back to article Agency sends contractors' day rates to 800 RBS staff

Recruitment agency Hays has committed a massive blunder at the Royal Bank of Scotland. An email reminding managers to update timesheets in time for the bank holiday included an attachment with the day rates of 3,000 contractors. It was sent to 800 people at the bank. The row will likely deepen divisions between temporary and …

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FAIL

I used to contract using Hayes

and they regularly sent out mail shots to every contractor in the company (over 800) that contained the email address and name of every contractor in the "To" field of the email.

I pointed out to them that they had revealed to the 800+ recipients, that I was a contractor, contracting through Hayes and what my personal email address was. This was personal data and they were in contravention of the Data Protection Act in revealing that information.

They took me off the mailing list but, according to other contractors, still used the "To" field when sending mail shots.

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Anonymous Coward

Cue anti-contractor bile

2 grand a day - what will the tax payers' alliance make of that?

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Headmaster

Not a lot I'd hope

Contractors are very cost efficient if used right.

Why bother training somebody up for a year, paying their wages as well as expensive training courses, when you can get somebody in for 2 weeks and have the job done?

Of course this relies on several assumptions:

1) It is indeed just 2 weeks and not an ongoing requirement

2) the contractor is competent

3) there is work for the contractor to do immediately (and then leave)

Of course if the requirement is urgent and ongoing, you do both, but I'm sure a lot of lazy managers spending other peoples money don't bother and just leave the contractor on it.

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Silver badge

2k not the norm

While it would be fabulous to be on 2k a day, the norm isn't much above a regular salary. But without the job security and the contractor responsible for their own pension, life insurance, health benefits, accounting etc. I wonder which contractors do charge that much. I wouldn't be surprised if they're being hired out by Oracle / Microsoft etc. at that rate.

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Anonymous Coward

@DrXym

"not much above" is what you clearly need to believe - spoken like a permie, either that or you are doing it wrong.

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Thumb Down

£2K per day?

Must be SAP.

Fucking thing.

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Coat

£2000 a day ??

jesus, i need to move to Hays...

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Windows

Its a bank init?

What other sort of behaviour did one expect?

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FAIL

Sick and tired...

... of hearing about this bloody bank and it's practices.

'owned by the tax payer' - yeah right. I was so impressed by the performance of this bank I couldn't wait to bail it out. I was more than happy to line the pockets of fat cat management especialy at the expense of blameless bank staff. So I'm REALLY impressed by this latest revelation.

If it's 'owned' by us, then I guess we're responsible eh?

I'm so depressed...

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Facepalm

RBS is/was a rich vein to be tapped

I was a temporary contractor at one division and was on £375 a day four years ago, and that was considered to be pretty average if not below average compared to some, but I was just a regular grunt sysadmin.

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Stop

1000 jobs?...

Try again, isn't it 29k at the last count?

Not all in IT roles but many, many more than 1000.......Plenty of staff quit/got redundancy & came back in days (literally, the record I know of is 2 days) on a significantly higher rate....

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Anonymous Coward

I can verify the acuracy of that ...

They did exactly this ... the place is a fucking joke.

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FAIL

Yup...

We've got people who were laid off last year and got their VR payments now back in doing contracting work. They're still sacking admins as we speak as part of the "Sunrise programme" * despite still having contractors on the books which are probably on £400-500/day or more.

* another name for "we're sacking loads of people and moving the work to India **

** Sorry, "more economically advantaged areas"

Posted anon for obvious reasons...

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"Such cuts of course always mean more work for contractors."

Well, except when they don't, which is quite often.

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Mushroom

You're absolutely right,

what these situations mean is more work for the large consultancy firms... always such great value for money there.

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Anonymous Coward

wasting your money

They have been doing this for years!

I was involved in projects for the bank in question and then half way through just dump the project, and then there was the project scopes being changed 5 or 6 times half way through

Also contractors sitting around doing nothing waiting for other contractors to finish other projects to finish.

They also see VLAN's as a security risk, there for when they looked at putting VoIP it would mean another set of switches just for voice calls.

Employees are counted on the headcount but Contractors are not, there for the bank makes out they are cutting staff but wasting more money employing contractors that do nothing.

The place us to make me laugh

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FAIL

Breach of contract

Hays should be sued by 1) the contractors or 2) RBS for breach of contract. Normally, agencies like to hide the contractor rates from a) contractors (assuming the spreadsheet contained the billable rates) or b) the company (if the spreadsheet contained the rates the contractors get paid). The objective is to get a high rate from the employer and to pay a low rate to the contractor - this is easiest when you hide the margin so they normall include a paragraph ensuring confidentiality.

3000 contractors. Assume £500 average rate. 25 % margin. £300,000 per day for doing sod all. Oh, to own a big agency.

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Anonymous Coward

Usually

The contract contains language specifically barring the disclosure of rates by either party.

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Isn't that illegal now?

I was sure a law had been passed that made it illegal to have a 'No talking about salary' clauses in contracts? Or is that only stock employees?

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Anonymous Coward

Agency fees

Despite what some posters might say, Hayes is probably not making 25% on each contractor. Usually the big banks will set up 'preferred supplier' agreement with one ( or a few ) agencies to run their contract staff. They pay a fixed commission on the contractors -- typically around 8-10%, down to even 3-4% if the agency didn't actually find the contractor and are just organising the payment. The upside for Hayes is that they are exclusive supplier, so can have 3000 contractors on site.

If you are being paid 3-4% commision, there's not a lot of money to be made, as you need to fund the gap between paying the contractor and getting the money from RBS, overheads etc...

The days of the routine 25% margins are long gone in the UK banking sector.

