A Roadmap to Replicability: How to create, sustain, and scale an ethical recruitment agency

A Roadmap to Replicability: How to create, sustain, and scale an ethical recruitment agency

When TERA first launched in 2020, there was little guidance available on how to run a successful ethical recruitment agency. We started with a desire to change the conditions for vulnerable migrant workers – but little knowledge of what the journey would look like.

TERA, in partnership with the Global Fund to End Modern Slavery (GFEMS) and the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad), developed the Roadmap to Replicability to support other aspiring ethical recruiters in their journey towards fair, transparent, worker-focused recruitment. 

We start by sharing our lessons for charting the way ahead: How should market research be done to achieve maximum success with a future ethical recruitment agency? What should aspiring ethical recruiters keep in mind when making decisions on a geographic base, operating models and networks to be successful? 

The roadmap then guides the reader through how to start the journey. What is important with regard to ethical principles? What funding mechanisms are available and suitable? What should future ethical recruitment agencies keep in mind when registering and applying for recruitment licenses?

One of the most critical detours to avoid is getting lost when trying to secure commercial clients. We share our learning and insights on how to harness existing demand, make the business case, what to focus on with regard to sales and finding an anchor client. 

Finally, the roadmap accompanies future ethical recruiters through the journey by sharing critical elements of the business process: Staffing, partner and employer vetting, job seeker engagement, pre-departure training and the recruitment agency’s worker welfare system.

Insights and lessons are drawn from TERA’s operations in India, from a synthesis of existing evidence to date, and from interviews conducted with stakeholders who work in and are knowledgeable about ethical recruitment. We hope that TERA’s successes and lessons enable others to move towards ethical recruitment too, so that it may become more widely available. 

Workforce solutions that meet your specific needs

Workforce solutions that meet your specific needs

Now more than ever, businesses need workers with specific skills – and they need them as fast as possible. TERA draws on our database of thousands of qualified workers to meet your precise business needs. 

A selection of our worker specialisations are listed below. These workers are already vetted, prepared and ready to come work for you. 

With TERA’s quality guarantee and internationally-recognised compliance, we remove the hassle from recruitment so our clients can focus on what they do best.

Interested in receiving a quote? Get a free quote today or contact TERA for more information


A selection of roles we fill

Certified Trade Workers

Hospitality Staff

Industrial Workers

Technicians & Engineers

Service Workers

And many other positions!

Electricians Housekeepers Assemblers and Fabricators HVAC Technicians Drivers Farmworkers
Machinists Chefs and Cooks Quality Assurance Managers Mechanical Engineers Cleaners Managers
Pipe Fitters and Plumbers Waiters, Bussers, F&B Attendants Warehouse Managers Electrical Engineers Security Guards Painters
Carpenters Front desk staff HSE Officers Civil Engineers Tailors Accountants
Mechanics Porters Helpers Installers (Solar Panel, LED, CCTV, etc) Caregivers Computer Operators
Welders     Service & Site Engineers Retail Clerks Customer Service Representatives
      Chemical / Petroleum Engineers   And many more!

Contact us today to find the manpower you need.

What really makes recruitment “ethical”?

What really makes recruitment “ethical”?

A quick Google search for “ethical recruitment” of migrant workers yields 111,000+ results. Everyone seems to be talking about ethical recruitment, from CEOs at Fortune 500 businesses to UN organisations to nonprofit organisations and platforms. There is a veritable alphabet soup of initiatives, organisations, and actors engaged in promoting ethical recruitment.

But when TERA launched in 2018, we were surprised to find that, as our friends at Migrant Forum in Asia wrote, “There is no official definition of ‘ethical recruitment.” Instead, ethical recruitment is a broad term used to describe many different kinds of interventions.  


A response to endemic problems

Ethical recruitment emerged in response to the well-documented challenges in migrant worker recruitment. Workers pay exorbitant fees to seek jobs abroad, often setting them on a path towards debt bondage. Workers can be deceived at nearly every step of the migration process. Local recruiters promise decent conditions and fair pay but workers often end up in situations of forced labour. Many migrants, including those working on high-profile international projects like the Qatar 2022 World Cup, experience severe difficulties abroad affecting their physical health, psychological well-being, and financial stability. All of these challenges begin with a recruitment process where intermediaries have a huge power and information advantage over workers. 


A simple idea?

In principle, the idea of ethical recruitment should be simple: ethical recruitment is exploitation-free recruitment. 

But digging a bit deeper, we found well over a dozen sets of standards, principles and codes of conduct defining ethical recruitment – or “fair recruitment,” “safe migration,” or any number of related terms. These include: 

These excellent resources have advanced better recruitment practices globally and made critical principles like “Employer Pays” popular. Today, most multinational companies have policies on forced labour and supplier codes of conduct that outline minimum recruitment standards.

