Recruiter- May/June 2021

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Business intelligence for recruitment and resourcing professionals

May/Jun 2021

INCORPORATING Recruitment Matters

+ SPECIAL INSIGHT Germany does things differently



Finance: Management buy-outs

Paul Maxin: rebuilding thanks to internal mobility


Strength through diversity

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05 Act rather than talk about





being an LGBTQ ally The actress who inspired a character from a recent TV series advises recruiters Race to the exits Business opportunities abound for recruiters looking for an exit European business travel Plan ahead if you’re thinking of face-to-face meetings in Europe Get staff away from screens to improve mental health An REC discussion on mental health suggested staff were suffering from digital fatigue Contracts & Deals

INCORPORATING Recruitment Matters

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INTERACTION Viewpoint John Hardy Former resourcing director, Barclaycard & Barclays UK Soundbites


18 Cover story



10 Workplace



Guy Hayward on why the office environment matters, while Tara Ricks prepares for the post-Covid world Insight Recruitment businesses setting up in Germany need to keep a careful eye on the regulatory landscape Tech & Tools The latest recruitment technology and services

Five innovative women share their very different experiences, hopes and ambitions for the future 24 Programme One A collaborative industrywide initiative aims to encourage talent from the black community to become recruiters 31 SPECIAL REPORT: Finance: MBOs We highlight the experiences of those involved in management buy-outs

24 E COMMUNITY 43 My brilliant recruitment career: Younus Desai

44 Movers & Shakers 45 Recruiter contacts 46 The Last Word: Paul Maxin


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ne could think that the current government shies away from developing anything other than surface solutions to business issues. Taking that point of view is once again too easy this month when the promised Employment Bill failed to materialise and yet another scandalous report emerged about hordes of mini umbrella companies operating out of the Philippines. The world of the self-employed/contractors and, by association, umbrella companies is far too complex a landscape for the current government to navigate. Slapping on complicated and bureaucratic admin for employers, recruiters “Let's be honest and contractors/ – getting a grip on self-employed takes less time. Collecting the world of taxes in the UK is easier modern work is than chasing down the proving to be a UK citizens who vanish into the sun and palm step too far” trees abroad still making money from the folks at home. Let’s be honest – getting a grip on the world of modern work overall is proving to be a step or two too far for this bunch. It is shameful enough that the government cannot deliver the Single Enforcement Authority, an Employment Bill and regulation for umbrella companies. However, they should be shamed by seeing the nation’s frontline of healthcare staff, teachers and more reduced to skimming off their meagre wages because people with a lot more money are given carte blanche to skim from their wages first.

DeeDee Doke, Editor


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It's a sin to talk rather than act as an ally BY DEEDEE DOKE

THE ACTRESS WHO inspired one of the major characters in Channel 4’s recent It’s A Sin drama series has urged recruiters to “do rather than talk about it” when it comes to declaring allyship with the LGBTQ community or any other marginalised group. In the first of a series of ‘lunch and learn’ events for staff, Keystream hosted actress Jill Nalder to discuss her experiences living in London in the 1980s when the emergence of AIDS devastated the gay community. The Channel 4 series focused on young men living with the disease during that time period. The sessions are part of Keystream’s wider equality, diversity & inclusion (EDI) programme and will feature topics faced by the black and ethnic minority communities, people living with disabilities and other disadvantaged groups. The events aim to bring stories of living experience to staff and further their understanding of the issues and discrimination faced by people in today’s society. Nalder spoke on Zoom with staff from the company, which recruits for the NHS, healthcare, charity, life sciences and public sector. “If you’re going to be an ally, then think about how you can actually do it rather just saying ‘Ok, we’re allies’… actually make something happen,” Nalder said. “Let’s take that step forward, and let’s do something and how can I make that happen, and how can I actually be an ally. “Everyone wants to be out there with the banner,” she said, “but if you can actually do something or stand up for someone you know who’s struggling – especially the trans community because they are struggling, and they’re really trying to find their place… it’s part of making the world better for everybody who’s struggling in different minorities or different situations.”


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38,738 FOLLOWERS AS OF 18 MAY 2021

Beat the CGT Plan ahead for on-the-ground changes business in Europe

A new report from Gambit Corporate Finance suggests that “a window of opportunity” exists for business owners considering an exit over the next six months. 'Human Capital Exit Timing Considerations', released in May, points out that capital gains tax (CGT) changes are “firmly on the agenda” for the government’s Autumn Budget, making the next few months ripe for business owners in the human capital sector, such as recruitment, to capitalise on favourable market valuations, consolidation, hiring and demand trends. Key points in the report are: The HC sector has seen a significant recovery in valuations since the pandemic first began, with valuation multiples doubling in the last 12 months. Valuations have also been buoyed by interest from private equity companies who hold what Gambit called “a record £1.7tn of dry powder” and are looking for “high quality and opportunistic deals”. Buoyant M&A market activity is also being facilitated by a supportive debt market, which is deploying capital at record low interest rates. As the service portfolios of recruiters, talent platforms and online job advertising firms increasingly overlap, competitive intensity is growing and HC companies will look to broaden the channels through which they operate, driving a wave of consolidation. Said Simon Marsden, director, HC at Gambit: “HC business owners considering an exit are in the driving seat and have six months to ensure the value in their shareholding is optimised before any changes to CGT are announced in the autumn.” For more on recent exits, see p31 for the Special Report on MBOs.


PLANNING A BUSINESS trip to Europe? If the staff member planning to travel is British, they must “think very carefully about what they will be doing whilst they’re in Europe” because of the loss of free movement following UK’s departure from Europe. Speaking at an Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo) legal forum in May, immigration specialist Annabel Mace, a partner at law firm Patton Squire Boggs, warned: “The focus there has got to be on not ‘how long am I going, how long is my trip’… but on what is that business activity, what is the nature of the work that will be done, all of the business activity you will be doing in Europe, and does that require a work permit.” Terms of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) hammered out by the EU and UK in the waning days of 2020 have not been helpful on a lot of fronts, experts have agreed. Basic business meetings and “no

actual work” being done while in the European country “should be fine”, she said. However, “if you’re doing anything that verges on productive work, activity on a work project, then that’s something that would require a work permit in the country that you’re travelling to, regardless of the length of your trip”, Mace said. Complicating the issue further, as Britons have found with other business-related issues, “the permitted activities vary from one EU country to another”, Mace said. She went on to suggest that some potential business travellers to Europe may not want to make the trip at all ultimately “because the reality is, getting work permits going into Europe is quite difficult in the sense that… it could take months, if not weeks. “So,” she said, “it’s really going to require a sort of change in mindset when business travel really kicks off again.” Businesses should contact their immigration partners for further information.


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Get staff away from screens to improve their mental health INSTEAD OF BOOKING more team social occasions on-screen, recruitment bosses who help their staff to get away from their screens more often could be contributing to their improved mental health, health coach Michelle Flynn has advised. Speaking at a Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) mental health discussion, Flynn acknowledged that the flurry of team pub nights and quizzes have lost their sheen as team social events over the last year. “Sometimes I actually say, rather than booking more stuff in, why don’t we just let people go home an hour earlier? Let them have a Friday afternoon off or come in a bit later on a Monday morning, so that it’s not always about trying to get people together more and more on the screen – but actually getting them away from the screen,” Flynn said. Many in the workforce are suffering from digital fatigue, suggested fellow panellist Hazel Craig, senior data analytics and wellbeing consultant at Howden Employee Benefits and Wellbeing (Howden Insurance Brokers). She said: “I think that sometimes companies can think that they’re doing the right thing by bringing in more social events and trying to support their


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employees in that way. But perhaps actually offering that hour away from the laptop to try and reduce that digital fatigue is really important.” Flynn agreed and went on to say, “People are so busy – particularly in the recruitment industry, you’ve been swopping back and forward from no one’s hiring to now everybody’s hiring… so people are burnt out, absolutely exhausted, and then there’s the invite to a book club, and people are going, ‘When am I even going to get the chance to read the book, never mind discuss it?’.” Hosting the event, REC CEO Neil Carberry agreed with the expert speakers that people need to think about “the headspace you want to be in for different meetings”, and that the phone – as opposed to a screen – can be a better communications channel for some conversations. “I do all of my one-to-one coaching on the phone, and I encourage people to go out for a walk,” Flynn said. “There’s something about not staring at someone in the face when you’re wanting to open up about something that might be difficult… Just go for a virtual walk together, and you might find that someone opens up a lot more.”

“There’s got to be a real renaissance, that rebirth, the ability to reform something into something that’s going to be better and look at the best things we can do.” Floyd Woodrow, CEO, Quantum Group, addressing Elite Leaders about leadership postpandemic

“I have never in 22 years in recruitment seen it be as busy as it is now.” Ruella Crouch, managing partner, Ruella James Recruitment, speaking on a Firefish Software webinar

“This is a daft decision.” Keith Rosser, director of group risk & Reed Screening, to the House of Lords about the Home Office’s plan to end digital identity checks for UK residents


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CONTRACTS & DEALS First Advantage First Advantage, a global provider of technology solutions for background screening, verifications and compliance, has acquired the UK background screening business of GB Group, a global digital identity and location services provider. The acquisition expands First Advantage’s footprint and extends its capabilities in the UK and EMEA.

Copello Global Copello Global, a defence and engineering recruitment company, has announced a partnership with Aquila Air Traffic Management Services to act until 2023 as its primary external supplier of talent. Aquila offers air traffic management solutions and services in the UK and abroad.

MM Search MM Search, an executive search firm based in Scotland, has completed the search for a finance director on behalf of The Golden Casket Group. Ann McNullan takes over from Douglas Pilkington, who is retiring, as finance director.

Nine Twenty Glasgow-based IT firm Redspire has turned to technology recruitment specialist Nine Twenty to find top talent from across the UK in the niche skill set of Microsoft Dynamics 365. Roles include senior consultants – both functional and technical, developers, testers and project managers. It is also placing highly skilled technical architects as well as marketing personnel.

Phenom Global AI-powered talent experience platform Phenom has secured a $100m (£720k) Series D round of investment. B Capital Group led the round, which also involved Dragoneer Investment Group, OMERS Growth Equity and GoldenArc Capital. The new funding means Phenom can develop its Talent Experience Management (TXM) platform for organisations adopting AI holistically in a post-Covid era.

BPS World Global recruitment partner BPS World has entered into a recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) agreement with The Progress Group. The partnership will encompass end-to-end management of the recruitment process across all business units within the group. BPS will provide a concierge account management service, including on-site presence and assisted interviewing.

AMS Total workforce solutions firm AMS has agreed a four-year partnership with Toll Group, an Australian transportation and logistics company, with operations in road, rail, sea, air and warehousing. Under the partnership, AMS will deploy a global team of 21 based across Singapore, China, India, Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand, the Philippines, the US and Europe to support permanent hiring for the Toll Group in all locations outside of Australia and New Zealand. The company network reaches across 1,200 locations in more than 50 countries.

Rubicon Recruitment Group Dorset’s Rubicon Recruitment Group has become employee-owned, giving its 30 employees ownership of 100% of the business through an Employee Ownership Trust. To reflect the change, the Poole-based recruiter has also changed its name to Rubicon People Partnership. Lloyd Banks, the founder of Rubicon, will stay on in the business for at least five years.


Zest Education Zest Education has been awarded a six-figure investment by Time Finance to help drive recruitment in the education sector. The Midlands-based recruitment agency started working with Time in 2015 and it has supported the agency through the Covid-19 pandemic by providing £75k over the past 12 months. The agency has now received a further £150k from Time to help grow its business further.

Buildout Investment Group Warwickshire-based services business Buildout Investment Group has launched a merger and acquisition drive within the construction recruitment sector. The expansion programme is aimed at capitalising on consolidation within the recruitment agency sector and to build on the growth of its first investment, Buildout Recruitment, a statement from the investment group said.


Founded by James O’Donoghue and Jack Hurdley, the recruitment company specialises in senior white-collar hires, along with delivering other HR resources. Buildout Investment Group is chaired by recruitment industry entrepreneur John O’Sullivan, who also chairs Elite Leaders. Also on the BIG board is Mike Turl, co-founder and former managing director of MEARS Group, an AIM-listed construction services business.

More contract news at


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The Workplace BY GUY HAYWARD


freedom to their people but also create an environment that draws people back into the office for that side-by-side connection with their friends and colleagues. The art… is for businesses to show that heading to the office (with a multitude of benefits) offers a perfect balance for the perfect working experience. How do you have more touch points to create togetherness, in and out of the office? Scrapping long Teams or Zoom meetings in favour of shorter, more productive calls, having your weekly team meeting or 1-2-1s back in the office, end-of-month presentations all together; maybe a permanent fixture to the office environment is an ever-lasting wellbeing programme. Lunch-time football, the office masseuse, the beauty therapist or barber, the run club, the book club, office art lessons, meditation, language lessons, yoga classes. Move the wellbeing programme to the doorstep of your people – it is no longer the role of the senior management team. Involve your people, what they want – they get! A fun place to work must have social gatherings. They are not replaced remotely.

