The customer holds the power, as well as the purse strings. If we really want to draw attention to the firms that have created misery for thousands of graduates by charging huge ‘exit fees’ if they quit their programme in less than two years, we need to ask their biggest clients for help.

We are currently working our way through a list of the clients of FDM Group, Sparta Global, Kubrick Group, QA Consulting, Ten10, Revolent, Geeks Limited and IT Works MiTec, informing them about the harsh terms that these firms employ their graduates under. Remember, these are the same graduates who are being ‘bought in’ by these big brands, to work on various IT projects that they ‘outsource’ (rather than using their own staff). These eight firms claim that the fees are to cover the investment made in the graduates’ training, but it is difficult to see how such large sums are reached for the training that the graduates describe.

Graduate Fog’s founder Tanya de Grunwald wants to be clear that we are NOT ‘naming and shaming’ these big brands whose logos you see above, or whose names you see in the table at the bottom of this post.

In fact, we want to work with them, as we believe they have a crucial role to play in helping us to #StopExitFeesByXmas – and are likely to be unaware of what has been going on, until now. As Graduate Fog’s founder Tanya de Grunwald explains:

“I have a reputation as a tough campaigner who calls out bad practice – but I want to be clear that we are not looking to ‘name and shame’ the big brands that have been working with FDM and co. What I’m saying is: ‘We need your help.’

“We’ve already started working our way through the list of clients, and most of the brands we have approached so far have been appalled by the evidence we’ve presented – particularly the £16,000 bill due in 14 days, sent to a former FDM employee.

“These client firms are particularly alarmed by the suggestion made by the Social Mobility Foundation that young people from disadvantaged  backgrounds are particularly vulnerable to this practice. These firms have made serious, public commitments to diversity and inclusion in recent years.

“These big companies also invest a lot of time and money on building their so-called ’employer brand’ – how positively people think about them as an employer. They are furious to discover that they have been working with a supplier who may have been damaging their employer brand, without them realising what was going on.”

As well as raising awareness about how these firms have been operating and the distressed they have caused, we are asking these big brands to play their part in our campaign to #StopExitFeesByXmas by committing to investigate the employment terms of the graduates who worked for them, as an employee of FDM, Sparta Global, Kubrick, etc. We are also approaching brands who do not appear to be connected with any of these exit fees firms, to ask them to commit to make sure that they never use them in future:

CRY FOR HELP Graduate Fog is approaching the clients of FDM and the other exit fees firms to ask them to investigate the contracts of the graduates who were brought in to work for them. Were they free to leave, during that time?

So, who are the big brands that are best placed to help young people, by investigating the terms of their employment?

The brands listed below have all been associated with the eight firms that charge huge exit fees to graduates who wish to leave in less than two years. They are either listed as a client online or in the firms’ sales pack, or we have been told by a graduate that they have worked for the brand as a contactor. We do not know for sure that these brands are currently working with these exit fees firms, and will be happy to correct the list if these firms sign up to our pledge to #StopExitFeesByXmas (see Mission, above):

* IS YOUR COMPANY ON THIS LIST? If you are alarmed by the idea that you might have had graduates working on IT projects for you, and even on your premises – who were not free to leave their role without paying huge sums to their employer (your supplier) please contact Graduate Fog’s founder Tanya de Grunwald through LinkedIn or via this contact form to discuss how you can help to correct this problem and help young people. Thank you!

** ONE MORE THING! Do you work for a big brand? Are you alarmed by these large exit fees, but worried that there may be instances where your own firm requests funds from departing fees (for example, a sign-on bonus, relocation costs, or costs for an external training qualification for more experienced employees)? Tanya – who also runs the Good + Fair Employers Club – is still keen to hear from you, and can share resources to help you to navigate your way through decisions about possible changes to your own policies. This does NOT mean you can’t take part in #StopExitFeesByXmas, so please do get in touch to discuss next steps. Thank you!

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