Note: This advice is given by the CAP Executive about non-broadcast advertising. It does not constitute legal advice. It does not bind CAP, CAP advisory panels or the Advertising Standards Authority.
The Code states that employment agencies and employment businesses must make clear in their marketing communications their full names and contact details. Marketing communications should also state, in relation to each position advertised, whether it is for temporary or permanent work (Rule 20.3).
The Copy Advice team is sometimes asked about what constitutes adequate ‘contact details’ – for example, whether it is sufficient to include only a telephone number or an e-mail address, rather than a full address. This will naturally vary from ad to ad, but if it’s the case that those seeing the ad will be misled in the absence of this information, it should be included. In 2005, an overseas agency that quoted a non-geographic telephone number (0870) was told to state its address because, without it, readers could mistakenly infer that the agency was based in the UK (International Film Extras, 2 February 2005).
Marketers must also make sure that they advertise genuine positions, as it’s likely that those who employ a “bait and switch” technique would breach the Code. In 2017, a recruitment agency was not found to breach the Code because even though the complainant was offered a lower-paid position, the advertiser could evidence that the original position was genuine and available (Bright Sparks Recruitment, 17 May 2017). In contrast, however, in the same year, the ASA upheld against a teaching recruitment agency because they could not evidence the teaching assistant jobs they were advertising were genuine – offering only a registration form and spreadsheet as evidence (Developing Your Potential Recruitment Ltd, 22 November 2017).
Similarly, marketers must not imply that they are in a position to offer paid work if this is not the case. In 2013, a model employment agency breached the Code as claims like “"Don't miss out on Modelling Opportunities!" and “latest castings, opportunities” were seen to misleadingly suggest that paid work was available through the company (Model Advice Ltd, 14 August 2013).