Rubicor Group, a publicly listed recruiting company that boasts placing 10,000 candidates yearly, has gone into voluntary administration.
The company controls a number of subsidiary HR companies - including specialist IT recruiters Xpand - and has a list of global clients that includes the likes of Google, NAB, Telstra, and Goldman Sachs."
When appointing its voluntary administrators, FTI Consulting, the Rubicor board said it believed “this step will provide the best opportunity to protect the future of the business and the interests of its clients and employees”.
But concerns about unpaid superannuation, poor performance, and delayed ASX reports, leave some doubting the Rubicor board’s competency.
Ross Clennett is a recruitment coach and blogger who has closely tracked Rubicor’s downfall.
He said he saw the signs early.
“The new board took over and made big statements about failings of the previous board and what they would do differently,” Clennett told Information Age.
“These were individuals with no experience in the recruitment industry, and it tends to be the case that, when people come in with big statements and no experience, they will fall flat on their face.”
After seeing disappointing results in published ASX reports, Clennett started investigating and writing about Rubicor.
People who got work through the recruiter started sending Clennett emails complaining about Rubicor's practice and saying they had not been paid superannuation.
In February this year, Rubicor’s Financial Controller sent an explanatory email to staff admitting their fault.
“Yes, we are behind in the payment of Superannuation Contributions to a range of internal Rubicor staff and client placed employees across the group,” the email said.
“Some employees may not have had a contribution made since May 2018. Whilst others have superannuation up to date.”
An industry in flux
Rubicor is not the only recruitment agency to be in the firing line, according to Clennett.
"The obvious point to make is that we’ve had three or four years of a gold rush in our industry and if you cannot make money in that sort of market, you have no hope when the market turns.”
The agility offered by contract work is increasingly enticing for IT professionals who turn to digital platforms like LinkedIn and Seek that give employers direct, instant access to a large talent pool.
This digital disruption has forced the broader recruitment industry to adapt.
“Ten years ago, you could run a very successful recruitment business by placing a lot of six out of ten candidates but that is not the case anymore,” Clennett said.
“As an agency, you have to be placing candidates who are more like eight and above out of ten.
“The expectation of calibre has increased. This is exposing those agencies that really have just been riding the wave of employment growth and haven’t been offering value.”
If you are interested in finding your next job through a recruiter, Clennett has some advice to keep you away from dodgy agencies.
“A personal is referral always best,” he said. “If someone you respect professionally has had a good experience, that’s a great place to start.
“Pay attention to how the agency communicates with you. Is it clear? Do they provide communication in writing? And do they do what they say?
“Then you want to make sure your pay is in your bank account on time, it’s accurate and your super is up to date.
“These are not guarantees, but they are a pretty good indicators.”
For further enquiries about the Rubicor voluntary administration, or to lodge a claim, you can contact FTI Consulting via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.