Ross in the Media

This article originally appeared in ShortList on 30 March 2010, 4.06pm


Recruiters vehemently opposed to proposed changes to Do Not Call register


Proposed amendments to the Federal Government's "Do Not Call" register, which would place limitations on recruitment companies cold calling potential clients, would impose unnecessary strictures on the labour market just as the economy is recovering, says RCSA policy advisor Charles Cameron.

The proposed changes would see the Do Not Call register (which currently allows private individuals to opt into a list of numbers telemarketers are barred from ringing) expanded to include business numbers.

Cameron told
Shortlist the RCSA was opposed to the changes, which not only had the potential to restrict the capacity of its members to market their services, but also limited their ability to put forward candidates for jobs.

"So we see that it has a two-fold effect, not just for businesses but for the employment opportunities for those seeking work."

Under the existing Do Not Call system, businesses seeking to telemarket their services must pay the Australian Communications and Media Authority an annual subscription fee of up to $88k, to "wash" their cold calling database to ensure it's free of registered numbers.

Companies face fines of up to $1.1 million if they call numbers on the register.

The coalition has lodged its opposition to the Do Not Call Register Legislation Amendment Bill, with Liberal MP Bruce Billson saying it would "severely hinder the ability of small businesses to conduct routine business and to establish and maintain commercial relationships".

Independent senator Nick Xenophon supports the changes to the Bill, while Family First's Stephen Fielding has yet to state his position.

The Bill will be re-submitted to Parliament after the Budget is tabled in May, but it is unlikely to be a high priority for the government in an election year.

Prospecting calls critical to recruitment: Rubicor

Rubicor CEO Jane Beaumont told Shortlist the proposed changes were "totally impractical" for the recruitment sector.

"Recruitment consultants, well we might as well face the fact that they're sales staff, and how can else they build their business?

"If you want to build a new desk, you have to make prospecting calls," Beaumont said.

Complying with the rules, she added, would amount to a huge waste of resources.

"The impact would be considerable in terms of both time and costs - you've got staff working on totally unproductive tasks. Even if they're admin staff it's unproductive time."

Slade Group managing director Anita Ziemer said she thought the Bill was "anti-business, and not in anybody's interests".

She said Slade itself got a handful or irrelevant or nuisance calls from other businesses every week, but the inconvenience was minimal in comparison to the benefit of being free to make genuine calls to legitimate business prospects.

Recruitment trainer Ross Clennett said the Bill lacked clarity and would create confusion for recruitment agencies, on top of the administrative burden.

"If you sent out a letter first and followed that up, is that telemarketing? Or, for example, a call where you ring to take a reference, and at the completion of that verbal reference, you move into a sales pitch. A lot of recruiters do that, and technically it's not cold calling - but you could argue that it is.

"Those sorts of grey areas will create huge administrative issues and interpretive issues for businesses."

Clennett pointed out that the Bill would also give an unfair advantage to large recruitment companies.

"It's the smaller organisations that are more likely to build a business through prospecting and telemarketing. The large companies - Hays, Hudson, Drake and others - they can afford to spend money on billboards and generic branding, whereas a very small recruiter cannot."


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