• INEXPERIENCED GRADUATES ARE ‘LAMBS TO THE SLAUGHTER,’ SAYS EXPERT
• UNSCRUPULOUS FIRMS CHARGE UP TO £19,800 TO THOSE WHO QUIT IN LESS THAN TWO YEARS
• CORPORATIONS PROMISED TO HELP YOUNG PEOPLE POST-COVID, NOT EXPLOIT THEM
• CLIENTS SUCH AS HSBC, BP AND LLOYDS BANKING GROUP ARE ‘OUTSOURCING MORAL RESPONSIBILITY’
• AROUND 1,000 GRADUATES THOUGHT TO BE TRAPPED IN THESE CONTRACTS CURRENTLY
• QUESTIONS RAISED ABOUT KUBRICK GROUP AT BIG DATA LDN CONFERENCE – AS FIRM’S HR DIRECTOR DELETES COMMENTS ON LINKEDIN
New graduates have been warned not to sign contracts with employers who charge large ‘exit fees’ if they quit within two years, as concerns are raised that this year’s cohort are particularly ‘soft targets’ for unscrupulous employers determined to trap naïve young workers into jobs they can’t escape.
With little work experience, low resilience, and facing a cost-of-living crisis, the Class of 2023 are ‘lambs to the slaughter’ and may assume such contracts are normal, according to Tanya de Grunwald, founder of Graduate Fog and the world’s leading expert on the ongoing corporate scandal of graduate exit fees.
Two UK-based firms with some of the largest exit fees are Kubrick Group, which charges up to £19,800 for 15 weeks of training, and La Fosse (AKA Futureproof) which charges up to £15,000 for 13 weeks of training. (Scroll down to view their graduate contracts).
But they are not the only companies that deserve scrutiny. Today, de Grunwald also criticises the dozens of corporate clients who continue to count these firms as suppliers. Kubrick and La Fosse both operate a ‘recruit, train, deploy’ (RTD) model, loaning their contractors out to work on big, long-term tech projects with large companies. This means that – right now – many of these locked-in graduates are often working in the offices of some of the UK’s biggest and most well-known corporations. Estimates suggest that around 1,000 UK graduates are currently trapped in such contracts.
Clients of Kubrick and La Fosse include HSBC, BP, Lloyds Banking Group, AstraZeneca, JP Morgan, Coca Cola and Ford. All are aware of the exit fees clauses included in these contractors’ contracts. (How do we know? Because we told them in 2021 and 2022 – and in the case of HSBC, as far back as December 2019).
De Grunwald accused all Kubrick and La Fosse clients of breaking important promises made to young people during the pandemic:
‘These are the same firms that pledged to help young people transition into the world of work during and post-Covid, understanding that they have been uniquely affected by the disruption to such crucial years in their education. So it is deeply disturbing and disappointing to see them helping themselves to the labour of vulnerable young people like this, now.
‘I know that their own “early talent” and DEI [diversity, equity and inclusion] teams understand the issues here – and most of them do great job with their own young staff, investing heavily in apprenticeships, diversity and social mobility programmes in an effort to level the playing field, and lift up talented young people from all backgrounds.
‘But something is going horribly wrong when it comes to the wider business’s use of graduates from third-party suppliers such as Kubrick and La Fosse.
‘I suspect early talent and DEI teams are being overruled by colleagues responsible for recruiting contractors for their big tech projects, who enjoy the convenience and flexibility of using third party suppliers. They seem to think that outsourcing the work means they can also outsource their moral responsibility to these young people. I strongly disagree.’
De Grunwald also highlighted a mismatch between the reality of graduates’ experiences, and the image that Kubrick and La Fosse like to project publicly.
In the case of Kubrick, despite all the criticism it has received around exit fees – which clearly impact young people from disadvantaged backgrounds the most – the firm fontinues to promote itself as a champion of diversity and social mobility.
Tomorrow (Thursday 21 September 2023), the firm’s head of diversity, equity and inclusion will appear on a panel at the tech conference Big Data LDN at a discussion titled From insights to impact: Harnessing diversity in data and AI:
Yet Kubrick didn’t seem keen to engage with questions about this below their LinkedIn post, on Friday:
Meanwhile this (admittedly rather cheeky) reply to a comment from Kubrick’s HR director was quickly removed:
Who said campaigning for serious things can’t be fun at times? 😉
* ARE YOU TRAPPED IN A JOB AT KUBRICK, LA FOSSE OR ONE OF THE OTHER FIRMS STILL CHARGING LARGE EXIT FEES?
We’d love to hear from you! We’re particularly keen to hear from anyone currently placed with a well-known corporate client…
DON’T BELIEVE US? SEE FOR YOURSELF
Below are the relevant parts of the contracts that Kubrick and La Fosse (AKA Futureproof) give to graduates when they join. Are these decent, honourable employers – or unscrupulous firms run by horrible people? You decide…