“Move the wellbeing programme to the doorstep of your people – it is no longer the role of the senior management team” ‘Vision’… for many, an old-fashioned, over-used term. Yet people will need to understand this so that they can connect with why it is important to their success, and to that of their companies. With success, you have identity and pride – with pride for who you work for, you have culture. There cannot be any doubt that conventional office culture will not be the same. The traditional working environment that many organisations were stuck in has been crushed – and for the better. What do we all want? To be trusted, to be given the freedom to work where and when we want with the

REMEMBERING WHAT WORKING life was like pre-Covid. What we had, why being in the office felt good, why we felt connected to the company we worked for and why our colleagues became friends. What made us love coming to the office? Many, many things. Innovation, competition, camaraderie… yes, definitely, but this was wrapped up under the togetherness of identity and team culture. Which is what we should all be searching to recreate as we unlock our front doors and venture back to the office desk once again. The power of agile working… your choice of when and where you work, benefiting from the trust of your boss and the company you work for. Most who can will choose a combination of working from home and at the office. The approaches taken to preserve and evolve the employee experience is what will preserve company culture. For modern progressive businesses, this is an emphasis on the physical and mental wellbeing of their people, bringing that approach not just to the office but also to the home. Agile-first cultures… those who get it right will give

GUY HAYWARD – redefining the modern workplace CEO, Goodman Masson

knowledge that we are being looked after. There is absolute certainty that the way organisations look after their people will become one of the most important strategic objectives of any organisation. That is allowing full agility but encouraging presence in the office to enable mentorship and allow the casual, unplanned important conversations that benefit all. Those can never be replaced. ●


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Tara Ricks COO of Elite Leaders wisely, and only on roles that match your checklist of brand, margin, influence, exclusivity/PSL, fill rates ● Budgetary discipline ● Cash management ● Honing your service offering, along with operating model. Hopefully, you will have used some of the quieter times during the pandemic to look at data – the rigour behind its capture, its cleanliness and how/if it is analysed. Do not underestimate the power of using data to drive decisions. With teams working remotely, it is more important than ever to understand what looks good in terms of conversion rates through the funnel. Know and discuss your ‘model’ at company, team and desk level – what does it take to beat budget, in terms of roles, CV sends, interviews and placements? Make sure your teams are returning to a defined client strategy, which incorporates current, past, dormant and target companies. Measure client retention; as the author Mark Stevens shows us in Extreme Management, his book based on Harvard Business School techniques, it costs between five and six times more to attract new customers than to engage and retain an existing one. And finally, as leaders, remember that expressing vulnerability and asking for help is a sign of strength and confidence, not weakness. It is fine to worry – but make sure you have a plan and communicate it well. ●

AS WE EMERGE from the chrysalis of the pandemic, we have an opportunity to reshape, reinvigorate and in some cases completely renew our recruitment businesses. We are all hearing about the very real subject of lockdown fatigue; about hybrid working patterns or the new ‘normal’; the constant refrains of ‘you’re on mute…’ (not just me?) and navigating our way through all of this. We are looking at ways to grasp the joint opportunities of pent-up demand and economic upturn, while ensuring culture, empathy and healthy communication flows are paramount. Communication, in terms of frequency, seniority and effectiveness, must be high on the agenda when planning for a return to normal (whatever that may mean in your business). Some leaders will default to telling rather than listening and conversing. All too often, those at the senior levels genuinely believe the comms are great – but ask anyone lower down the organisation and they may well think that the comms are poor. Stay attuned to that and check in frequently. Clear and inspiring messaging will make this next, potentially unsteady, phase a success. Teams have looked to their leaders for stability during this time of uncertainty. Build on that: survey all stakeholders frequently, but make no assumptions on anything, as they may well be wrong. Homeworking has gone from being a fringe activity to the accepted norm, so much so that we must be aware of the risk that it becomes not just working from home, but living at work. The hybrid model of office and WFH is much talked about, and this goes beyond just the working pattern. Horizons are now open to new locations and demographics, and your teams will want to take advantage of these opportunities. Astute leaders know and understand that to listen to and look after employees and their wishes during and after a crisis is to create a hugely powerful asset for recovery. Recruitment has had, let’s be honest, a culture of presenteeism, which is often not justified or required. If now is not the time to seize the opportunity to bring about change, I’m hard pressed to say when is. It would be a real step change for our industry to continue to embrace the hard-won disciplines of the past 14 months, specifically in these areas: ● Productivity per head – for many, this is a new measure and highlights how performance management has perhaps not been at the forefront previously ● Qualifying roles – your time is hugely valuable; spend it

TARA RICKS is a NED to the recruitment sector and also COO of Elite Leaders, the advisory and consultancy game changers


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LOST IN TRANSLATION UK recruitment businesses need to be aware that the complexities of operating in Germany have grown and added to some existing issues BY THOMAS LEISTER


ince the UK has now left the European Union, recruitment businesses need to be clear about some critical points when working in Germany.

1. Business protection Business protection is a hot topic for every recruitment company. There are many aspects to consider, including data protection, cybersecurity, confidentiality clauses, the protection of trade secrets, and engaging external workforce on business critical positions. Restrictive covenants are especially important to the recruitment sector. Types of protection include in particular: ● Non-competition during employment ● Post-contractual restrictive covenants ● Client protection clauses ● Candidate protection clauses ● Non-solicitation clauses. Under German law, it is important to check which protection is required by the company and also what is permitted under German law. Since the employer has to pay compensation for a post-contractual restrictive covenant amounting to at least 50% of the benefits the employee last received, it should be checked in every individual case whether such covenant shall be agreed. Employers often assume that they can agree very comprehensive


post-contractual restrictive covenants because they have to pay compensation. However, this is not correct. If the protection is too wide, it will not be effective – irrespective of compensation payment. Recruitment companies often argue that they need a post-contractual restrictive covenant, a client protection clause, and a candidate protection clause. This is reasonable with respect to the business model of a recruitment company. However, there is a risk that under German law the protection is too wide. A post-contractual restrictive covenant is subject to a statutory written form requirement. Therefore the agreement that includes the post-contractual restrictive covenant has to be physically signed by both parties. The post-contractual restrictive covenant is legally ineffective if the written-form requirement is not met. In particular in the recruitment industry, time is key and this written-form requirement is often not met.

2. Assignment limits under the AÜG A recruitment company that wishes to place temporary workers (Zeitarbeitnehmer) in Germany needs to obtain a licence, the so-called AÜG (Arbeitnehmerüberlassungsgesetz) licence.

2.1 General rule Since 1 April 2017, there has been an 18-month limit on the assignment period. This means that, as a general rule of law, an employee in Germany cannot be assigned to the same customer (to work under the customer's supervision) in the same position for longer than 18 months. The assignment limit applies to individual employees, not to a specific position. In practical terms, this means a recruitment company can assign different employees to a position at a client company for longer than the 18-month limit, as long as each individual is replaced after 18 months. Furthermore, the respective employee who has reached the assignment limit can be assigned (again in principle for 18 months) to another customer. On expiry of the assignment limit, the employee cannot be re-assigned to the same customer within three months on expiry of the assignment limit, as the interim period would be considered too short and therefore both assignment periods would be deemed to count as one and the same assignment period.


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3. Professional employer organisations A professional employer organisation (PEO) is an outsourcing firm that provides services to small and mediumsized businesses. Typically, the PEO offering may include human resource consulting, payroll processing, tax filing, workers' compensation insurance, health benefits, regulatory compliance assistance, etc. The PEO enters into a contractual co-employment agreement with its client. Through co-employment, the PEO becomes the employer of record for tax purposes through filing payroll taxes under its own tax identification numbers. As the legal employer, the PEO is responsible for withholding proper taxes and social security contributions. Co-employment or employer of record services are normal in the US. There is no direct equivalent of the US

model in Germany and in most parts of Europe. A PEO model has to be implemented properly in Germany in order to avoid the following risks: ● From a regulatory perspective, there is a risk of hidden employee leasing, which is prohibited in Germany. ● From a tax perspective, possibly the most serious problem is that if a PEO supports its client avoid permanent establishment in Germany, the PEO model does not work and may possibly be deemed to be tax evasion by the tax authorities. ●

2.2 Exceptions to the assignment limit Exceptions to the assignment limit may be included in collective bargaining agreements or be agreed with a works council (Betriebsrat) established at the client. Such agreements may permit assignment periods to exceed the assignment limit in the industry the client operates in. For example, there is a limit of 48 months in the metal and electrical industry. Furthermore, if the collective bargaining agreement has a so-called escape clause, it is possible for the customer to agree a longer assignment limit with its works council. However, if the client is not bound by a such an agreement, they may choose to adopt one, if their operational unit (Betrieb) falls into the scope of one within their industry or sector. In the case of a so-called escape clause, it is possible for the company and works council to agree on the length of the assignment limit, however only up to 24 months. Clients with no works council and are not bound by a collective bargaining agreement cannot extend the assignment limit beyond its limit.

2.3 Consequences of a breach of the assignment limit If and to the extent that an employee would be assigned to a client for a longer period than the assignment limit applicable (either by law or by a collective bargaining agreement), the employee would be deemed to have a direct employment agreement with the client. However, this does not apply if the employee disagrees with the transfer of the employment relationship and declares that they adhere to the employment contract with the recruitment company. In addition, both the recruitment company and the client face a fine of €30,000 on breaching the assignment limit. They are also liable for paying social security contributions deriving from this de facto employment agreement that has been established between the recruitment company’s former employee and the client. Further, the AÜG licence for conducting business in Germany can be revoked upon breaching the assignment limit.

THOMAS LEISTER is a lawyer / partner and a specialist lawyer for labour law at Osborne Clarke, Munich

POWER POINTS Business protection is a hot topic for every recruitment company. In particular, post-contractual restrictive covenants are important. The main issue is to find the right balance between a proper protection and a legally effective clause. If a recruitment company places agency workers in Germany under the Employee Leasing Act, the Arbeitnehmerüberlassungsgesetz assignment limits have to be met. There is a general 18-month limit on the assignment period. This means that, as a general rule of law, an employee in Germany cannot be assigned to the same customer (to work under the customer's supervision) in the same position for a period longer than 18 months. The services of professional employer organisations (PEO) are becoming more and more attractive. When offering such services in Germany, certain pitfalls must be observed, in particular regulatory and tax risks. WWW.RECRUITER.CO.UK K 13

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TECHNOLOGY AND SERVICES Smart integration with the appliance of science

Two-way robotic interviewing via AI Swedish robot recruiter Tengai is launching an automated two-way interactive digital video interview facility. Candidates access a self-service-portal and connect to the interview software Tengai Recruit on their smartphone. Unlike pre-recorded video interviews, the Tengai Digital Interview gives the candidate a two-way interactive experience with conversational AI in real time, while collecting behavioural data for objective evaluation. Conversational AI create human-like interaction between people and robots via messaging and voice-enabled applications. The framework in Tengai was validated by psychometric scientists during 2020 and is part of the overall unbiased methodology. The two-way interviews are designed to meet the increased demand for conversational AI and remote interviewing, with the rise of virtual recruiting in the pandemic.

Science-based hiring platform Modern Hire, which recently acquired the video-interviewing platform Sonru, can now be integrated with the Smart Recruiters’ talent acquisition suite. The integration provides Modern Hire clients with an automated process for submitting on-demand video, voice and text interviews, live interviews and assessments within the SmartRecruiters workflow. Modern Hire’s mission is to build a cross-platform system that reduce the burden of administration. Its platform is powered by its Cognition technology, which merges expertise in areas such as psychology, talent selection science, advanced analytics, candidate experience, employment law, data science and the practical application of ethical AI.


A look at some AI services with recruiters and employers in mind

Research partnership aims to drive more equity in hiring

Predicting peak earnings Totaljobs has launched a tool that enables candidates to benchmark their earnings and find out their potential peak salary. The Peak Earnings Predictor also provides valuable data for recruiters and hiring managers because it is built with Totaljobs’ exclusive salary data. Peak earnings, says the job board and recruitment solutions provider, is the age when an individual earns the most, and is influenced by factors such as experience and location. The tool also highlights inequities: British women hit their peak earnings at 40, but it is four years later for men. peak-earnings

Mobile engagement in one place

HireVue is expanding its partnership with the global Science of Diversity and Inclusion Initiative (SODI) to drive more equity in hiring. It will help ensure learnings from the partnership are applied through its end-to-end hiring platform, which incorporates video interviewing, assessment and an artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot. Previous SODI research found that small changes to systems can have a major impact: for example, specific changes to job descriptions can increase applications from ethnic minority candidates by almost 300%. A global survey of hiring managers carried out by HireVue found that improving diversity and inclusion is a priority for a third of them.

Cloud-based workforce management technology specialist Sirenum believed that digital solutions for shift workers were often segmented, needing one app to be onboarded, another to receive their shifts and a third to upload expenses. It says it wanted to have the same effect on engagement apps that Salesforce had on CRM. So it has unified the channels and processes on one mobile platform, Engage, which requires just one password and username. It brings together onboarding, job opportunities, payslips, geofenced clock-in, timesheeting and expenses in one application. It also allows individuals to chat directly to their hiring manager or consultant. The white-labelled solution can be customised by employers.


