-25 percent of your base salary, they’ll try to get you a great offer.
Asked if she has ever received any complaints about these remittances from her candidates, Kelechi said, “no, they sometimes only complain of unfair treatment from their employers, not us.”
Asked about the kinds of jobs that they typically help to get for recruiters, she said all types of jobs and that in the past one year, her company has handled recruitment for human resources companies, NGOs and other private companies.
Apart from agencies where job seekers can get jobs and pay back a percentage of their salaries as agency fee, there are online agencies like Jobberman, who advertise jobs and job seekers can go there to find jobs. However, Thomas Eze, a young graduate who just got a job in an Estate firm as a marketing officer, said he prefers the agencies because they make job seeking easier.
The job agencies, according to Eze, know the competencies that an applicant is coming with and what the organisations they place for need, so they hand pick. He said, he will ‘’recommend job agencies for friends anyday’’
21st CENTURY CHRONICLE sources could not, however determine which regulatory body is in charge of regulating the operations of these job placement agencies.
However, like every other business, they are registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission.