IPA considers fresh regulation to govern headhunting abuse

The IPA is being urged to lay down a code of practice for headhunters who recruit the talent for Britain's biggest agencies.

There are growing concerns from agencies about headhunters' excessive charges and insufficient care in matching candidates to jobs.

The initiative is being spearheaded by Stolkin & Partners, a leading UK agency headhunting company, which is presenting its proposals to the IPA this week.

The proposals would scrap the usual 20 per cent commission on starting salary charged by headhunters and end the practice of "scatter- gunning" CVs to as many agencies as possible in the hope of a hit.

Headhunters have been encouraged to do this by the so-called "12-month rule", which allows them to collect a fee from an agency if it employs a candidate up to a year after they were introduced to the agency.

The new code could follow the growing trend among major US agencies to reduce this period to six months.

The proposals could form the basis of a code which headhunters would be required to sign to demonstrate their bona fides.

However, Gary Stolkin, the head of Stolkin & Partners, denied that headhunters were being forced to lower their demands because of the industry's depressed economic state or that his plan was intended to gain publicity for his recently expanded company.

"We're doing this because the business has been exploited by headhunters," he said.

Hamish Pringle, the IPA's director-general, said: "Our member agencies spend large sums every year on headhunter fees and anything that encourages best practice is to be welcomed."