Views from Fiona: Human Resource Consulting Firms are a Big Rip Off
Desperate jobseekers in Uganda are targeted by unscrupulous recruitment agencies.

Views from Fiona: Human Resource Consulting Firms are a Big Rip Off


Successful candidates also pay a commission of 100,000 Uganda shillings to the company for securing the temporary jobs.

By Fiona Abaasa
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First published: February 23, 2008


The job scarcity prevailing in Uganda at the moment has created work for creative minds out here. Human resource consulting firms are a blessing to the employer but are they a blessing to employees - their very customers? For, whilst most sizeable companies have human resource departments, some are overwhelmed by the large volumes of applications they receive to fill up vacancies. Most have neither the manpower nor the technical capacity to interview all applicants. This is where a good consulting firm should come in. It does the interviewing and sends the right candidates to the employer, who either chooses from the lot or employs all, depending on the contract with the recruiting firm. The right to fire such employees comes with the right to hire - at the discretion of the employer.


Suddenly recruiting firms have appeared in Uganda like mushrooms. These days, all a job hunter has to do is drop their resume at the recruiting firm's office, satisfy its requirements and wait. Some recruiting firms secure job placements. Others only send workers to certain companies, meaning that their clients are strictly those that have hired them for specific assignments. The question is, are all these recruiting firms doing the right job? Depends on whom you ask.

Take the example of firms recruiting guards to work in Iraq. It is a lucrative venture and there exists a lot of lobbying involved to win juicy contracts. The recruitment representatives not only get paid by the American firms hiring in Iraq but have also perfected the art of ripping off the young and often gullible recruits. The recruits are asked to pay for lots things; a complete blood check at a specific clinic, training, all sorts of forms and finally, the lucky ones who get sent to Iraq have to give a certain percentage of their salary for a non-stipulated time to the firm that helped recruit them. One such recruiting firm has already lost its license because of such unscrupulous acts but others still enjoy the "benefits". It is a well-known fact that the hiring firms in Iraq pay for the recruits' air tickets but some recruiting representatives here charge the recruits for the airfare to Iraq.

Job Consults Uganda (not real names) recruits on behalf of a large telecom company. The telecom company has a policy of offering temporary employment where exemplary temporary staff eventually obtain permanent status in the company. However, these temporary staff are asked to pay 10% of their salaries to Job Consults Uganda for a period depending on how long the temporary contract runs. Successful candidates also pay a commission of 100,000 Uganda shillings to the company for securing the temporary jobs. Question is, do the companies that contract Job Consults Uganda collude to rip the recruits off or are such recruiting consultancies doing it under the table without the knowledge of the contracting firms? Why doesn't the Ugandan government intervene in all this? Why should somebody qualified enough to do a given job have to pay a recruiting consultancy when it (the consultancy) has already been contracted by the employer?

The labour laws in Uganda are some of the worst in the world. Uganda's Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, together with Kampala City Council (most of these recruiting consultancy firms operate in and are therefore licensed in Kampala) must have ways of monitoring these firms and protecting the vulnerable job seekers. It is a well-known fact that the Government of Uganda cannot employ all qualified professionals under its care but it is its duty to ensure that people are not ripped off by these firms. Sadly, while such firms waltz all the way to the bank, government officials have chosen to turn a blind eye. Is it a far-fetched possibility that these businesses are set up by the very government officials who are tasked with the job of monitoring these firms' activities?

Uganda's engineers, journalists and accountants have governing councils. Why doesn't one for human resource consultancies exist to check the excesses of some of these firms? They are doing more harm and very little good. We live in a capitalistic economy but some laws must be applied very effectively for all to enjoy fairness. What bothers this writer is that there appears to be nowhere for folks cheated by these firms to report and seek justice.

By Fiona Abaasa
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First published: February 23, 2008
Fiona Abaasa is a UGPulse.com writer based in Kampala. Fiona has been writing for the site since 2005 giving her the second oldest writer history on the site.

Click ***here*** for the archive of Fiona's Views from Fiona only at UGPulse.com.