Is FDM feeling the heat from the controversy around their use of ‘exit fees’? The firm has replaced the planned speaker at their Institute of Student Employers (ISE) session this afternoon with a more senior representative.

The firm is yet to produce any form of statement in response to our extensive coverage of their use of exit fees (where graduates who leave in less than two years can expect to face a bill of up to £15,000, supposedly to cover their training costs). Could this staff swap be the first sign that the firm is becoming fearful of awkward questions being raised about their conduct?

According to the ISE’s website, Katherine Brewster, UK University Partnerships Manager at FDM, has been replaced by Kate Croucher, Global Lead Talent Sourcing at FDM. Croucher is also the FDM representative who sits on the ISE’s advisory board, an appointment Graduate Fog has also strongly objected to.

Compare how the session agenda looked last week, with how it looks today:



Tanya de Grunwald, founder of Graduate Fog and author of How to Get a Graduate Job in a Pandemic, said today:

“I continue to object strongly to FDM being part of this session. Inviting them to a student panel is like inviting a wolf to a children’s tea party. I have no idea how the ISE can possibly justify putting this firm in front of a group of students, many of whom will not be aware of how they and their friends could find themselves trapped by FDM’s policy on exit fees, in the future.

“We are yet to hear back from FDM in response to our questions about their appearance at this conference, and their broader conduct – and read this as an insult to students and graduates, whose complaints, concerns and experiences deserve to be acknowledged.

“In the absence of any actual words from this firm, I’m seeing this personnel swap as a statement, too. FDM are clearly concerned about being asked awkward questions about exit fees during this session, and felt that a more senior person should be there, in case the subject is raised. I can’t think of any other reason why they would make such a late change to the line-up. It can only be that they’re scared of scrutiny.”

EDIT: 2.30pm 30/06/21 We couldn’t resist sending a few cheeky tweets during the session:

We are collecting stories from those who have been impacted by the scandal of exit fees. Are you currently trapped on a scheme you want to leave — but can’t afford to buy your way out of? Or have you quit, and been chased for the money? If you paid up, did you have to resort to taking out a high-interest loan? And, whatever your situation, please tell us how exit fees have impacted your life, including your mental health. Of course, all emails will be treated in complete confidence. Contact us here.

JOIN THE GOOD GUYS! In the absence of any real leadership from the most established organisations in the graduate recruitment space, Graduate Fog is stepping up on behalf of students and graduates this summer. Watch this space!

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