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This is a summary of a study carried out by the University of Liverpool and E-Sign (UK) Ltd into the use of electronic signatures within the recruitment industry. The recruitment business that participated in the study is based in the South East, has 50+ employees and manages circa 1,500 contracts per month.Download
E-Sign provides a secure digital identification embedded into an electronic signature that is unique to both the signatory and the document. The document is then securely stored within an encrypted document storage facility located in the UK.
In the recruitment industry the preparation and administration of candidate placement documents takes considerable time, effort and cost. Where a candidate placement document is required to be signed, there is also an inherent delay for signed documents to be returned.
For the purpose of this study the main areas of interest were identified as:
Outlined in the box below is the manual signature process the recruitment company used prior to adopting E-Sign and the electronic signature process after adopting the use of E-Sign.
Prior to adopting E-Sign, the recruitment company sent placement documents out via email, the candidate was required to print and sign the document and return it via post. This resulted in the candidate incurring both printing and postage costs and delays in the signed documents being returned to the recruitment company.
Since adopting the use of electronic signatures, savings have been made in a number of areas which are outlined below.
The recruitment company sends out an average of 1,500 contracts per month. Each contract is 11 pages (equating to 198,000 pages per year). These are sent to the candidate via e-mail. With the manual signature process this meant that printing costs of approximately £29,700 per year were absorbed by the candidates of the recruitment company.
The cost to the candidate to return the signed document by post would be either £0.98 or £0.76 for first or second class post respectively. Additionally sending a letter via Royal Mail equates to 26g of CO2e. By eliminating the requirement to post a document not only was the cost to the candidate eliminated but the CO2e incurred by posting letter was also eliminated.
The recruitment company currently stores all archived documents at their offices, as a result expensive office space is being used for storage. At the time of the study the recruitment firm had not yet taken the decision to move to an electronic Document Management System which would enable them to free up this space.
Prior to using E-Sign the recruitment company monitored the daily post for signed placement documents returned by candidates. These documents are then checked and filed on site to be available for audit purposes. E-Sign enables contracts to be automatically filed online, eliminating the cost, time and effort associated with printing and filing of placement documents. This would result in significant efficiency savings on administration.
Through the use of electronic signatures in a core part of their business the recruitment company has been able to make significant improvements in their candidate document turnaround time while also improving the service they provide both their clients and candidates and reducing the time taken to complete the recruitment process. There are also clear next steps for the recruitment firm to make direct savings on paper, printing and storage costs.