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Hiring times Why letting good recruiters go was so short-sighted BY JOHN HARDY

year ago, as the world was going into various forms of lockdown, I noticed that my contacts, some of the best recruiters I know or have worked with, were getting in touch, looking for a new contract or job. They had been the first to be let go by the companies they recruit for. CHROs rushing to save money, or just believing that if there is no hiring right now there is no value that can be added by their recruiters, said: “We won’t being hiring for a while, so we’ll let them go and hire them when we need them again.” Now we are coming out of the third lockdown and businesses are coming to the conclusion that they should probably start hiring people again and they should probably do it really, really quickly. Confidence in growth is high, and there is an anticipation that people will be moving jobs, either for career development, resentment at their treatment during lockdown, or just because it feels like a time for renewal. To do this, businesses will need those recruitment teams back. Eight weeks ago, a switch was flipped and LinkedIn is


JOHN HARDY is ex-resourcing director, Barclaycard & Barclays UK, now hiring for fintech start-ups


now awash with roles. From heads of recruitment to recruitment partners, everyone is doing the same thing at the same time. I suspect there will be some very disappointed CHROs and CEOs over the coming months. Recruiting recruiters takes time; recruiting great recruiters can take even longer. Doing this while everyone else is doing the same thing means that you are fighting over the same people. Recruiters can only work with strong relationships with their hiring managers and these take time to build – months, not weeks. Finally, and perhaps most obviously, if everyone is hiring recruiters, everyone is hiring. You have chosen the worst time to get the very best people, when everyone else is trying to get them, with all the quality and cost issues associated with that. When CEOs talk about their human capital being their best asset – it is really your only asset – why would you allow yourself to close the engine room that feeds the entire organisation, even for a few months? You have intentionally lost one of your competitive advantages for what? Saving a few salaries and LinkedIn recruiter licences? The best leaders understand this and put hiring at the heart of their organisation. They are always trying to engage the talent that will give them a real advantage. There is never a time when they think: “You know what, we probably have all the great people we will need for now, so let’s close this recruitment thing down and let them go and hire them for our competition.” This is all true, regardless of how you employ your recruiters as well. RPOs do not have warehouses full of recruiters waiting to be deployed; it takes them pretty much the same time to hire people as you do. If you believe that hiring great people will really make the difference to the performance of your business, think about the team of people fighting every day to attract them. They can map the market, make great connections and contacts and when you are ready to hire again, you really can just flip the switch. ●


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18/05/2021 16:35



WEBCHAT HMRC SHOULDN’T FOOL AROUND WITH IR35 REFORMS Today [1 April 2021] you published a few comments regarding HMRC’s statement “that the impact of similar reforms in the public sector in 2017 has been minimal and minimal impact is anticipated in the new round of reforms”, (‘Readers respond to reports on IR35 reforms on’). HMRC should make sure they put these statements out on the correct date. Today is April Fool’s day and they put that out weeks ago, missing the mark completely. Greg Horne, director, IT recruitment CONTRACTING NONSENSE FROM HMRC In response to your story (‘HMRC defends interviewee numbers in research into IR35 changes’,, 29 March), I can tell you that IR35 has ruined my once-profitable business. Because of IR35, for the past two years my company has made a loss. I live in Norfolk but travel around the UK. I was contracting, doing technical migrations at £200 a day. I couldn’t even take an inside IR35 role if I wanted to. The client I was doing the work for appears to have blanketed all its contractors, but not uplifted the rate. If I were now to take a contract with them, I would receive takehome pay of £650 per week, but after expenses, be left with £300-£350k. Barry Wood

“What new requirements will you have in your office facilities post-lockdown?” NICK GREENSTON CEO, RET IN UE TA L EN T S OL UT I ON S

“In the current post-Covid climate that has become the ‘new normal’, we are getting on with business as usual, as we are all well connected and equipped from our home offices. However, in a people-driven business like recruitment, we all need those water-cooler conversations. A business such as ours is founded and thrives on relationships, so I strongly believe that our people will return to the office in time to see, meet and bond again with their colleagues. We may revert to working more from home again as staff tire of the daily commute. Essentially, it is all about finding a healthy balance, so that staff are happy and feel supported.”


“Offices will be a completely different experience as we advance out of lockdown. Just as many of our clients have adapted their working arrangements, so must we. Physical working spaces will become more about collaboration, maximising the time and space with colleagues. We’ve worked hard to ensure our technology can support our teams to operate from wherever they feel most productive and achieve the best work/life balance. While no one would ever have wished for a global pandemic, it has confirmed what we’ve long believed: that with the right technology and trust, our teams can deliver fantastic results from anywhere.”


“At itris, we are fortunate to own our offices and are excited to see staff returning over the coming weeks. As well as a more thorough cleaning routine, we have introduced air quality control, sanitising stations and increased the space between work areas. There is an expectation from our personnel to be offered a more flexible way of working. Therefore, we will be embracing a hybrid work style across our business, driven by individual comfort, health and wellbeing. We will be conducting consultations with each member of staff to see what works best for them, while maintaining security and quality control.” WWW.RECRUITER.CO.UK 17

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he world of recruitment is changing, and women are a driving force of this change. Here we highlight five individuals who are responsible for bringing transformative and positive change to the industry, but who also serve as excellent role models for everyone. They share a number of common traits such as drive, talent, energy, enthusiasm, vision and business acumen. What they also have in common is a wish to make the recruitment world a better place, not only for candidates and employers, but for those who work in the sector as well. Between them, they are champions of diversity, technology, data, change and, crucially, people. And, while their achievements are already considerable, it is clear that their best could be yet to come.

develop their careers beyond where they thought they could go. Now that I am running a recruitment software business, I find that same pride in seeing so many of my own team who joined Firefish in entry-level positions, and who are now running their own functions and helping to drive the company forward.


Wendy McDougall was a running a leading IT recruitment agency but was frustrated by the limitations of recruitment software options. So she and her team developed their own software in-house. In 2010, McDougall spun Firefish out into a business in its own right with co-founder Andrew Mackay. It has grown from a two-person project to a 45-person, software business with clients in 26 countries worldwide and 30% growth year-on-year.

What have you sought to change most in recruitment? No one wants to be sold to any more – 78% of clients and candidates want to carry out their own independent research to get to know a recruitment business before taking a cold call. With Firefish, I’ve sought to change the way businesses recruit by giving them the tools that they need to attract in those clients and candidates and nurture lasting relationships that continue to generate more business.

What are your aims/ambitions? Current position Chief Fish – I steer the boat at Firefish Software.

Any projects you would like to highlight that may not be in the public domain? We’re in the process of launching a new area of our product that will make us the only recruitment software on the UK market that can offer recruitment websites that are built into your CRM.

What are you most proud of in your career so far? When I was a recruitment agency owner, I loved helping people


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We are the only independently led recruitment customer relationship management in the UK and have been seizing 20% market share every year. I aim to continue the buzz of beating the big guys and helping other small and medium-sized business owners achieve their business goals using Firefish.

When not innovating in the field of recruitment, what do you like doing? Wakeboarding, wake-surfing or paddle-boarding with family and friends on Loch Lomond – or sitting on the beach in Menorca with a huge gin and tonic!


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After roles at a number of financial institutions, Rebecca Foden moved to Transport for London (TfL) in 2016 where she spearheaded some of the recruitment sector’s most innovative diversity and inclusion (D&I) programmes. Diversity is in her veins, she says, and is proud to be a member of Resourcing Leaders 100 (RL 100), representing the 5% of ethnically diverse recruitment leaders.

Current position Head of divisional resourcing for government services at Capita. I manage the permanent hiring for more than 3,000 hires per annum on some of the UK’s largest government contracts, from the Royal Navy’s personnel training to the Department for Work & Pensions’ Personal Independent Payments.

What are you most proud of in your career so far? As the head of talent acquisition and early careers and diversity hiring for Transport for London, I


spent years disrupting processes to enable TfL to represent the diversity of the city it served. My team made a major contribution to reducing the gender pay gap for the first time by hiring women leaders. We also recruited and developed the pipeline of future leaders though a new youth brand, Your Next Move. This culminated in a great legacy, as the leaders whom the team hired kept London safe throughout the pandemic, supporting key workers. I’m also proud of the pop-up assessment centre I ran at a prison to hire ex-offenders. They have gone on to be hugely successful at TfL.

Any current projects you would like to highlight that might not be in the public domain? At Capita, I’ve been helping to embed an off-shoring global delivery model in Mumbai, establishing recruitment transformation and technology and socially responsive resourcing programmes across a 10,000-member workforce. I am also helping to build an inclusive tech platform (Inclusive Careers) for the under-represented as a strategic product and brand adviser.

through to full-scale crisis leadership in the thrust of a global pandemic. I’m convinced more than ever that the success of the leadership team hired at TfL was a result of their diversity.

What are your aims/ ambitions? My ambition is to lead on the D&I and recruitment talent agenda for a values-driven organisation that aligns to an inclusive brand. I also want to give diverse recruiters a life and career hack so they can stay on course in their careers and don’t “squiggle” the way that I once did.

What do you do when not innovating in recruitment? I am either ideating on the product strategy for Inclusive Careers or blogging about diversity and career mastery for the under-represented. I’m a busy mum (momager of twins) and love adventure and travelling to far-flung places.

What have you sought to change most in recruitment? I am on a mission to change the world with socially impactful resourcing. Organisations are under so much pressure right now, from prioritising inclusion in the midst of Black Lives Matters


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After a number of recruitment roles, Lisa Scales founded TribePad in 2008, which developed a next-generation applicant tracking system ahead of its time. She’s now back on the front line of talent acquisition, so expect her experiences to fuel more innovation.

Current position I joined Nestlé last year as the head of talent acquisition for the UK & Ireland – it’s a brilliant role where you are part of the world’s largest food and beverage business. You are encouraged to be yourself, be entrepreneurial in thought and to innovate constantly.

Any current projects you would like to highlight that might not be in the public domain? We are just scoping out some exciting work connecting candidate and consumer behaviours and how we can use this to make an impact on our work.

What are you most proud of in your career so far? Being the founder and creator of TribePad: from seeing a gap in the

market, developing the idea and setting the business up all from my office at home – while on maternity leave – and leading it to become a multi-million-pound business. My girls were only one and three years old when I started TribePad 13 years ago, and I have continued to work full time ever since. They have flourished into exceptional young ladies with a great work ethic who see absolutely no barrier to doing whatever they want to do in life. My husband and I are continuously acting as role models in that we are on an equal footing in terms of career and home life.

What have you sought to change most in recruitment? Because I have come from a business background, I struggle when I hear recruiters/talent acquisition professionals who can’t articulate the importance of their work and align that to the overall business strategy. If you ever see me talking on a webinar/ podcast or even at a conference, I talk in the language of business, not in the language of hiring, and I try to educate others on this.

“I struggle with recruiters/talent acquistion professionals who can’t align their work to the business strategy” I M AG E S | SH UT T E R STO C K

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What are your aims/ ambitions? I only joined Nestlé in the past year which, to be honest, has been a little strange given the global pandemic, but I do love my job and my immediate aims and ambitions are to continue to transform the talent acquisition function within Nestlé.

When not innovating in the field of recruitment, what do you like doing? Lockdown saw us adding to our dog collection with Walter the cocker spaniel puppy, joining George and Missy. I spend a lot of time walking around the North Yorkshire countryside. I am a really early riser, so this is the perfect opportunity for me to get my podcast fix.


19/05/2021 14:59


Current position

Alison Ettridge is a tour de force when it comes to making the world of recruitment wake up to the benefits of data. She founded Talent Intuition nearly nine years ago on a mission to make external human capital data as readily accessible as business intelligence. The company has just been included in JP Morgan Private Bank’s top 200 UK Female-Powered Businesses, and scooped a Women in Innovation Award 2020/21 from Innovate UK.

Chief believer and CEO, Talent Intuition, living the entrepreneur’s dream. Ultimately, I’m responsible for the scale-up of Talent Intuition and the commercial success of our strategic talent intelligence platform. I also lead the amazing team here, who are all brilliant and have curious minds, which is a challenge in itself.

Any current projects you would like to highlight that might not be in the public domain? Although winning a Women in Innovation Award 2020/21 from Innovate UK is in the public domain, much of the project the grant will be used for is not. We anticipate looking at the flow of talent from university and across industries and geographies, and tracking exit points for women. We

Emma Mirrington realised the value of connecting recruiters and sharing knowledge early on. She joined The Forum for In-house Recruitment Managers (The FIRM) 2009, which was started as a LinkedIn group by in-house recruiter Gary Franklin in 2007. He left in 2014, which is when Mirrington left her position at Mars to focus on it full time. It has grown into one of the most supportive, collaborative and valued recruiting communities in the world, operating both online and off, with 8,800 members in 72 countries.


Current position and area of responsibility Managing director of The FIRM – leading my team to develop, support, connect and inspire in-house recruiters everywhere.

