Quality matters. Working collectively to uphold industry standards.

01, March

By Denis Pennel, Managing Director, World Employment Confederation   A generous salary for just a few hours of ...

By Denis Pennel, Managing Director, World Employment Confederation


A generous salary for just a few hours of work… some job offers sound too good to be true. And if you’re asked for some upfront payment to get that job, you can be sure that it is a scam! For several months, reports have shown an increase in scammers posing as well-known staffing firms or job boards and contacting job seekers with such offers. They ask job seekers to pay upfront to cover a work permit or other service, with the promise that they will be repaid. Naturally, the money never comes back, and there is no job. The scam has already squeezed an estimated €100 million from thousands of victims around the world, according to AI cybersecurity firm CloudSEK.

Jobseekers are harmed, and the scam risks the professional and ethical reputation of legal and legitimate staffing firms, many of whom are members of the World Employment Confederation (WEC). No World Employment Confederation member would ever charge directly or indirectly, in whole or in part, any fees or costs to jobseekers and workers for the services directly related to temporary assignment or permanent placement. Respect for free-of-charge provision of services to job seekers is one of the ten principles in our Code of Conduct, and it is also enshrined in Convention 181 of the International Labour Organisation, the international standard regulating private employment services.

As the voice of the HR services industry at a global level and a proponent of ethical, quality and professional services, we have undertaken to raise awareness about this issue and work with our members to share best practices in responding effectively and protecting against unethical practices. With the development of technology, fraud has only become easier, and it appears that our industry and businesses in general, are somewhat unprepared to fight cybercrime.

A recent webinar organised by our Irish National Federation, the Employment and Recruitment Federation (ERF), revealed that over half of Irish businesses reported being subject to a cyber attack in the past year. In the recruitment sector, brand impersonation and WhatsApp scams were the prevalent type of fraud. More concerning, nearly a fifth of Irish businesses do not have a cyber security policy, and over a third of professionals in attendance had not received any cyber security training in the last 12 months.

Some preventive measures can be taken to mitigate the risks of cyber attacks and fraud. These include investing in systems and technology to track the use of company logos and names, regularly checking for brand misspellings and reporting fraudulent websites, conducting logo recognition searches to eliminate false positives, and consistently monitoring social media and app stores for suspicious activity.

Our industry is committed to upholding the highest quality standards, and the World Employment Confederation clearly condemns fraudulent behaviour. In addition to such cases, we also witness increasing unethical practices. Our sector is fragmented, and a small number of rogue players are not acting in compliance with the law or respecting workers’ rights, which disproportionally affects the entire industry’s reputation in a negative way.

We have made it a strategic priority for the World Employment Confederation to take a more proactive role as a quality standard body for the industry and to support our members in investing and developing education and qualification products for HR services professionals. We will continue to promote self-regulation among our members worldwide and clamp down on non-compliance.



Ethical behaviour is crucial for a company’s sustainable growth. First and foremost, it fosters trust among stakeholders, including customers, employees, investors, and the community at large. Trust is the cornerstone of long-term relationships and can lead to increased customer loyalty, employee retention, and investor confidence. Moreover, ethical behaviour enhances a company’s reputation, potentially attracting more business opportunities. Ethical conduct also mitigates legal and regulatory risks, reducing the likelihood of costly litigation or fines. Additionally, it promotes a positive organisational culture, where employees feel valued and motivated, leading to higher productivity and innovation. Overall, prioritising ethical behaviour not only aligns with societal values but also serves as a strategic advantage for the company’s growth and prosperity.

Photo of Towfiqu barbhuiya in Unsplash