Case study 122 central training college

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Two surveys were conducted to find answers to the research questions indicated in the Central Training College (1) case (see Case study 5.1). The first survey was among students and the second was among potential business users. The aim of the research was to establish the viability of setting up a recruitment agency under the aegis of the Central Training College that would be of mutual benefit to students and potential employers. In the first of the surveys, students at the Central College were asked for their opinions, while in the second instance potential employers were asked for their reactions.

The student survey sought answers to a comprehensive list of questions. These were incorporated in a well-designed questionnaire that offered possible answers from which the students might select answers or they could suggest answers of their own. Of students at the 60 colleges contacted, 48.3% returned a completed questionnaire.

The students, 41.4% of them, said that they had used an employment agency before. When asked whether they were satisfied with the service they had been offered, 50% said that they were. Students with experience of using agencies particularly liked a helpful, friendly consultant and career advice. The first factor was mentioned by 50% of students and 16.7% mentioned the second factor. One-third of the students who answered the question complained about agencies' poor communication with students. Consultants would agree to contact a student by a particular time but they would fail to do so and students' costs were therefore increased. Twenty-five per cent of students mentioned the frequency of being sent for an unsuitable position as another source of complaint. Another dislike mentioned by 16.7% of students was being referred to different consultants on each visit. Often, students would have to explain their interests and experience repeatedly to different consultants. Comments written on questionnaires suggested that students felt they were treated very impersonally. Lack of information on pay and holidays supplied by the agencies, the absence of training schemes offered by the agencies to broaden students' skill base and the apparent lack of effort to find the student employment were also cited as shortcomings. However, 37.9% of respondents indicated that they definitely intended using an employment agency in the future and a further 51% said that they would probably do so.

Six people thought that a reputation for being helpful and efficient was the most important consideration when choosing an agency. Five mentioned the need for the chosen agency to have good contacts. Overall reputation, a specialised service for foreign and arts world contacts and a relatively cheap service were each mentioned by four of the respondents. Four thought a personal service, a well-established name and an agency with many branches was important.

Just over half of the students (51.7%) had no idea which agency they intended engaging. Of those who did have some idea, 22.7% stated that they intended to use Kelly, 27.2% said they intended to use Alfred Marks or City Secretaries. Drake and Angela Mortimer each accounted for 9.1% of choices. Also mentioned were Abacus, Angela Pike, Elizabeth Hunt and Pathfinders. Those who indicated that they were not going to use an agency gave high charges as one of the main reasons.

When asked if they thought it was a good idea for a recruitment agency to be opened in the college, 89.6% said that it was. The most frequent reason given for the idea being perceived as a good one was the belief that the service would be specifically designed for the students of the college. It was thought that an agency in the college might have more flexible consulting times. This flexibility would enable the students to meet consultants on a more frequent and regular basis than would be the case with an agency situated several miles away. Of all the respondents, 37.9% said they would definitely use an agency based in the college and 48.3% said they would probably use it. Of the respondents, 10.3% usually lived outside the UK and, of the remainder, 80.8% were resident in London. The majority of respondents (96.5%) were female. There were no respondents over 50 years of age and 34.5% were under 20 years of age. When it came to employment, 51.7% of the students classed themselves as unemployed, 31% were full-time students and 6.9% were self-employed; 34.5% of the respondents with work experience had obtained it in areas where a college agency might find jobs. One-fifth had bookkeeping and accounting experience, two-fifths had experience as secretaries, clerks and receptionists. Just over one-fifth had worked as nannies, waitresses and shop assistants, while 17.2% had teaching experience. A further 17.2% had sales, design or consultant experience, while 10.3% of students had no work experience at all. Most respondents were interested in secretarial work: just over 25% were interested in it. Business administration, receptionist and linguistic work were the next popular choices, each accounting for 13.7% of indicated preference; 3.9% were interested in desktop publishing and bookkeeping. Accounting and spreadsheet analysis were popular with 1.9% of respondents; 19.6% were not interested in office work at all.

As in the case of the student survey, a well-constructed questionnaire was put together for the survey of firms. This time the survey was by post. Only 30 out of 100 questionnaires were returned. Of those that were returned, 30.3% were not completed but were accompanied by a letter stating that the company did not and would not use employment agencies.

Just over half of the respondents said they had never used a recruitment agency in the past. When used, the most frequently sought employees were secretaries (frequency 15), accounting staff (12), receptionists (4), bookkeepers (3) and business administrators (2). Of jobs offered to the agencies, 37.5% were permanent. The most frequent future need was predicted to be for secretaries - 45.4% of respondents indicated this. However, 45.55% of the respondents said they would be using an agency to hire secretaries and accounting staff in the future. Employers said they would not be using agencies to hire desktop publishers, spreadsheet analysts and linguists; 70% said they would not be using agencies to recruit receptionists.

When asked how many recruits they obtained through an agency, most employers indicated this to be less than one per year: 26.3% hired one person per year through an agency; 60% of respondents who said that they had used a recruitment agency indicated they expected no change in the number of people hired per year in this way in the immediate future. While 6.7% expected an increase, 26.7% expected a decrease.

Most firms did not know how many agencies they employed. There appeared to be no predominantly popular agency. Half of the respondents either did not know or said they used various agencies, while 75% said they were satisfied with the service they received.

The feature most liked by the employers was the fact that the ideal person was found. Most employers did not indicate what they disliked about employment agencies. Some, however, mentioned lack of candidate screening and the provision of poor CVs for candidates.

The most common size of firm was 21 to 50 employees - 30.3% of the sample fell into this category; 15.1% employed between 51 and 100 employees and 9.1% employed fewer than six people. Some 6.1% of the sample employed more than 100 employees and 27.3% gave no indication of size.

Source: Fry3


Show how you would draw up these findings into a management report and presentation.

Helena Constantine, chief executive of Sunrise Hotels, is keen to ensure that the quality of all hotels in the group is high. As part of a monitoring campaign, 51 completed questionnaires from one of the hotels in the group have recently been returned for her attention. The questionnaire is provided below and the summary responses for each item on the questionnaire are shown in

At Sunrise Hotels, we want to give guests the best service and facilities. We should like to have your opinions on the service we offer, and would appreciate your thoughts on your stay with us on this visit. Thank you for choosing Sunrise Hotels and for completing this questionnaire. We look forward to welcoming you back in the near future.

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