We’re now truly into Autumn, and along with it comes a whole new generation of young professionals entering the workforce. Yet unlike generations before them, these youngsters are coming into their careers at an extremely volatile time in the history of work.
We’ve seen the collapse of innumerable firms over the past few years, and with inflated operating costs and a talent crisis biting, young people must come equipped with agility and resilience.
For one group of young would-be professionals, September started with a devastating blow. Those accepted onto graduate programs by fintech key player Revolut, looking to work in the traditionally lucrative finance industry, found just days before starting their roles, that the company rescinded their offers.
Part of a major cost-cutting plan coined ‘Project Prism’ (as reported by the FT) was an extremely last-minute U-turn on the next generation of talent to enter the firm, reportedly in a move to protect itself from economic downturn.
Project Prism involves a “full, in-depth analysis of roles and responsibilities, teams, [and] seeing what consolidation they could do on the ground”, the firm told the FT.
“[We are] conscious of the economic concerns and the downturn in fintech and . . . like any responsible company, we’re looking at hiring, and our cost base and resources, and whether those are appropriate, and planning pragmatically for the future,” it added.
Whilst no company can account for unexpected downturns, the manner in which Revolut allegedly cast off its new starters has raised a furore among the public, with many commenting that the move was unprofessional.
In fact, so close to their start dates were the team made aware of the decision, that some had reportedly already received company laptops, log-in information and welcome letters. One candidate did, however, note that they received one month’s salary as an apology.
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“They say they want to make sure I’m going to be financially secure, which is kind of a joke — one month’s salary is better than nothing, but it’s a joke compared to the rent contract I’ve signed for two years,” they noted on LinkedIn. “This put me into a sh*tty situation.”
Initially, Revolut responded to the criticism defending the actions. “We have apologised to the candidates and offered to support them on the next step of their career journey (such as interview prep and recruitment advice) as well as offering financial support,” the group said.
Is this an HR failure?
It goes without saying that ethically, rescinding job offers just days before start dates, especially en masse, is highly unethical. Whilst in some circumstances such decisions are taken out of the hands of hiring managers and HR, in most cases a series of checks and balances long before prospective start dates would have sparked a conversation in which HR could prevent failing to account for the wellbeing of these now-jobless candidates.