Any projects you would like to highlight that might not be in the public domain? We are focusing on developing hiring manager capability through a suite of recorded and live training modules, covering everything from unconscious bias through to assessment and selection. Freshly launched, it is proving popular, so watch this space.


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think understanding this flow and using this to make predictions could be really powerful in turning the dial on gender diversity.

What are you most proud of in your career so far? Being bold enough and brave enough to step away from corporate life (and a decent salary) in 2018. We have a really smart, client-focused team of 12 and I am proud of the work they deliver. Needless to say, I am also proud of being a winner of the Women in Innovation Award 2020/21.

“I am passionate about helping businesses use talent intelligence to join the dots between skills, diversity and geography”

What are you most proud of in your career so far? I am proud that we have done a lot to support our community in these challenging times, in terms of running free monthly focus groups for those out of work, in order to connect them to opportunities and to others in a similar situation. We took more than 250 people through the focus group series and many have now landed roles.

What have you sought to change most in recruitment? That talent acquisition should be seen as a destination career in its own right. More than 70% of our members end up in talent


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What have you sought to change most in recruitment? The reactive nature of recruitment drives a whole industry. Yet there is no reason for it to be so reactive. Companies can use workforce planning to plan smarter talent acquisition; recruiters (if given the time, scope and budget) can use data to challenge their business leaders and to identify a smarter workforce design.

What are your aims/ ambitions? I am passionate about helping businesses use talent intelligence to join the dots between skills,

acquisition by accident and yet it can be the most fulfilling and enjoyable career that is full of so much variety. One day you are wearing a psychology hat and on another honing your project management skills.

What are your aims/ ambitions? That The FIRM is seen as the leading global membership organisation for talent acquisition folk that develops,

diversity and geography. I want to hit all our Innovate UK scaling targets and do a Series A raise in 2022. We are really pleased to be named in the top 200 UK Female-Powered Businesses, but next year I'd like to be in the top 50!

When not innovating in the field of recruitment, what do you like doing? As any entrepreneur will tell you, there is no off button. But I have the most gorgeous husband and an amazing little girl and a variety of different four-legged creatures to keep me busy. Weekends are spent on the back of a horse or hauling a pony with a child on it.

supports, connects and inspires our members.

When not innovating in the field of recruitment, what do you like doing? I am in the process of moving house, so my evenings and weekends are filled with packing boxes. I can’t wait to move into the new house, which is a bit of a project, and explore any interior design skills I may have.

“Most of our members end up in talent acquisition by accident and yet it can be the most fulfilling and enjoyable career”


19/05/2021 15:09



A collaborative initiative aims to help the industry reflect the make-up of UK society better by boosting black recruiters by Roisin Woolnough



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wenty years ago, there were very few black people working in recruitment. Fast forward to today and the situation has not changed much. What will it be like in five years? Ten years? Much better, if Guy Hayward has his way. The CEO at recruiter Goodman Masson is aiming for at least 100 new black recruiters in the sector by 2022, and 500 plus every year after. Hayward has just launched Programme One, a scheme to attract black talent into the industry, remove the barriers to entry and overcome workplace inequalities. It’s a collaborative, industry-wide programme, made up of 10 organisations. “I knew I couldn’t make a real difference on my own, so I thought: ‘Let’s collectively address this problem in the sector and make a difference together’.” Diversity & inclusion have long been priorities for Hayward. Ten years ago, he was talking to the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo) about gender equality and the need to get more women into senior leadership roles. “It’s still nowhere near where it should be, but it’s getting closer.” Now, racial equality is his main focus. Why? The death of George Floyd in the US last year and the Black Lives Matter movement triggered a lot of soul searching. “It parachuted me into trying to understand the issues around racism. And I realised that there isn’t anything in the recruitment sector that addresses the subject of race or the under-representation of black people in the sector.” While Hayward would like greater representation of ethnic minorities generally in the sector, he says black people are particularly under-represented. He asked APSCo and the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) for figures on how many black people work in recruitment, but they did not have them. (Editor’s note: at press deadlines, the two trade bodies had



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COMMENTS FROM THE PROGRAMME ONE TEAM Alexandra Naylor, regional director at Gravitas Recruitment “I hope we achieve a real step change within the recruitment industry and also have an impact on our wider networks of clients, suppliers and partners. I would like this initiative to become an approved standard across the industry, similar to being a member of APSCo or REC. Longer term, I would like it being used as a foundation to affect other areas within D&I, such as disability. We need to educate ourselves and those around us to all those things that are different within our society, as it is only then that we can be inclusive.”

Karl Campbell, director at Westbourne Campbell “This is about us changing our work practices, our work environments and diversity of thought. It’s about how an organisation feels, what it looks like and how it operates. What does successful D&I look like? Success looks like success – us and our clients having more diverse environments. It will get to a point where clients won’t work with agencies if they don’t have diversity in their own ranks and how they identify people.”

Bradley Lewington, CEO at Spencer Ogden “If we don't help people enter the industry we will never fix the inequality or lack of black recruiters across all levels, but especially at leadership level. Raising awareness is a good start. We are successful if the recruitment industry demographic matches that of the areas we are based in, and we see a real step forward in the data when it comes to D&I of our businesses and the wider industry. Doing it as a group and therefore an industry, rather than as individual businesses, can help to amplify that effect.”


19/05/2021 09:54


COMMENTS FROM THE PROGRAMME ONE TEAM Hannah Donaldson, CEO at Meet “A lot of business owners want it to be different but don’t know how to make it different. This helps them. Recruitment has become more graduate-led from a hiring perspective but not everyone has access to secondary education, so some of it is a socio-economic challenge. The recruitment community needs to challenge the things that cause underrepresentation of minority groups.”

Ryan Adams, CEO at Signify Technology “As a young black business owner, this initiative means everything to me. Our group has found ways to get access to local black communities, to showcase examples of people like myself who have been successful in the recruitment industry. Many of the world’s largest and most successful recruitment brands will join the programme, which will mean we will attract more people and see this programme across the globe. My company and many of the other businesses have operations in the US and other countries, so I believe this initiative will change the recruitment industry landscape forever and make such a positive impact on the world.”

not yet completed their report on a survey into black representation within recruitment that was launched in December 2020.) Office for National Statistics data provides a breakdown of the black working population. Hayward says that 13% of the working population in London is black African Caribbean, rising to 15% in inner London. Goodman Masson has about 150 London-based recruiters and Hayward’s data tells him just 2% are black. Three of the Programme One agencies do not have a single black recruiter working for them. Any organisation that joins Programme One has to sign up to four strategic objectives. The first involves conducting and publishing a D&I survey and updating and publishing the data every year. “If you don’t understand the starting point, how do you measure progress?” says Hayward. “And how do you influence people? You influence them through evidence.” One of the other fundamentals is getting the communications strategy

Gary Elden OBE, chairperson at Amoria Bond

James Parker, CEO at La Fosse Associates

“I’m of mixed heritage and I’ve got to the top, but I’ve not seen many black people coming through after me. When you look at the teams people build, it’s always with those from the same background… We need a more diverse portfolio of people. We need to tell black people it’s a good career with good opportunities. And we need to help people stay in the industry and climb the ladder. The more role models you have, the more people you can attract. We need teams that reflect society.”

“The business case for diversity is clear and it’s about doing what’s right. As a company and an industry we’ve a long way to go. We believe Programme One will help recruitment companies work together to share ideas and best practice. We are passionate about the role that values-led recruiters can play. This initiative is a part of our overall drive towards being more diverse, so to be able to work together to accelerate and amplify this work will lift us all, and benefit our clients and candidates as well.”



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right. Agencies need to be proactive – rather than expecting black talent to come to them, agencies have to go looking for them and tell them why recruitment is a great industry to work in. Otherwise, Hayward says agencies will never achieve more diverse shortlists if they fish in the same talent pool with the same access points. “When joining Programme One there’s a commitment to widening talent attraction methods,” says Hayward. “This means going to sixth-form colleges, universities, African Caribbean communities, the Royal African Society, the Black Executive Network… We are already building up a network of how we access that talent.” Social mobility charity the Aleto Foundation is part of Programme One. Every black recruiter joining Programme One has access to a mentor, either through the Aleto Foundation, or through the wider programme. Emmanuel Ayoola (pictured above left), founder and MD at the Aleto Foundation, says diversity in recruitment is the key to a diverse society. To achieve it, Ayoola says the challenges facing black people

have to be understood. “For me, success looks like recruitment leaders understanding what blockers to racial diversity exist, committing to removing them and therefore welcoming a new generation of black talent. “The mentoring and reverse mentoring through Programme One, in partnership with the Aleto Foundation, will give business leaders the opportunity to learn about the experiences of young talent and how they can create pipelines for others to come through.” Lenna Cumberbatch (pictured right), D&I strategist and non-executive director at Goodman Masson, says if the recruitment sector can encourage more black people into the industry, the impact will soon be evident on a much wider scale. “It will improve opportunities across all sectors, across the country. There is the potential for change to happen very quickly and it will have an exponential impact.” Now that Programme One is up and running, Hayward hopes more recruitment agencies will come on board. That’s when the real change will start to happen. That is when he will get his 500 plus new black recruiters entering the industry each year.

PROGRAMME ONE’S FOUR STRATEGIC OBJECTIVES: A commitment to embedding a Diversity, Inclusion and Respect Strategy within your business A commitment to removing any barriers to hiring black recruiters… so your organisation matches the black representation in your local community For every black recruiter hired there is commitment that they have access to a mentor A commitment to widening your talent attraction methods and techniques

Emmanuel Ayoola from the Aleto Foundation (above left) and Lenna Cumberbatch from Goodman Masson (right)

David Annable, founder and director at Franklin Fitch “The recruitment sector is diverse, but the black community is severely under-represented at all levels within it. My ultimate hope is that Programme One creates parity between black people within our communities and within our industry. Programme One’s first target, and therefore initial success, will be the attraction, mentorship and retention of 100 more black recruiters within the UK.”


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The growing case for prioriঞsing inclusion p3 BI G TALKI NG POI NT

The diversity problem within recruitment p4 LEGAL U PDATE

Recruitment Issue 92 Ma ers May-June 2021

No jab, no job? p6 DI VE RSI TY AND I NCLU SI ON

Creaঞng a trans posiঞve workplace p8

Umbrella companies

Umbrella companies need to be regulated


n April, the Loan Charge All-Party Parliamentary Group released its report following its inquiry into how contracঞng and freelance working should operate. Its findings highlighted that IR35 in the public sector had already driven the proliferaঞon and use of unregulated umbrella companies and related arrangements, which in some cases included ‘disguised remuneraঞon’ and tax avoidance schemes. When the REC gave evidence to the APPG, we repeated our long-standing call for government to regulate umbrella companies, and for that regulaঞon to be strongly enforced. This would solve many of the issues highlighted by the APPG, and they echoed the REC’s call in the report. But recruiters also came under fire, with accusaঞons of agencies demanding kickbacks from umbrella companies for

@RECPress RM_May June.indd 1

being added to a preferred supplier list, and pushing workers to use specific companies. The report also cited a general lack of transparency over deducঞons, fees and contractor pay. The REC Code of Professional Pracঞce requires members to act with integrity, transparency and to the highest ethical standards – and the APPG publicly said it is likely that REC members are not the issue. That means that the wider recruitment sector must make sure we are doing all we can to treat candidates well. That’s just basic business pracঞce. “As an industry, we need to step up and make sure that compliance and fair treatment are our watchwords,” said REC Chief Execuঞve Neil Carberry. The REC is commi ed to promoঞng the highest standards in recruitment, and there is a role for us to play here, leading the industry from the front. We

Making great work happen

will conঞnue to provide members with best-in-class materials, such as updated template documents, due diligence processes and advice infographics for candidates. We’ll also conঞnue to work closely with organisaঞons like the TUC and representaঞves from bona fide umbrellas to try and ensure there is more ethical pracঞce by umbrella companies. Neil Carberry added: “The general principle that we must all strive for is a balance between the highest levels of compliance, being clear and transparent when giving candidates and workers informaঞon, and managing the commercial realঞes of today’s supply chain. “That balance can be achieved – and if the pandemic has taught us anything, it is that the ones who don’t abide by the basic principle of fairness when doing business are the ones who won’t survive the long haul.” 18/05/2021 18:18

Leading the industry

the view... We have to walk the walk on inclusion, says

Neil Carberry,

REC Chief Execuঞve


e all enjoy the coming of spring – but even more so this year. We weathered the latest lockdown be er than economists predicted, and the vaccine programme and re-opening of businesses are a real boost. Maybe, just maybe, some form of normality is within reach. But what sort of normality? Certainly a different one. REC members have reported a posi ve start to the year, but we can all see an emerging challenge – not in the supply of roles, but ge ng people to those jobs. Partly because of a smaller pool of available labour, and partly the development of new roles in fast-growing sectors. As an industry, we have a huge role to play in suppor ng this transi on. But in all this change, there is one issue that we must keep focusing on: inclusion. A genuinely diverse recruitment industry with a focus on inclusion will be essen al to mee ng client and social expecta ons. We will need all the talent the UK has to make sure our economy recovers and grows sustainably. The representa on of women and ethnic minori es on the boards of large companies has increased – but progress has been slow, and even slower below board level. And inequali es in employment are part of the reason for the dispropor onate impact that Covid-19 has had on some communi es. We can make a massive difference – by working to convince more reluctant clients to take inclusion seriously, and by building our ability to advise clients on how to bake diversity into the hiring process. But as well as talking the talk, we have to walk the walk. There is no be er way to demonstrate the importance of diversity and inclusion to a client than through your own, first-hand experience. And we s ll have further to go. It’s why diversity and inclusion is a key theme of this issue of RM. And it’s why one of our key campaigns this year is a push for progress on diversity and inclusion within our own sector. It’s not enough to promote good recruitment prac ces to other businesses – we must also prac ce what we preach.


