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I've been dealing with a recruiter recently who - as far as I can see - doesn't have a transparent fees structure.

In my current role - from talking to the manager I found that the recruiter takes about 30% on top of what I'm earning, on a two month contract.

It seems to me that the recruiter might have the incentive to extract as much as they can from the client, while also giving me as little as possible.

Is there some kind of objective data around what is normal for recruiters to take as a fee, specifically for the IT industry?

  • Location would be important, there is no regulated standard that I know of. But human resource pool would make a difference as well as location. – Kilisi Nov 1 '18 at 9:27
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It is really no concern to you, unless you are a client looking to hire a contractor. Whatever fees there are, the client pays them, not you. And whatever fees there are, you can't do anything about them - only the client could.

And it's only "money left on the table" if you can manage to get the job without using the recruiter. AND if the company is willing to pay you more. Good luck.

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    The concern is - that I'm leaving money on the table that goes to the recruiter, instead of myself. If I have a better idea of what's the standard for recruitment fees, then I can get a better picture of how much I can ask for. – dwjohnston Nov 1 '18 at 7:54
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    @dwjohnston In a sense it doesn't really matter what is being "left on the table". If you know your market value, and you are satisfied with the offer the recruiter has given you, then be happy about it. If you are unsatisfied with the offer, then you negotiate, and the recruiter will decide whether to take the hit to their commission or to go back to the company to renegotiate. As long as you are satisfied with the final offer, then there's really no point in worrying any further. – David K Nov 1 '18 at 12:26
  • @JoeStrazzere - The concept here is information assymetry - A recruiter is day in day out job is talking to prospective employees and employers has a far better idea of what employers are going paid, the quantity and quality of other candidates etc. Of course the recruiter has a better idea of what I'm potentially worth than I do. – dwjohnston Nov 2 '18 at 0:58
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It seems to me that the recruiter might have the incentive to extract as much as they can from the client, while also giving me as little as possible.

I have never been at the recruiting side (neither recruiter, nor hiring manager), but as far as I have been told (by recruiters, amonst others), usual contracts with recruiters base their rate on the salary of the recruited employee. Hence your notion that the recruiter might be interested giving you as little as possible is wrong in my opinion.

Au contraire the recruiter is interested in placing you with the highest possible salary, since this would mean his rate to be higher, too.

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It seems to me that the recruiter might have the incentive to extract as much as they can from the client, while also giving me as little as possible.

Yep. They do.

In my current role - from talking to the manager I found that the recruiter takes about 30% on top of what I'm earning, on a two month contract.

Congratulations! You just found out your bill rate! That's the amount of money your hiring manager is paying for you. That's a HUGE advantage long term.

So, if your contractor exits the picture for whatever reason, you have the information you need to negotiate a better deal from either other contractors or just your hiring manager.

So, if your contract comes up for renewal and the contractor isn't in the picture, you can make yourself an independent contractor and get all of that, or you can call up a dozen contractors and tell them your bill rate (don't tell them the job location) and ask what they can do for you.

And yes, I'm skipping the interesting step where the contractor gets themselves thrown off site, accidently ends their relationship with you, or just lets paperwork lag, or whatever. A lot of these shops aren't well run and make epic mistakes on a pretty regular basis.

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There is no posted data anywhere that I'm aware of; I can't imagine recruiters would want that to get out. However, I have heard some ridiculous numbers, and your 30% is the lowest I've ever heard. From what I gathered when speaking to my previous employers, the ones that I worked with charged between 50-100%.

That said, as already mentioned, it's not really your concern. Keep in mind that full time employees typically cost employers 25-40% more than their base salary in benefits, so that 30% is right in that range.

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