We got started because we saw a better way of hiring domestic helpers. By removing worker placement fees, we’ve reinvented the domestic helper agency so that it is fair to workers, and fair to employers.
For too long, employment agencies have been making money from doing a bad job. Employers are charged for bad customer service, while agencies secretly charge domestic helpers too. This illegal practice leaves domestic helpers in debt and it fails employers.
When agencies charge domestic helpers, they are incentivised to place those who are willing to pay, rather than those who are right for the job. When a helper is fired or quits, the agency makes more money by charging replacement workers. Meanwhile the domestic helper gets further into debt as she borrows more money for a new job.
We saw this broken system and knew we could do better.
We launched Fair Employment Agency as a better way of hiring domestic helpers. Because we never charge fees to domestic helpers, our agency works for the interests of everyone.
Domestic helpers benefit because they start their jobs free from recruitment debt. Employers benefit because we only place helpers who are a good match for their family. And Hong Kong benefits because we are setting a new standard of professionalism for all employment agencies.
How we got started
How we started - Aug 2012
During his Hong Kong internship, Scott Stiles identifies issues with the domestic worker recruitment system and envisions a fair agency to combat exploitative practices. Soon afterwards, Tammy Baltz, a dedicated volunteer aiding indebted domestic workers, joins his cause. Scott drafts a business plan for the “Domestic Worker Project” upon returning to his US university, while Tammy garners support in Hong Kong.
Start-up funds - Oct 2013
Some philanthropists see Scott’s business plan and promise start-up funds if he moves out to Hong Kong to do it. They’re a little surprised when he actually turns up in Hong Kong to do it! But thankfully still give start-up funds anyway.
We’re official! - Aug 2014
Scott, Tammy, and a team of dedicated students take to the streets to spread the word about their ethical employment agency, despite limited funds for advertising. We then gain accreditation from the Philippines Consulate and establish the first headquarters in Wan Chai. The agency opens its doors and receives immediate recognition, being featured in SCMP’s Post Magazine. The phone begins to ring, leading to the successful pairing of their first worker with an employer, with the worker not having to pay any fees.
Expanding team - Jul 2015
Jennifer Meehan, the former Asia Regional CEO of Grameen Foundation, is inspired by our mission and dedicates two full years as our Director of Strategic Development, contributing to the establishment of an impact evaluation model and nurturing the growth of our young team into leadership positions. As demand grows for our services, we have to expand the team quite quickly. We’re grateful to find wonderful, talented people to join our expanding team for the growing demand for our services. In addition, we secure a second office space conveniently located upstairs from Fair HQ.
Clockenflap - Nov 2016
Our friends at Thomson Reuters help us produce a promotional video which is played to 60,000 people at Hong Kong’s biggest music festival. Fair Employment Agency volunteers greet thousands of festival goers at Clockenflap and spread the word on our work.
1000th placement - Dec 2016
We place 1000 domestic workers, saving those workers an estimated US$1.5million in recruitment debt.
TVB Pearl Report - Apr 2017
TVB Pearl feature our work in a feature length piece on exploitation in the domestic worker recruitment process. Fair Employment Agency is presented as a new type of domestic helper agency and we have a boost in new clients after the show airs.
New office, new look - Aug 2018
Thanks to a kind donor, we strengthen all of our technology platforms, build a new website and update our look. We also moved to a bigger space in Sheung Wan that would fit our 20+ team comfortably. We were fortunate to have Spatial Concept who helped us design the space to be functional and even painted our walls with the FEA colours. Meanwhile, We place our 3000th domestic worker, helping those workers avoid an estimated US$4.5million in recruitment debt.
4000th placement - Jan 2020
We place our 4000th domestic worker, helping those workers avoid an estimated US$6million in recruitment debt.
We are accredited with the Indonesian Consulate! - Jul 2020
We are accredited with the Indonesian Consulate!
5000th placement - Jan 2021
After a challenging 2020, we begin 2021 by passing our 5000th placement milestone.
We are accredited with the Royal Thai Consulate - Jan 2021
We are accredited with the Royal Thai Consulate!
8000th placement - Jul 2023
In 2023, we have placed 8,000 domestic workers and helped them to save over millions in recruitment debt!