The death of the Industrial Strategy Ornella Nsio, Campaigns & Government Relaঞons Manager


n March it was announced that Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng had scrapped the government’s Industrial Strategy Commi ee. The decision to disband the commi ee has created confusion and uncertainty over the government’s commitments to the ambi ons contained within the strategy itself. Founded by Theresa May in 2017, the Industrial Strategy was supposed to be a long-term plan designed to boost produc vity and earning power across the country. It focused on the five founda ons of produc vity: ideas, infrastructure, places, business environment and people. Kwarteng has now confirmed the crea on of a new Build Back Be er council as part of the Plan for Growth strategy. But the axing of the Industrial Strategy has le many worried that the government is adop ng a more ad hoc, laissez-faire approach to suppor ng economic growth. Now that the UK has le the EU, it is impera ve that the government develops an industrial strategy that looks beyond the short-term recovery from the pandemic. The labour market in par cular requires a long-term vision. More considera on is needed on the protec on of workers’ rights and alterna ve ways of working to ensure the UK workforce is opera ng as effec vely as possible. As part of this, the government should put together a long-term framework for what the country's future workforce will look like. The labour market has survived tough mes – however, it cannot build back be er without a sense of direc on for the future.

If you want to keep up to speed with all things recruitment then follow me on Twi er @RECNeil


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Leading the industry

the intelligence... Could the pandemic be an unexpected driver for diversity and inclusion?

Diverse businesses are


By Atanas Nikolaev, Research Manager While there has been a lot of effort and progress made on diversity and inclusion in the UK, many organisa ons are s ll failing to make use of all the talent available to them. This challenge is more pressing than ever as the UK economy struggles with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic and the skills shortages that pre-date it. Those companies that make D&I an integral part of their culture and succeed in using more inclusive hiring prac ces will likely see commercial success. Research by McKinsey indicates a significant correla on between financial performance and the diversity of a business’s leadership team: diverse businesses are 15% more likely to achieve above average financial returns, and this rises to 35% for those in the top quar le for racial and ethnic diversity. Research has also found that employee produc vity is strongly linked to high levels of D&I in their organisa on.

more likely to achieve above average financial returns, and this rises to


for those in the top quarঞle for racial and ethnic diversity.

More diverse teams bring a broader range of experiences to the table

New research suggests that anonymised job applicaঞons rose by


across the UK in


Why is this the case? As we indicated in Diversity is good for business, more diverse teams bring a broader range of experiences to the table, leading to more crea ve solu ons and higher-quality decisions. It’s not just about it being the right thing to do – be er inclusivity means firms can be er meet their employees’ needs and produce be er products and services. Progress con nued over the past 12 months, with organisa ons in industries ranging from infrastructure, professional services, chari es, and finance leading the way on anonymising their applica on prac ces. New research suggests that anonymised job applica ons rose by 271% across the UK in 2020. The pandemic has also driven many firms to think about inclusion in a broader sense, how they can improve employee engagement and recover be er from the effects of the pandemic. As Covid hit, the Ford Motor Company was quick

to recognise the different needs of their workforce and especially their neurodiverse employees. It facilitated internal roundtables for support, encouraged engagement in cross-organisa onal groups and invested addi onal resources in increased wellness checks from counsellors, as well as in flexible leadership and coaching. Similarly, AIG vouched to leverage cogni ve diversity to drive innova on and reduce business risk, introducing loca on-specific nomina on and training programmes to bring through future talent, as well as employee resource groups focusing on women and underrepresented groups. With the UK’s economy opening up again, we have a chance to create a more inclusive labour market and help boost the recovery. It’s important that recruiters recognise the vital role they have to play – both in advoca ng for inclusive hiring prac ces with their clients, and also increasing diversity and inclusion in their own businesses. May-June 2021 Recruitment Ma ers

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Diversity and inclusion

big talking point

Be the change you want to see Recruiters need to get their own houses in order before they can drive the scale of change UK business needs on diversity and inclusion. “The most difficult thing is the decision to act; the rest is merely tenacity”.


t’s a quote from pioneering female pilot Amelia Earhart that sits proudly within the pages of the latest report from the Helen Alexander Review on FTSE women leaders. The data itself shows that firms in the FTSE 100 and 250 have succeeded in passing the five-year target of having 33% women on boards – although there’s plenty of emphasis that this was a target, not an end goal. The latest survey results from the Parker Review – tracking progress in the ethnic diversity of FTSE 100 boards – are not so dressed up. But they s ll reveal significant progress: 74 companies had ethnic representa on on their boards in November 2020, compared to 52 in January. Recruiters will be instrumental to some of this improvement: responding to client demands, now that diversity and inclusion are high on their agenda; educa ng them; challenging them; and providing those all-important diverse shortlists. But how many recruiters have turned the mirror on themselves and asked the hard ques on: how inclusive is my business? And how many of those have then taken the concerted ac on needed to improve it? 4

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It’s one thing to know the theory, quite another to lead by example

The recruitment industry s ll fares badly when it comes to stereotypes. And looking only at gender where most progress has been made, there’s s ll a problem at the top. Last year, female representa on at board level was in single digits for many recruitment firms, despite two-thirds of them having more than 50% women at support staff level and two-fi hs having more than 50% at recruitment/resourcer level. The REC is currently working with APSCo on a full diversity and inclusion audit of the industry, to kick off a campaign designed to increase diversity and inclusion within the sector. The idea being that if you don’t measure it, you can’t change it. “Like many sectors across the UK, the recruitment industry will be facing

“Like many sectors across the UK, the recruitment industry will be facing scru ny around its diversity and inclusion.”

scru ny around its diversity and inclusion. But recruiters need to be able to demonstrate best prac ce in how they nurture diverse and inclusive workplaces of their own in order to be the experts they need to be for clients. Clearly some in the industry are making strides in this area but there are many who need to step things up and the REC is keen to help our members on this journey. We will have more to say on that soon,” says Shazia Ejaz, Director of Campaigns at the REC. “When the industry has achieved systemic change for itself, it will be far be er placed to do even more to help clients and build a more produc ve and equal workforce for the future.” At the core of the REC’s campaign will be a package of support and resources to educate and empower members, to help them understand the legisla ve framework shaping D&I, the business and moral case for suppor ng it, and the ways they can be er their own prac ces to become leaders in D&I. “We also want to recognise where progress is being made, because we know this isn’t easy. And we will celebrate the extraordinary work many members are already doing to drive the D&I agenda. Because if we can learn

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from each other and replicate that success, we’re halfway there,” adds Ejaz.

Your client will expect you to act

There are plenty of ways your business can benefit from greater diversity. You’ve probably cited them to your clients: be er access to talent, reputa on, market compe veness, be er financial performance. But Amanda Fone, founder at F1 Recruitment, injects a bit of urgency behind why recruiters themselves will need to act: very soon, your clients will be demanding it of you. “This is not going away, and if you fail to act and you can’t demonstrate how seriously your business takes D&I, it’ll leave the door wide open to your compe on,“ she says. “How will you respond if a client asks you how diverse your own team is? Clients should be asking that – and they will be.” Fone adds that her agency has won more business in the past six months than in the past 17 years, because she’s worked hard to become an expert in D&I – commi ng to it, and being seen to

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take ac on both in the marke ng and PR sector she works in and internally. In fact, she says, the visibility of their external ini a ves – which include NoTurningBack2020 and the Back2Business Returners programme – has helped her recruit diverse talent for her business, because people believe the agency’s approach to D&I is authen c. But even then, it’s taken eight years for her to get the truly diverse team she’s so proud of.

Change your processes, change who you hire, ask your people

Joanne Lockwood, founder of SEE Change Happen (who goes into more detail on transgender inclusion on p8), agrees with Fone. “While everyone is in the same posi on, you can get away with winging it to some extent. But there will be a point you need evidence,” she says. “And in order to do the right thing, to reach your own inclusion goals, you have to accept that you have to change how you operate, and change how and who you hire. If you realise the way the market is going, you’ll realise it’s worth

inves ng in training, hiring different people and rewarding people in different ways.” It’s something Guidant Global realised nearly four years ago, when a client asked for help to put on an inclusion week. “We didn’t feel we could help clients more broadly un l we put our own house in order, which we did,” said Charlo e Woodward, now Head of People, Global Managed Services and lead on ED&I at Guidant Global’s parent company, Impellam Group. At the heart of Guidant’s strategy is the INfluence programme, which combines a mix of content, ambassador groups, workshops and events, and involvement from outside experts, to tap into internal advocates, educate from within and create an inclusive environment. They now use it at a group level to start conversa ons with clients, or to support clients’ own ini a ves. But INfluence wasn’t launched un l the company had asked its own people what they thought and what they wanted to learn more about – and because employees feel they own the end result, it’s an approach Woodward believes can work for all companies, big and small. “This is not just about winning new business,” says Woodward. “It’s because it’s the right thing to do – people are demanding it, and without it, there’d be an amazing amount of talent we wouldn’t be able to a ract into the business.” And that, too, is the point. If firms must be er represent their consumer base or the communi es they operate within to succeed in the future, then it follows that recruitment companies need to hire people from the backgrounds they hope to place with clients. “We need to have the conversa ons about what we can do as an industry to make recruitment a profession that people from lower social backgrounds and ethnic minori es want to join,” says Amanda Fone. “We have to make it more appealing. It can be a job for life. When you look at the entrepreneurial spirit within black, Asian and minority ethnic communi es – and how that would benefit the recruitment industry – there’s a massive opportunity to get bright youngsters into the sector.” May-June 2021 Recruitment Ma ers


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Workplace safety

legal update Can employers insist their workforce get vaccinated? By Jane O'Shea, REC Solicitor


he ques on of mandatory vaccina ons is complex. Under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 (HSWA) employers must take reasonable steps to reduce workplace risks. Failure to comply is a criminal offence. Yet the employer must very carefully balance their health and safety obliga ons with the rights of their workforce. There will be a wide variety of reasons employees might be unwilling or unable to have the vaccine. It may be because of a medical condi on, a disability, pregnancy or on religious grounds. Generally speaking, employees have a duty to follow lawful and reasonable instruc ons given by their employer. However, it would be very risky for an employer to take disciplinary ac on against an employee who refuses to take the vaccine. This is especially the case where the refusal is based on a protected characteris c because that could lead to a

Demonstrate you know your candidates’ impact the best The REC is helping members to understand the impact they make in partnership with The GC Index. To discover your impact, go to www.franklinhacke recmembers 6

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discrimina on claim under the Equality Act 2010, unless the employer can objec vely jus fy its decision. There may be some limited circumstances where the employer's instruc on could be regarded as reasonable and lawful, including where: • vaccina on means protec ng the health system, i.e. by vaccina ng hospital and care home staff, the health system as a whole can be protected • the workplace cannot be made Covid-secure, such as airports or other places with a large volume of people passing through • home working is not an op on, for example the police force and security personnel. It is important to remember that each industry sector and workplace is different and while a mandatory vaccina on policy could be considered reasonably necessary in the healthcare sector, this might not be the case for sectors where home working is an op on. Whatever the sector, employers should listen to concerns and be sensi ve with employees who choose not to be vaccinated.

As organisa ons begin to recover from the effects of the pandemic, it is more important than ever that each new hire they make delivers the business impact needed to achieve their objec ves. But how do you define business impact? Business impact is the tangible contribu on an individual makes towards the achievement of business outcomes. According to research by The GC Index, every individual has a powerful package of impact based around five roles: The Game Changer – Crea ng original ideas The Strategist – Making sense of things The Implementer – Ge ng things done The Polisher – Swea ng the detail The Play Maker – Orchestra ng rela onships

In most circumstances it will be be er for employers to support staff to get the vaccine rather than making it a requirement. This support can be best achieved through advocacy and effec ve communica on. Employers should think about how they can implement measures now to ensure their workforce are well informed, as this will be really important in the coming months. Such measures may include a clear accessible implementa on plan, allowing for paid me off to a end vaccina on appointments, and monitoring and keeping risk assessments up to date. The REC will con nue to track the evolving landscape and keep members up to date on developments.

