It would appear that in these difficult economic times, companies are cutting costs in whatever way possible. The newest evidence? According to London advertising agency MBA, the number of companies who have recruited someone to whom they were introduced through a colleague or friend within the last 12 months has jumped to 33 per cent compared to 17 per cent last year.
Most companies cited cost cutting as the reason for the increase — 24 per cent said it was cheaper than advertising, and 33 per cent believed it was cheaper than using a recruitment company, while 57 per cent now feel quality personnel are freely available. However, only 7 per cent reported the act was a favour to a friend or colleague.
The majority of the new hires worked as unpaid interns before securing a permanent job with the company, with 41 per cent working for at least a week, 21 per cent for two weeks, and 16 per cent for a month — far higher percentages than those hired through traditional means.
While some may view the practice as nepotism, only 14 percent of the responding companies considered it so. The majority (59 per cent) referred to it as ‘networking’.
Despite seeming to give some recruits an easy in, the study found that once within the company employees must still earn any promotions they get. All of the over 500 businesses questioned said advancement within the company is based solely on merit.
‘It could be construed that the ‘old boy network’ is alive and kicking,’ says James Middlehurst, Managing Partner of MBA. ‘However, the research also shows that merit still plays a significant roll, it is just that in these economically uncertain times employers are looking to save money where they can.’