The flip side, of course, is that these resources have become so abundant – and so varied in their content – that they risk obscuring what “ethical recruitment” really means in practice.  Put another way, one company’s “ethical recruitment” might be another company’s exploitation.  

One company’s “ethical recruitment” might be another company’s exploitation.


The three planks of ethical recruitment

While TERA was building our unique approach to ethical recruitment, we realised that all of the policies and guidance related to ethical recruitment could be distilled into three broad categories:

  1. Following the law. This is the most basic part of ethical recruitment: ensuring that worker recruitment complies with the laws and regulations of origin and destination countries.
  2. Eliminating (or reducing) recruitment fees. The real cost of recruitment to workers is often thousands of dollars. Some forms of ethical recruitment require reducing these fees to the minimum costs allowed by law; others prohibit fees altogether.
  3. Complying with core worker welfare principles. While the principles themselves may vary, compliance with at least one reputable set of standards is key to making recruitment ethical.


Advancing the field, one tough question at a time

The number of recruitment actors branding themselves as “ethical” is growing. Smart procurement officers, philanthropists and investors can make their dollars go further by asking a few straightforward questions, and in the process, learn exactly what kind of “ethical recruitment” they are getting:

  1. Clarify the definition of ethical recruitment. Ask recruiters about how (if) they interpret and operationalise the three pillars of ethical recruitment. If they comply with a set of worker welfare principles, clarify which set of principles – and why the recruiter uses them. If they operate in countries where the law falls short of top international standards, understand how recruiters go above and beyond legal compliance.
  2. Go beyond the “principle”. TERA follows 12 ethical principles, including our commitment to provide workers with clear and transparent employment contracts. Smart funders should ask questions that push beyond jargon-filled principles: for example, how do recruiters ensure workers actually understand the terms and conditions of their work agreements? (In TERA’s case, we achieve this by providing contracts in local languages, providing in-depth pre-departure training, and conducting independent verification.)
  3. Understand the recruitment model. Does the ethical recruiter directly recruit workers (like TERA) or partner with sub-agents to identify prospective workers? Working with third parties substantially raises the risk of exploitation. Do they vary their “ethical” approach by client. For example, do they charge fees to some workers but not others? Do they follow the same ethical model for all recruitments (like TERA)?

As TERA grows, we hope to share our knowledge and experience on ethical recruitment more broadly. Want to learn more? Reach out to us today at [email protected]



كيف يمكن لشركات الهندسة والبناء أن تكون متوافقة وأن تبقى في سوق العمل

كيف يمكن لشركات الهندسة والبناء أن تكون متوافقة وأن تبقى في سوق العمل


تتغير الطريقة التي تقوم بها شركات الهندسة والبناء بتوظيف وإدارة العمال. الشركات التي لا تتكيف مع هذا التغيير ستفشل أو تتخلف. إليك كيفية استفادة أعمالك من الفرص والتغلب على المنافسة.

خمس خطوات عملية للبقاء في المقدمة

التخلي عن الطريقة القديمة

الاستفادة من الفرص



تضعف كفالة صاحب العمل. سيتمكن الموظفون الأجانب قريبًا من مغادرة شركتك دون فقدان تأشيراتهم. اجمع آراء العمال بانتظام لفهم مخاوفهم وتطبيق طرق فعالة من حيث التكلفة للمحافظة عليهم. الموظفون المتحمسون يحققون المزيد ويبقون معك لفترة أطول.
قم بتعيين المزيد من الموظفين من داخل الدولة وتجنب تكاليف التوظيف الدولية.


المقاولون الرئيسيون قلقون بشأن سلاسل التوريد الخاصة بهم – خاصة التوظيف. إن الدفع من أجل التوظيف يفيد أرباب العمل وأصبح معيار الصناعة. تواصل مع شركات التوظيف المحترفة التي توفر عمالًا مؤهلين ومدربين يعرفون الوظيفة منذ اليوم الأول. فريق عمل فعال، وتكاليف تدريب أقل، وسمعة ممتازة. يساعدك كلّ هذا على التميز مع المقاولين الرئيسيين الموثوق بهم. وفر المال والوقت من خلال الامتثال المحكم.


الحكومات اصبحت أكثر صرامة. تتخذ الحكومات اجراءات أكثر صرامة تجاه انتهاكات العمل. يستهدف العمال، النقابات، والمنظمات غير الحكومية شركات الهندسة والبناء. طور سلوك متوافق وأخلاقي كقيمة مقترحة لكسب الأعمال. تجنب الغرامات والمعارك القانونية مع العمال والمنظمات غير الحكومية والنقابات. بدلاً من ذلك، دع المقاولين الرئيسيين يسعون وراءك للعمل.
إبنِ قوة عاملة أكثر فعالية وتحفيزًا وإنتاجية.