Understanding the energy a candidate has for these roles allows you to show your client how and where they will focus their efforts once in post – how they will make a tangible difference to the organisa on. The problem is, many recruiters don’t measure the impact their candidates make. The standard blend of skills, experience and personality profiling gives li le insight into whether candidates can make the right impact. So it stands to reason that the recruiters that understand the impact their candidates will make be er than their compe tors are the ones who will build the most produc ve, valuable and commercially beneficial rela onships in the post-pandemic marketplace.

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Natasha Crump, Environment, Social and Governance Director, Amoria Bond If you have a company purpose, commit to it. It has to reflect where you are and where you are going as a business. We refreshed Amoria Bond’s purpose last year and Progressing Lives Everywhere runs through everything we do internally and externally. It is a commitment to our people, clients, candidates, and wider community. The company holds itself accountable to it, the fact they’ve hired me to the board is testament to that.

It must be visible and tangible. Our three global sales MDs started with the company as trainees. We’ve got clear progression paths mapped out for all our people – Group Services as well as our sales teams – and with non-management

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What I know

Behind the scenes with REC members, on operaঞng with purpose

routes too. It’s reflected in the incen ves and benefits we offer. Over the past 18 months we’ve made D&I a real priority to build a genuinely inclusive working environment where everyone has the same opportuni es to fulfil their poten al and progress, introducing ini a ves like our companywide programme for female employees, ASCEND.

It needs to be sustainable. Our Charitable Trust holds the company accountable to the value we place on giving back and making a sustainable impact. It’s created a legacy all employees can be proud of – progressing lives beyond ourselves. It differen ates us and a racts great people to the business. In turn, fuelling great service for our clients and candidates.

Julie Stewart, Director, TD Group

You got involved in a local response to the naঞonwide PPE shortage at the start of the pandemic. How? I volunteered my services to the Silverstone Tech Cluster when recruitment fell off a cliff. I wanted to give back to the NHS a er all their hard work. I helped coordinate around 50 suppliers who offered thousands of items of PPE which they had available (masks, gloves, scrubs, etc.). We helped put local GP prac ces, care homes and medical centres in touch with suppliers un l they received PPE orders from the government.

Playing your part in the local community is important to you… Yes. We’re also involved in a career

speed networking ini a ve at a local school – over Zoom this year – which gives students the chance to ask ques ons about our career paths. Recruiters have got the right tools to do things like this and the kids benefit hugely from it.

What lessons have you learnt from the past year? Never give up, keep plugging away and be open minded. The recruitment industry is very compe ve, but we’re now collabora ng with other recruitment businesses and helping each other out when we’re busy. It is something we’ve never done, but the biggest lesson has been about the value of pulling together. Nothing is off limits.

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Diversity and inclusion

A focus on belonging By fostering a culture of inclusivity for trans people, you get it right for everybody, says Joanne Lockwood of SEE Change Happen


oanne Lockwood sold her IT company four years ago, because she couldn’t face transi oning at work. She gave up hun ng for another job a er six months because she didn’t fit anywhere. She’s now an inclusion and belonging specialist, and she also advocates on LGBT+ and transgender awareness, speaking professionally on the issues and solu ons, and providing consultancy and training. While the spotlight shines on gender and race, and some progress is being made, the same can’t be said about the treatment about trans people in the workplace. In a YouGov survey, 65% of trans people said they don’t feel safe or confident to be open at work about their iden ty. That’s up 50% on five years earlier.

The recruitment hurdle “The needle isn’t moving,” says Lockwood. “There are just as many people who feel they have less chance in the job market and the applica on process. There’s plenty of anecdotal evidence where people have felt they were doing really well, un l their diverse gender iden ty became known.” She blames the con nued emphasis on culture fit and affinity bias. “In most cases, it’s not down to the corporate policy, but the individual hiring manager or recruiter,” she says. And changing that will depend on the alignment between the recruiter and the client on diversity and inclusion – that they are willing to play the long game, and they’re not just a er the quick fix. “Organisa ons need to start looking at

Recruitment Ma ers


The official magazine of The Recruitment & Employment Confedera on Dorset House, 1st Floor, 27-45 Stamford Street, London SE1 9NT Tel: 020 7009 2100

Recruitment Ma ers May-June 2021

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their culture, their vision, their values first, because too many rush to market to hire themselves out of a situa on, without cleaning the tank of toxicity,” she explains. Workplace barriers Although many companies will fall in line with the idea of targets and measurement when it comes to D&I, Lockwood believes there’s a general fear around collec ng demographic informa on when conduc ng all-important employee surveys. As a result, companies might shout from the roo ops that 85% of their employees are happy – but they know nothing about the 15% that aren’t, who, in all likelihood, could cons tute 100% of the minori es in the business. Trans people in the workplace are par cularly affected by con nued nega ve portrayal in the media – something that is s ll not challenged in the way that portrayals of race or gender would be, Lockwood con nues. She adds that there’s nervousness around the stereotypes of poor mental health and homelessness. That makes transi oning at work even harder than it is already. But an ac ve trans inclusion strategy – which includes lunch and learns, visible queer role models, and ac ve CEO support – will help promote understanding and acceptance. But there’s another way of looking at it, too. The individual

transi oning will be facing a whole load of personal issues around their family, rela onships, and their life which they can’t help but bring into the office. They will need mental health support – just as other colleagues may need it for a myriad of other reasons. They may find hormonal changes hard to deal with – just as someone going through the menopause might. They may find it difficult to adjust – and there you can draw comparisons with someone who has experienced lifechanging trauma. “The response should be no different to someone who has just said they’re having a baby. There’s s ll going to be an OMG moment as this is not a well-trodden path. But it’s one that needs to be on the map.” At its heart, a trans posi ve environment is one where the company cares that all its employees have a sense of belonging. As more firms realise that, fewer trans people might feel like they’re the wildcard of the recruitment process.

Membership Department: Membership: 020 7009 2100, Customer Services: 020 7009 2100 Publishers: Redac ve Publishing Ltd, Level 5, 78 Chamber Street, London E1 8BL Tel: 020 7880 6200. www.redac Editorial: Editor Pip Brooking Produc on Editor: Vanessa Townsend Producঞon: Produc on Execu ve: Rachel Young rachel.young@redac Tel: 020 7880 6209 Prinঞng: Printed by Precision Colour Prin ng © 2020 Recruitment Ma ers. Although every effort is made to ensure accuracy, neither REC, Redac ve Publishing Ltd nor the authors can accept liability for errors or omissions. Views expressed in the magazine are not necessarily those of the REC or Redac ve Publishing Ltd. No responsibility can be accepted for unsolicited manuscripts or transparencies. No reproduc on in whole or part without wri en permission.

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How would you describe the recruitment CRM landscape today? Over-complicated and over-priced. Every provider is adding plugins, integrations and AI galore but the reality is, recruiters are getting increasingly overwhelmed and frustrated - the majority of business leaders I speak to have a very cynical view on CRMs. Why do you think people are disillusioned? There’s a mistaken belief that more tech means a better system but key complaints (outside of price) are too much functionality that’s not used and makes the system clunky, or that means consultants are getting sucked into their CRM for hours without picking up the phone. Add to this the expectation on return based on time and money invested in tech-heavy systems and you can see the balance isn’t there, which leaves people pretty disgruntled.

How can recruitment leaders get out of that rut? Embrace a change and know that the thought of data migration is always much worse than the reality – fears around data migration is often the glue that sticks you to a system that’s not right for you. It can be a much simpler, cheaper process than you imagine to change.

What are the key mistakes people make when choosing a CRM? As a new business owner it’s to ‘just stick with what you know’. Familiarity doesn’t equal best fit so you need to do a few demos to

see what’s right for you. Don’t get too swept away by shiny things – will you and your team really use that super-nifty bit of kit on a daily basis? For an established business, it’s being afraid to make a change. You often know your CRM’s no good but don’t do anything about it - you wouldn’t stick with a job board or marketing tool that was under-performing so why accept that for something as business-centric as your CRM?

0203 475 1789

Demonstrate to end-hirers your commitment to professional and compliant recruitment

How do you think CRMs will evolve? Automation and AI will continue to shape development but what I really want to see in the future is a change in attitude – it’s my mission to make people love their CRM, not just put up with it. Just Recruit aims to provide all the functionality you need without the unnecessary bits you don’t and ultimately gives people more control of their day. I hope other providers feel a sense of duty to improve the customer experience and simplify something that has become far too over-complicated.

Become an FCSA Supply Chain Partner. Join the growing list of recruitment agencies who are committing to a preferred supplier list comprising exclusively of fully compliant and transparent FCSA Accredited Members and signing up to our Supply Chain Partner Charter.

Register your interest now. Email |

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Special Report



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Special Report


EDITOR’S COMMENT Even as the Covid-19 pandemic began to take hold in the UK in 2020, the word “reset” was on the lips of many. It became an opportunity, courtesy of working from home and a world seemingly on hold, to rethink many facets of life – from family life to ultimate priorities for living, values and future goals, and of course, the next business step. Recruitment slowed down to a crawl but the ambitions and dreams of recruitment business owners and those of some of their senior managers did not all lie dormant. Case in point: management buy-outs in UK recruitment took place, not necessarily because of the pandemic and actually sometimes in spite of it, but it was one demonstration of evolution in this generally fast-moving sector. Read our two MBO case studies, and hear from one seller and one chartered accountant. Is an MBO for you?

DeeDee Doke Editor Recruiter/ 32 RECRUITER

KNOW YOUR BUSINESS INSIDE OUT? YOU STILL NEED HELP AND EXPERTISE TO STRUCTURE AN MBO by DeeDee Doke ichard Buchanan (above right) and Rob Dyer (above left) received their largest-ever present just nine days before Christmas Day in 2020. Although this was a gift that they had paid for themselves (with some financial help), the pair hope to see it giving back in abundance over the years to come. The present to themselves was Abatec Recruitment, where Buchanan and Dyer had each worked for 20 and 15 years respectively. They bought the construction, engineering and industrial recruitment company from their boss, the then managing director Philip Davies, with the deal signed on that fateful day in December. Three days later, Buchanan, Dyer and the Abatec staff bid Davies farewell with “tea, sandwiches and a few beers – and that was it”, Buchanan recalls. “From that point, it was ours. Realistically, nothing huge happened in those dead Christmas weeks, apart from Rob and I painting the office, but really from 4 January that was it, and then the new business plan was implemented.”


A brief history of this management buy-out: solid plans to carry out the MBO came about last summer, when the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic had eased, and the mood of the country had lightened somewhat. “We decided that it was the right time to approach the former MD and say to him: ‘What do you think? Can we accelerate your long-term plans, and can we make you an offer that we could all be in agreement with, and effectively buy your shares?’,” Buchanan says. The pandemic played a secondary role in the decision to propose the MBO last year, Buchanan and Dyer say. “We did bring it forward a couple of years. Covid probably accelerated it, but it was really a combination of things,” says Buchanan. “We went to him [Davies] initially with something, and he came back to us saying: ‘I’d accept it if the deal looks like this.’ So, we undoubtedly ticked the boxes that he wanted, to make an exit.” Assisting the ‘two peas in a pod’, as some have described Buchanan and Dyer, were Jo Bligh of Thinking Legal and Neil Denniss of Bespoke Tax Accountants. They had met Bligh a few years back, and a business consultant


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Inside MBOs (Finance)

acquaintance recommended Denniss. Buchanan and Dyer met with three different tax accountant firms before they chose Denniss. “We wanted somebody to hold our hand, because we’re neither accountants nor solicitors – so we were in no position to take a lead on it,” Buchanan explains. “We relied on them 100%.” Both men knew the Abatec business inside and out and, of course, understood the industry sectors they served and how to manage in a recruitment operation. However, what they did not have was the expertise to either structure an MBO or understand the very detailed contracts that had to be crafted to meet all parties’ requirements. “There were a couple of things we had limited knowledge about. One was how would the deal look, pre, or up until the point of sale, and post-sale; and how it’s structured, and how it was structured in line with the profits of our business. This was all new to us.” While the specifics of the MBO cannot be disclosed under the terms of the arrangement, Buchanan and Dyer can say that they had to come up with “a large sum of money up front to be paid on the day of completion. That sum of money, as representation of the total deal, was about 40%. And the rest of the payments were structured for the remaining term of the MBO.” Buchanan says: “Again, having had no prior experience, there’s no way we would have known this. And the other clever stuff is, when you utilise a tax specialist, they are able to utilise the money in the best way to, one,

benefit us; and two, benefit Phil, the outgoing MD. “We would never have had any of that. In reality, we couldn’t have done it without those two holding our hands.” Buchanan and Dyer had to come up with two large sums of money separately, which they had to finance themselves, “and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that our piggy banks only went so far”, Buchanan says. They leveraged their properties and “begged, borrowed and stole” to come up with the necessary amount, he adds. Dyer even sold his home to bulk up his contribution. “When you’ve worked in a business – which for Richard has been 20 years and me going on 15 – there’s a big emotional attachment to the place,” Dyer says. “It almost feels as if it’s yours already.” Once the deal was signed, the two embarked on their business plan to make the business truly their own. One of the first items on the agenda was to refurbish and refresh their Weston-super-Mare offices with a glass-walled board room, new windows and paint, and by removing the cubicle walls that had made the premises seem closed in. “Just the aesthetics of the building, how it worked,” they say. Buchanan and Dyer did much of the work themselves.

