It’s time for recruitment agencies to start giving before they take

June 27, 2018



As the government cracks down on recruitment agencies that give teachers and schools a poor deal, it’s time for a new approach to recruitment.


The challenge with traditional recruitment firms is that it’s all take, take, take. When you’re looking for a new role in teaching, they take your details, they take up your time, sometimes they take your hope. From the school’s point of view, recruitment agencies take their money in commission.


Of course, there are some great recruitment agencies that take their time to get to know their candidates. They take care to find the right school for them. They take commission because they do the work. It’s fine. Necessary in a competitive world.


New rules


This situation has come to a head in the education sector. Of course, when schools pay commission fees to recruitment agencies, it comes from their budget which ultimately comes from the taxpayer.


Advertising staff vacancies costs schools in England £75 million a year. One complaint is that agencies charge for short and long-term jobs at the same time, charging extra finders’ fees when schools want to make supply staff permanent.


The Education Secretary, Damian Hinds, has decided something has to be done. In a speech last week he announced a series of new measures, including:

  • A free website to publicise full and part-time vacancies for teachers

  • An official whitelist of agencies that don’t charge extra fees if supply teachers are made permanent after 12 weeks

  • A requirement that agencies on the whitelist set out the structure of the prices they charge on top of supply staff wages


Great news


I believe this is excellent news for the education sector. The more transparency we can have in the teaching recruitment industry, the better. It should also get rid of some of the bad agencies from the market, or at least discourage schools from using them.


It will reduce the amount of money schools have to pay to fill their vacancies, and it should help teachers stay in the industry.


Leading from the front


If this is the start of a new approach in teachers’ recruitment, then at Opogo, we welcome it, because we’re leading from the front. This new approach is everything Opogo was built for.


As fees to recruitment agencies go down, there will be more reliance on technology to help fill vacancies quickly and efficiently. This is where we excel.


Opogo’s understanding of the industry and its challenges, its advanced, personalised, technology and dedicated team members offer the highest quality support to transform the world of education for the better. Opogo is a community platform designed to help schools attract and retain the talent that’s right for them.


Sure, we take a reasonable commission for what we do. However, we invest as much as we can back into the education industry. We engage each of our user groups with relevant and bespoke content that users will want to engage with from classroom behaviour management, STEM advice to practical career development. Our Opogo community comprises of expert speakers sharing their knowledge through rich content both online and in the app as well as running weekly development workshops in person.


We have also introduced #TeachFit and #TeachDigital. Two educational programmes that we take into the schools we work with, improving the lives of the children directly.


As part of the Opogo community hub, we encourage participation and trust which is why we run regular social content including online webinars and videos, weekly Thursday socials in member specific areas as well as numerous rewards, discounts and perks through our give-back incentive to members.


What do we give back to candidates – our members?


  1. Firstly, we cover the cost of their umbrella fees

  2. We give our members free access to Perkbox – hundreds of discounts on shopping, cinema, gym tickets and more

  3. The best rates of pay

  4. Access to rich content online and in the app, as well as running weekly development workshops in person

  5. Perfectly-matched jobs based on the right skills, experience and location


We are a people business. So members still have access to our expert community managers and consultants.


How do we give back to our partners?


The biggest challenge seems like attraction and while I’ve outlined above how we help that, but actually the broader issue is retention. 1 in 3 Newly Qualified Teachers leave within 3 years. This is why we designed an offering to help schools with retention.


  1. 100% vetted active members - all met face-to-face by our dedicated and expert consultants

  2. Smart Match Technology that matches the right requirements to the right active members

  3. Free programmes for supporting children’s physical and mental health in the school with #TeachFit, and upskilling them with new skills with #TeachDigital

  4. Mobile App on Android and IOS for booking who you need anytime, plus the same access on desktop

  5. Our Opogo Hub is available for all members of a school to access their own content privately, or all other rich content from our experts

Give before you take


To conclude, we welcome the government’s new initiatives to streamline recruitment in the education sector.


There’s a lot of work still to do, but Opogo is leading the change. We don’t really see ourselves as a recruitment agency, as that would be a narrow definition for all that we are bringing to the market. We do offer recruitment, but we prefer to be known as a community platform. That’s because everything we do benefits our members and partners and the broader society.


We are excited about transforming the lives of everyone in education.


To find out more about Opogo visit our website or download the Opogo app on your mobile.


If you would like to work for Opogo email




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