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Recruitment Beyond Lip Service

Should we talk less? That’s not the usual approach in a competitive sales industry. But as an Australian-owned recruitment social enterprise with a multi-million-dollar annual turnover, IPA Personnel is big and bold enough to seek to rehabilitate ‘recruitment’. The first step involves realising we do not have all the answers. The second step involves asking the workforce for solutions.

It’s stakeholder engagement 101, right? It’s certainly a core principle if purpose-led organisations are to resist paying lip service to corporate responsibility. Echoing earlier InsightsIPA want to apply our commercial acumen and unique profit commitment to showcase recruitment’s place in inclusive communities. So maybe the point is not so much to talk less, but rather to ask more?

Ahead of World Social Enterprise Day, IPA is applying its social impact resources in illuminating ways. In partnership with Torrens University Australia, students of business analytics are helping IPA capture perceptions and knowledge about recruitment practices from both our talent pool and the general population. The project is part of a wider collaboration between the university’s Social Enterprise Hub and IPA in recognition that unemployment among young people (7.8%) consistently exceeds the national rate.^ Through the lens of social impact, joint initiatives aim to promote social enterprise performance, deliver students industry experience, and boost workforce participation.

At a time of historically low unemployment and fierce competition for talent, the research shows IPA are already counting missed opportunities. For example, most candidates who’ve come to IPA did not know that we commit 100% of profits to services supporting people living with disability and promoting community inclusion. Of those candidates, 76% said it could or would positively influence their decision to use our services. Even more people outside IPA’s talent pool (87%) shared that opinion. 

IPA’s social impact pathway (our Theory of Change) is activated through our talent pool and our job pool. The more effective we are at helping improve candidate wellbeing and supporting workforce participation, the greater our profits to community services. But the project has revealed we do not know enough about what changes they experience, as a result of coming to IPA. This contrasts with data demonstrating IPA’s performance in placing talent in casual, temporary, contract and permanent roles across Australia. We are buoyed by the fact that 76% of our placed candidates are strong promoters of IPA, however, we need to learn in what way. Now that would be something worth talking about.

^ Australian Bureau of Statistics, Labour Force Australia, September 2022

Alison Carter is the IPA Social Impact Manager. Social Enterprise Day is celebrated on 17 November 2022 as part of the annual Global Entrepreneurship Week.

We’re the only national recruitment agency committing profits to community services.