A job listing posted by Netcom Training on cv-library.co.uk, seen on 5 January 2018, stated “IT Trainee £17,000-£24,000/annum + full training for MCSA/ Security + … Netcom are recruiting for a 1st Line IT support Technician. If you are a natural problem solver and have experience within IT or professional services this could be the perfect opportunity for you. Main duties of 1st Line Support Assistant: Excellent customer service over the phone … Providing desktop hardware and software support including Windows 7”.
The complainant, who understood the ad was for a training course and not a job opportunity, challenged whether the ad was misleading.
Netcom Training Ltd explained that the full and complete ad included the text “Please note that this is a dual application and if you are not successful in the interview, we will be able to put you forward for training opportunities which will be funded by the Government”. They said that this clearly showed that training was involved. The CV library ad was also included in a category which was called “learn to earn” which showed that there might have been training involved.
They said that the vacancy was for a genuine recruitment agency that had those jobs available and placed their candidates, and Netcom Training carried out the initial contact as part of the sifting process. They stated that if an applicant had been offered training it would have been because they had also made a direct inquiry. The ad also stated “we may contact you to discuss potential training programs to help further you career”.
They said that they made a point to make it clear to candidates that they had a large Adult Training Department which was funded by the government. They said they had since ensured that their ads stated that it was a dual application. Further, all applicants completed a form on arrival for the interview where they had an opportunity to state that they were not interested in training.
The ASA noted that the ad was headed “IT Trainee” and stated in the first paragraph of listing “Netcom are recruiting for a 1st Line IT support technician”. The ad further referred to information about the responsibilities entailed, working hours and the salary range. While the ad referred to the position as being at trainee level and indicated that full training would be provided, we considered that the ad gave the overall impression that Netcom was recruiting for a specific trainee job role as an IT support technician and not for a training course. Notwithstanding Netcom’s views that the ad made clear that the opportunity was a dual application, we considered that consumers were likely to understand from the ad that successful candidates would receive prior training from the prospective employers as part of the employment.
We noted that Netcom said that the vacancy was for an agency that had those roles available. However, we had not been provided with any documentary evidence, which demonstrated that the vacancies advertised were genuine or that successful applicants had been placed in those roles.
Because we considered that consumers were likely to understand that the ads were recruiting for specific IT support technician roles with training provided by the employer, and because we had not seen documentary evidence to substantiate that the roles were genuine, we concluded that that ad was misleading.
The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules
Marketing communications must not materially mislead or be likely to do so.
Before distributing or submitting a marketing communication for publication, marketers must hold documentary evidence to prove claims that consumers are likely to regard as objective and that are capable of objective substantiation. The ASA may regard claims as misleading in the absence of adequate substantiation.
Employment marketing communications must relate to genuine vacancies and potential employees must not be asked to pay for information.
Living and working conditions must not be misrepresented. Quoted earnings must be precise; if one has to be made, a forecast must not be unrepresentative. If income is earned from a basic salary and commission, commission only or in some other way, that must be made clear. (Employment, homework schemes and business opportunities).
The ad must not appear in its current form again. We told Netcom Training Ltd to ensure that future ads did not imply that they were recruiting for specific roles on behalf of specific clients, unless they held adequate evidence to demonstrate that the roles were genuine vacancies.