ABATEC Abatec Recruitment is part of Abatec Holdings, formed in November 2020. Offices: Weston-super-Mare (head office), Bristol Primary areas of operations: South West England, South Wales Sectors: Construction, engineering and industrial recruitment Turnover: £12m Staff: 21 (head office), Bristol (3) In hindsight: “We thought we read the contracts many times but I would have read them twice as many times; there is so much information to take in.” – Richard Buchanan

“We have pretty much worked ourselves into the ground over the past three or four months, since Christmas,” says Dyer. Also, on the ‘to do’ list was relaxing the company’s somewhat old-fashioned dress code that demanded ties and jackets for male staff and similarly formal attire for women. Changes to staff pay, terms and conditions were introduced early on to reward their employees better, along with new technology and types of forecasts. Yet the biggest challenge they faced in the earliest days was helping their staff to “try to settle the company down – very much selling and implementing the business plan”, says Buchanan. “Bear in mind we have 330 temps [temporary workers], a big support workforce here at head office. There was quite a bit we had to rein in, and ensure that everybody was comfortable with what we’ve done and what we’re doing.” So far, say Buchanan and Dyer, the feedback has been positive. At the same time, the pair now believe they took on too much too early in their tenure as company co-owners. “We’d definitely say, don’t take on as many challenges as we did. The office refurbishment itself was a major challenge. And you combine that with taking care of the customers, ensuring all the departments are working properly, that everyone’s getting paid properly – it’s a big challenge,” Buchanan iterates. “Rob and I are pulling long shifts: six- and seven-day weeks.” Dyer compares the MBO and the aftermath to giving birth. “There’s a newborn baby and you want to take care of it,” he says. Yes, the company is 30 years old and is tried and tested, Buchanan says. “But because we’re bringing [it] back,” he explains, building up the company again from a very low trading point [last year] to where we are today, that’s taken a mammoth amount of effort.”


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RECRUITMENT SECTOR EXPECTS AN INCREASE IN MANAGEMENT BUY-OUTS IN THE COMING YEAR By Mark Maunsell he global pandemic, in conjunction with speculation that capital gains tax will rise, has encouraged business owners to re-evaluate their strategic options and consider when best to realise the value of their assets. A management buy-out (MBO) is one of a number of options and is common practice in the human capital sector, as founders look to support the continuing operation of the business by shifting ownership to the senior management team. The speculation that capital gains tax was expected to move to be in line with income tax has proved to be the catalyst for a number of shareholders to undertake a vendor-friendly MBO. The deals do not focus on value


maximisation and often are limited in terms of the level of cash proceeds available to the selling shareholders, but they create a structure that works for all parties and can be carried out in a relatively short frame with low levels of risk. The benefit of such a deal is that there is always a willing buyer in the form of the management team, which is clearly different from a trade sale or private equity-led MBO. The level of private equity-led MBOs did, however, remain subdued through 2020 as investors awaited a return to a more normal earnings profile. The cyclical nature of recruitment businesses is commonly cited as a potential hurdle for private equity, so determining the sustainable level of

“The speculation that capital gains tax was expected to move to be in line with income tax has proved to be the catalyst for a number of shareholders to undertake a vendor-friendly MBO” 34 RECRUITER

earnings through a pandemic is exceptionally challenging. There is, then, greater appetite to back businesses operating in sectors proven to be more resilient through the cycle, such as life sciences, renewable energy, healthcare or those operating an attract-train-deploy model. The recent, founder-led MBO of G2V Recruitment Group, backed by Investec, is an example of a growing appetite to support high-quality operators that have developed market leading positions alongside an attractive growth plan. The sale of G2V was a competitive process; a number of the underbidding private equity funds are still seeking a recruitment platform. Other private equity-led sale processes are due to conclude in the coming months. We therefore expect to see rising levels of MBO activity over the next year as we emerge out of the pandemic and institutional investors seek a new platform. Mark Maunsell is director, business services, at Clearwater International Finance.


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CASE STUDY: CONTRACT SCOTLAND DeeDee Doke looks at the MBO on behalf of the seller (see opposite) and the buyers oing an management buy-out is not something many buyers gain much experience in. How often can you buy out the company you work for? Therefore, few people experience more than one. But the journey through an MBO can be prepared for, as happened at Contract Scotland, where the trio of long-term employees who bought out owner Colin Woodward’s shares of the company had spent years readying themselves for the event, under Woodward’s guidance and tutelage. (Woodward, now living in England, holds a non-paid advisory role.) “Colin’s succession has been on our agenda for maybe as many as 10 years,” says John-Paul (JP) Toner (pictured, above),


CONTRACT SCOTLAND Contract Scotland is part of Contract Scotland Holdings, formed in February 2021. Offices: Stirling, Stirlingshire Sectors: Business Support Services, Civil Engineering, Construction & Building, Cost & Building Consultancy, Engineering Consultancies, Housing & Property, M&E Building Services, Senior Appointments & Executive Search. Turnover: £14m Staff: 25 Division of directors’ labour: Fleming and Shave oversee three recruitment streams each, both reporting into Toner, who also manages the group functions. All have the title of ‘director’.


who along with fellow directors Julie Fleming and Alan Shave joined Contract Scotland, now 30 years old, as graduate trainees. “It has been a long time in the making, and those who have played a part in it have served very worthwhile apprenticeships. “And what I think Colin was keen to do was,” Toner explains, “make sure that at the time it happened, people were actually ready to step into roles… and be able to do those roles rather than do it [the MBO] in a hurry, with everyone coming to the table too quickly. “So, he was very methodical over the years, ensuring that the right people were in the right places to take the business forward… It was ensuring his life’s work was handed over to a group of people who can continue that life’s work, along similar lines, similar values and ethics, without compromising the core of the business that he had spent his life creating and then building to the stage that we got to pre-pandemic.” After the years of preparing and building, the deal itself came together “fairly quickly”, Toner says. “This is my one and only MBO,” he adds, “so I don’t have any experience of how long things are supposed to take. “But when we discussed the principle with advisers initially, a couple of years ago, timetables of nine to 12 months were bandied around – you could maybe do it in six.” Thanks to the long-time preparation and the parties’ understanding of what was expected of each of them, that projected timeframe was cut considerably. “From the moment we committed to it wholeheartedly and

meaningfully,” Toner says, “the deal took four months.” That said, the MBO itself was delayed considerably after discussions beginning in January 2020 – first because of the then-anticipated implementation of the new IR35 rules in April 2020 and subsequently because of the pandemic. “The MBO wasn’t off the table; it was just on another table,” says Toner. In autumn 2020, Toner and his colleagues decided “we had to look as far ahead as we could in spite of the pandemic, rather than using the pandemic not to look ahead”. With “enough faith and confidence in things continuing at a sufficiently satisfactory level that we could pull this off without in any way later regretting it”, the parties went ahead. While specifics of the deal cannot be disclosed, Toner can say that the terms were based on “a set of conservative assumptions… based on the middle to lower end of the range, rather than using all the ‘best case’ scenarios. “We had to think as far ahead as we could and try, in spite of it and against the backdrop of the pandemic, to put a deal together that worked for everyone, and we managed to do that fairly successfully,” he says. Of the three new owners, Toner has worked at Contract Scotland the longest, joining in 2003 in his “first grown-up job”, and has been a director there since 2009; Fleming and Shave, who became directors on 1 March 2021, joined in 2007 and 2006 respectively. “Between the three of us, we have 45 years with the business, which gives the business as strong a chance of success in the future as possible,” Toner says. He is now the majority shareholder, with the other two directors the notable minority shareholders; the three hold 100% of the equity in the business. However, Toner notes: “Part of the plan, in terms of the future growth of the business, is to create that opportunity for others. “My guiding star on this will be that I would expect it to be required of us to create the opportunity for other people that was afforded to me.”


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Inside MBOs (Finance)


he most important thing for me was legacy,” says Colin Woodward, who earlier this year handed over his Stirling-based Contract Scotland recruitment business to three long-time associates. It was a long-planned move, delayed by the Covid pandemic. “I guess it was a long-term strategy and approach to make sure that the business could be safely passed from me to the next generation of owners,” explains Woodward, who founded Contract Scotland’s forerunner, Contract Construction in 1990. The business was de-merged in 1998, with Woodward taking charge of the Scottish part of the company and renaming it Contract Scotland. At that point, Contract Scotland had a £2.2m turnover and three staff. Today, the company enjoys a £20m turnover and has 40-plus staff. The MBO “probably should have happened sooner than it did”, Woodward concedes, “but what was really important was making sure that there was continuity for everybody in the business, so nobody could be thinking that this was going to affect them in a negative sense. “So,” he continues, “it’s been quite a lot of time making sure that John-Paul [Toner], Julie [Fleming] and Alan [Shave]


are more than capable of doing what they’re doing.” Contract Scotland’s new directors and owners – Toner, Fleming and Shave – joined the business as graduate trainees. “All of them came in at the bottom,” says Woodward. Asked when he knew that they were the right ones to eventually succeed him at the helm, Woodward responds: “You can see people develop – you know what they know, you know how they learn and their style of learning, and how they thrive with the more responsibility you give them. When you realise you have people with that potential, you look at what could be the next challenge.” He adds: “I’ve a lot of respect for them; they’re still young enough to bring on their own ideas and they’re experienced enough to know what they’re doing.” Woodward had already started to step away from the day-to-day running of the business well before the onslaught of the Covid pandemic to focus on building his management consulting venture, Coresco, and move toward his exit. He was also planning to move his family to England. But as the pandemic shattered his plans – along with those of much of the world – Woodward returned to Contract Scotland on a “pretty much full-blown capacity” from March, with the MBO plans on hold. “We had to make sure that we understood where we were, what the risks were, what the opportunities were. Navigating that period where everything was uncertain was quite a difficult one,” he recalls. “We got to August, September, and we could see what things looked like and how things were going to progress. That’s when we got the discussions back online and just said, ‘Well, let’s just pause this for a while.’ Once we got through that stage and realised that we could start to plan more than a few weeks ahead, we started to move the discussions on. “Another advantage, I guess, was that there wasn’t as much recruitment activity, and in construction we were coming towards the end of the year,

which is always a bit quiet, which gave JP, Alan and Julie a bit more time to think through what the MBO was going to look like,” Woodward says. Unlike many MBOs, the arrangements worked out to shift Contract Scotland’s ownership from Woodward to Toner, Fleming and Shave were not complex or hard-fought. The parties all have agreed to not discuss the terms, but Woodward says that all four had “a clear understanding for the valuations of the business, the opportunity to map the valuation… so there wasn’t really much in terms of negotiations needing to be done between us because we were all friends as well as colleagues.” Woodward adds: “So, from that point of view, it was pretty seamless. I knew what I wanted and the other guys knew what that was. It was really just a case of trying to get from where we were to where we wanted to go. Fortunately, that happened pretty quickly.” Following the MBO’s March 2021 completion, Woodward and his family are now in Exeter. He is still in contact with his former colleagues/friends, but they have not come to Woodward with questions. “If they did,” he says wryly, “I haven’t done my job.”

Colin Woodward:

FOOD FOR THOUGHT “If you stay in a business too long, you are actually going to have a detrimental impact on it. When I started in business, I had nothing to start with, so you take more risks. As you start to get a bit older, you start to take fewer risks, but the fewer risks you take will have an impact on careers progression and job satisfaction in the business. If you don’t take the risks, you maybe don’t create as many opportunities for the next generation of managers and directors. If you’re not prepared to take the risks that you need to as an entrepreneur any more, you need to get somebody else to.”