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Facepalm

not always

very often, the company has no idea how much the agency is paying the contractor - so margins of =>25 % are common

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Holmes

Agency percentages

I suspect a lot of contractors will be very unhappy as well when they realise what a massive percentage of that rate the agency is skimming off the top. Agencies don't like their contractors finding out what the actual amount the client pays is.

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Alien

Re: Agency percentages

if you are happy with the rate you were offerered then what the agency makes is irrelevant. You put a price on your worth and you accepted that rate.

Any contractor worth his rate will know exactly what percentage an agency is taking. All you have to do is ask, respectable agencies will tell you. If they won't say then don't sign. If they do say and you don't trust them to be honest then don't sign. If you are so worried about percentages then you could always go direct.

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Anonymous Coward

Going Direct...

Is not an option in too many circumstances - especially were an agency has a tie-in with the end user to the exclusion of independents.

The process normally goes something like this...

End user identifies a need.

HR ask the agencies - possibly with a rate range or limit.

Agencies do a half arsed job of finding candidates.

Candidates offered opportunity to be put forward for the work if they will accept the proposed rate less agencies fee less an amount the agency feels they can get the contractor - the negotiation margin.

Contractors attends for interview.

One is selected - possibly the most competent at the best rate defined by the cartel.

There is, generally, very little scope for independent price or terms variation from that offered by the agency.

I have never come across an agency that has told me their markup. have a good idea what agencies make out of me and when possible I go independently - but I need to put food on the table! Most end users HR depts could readily eliminate most agency usage but for, more often than not, spurious financial and labour relations issues are prepared to fail their own enterprises and other employees by using agents.

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Alien

Woe is me

There are few things more pitiful than contractors complaining about their lot. I spent over twenty years contracting both through agencies and direct and the one thing that stands out when I look back is that the best contractors were those who had a good, almost personal, relationship with their agents and didn't look up on them as sponging parasites. These contractors knew their own worth and wouldn't work for less and in times when sweeping rate cuts for contractors were announced, funnily enough, it didn't seem to apply to them. The ones who were always concerned about how they were working to feed their lazy agent were a complete pain in the arse.

Once you've accepted to work for a given a mount then just get on with the job.

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Silver badge

Dont ever do anything

productive - its simply not worth it when you find out what the parasites get.

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Alien

Another ex-hayes contractor here

and I can confirm that they're fscking incompetent! Sadly I was on nowhere near that daily rate (I'd have retired by now instead of going permie ;-)

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Meh

2k?

I'd guess 2k guys are going to be stategic change management consultants or some other flavour of powerpoint pushers.

the banks could choose to have more developers on the staff but they'd need to pay them more to fill the roles. They won't and have to get contractors in to get the job done as a result..

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Silver badge

Re: 2k?

>I'd guess 2k guys are going to be stategic change management

I'd guess they'd be the ones hired to look at ways to save money.

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Agency rates

...are usually 30% or above.

I like to call them pimps.

And yes - I know what that makes me - but hey, pay me enough and I'll code it and smile whilst doing so.

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Agencies, don't ja just feel sorry for them?

AC wrote: "Normally, agencies like to hide the contractor rates from a) contractors ... or b) the company "

or c) Both.

When I was involved in such things it was normal for both client and contractors to complain bitterly about agencies (not Hays, in my case) doing sod all for a large slice of wonga.

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Happy

Yet another reason....

...why I'm glad I contract directly with the clients rather than through an agency. Twunts!

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Holmes

its...

Like finding a needle in a Hays Stack...................HA AHA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA

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What the?

Well this is just dandy, I don't work in the Banking IT sector but I might just change that if thats the going rate.

/Joke

Seriously though why do they continue to outsource, it costs them more for agency staff than it would to keep staff in house.

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Thumb Down

Contractors

And they'll all be paying themselves dividends, screwing the taxpayer even further.

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Unhappy

never worked for Hays...

but did get called in by IBM when I was a permie consultant for one of their Business Partners to backfill for one of their consultants. RBS demanded to have a ClearCase consultant on-site to support project migrations to CC, but then didnt force any of the projects to move to the platform. So me and the project manager sat on our arses for three months and looked out the window most of the time. They were paying a fixed (known) rate of £750 per day for the privilege of my company. What's worse is they handle my accounts and mortgage, as well.

AC obviously!

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Anonymous Coward

Yup...

I was made redundant by RBS, I was a design engineer, the team I worked on now has to employ contractors because the Indians that were going to be hired to do the work of the UK staff, err, weren't hired. All this time the project workload was going up. The new management don't seem to care about UK staff, the government approved the redundancies of the UK based staff to be replaced with Indian staff, something that even Sir Fred would never have done.

They also had to cancel loads of redundancies when the realised there would be noone to support the systems coming over from Amsterdam as part of the ABN Amro purchase.

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Unhappy

It's all about backhanders

I spent 20 years working as a contractor in hardware, because I earned twice as much as I could as a permie, which meant that as long as I worked more than 6 months a year, I was in pocket. But I grew to utterly despise the agencies I worked for. Where I was able to find out the rates the company was paying, the markup was much more than 25-30% - 100% or more in some cases.

Occasionally, I would have discussions with HR people about why on earth it was better to employ me through an agency than to negotiate a deal with me directly. The answers I got were mostly noise, and it only slowly dawned on me why it was better - few employees pay backhanders, whereas the leeches are only too happy to do so.

One time when I was on my uppers, I did a few weeks' unskilled work at a major dairy through an agency which I won't name, but which has since grown into a multinational. I discovered that the agency was being paid 8 quid an hour to provide unskilled workers, to whom they paid 2 quid an hour. I'd love to see anyone try provide a believable explanation for this behaviour which doesn't involve corruption.

Never mind telephone sanitisers, it's the agents (of every kind) who need to be packed into spaceships and sent off for a holiday on the surface of the sun.

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