التكنولوجيا تهيمن. تعمل التكنولوجيا الجديدة على تطوير مواقع البناء على مستوى العالم. احصل على (غالبًا مجانًا!) التدريب والدعم الفني للحصول على الأموال اللازمة للتطوير. افعل الكثير بالقليل. البرمجيات سوف تنظّم إدارة المشاريع، والتكاليف، وإدارة القوى العاملة.



تكاليف العمالة ترتفع. تعمل الحكومات على تعزيز التوظيف المحلي وفرض عقوبات على عدم الامتثال. احصل على المزيد من كل موظف. وظّف عمالًا مدربين ومجهزين بشكل أفضل للوظيفة. اخفض فواتير الأجور مع فرق أكثر فعالية. اكتسب مزايا في المشتريات العامة مع إدخال الحكومات لشروط التوطين.

اعمل اليوم من أجل عمل أكثر استدامة

افهم ما تعنيه هذه التغييرات لعملك. احصل على استشارات وآليات مجانية من خلال التواصل مع TERA. تحقق مما تفعله حكومتك لمساعدة الشركات مثل شركتك على الامتثال.

حدد الأولويات. ما هي الخطوات التي تجلب أكبر فائدة في أقصر فترة زمنية؟

اجتمع. قم بإعداد اجتماع مع رؤساء الأقسام وناقش أهم التغييرات المرتبّة لديك.

خطط. حول محضر الاجتماع إلى خطة عمل واقعية. ما الذي يمكن تحقيقه على الفور؟ ما نوع المساعدة التي تحتاجها وأين ستحصل عليها؟

تصرف. قرر أنك ستقود هذه التغييرات وإلتزم باتخاذ إجراءات كل أسبوع.

TERA موجودة هنا للمساعدة

وكالة التوظيف الأخلاقية هي شركة مكرسة لتمكين الشركات الأخرى من النجاح من خلال حلول القوى العاملة والاحتراف.

تقدم TERA استشارات مجانية لتحسين الأعمال. أرسل بريدًا إلكترونيًا بالإنجليزية أو العربية إلى [email protected] لتحديد موعد للتحدث مع أحد خبرائنا اليوم.

كيف يمكن لشركات الهندسة والبناء أن تكون متوافقة وأن تبقى في سوق العمل

How E&C companies can be compliant and stay in business

The way engineering and construction businesses hire and manage workers is changing. Businesses that do not adapt will fail or fall behind. Here is how your businesses can take advantage and beat the competition.

Five Practical Ways to Stay Ahead

Employer sponsorship is weakening. Foreign staff will soon be able to leave your company without losing their visas. Collect regular feedback from workers to understand their concerns and implement cost-effective ways to retain them. Motivated staff achieve more and stay with you longer.
Recruit more staff in-country and avoid international recruitment costs.
Prime contractors are concerned about their supply chains – especially recruitment. Paying for recruitment is benefiting employers and becoming the industry standard. Connect with ethical recruiters that provide prepared, trained workers who know the job from day one. Effective staff, lower training costs, and a stellar reputation that helps you stand out to reliable prime contractors.
Save money and time through stronger compliance.
Governments are cracking down. Stricter enforcement punishes labour violations. Workers, unions and NGOs are targeting the E&C industry. Develop compliant, ethical behaviour as a value proposition to win business. Avoid fines and legal fights with workers, NGOs and unions. Instead have prime contractors seek you out for business.
Build a more effective, motivated and productive workforce.
Technology is king. New technology is transforming construction sites globally. Access (often free!) training and technical support to get the funds to upgrade. Do more with less. Software will streamline project management, costing, and workforce management.


Labour costs are going up. Governments are promoting local hiring and introducing penalties for non-compliance. Get more out of each hire. Hire trained and prepared workers better matched with the job. Lower wage bills with more effective teams. Gain advantages in public procurement as governments introduce localisation clauses.

Act Today for a Healthier Business

Understand what these changes mean for your business. Access free consultations and materials by getting in touch with TERA. 

Prioritise. What steps would bring the biggest benefits in the shortest amount of time?

Meet. Set up a meeting with department heads and discuss your top ranked changes.

Plan. Turn meeting minutes into a realistic plan of action. What is immediately achievable? What help do you need and where will you get it?

Act. Decide you will lead these changes and commit to taking action each week


TERA is here to help. 

The Ethical Recruitment Agency is a company dedicated to empowering other businesses to succeed through workforce solutions and professionalisation.