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TAKING YOU BY THE HAND Finding the right experts to lead you through the MBO labyrinth When the itch strikes to own your business, which option offers the most ‘knowns’ – a start-up or a management buy-out of the company you currently work for? “I think the MBO is probably your best bet,” said chartered accountant Neil Denniss (pictured), partner at Bespoke Tax in Cheltenham. “The vendor and the buyer know each other, warts and all – they know if they’re honest or not.” Denniss continues: “The MBO is a lower risk from every business perspective because there’s a consistency of management team; they haven’t got to get to know the business – they jump in, they’re already running. From that perspective, it’s a darn sight easier.” When Abatec Recruitment sought expert guidance for their MBO last year, Neil Denniss was their choice to lead them through the labyrinth. In Q1 2021 alone, Denniss has been involved in £144m worth of transaction. And as straightforward as an MBO might seem on the surface, many find to their dismay that such processes are not. Giving Abatec’s buyers, Richard Buchanan and Robert Dyer, as an example, Denniss explains: “The people who are involved are not familiar with doing it. It’s not something that they’ve got experience of doing; they’ve never done it before. They only do it once in a lifetime or generally that level of frequency. So, there isn’t any learning curve,” he says. And buying a business that you’ve worked for is different still than buying a company you’re less familiar with. “I think the biggest difference is that within MBO, there is an element of believing that the people who are buying


it would get a slight discount because they have been involved in actually building the business up to where it is,” Denniss says. “And then that is reflected in the price.” As far as the vendor is involved in an MBO, “the warranties and indemnities which the vendor has to give… tend to be less where you’ve got an existing management team who are continuing because they know what’s in there, they know the warts and all, and therefore that makes it easier to actually agree those aspects, which can be quite time-consuming and onerous. “Someone buying it fresh has got no idea whether there are any skeletons in the cupboard. In actual fact, they’re not even sure where the cupboards are,” Denniss says. Another contributor to greater transparency in an MBO is the fact that the continuing management team has been “incentivised to make it work. There is a better chance of being successful”, Denniss says. A few ‘need to knows’ when embarking on an MBO: be aware of tax risks in how the deal is structured. “If you’ve been employed by the business before, how would you structure this so that HMRC [HM Revenue & Customs] do not want a big bite of the cherry?” Denniss asks. Typically, an MBO deal is structured by putting a new holding company above the existing company. “That’s the absolutely standard model,” Denniss says, “because that then gives the flexibility as to how you buy out the person who is selling it. Typically, you don’t give them all the cash on Day 1. Some of it is left behind as a vendor loan,

and then that is set up through the holding company. The new holding company doesn’t do very much other than agree to buy out the exiting shareholder for a sum of money, plus some IOUs.” Negotiating the terms of the IOUs requires careful thought of such questions as, “What are the terms of the IOU? Does it carry interest? How quickly is it going to be repaid? Is the repayment linked in any shape or form to the profitability of the company?” In his work with MBOs, Denniss says he has put in “various particular strategies” that might reduce the risk of the deal going sour: “I’ve seen a lot of these where the obligation to pay the vendor is too high, if there is any wobble in the market.” He adds that everything may seem to go “nice and smoothly without a problem, but you only have to have one month that doesn’t go nice and smoothly, and all of a sudden, the purchasers are left very exposed.” Often, Denniss says, MBOs are conducted “amicably… until they go wrong. They can get fraught particularly when circumstances change unexpectedly. You’ve not got a deal until the deal is signed”. What happens, he asks, if “something fundamental” changes the day after the deal has been inked? It might be losing the company’s major client, or a key individual falling ill, or perhaps a pandemic. “Suddenly we find that the income streams that everybody is set to be predicting are no longer there – has one party lost out significantly? Should more protections have been put in for that party?” he says. Denniss recommends that both parties contemplating an MBO retain “a good accountant”, preferably chartered, to work out what the contract will look like in terms of commercial considerations. In terms of personal and professional characteristics, Denniss suggests that the accountant should be able to both examine and analyse history in the accounts and to look forward. “You need to budget for professional time and cost,” he says.


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“The lack of common sense, such as turning up for a job wearing a competitor’s brand of clothing. Why do the biggest no-no?” MY BRILLIANT RECRUITMENT CAREER What was your earliest dream job? To be a fashion designer. I studied fashion, but realised sed that I didn’t quite have the skill set and vision for it. I still love ove fashion, though.

I wanted to work in fashion n recruitment but had the Catch-22 of not getting a job ob without experience… One agency told me to learn the e trade first, so I got a job recruiting building and chartered surveyors. I did it for six months, went back to that agency and they took me on straightaway.

Who is your role model – in life or in recruitment? My old boss Alex Pescott at Fusion Associates. He took a chance on me, giving me my first chance in fashion recruitment, mentored me and allowed me to work in the way that suited me best – out of the office, networking to source candidates and business develop.

What do you love most about your current role? Day-to-day human engagement and the fact that I am still in a position to help make a difference in people’s lives. I meet candidates and clients from all over the world. Plus fashion is the industry I love, am passionate about and that I know. And I love retail and customer service.


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What was your first job in recruitment and how did id you come into it?

YOUNUS DESAI Executive director, recruitment and business development, Directory Fashion Recruitment

YOUNUS DESAI What would you consider to be the most brilliant moment of your career? A long time ago, I went into an optician’s on Tottenham Court Road in London, where a woman who served me had so much potential. Within a week I had placed her with Dior in Selfridges, and her career progressed from there. I also got her husband a job. Years later, he is a CFO for a luxury brand, and she is a senior manager. We are still very good friends, and I love the little part I played in their career history.

Laugh or cry, what did your most memorable candidate make you want to do and why? The lack of common sense you see sometimes, such as turning up for a job wearing a competitor’s brand of clothing. Why would you do that? It’s the biggest no-no.

What would you regard as your signature tune? Roy Ayer’s Everybody Loves The Sunshine.

What has been your sanity go-to during the lockdown so far? Keeping fit – health and wellness. I work out a lot and the first six months I trained five friends five days a week via online classes. It was great physically and socially.

What have you learned about recruitment during lockdown? When you are working from home, you have to reach out to people more. Plus the industry has taken a hit, so we have diversified our business angle and supported people in a very human way – I’ve done lots of things like CV workshops. Younus Desai spoke to Roisin Woolnough


18/05/2021 17:05


Ireland-based global provider of talent and workforce solutions CPL Resources has appointed group chief finance officer Lorna Conn to deputy CEO. As deputy CEO, as well as leading the group’s finance and IT functions, Conn will also oversee CPL’s recruitment, talent solutions and managed service divisions, working closely with the managing directors of those divisions to drive continued growth. Conn will retain the group’s CFO responsibilities and serve as deputy CEO alongside CPL’s founder and CEO Anne Heraty. Heraty has also been appointed to the global board of directors of Japan-headquartered Outsourcing Inc, following Outsourcing’s acquisition of CPL in January 2021.



The executive search firm has announced the appointment of James Wilson as managing director. Wilson, who has been with BIE since 2014, has acted as a client-side adviser for companies going through transformation, delivering solutions for FTSE 100 and 250 companies in various industry sectors.

The Scotland-based recruitment specialist has appointed Michelle Lownie as CEO. A company co-founder and director at Eden Scott since its start in 2003, Lownie has been effectively performing the CEO role since March 2020.


HEIDRICK & STRUGGLES Jaimee Eddington has been appointed to the role of Americas Regional Leader at the global leadership talent firm. In her new role, Eddington will focus on increasing revenue, expanding into new growth areas and delivering long-term stakeholder value.


DEVELOP Tom Dobbie joins the specialist software engineering recruitment agency as German principal lead, based in its London headquarters. Dobbie was previously head of web and mobile in Germany at technology recruiter Optimus Search.

who will be based in the London office.

FORSYTH BARNES The executive search firm has promoted Stephen Reece to head of contract from manager of its Nottingham interim division. Based in Nottingham, he will be working with divisional lead Edward Vavasour,

The consultancy firm has appointed Heather Salway, FCIPD FREC as director. Leaving her role as group HR director at specialist recruitment group nGAGE, Salway will extend the

consultancy’s services to include strategic HR consulting, complementing its existing offerings in leadership and development, marketing and business growth consulting.

MANPOWERGROUP Riccardo Barberis has been appointed as regional president, Northern Europe at the global staffing giant. Barberis will oversee all of ManpowerGroup’s brands and offerings across the region – Manpower, Experis and Talent Solutions – reporting to chairman and CEO Jonas Prising.

OAKLEAF PARTNERSHIP The specialist HR, reward

Email people moves for use online and in print, including a short biography, to


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and payroll recruitment business has brought on board two key additions. Gavin Jones joins Oakleaf as partner, with specific responsibility to drive growth of the firm’s regional business nationally. Joining Jones to focus on the growth of the Thames Valley business as sales manager is Hannah Whittington.

PEDERSEN & PARTNERS The international executive search firm has appointed Heiko Hofer as a client partner based in the France office, with a special focus on the automotive, machinery and speciality chemicals industrial segments for French and DACH clients.

PREMIER GROUP RECRUITMENT Matthew Mutters has been promoted to senior business manager, heading up the recruitment specialist’s Reading engineering department. His new role will add responsibilities within both the training and business protection teams, as well as continuing to oversee the engineering function in the Reading office.

SAMUEL KNIGHT INTERNATIONAL The global recruiter for the energy and rail industries welcomes RenewableUK director Julian Brown as non-executive director to build energy talent as the business scales and grows its

UK, Europe and US energy divisions. Redactive Publishing Ltd 78 Chamber Street, London E1 8BL 020 7880 6200

CONTACTS EDITORIAL +44 (0)20 7880 7603 Editor DeeDee Doke

SERVICE CARE SOLUTIONS Richard Freye, founder of the Preston-based recruiter, is stepping down from his role as managing director. Director Chris Musgrove, who joined the company as a trainee recruitment consultant in 2007, has been appointed his successor. In addition, Paul Bradley has been promoted from head of division (of the criminal justice department) to associate director, and Jonathan Church (formerly divisional director of the mental health division) has also been appointed associate director.

SIXTY EIGHT PEOPLE The hospitality recruiter has promoted Rachel Williams from talent co-ordinator to talent manager.

VENATU RECRUITMENT GROUP Lucy Woodward joins the independent recruitment specialist as sales director and brings more than 15 years of sales experience. Alongside her, Natalie Walker joins the team as director of the commercial and contact centre division, with more than 14 years’ recruitment experience within specialist commercial agencies across the UK. Elsewhere, Brett Hemingway has been promoted to director of the industrial & logistics division.

Contributing writers Sue Weekes, Roisin Woolnough Production editor Vanessa Townsend

PRODUCTION +44 (0)20 7880 6209 Senior production executive Rachel Young

PUBLISHING +44 (0)20 7880 8547 Publishing director Aaron Nicholls

Senior designer Will Williams Picture editor Akin Falope

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CIRCULATION and SUBSCRIPTIONS Recruiter is the leading magazine for recruitment and resourcing professionals. To ensure each issue of Recruiter magazine is delivered to your desk or door, subscribe now at https://subs. Annual subscription rate for 12 issues: £35 UK; £45 Europe and £50 Rest of the world • Recruiter is also available to people who meet our terms of control: • To purchase reprints or multiple copies, or any other enquiries, please contact or +44 (0)1580 883844 CONTRIBUTIONS Contributions are invited, but when not accepted will be returned only if accompanied by a fully stamped and addressed envelope. Articles should be emailed. No responsibility can be taken for drawings, photographs or literary contributions during delivery, transmission or in the editor’s hands. © 2021 Redactive Media Group. All rights reserved. This publication (and any part thereof) may not be reproduced, transmitted or stored in print or electronic format (including but not limited to any online service, any database or any part of the internet) or in any other format in any media whatsoever, without the prior written permission of Redactive Media Group. Redactive Media Group accepts no liability for the accuracy of the contents or any opinions expressed herein. The publishers cannot accept liability for any loss arising from the late appearance or non-publication of any advertisement for any reason whatsoever. ISSN 1475-7478

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“There are many challenges to overcome with internal mobility – geographic constraints being one of them”

Paul Maxin Rebuilding thanks to internal mobility

n early 2020 (before Covid-19 launched its bid for global domination) LinkedIn’s Global Talent Trends 2020 report identified four ideas reshaping the way talent professionals would attract and retain talent in the coming years. They were: the emergence of employee experience; the spread of people analytics; the ascent of the multigenerational workforce; and the return of internal recruiting. Setting aside the other three, what is interesting is that since that report was released in January 2020, internal recruiting or mobility has moved even further up the agenda in response to the opportunities and threats emerging from the pandemic. The first and probably most high-profile trend has been the huge rise in redeployment. I have seen



this at first hand while consulting in the NHS for the past six months, with the demand for people to move rapidly into Covid support roles. Redeployment has been a strategy for both public and private sector organisations in response to shifting demand for certain skill sets. This will be compounded as those who have been furloughed return to the workplace. There are many challenges to overcome with internal mobility – geographic constraints being one of them. In many cases, enhanced performance and productivity, a better employee experience and expanded talent pools have been positive outcomes from enforced flexible and remote working. Organisations will be looking to capitalise on these as they plan the future of their workforce. The other, longer-term consideration is the impact

of an uncertain economy on the appetite for great talent to seek new opportunities – unless forced. Suddenly, the importance of a trusted employer brand and reassuring candidate experience become even more critical factors in influencing passive talent to look elsewhere. With a robust approach to internal mobility coupled with strong communications, you can position your business as an employer that places real value on development, demonstrating a long-term commitment to their people. Personally, I have seen some vendors rapidly shift in response to this need. I’m an adviser to B2B SaaS business Real Links. By background they’re a technology solution for employee referrals, but what has been fascinating is the way they have redeveloped the technology they had already built into a robust

and flexible solution for the challenges around internal mobility. I have been struck by the renewed appetite and commitment to internal mobility from organisations of varying sizes in a way that pre-Covid, I just did not see outside of global enterprises. Internal mobility has often had a place on the agenda, but arguably, until now there has been less collective appetite to get it right. It is a construct that requires a fundamental shift in resourcing strategy, organisational infrastructure and behavioural change. The key will be finding a way to implement it quickly and effectively to solve both the immediate and longer-term people challenges driven by the pandemic.

Paul Maxin is founding director, Max Intalent


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