Recruiter - March/April 2022

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Business intelligence for recruitment and resourcing professionals

Mar/Apr 2022

INCORPORATING Recruitment Matters


NEW SPACE FRONTIERS Making the most of your work world





Employee Ownership Trusts: the future?

FARMING FOR HELP Securing the fruits of labour

Championing women in tech: what drives Harrington Starr’s Nadia Edwards-Dashti?

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What’s your biggest barrier to growth in 2022: talent shortages, candidate compliance or productivity? Candidates now occupy the driving seat One of the unforeseen outcomes of the pandemic is how swiftly it turned the tables from hiring freezes into a candidate-owned market. In the three months to December 2021, the UK reached a record high of almost 1.25 million job vacancies. Coupled with the impact of Brexit this elevates speed-to-hire to the very top of the agenda. Put simply it’s a race to attract, match and screen the best candidates. So what’s hampering recruiters’ efficiency and ability to make faster placements? Poor data synchronisation often stands in the way of productivity when multiple stand-alone products are being used, possibly in tandem with manual processes. There’s too much inefficiency, data duplication, and room for error. Without technology that talks to each other, the whole end-to-end process slows down. Achieving new efficiencies with tech Integrated technology is the key to making all aspects of the recruitment cycle as simple and streamlined as possible. Understanding the customer journey is critical, starting with your recruitment website, the destination of all your candidate attraction strategies.

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For maximum efficiency, this needs to be integrated with your CRM giving your consultants easy and quick access to newly registered applicants. Being compliant For agencies placing high volumes of temps, and those operating in high compliance sectors, being able to identify which workers have successfully completed background checks is paramount. The most effective way to track this is with automated screening that feeds directly into the CRM. Aside from being able to make swifter decisions about who can be booked out, the risk of non-compliance is minimized. For less experienced consultants the pandemic has made it harder for them to learn from peers and remote or hybrid working has made benchmarking success a challenge. With productivity dashboards that surface data from your CRM into visual dashboards, recruiters can focus on what’s most important to their success: building relationships with their candidates and clients. Discover more To learn more about how Access Recruitment's new CRM packages visit: recruitment or call 0845 345 3300.

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05 Hanlin magics up a storm at Investing in Talent Awards Ex-recruiter and entertainer magician Ben Hanlin puts part of his success down to the lessons learned from his recruitment days 06 FCSA could name & shame errant umbrellas The new CEO of the FCSA Chris Bryce says the trade body could publish evidence of noncomplacent companies 07 Recruiters warned to get ready for NI increases As the National Insurance increases come into effect in April, recruiters are urged to prepare now 08 Contracts & Deals



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Recruitment Mum Lysha Holmes answers your work dilemmas, and Tara Ricks asks if your business has a pricing strategy in place Insight Technology in the workplace: what lies ahead on the digital road? Tech & Tools The latest recruitment technology and services

INCORPORATING Recruitment Matters

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INTERACTION Viewpoint Matt Oldham, co-founder, Unizest Soundbites


18 Profile: Nadia EdwardsDashti The co-founder of financial recruiter Harrington Starr reveals her passion for diversity & inclusion and encouraging women into the Fintech industry 24 Workplace revolution We shine a spotlight on how the Covid pandemic has revolutionised not only the way we work but the environment in which we work

24 E COMMUNITY 31 Social 35 My brilliant recruitment career: Natalie McGregor

36 Movers & Shakers 37 Recruiter contacts 38 The Last Word:


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Gareth Quarry and Jill Whitehouse


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We’ve got you covered

A NEW ERA FOR DIGITAL IDENTITY VERIFICATION AS YOU’VE PROBABLY heard, from April 2022, the Home Office is due to introduce a permanent digital scheme enabling employers to use certified Identity Service Providers (IDSPs) to conduct remote identity checks on your behalf for Right to Work (RtW). This move follows positive feedback regarding the temporary Covid-adjusted guidance, which allows remote RtW checks, and widespread calls to make the temporary measure a longer-term feature.

What does the new digital RtW scheme mean for you? After 6th April, temporary remote RtW checks using video calls are due to come to an end and be replaced instead by digital checks for UK & Irish citizens with in-date biometric passports and holders of eVisas, and a return to face-to-face checks for everyone else. If, like many businesses, you have decided to adopt hybrid or remote working on an ongoing basis, the use of IDSPs and Identification Document


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Validation Technology (IDVT) will bring many benefits. Firstly, using IDVT reduces potential fraud and helps to identify fake documents. What’s more, using IDVT remove the geographical barriers that the traditional process presents to recruiters and employers. Digital checks will help you to quickly and safely recruit and onboard UK and Irish applicants who hold biometric passports without the need to see original documents, in the same way as you can currently check non-UK applicants via the Home Office online checking service. Whilst this announcement has been widely welcomed, many organisations are wondering how the new scheme may affect them. According to APSCO (the Association of Professional Staffing Companies) businesses, smaller organisations particularly, may be concerned about the difficulty of finding a trusted and affordable supplier before the changes come in.

As the new scheme could be in place in just a few weeks, if you plan to move to digital onboarding checks, you should start investigating IDSPs as soon as possible. The first question you’ll need to ask any provider is “How soon will you be able to get accredited?” – only an accredited IDSP can help you comply with the digital Scheme. At TrustID, we’re already working towards accreditation and aim to get our dedicated RtW solution certified in March 2022. This means we’ll be able to help you conduct RtW checks for candidates, digitally or non-digitally, with no disruption to your business. What’s more, TrustID’s team of experts can get you up and running within hours, with straightforward services that require very little training. Plus, TrustID offers RtW checks on an affordable, pay-per-check basis – so you don’t need to worry about paying for more than you need – and there are no set up fees or user licence costs.

Trust is the key Hundreds of organisations of all sizes and across a wide variety of industries already rely on TrustID for robust and convenient RtW checks. As an expert Identity Service Provider, TrustID uses a unique combination of industry-leading identity verification services and human expertise to identify fake documents every day and our Right to Work services are regularly updated In line with Home Office guidelines. If you’d like to find out more about Right to Work checks after 6th April and how to prepare for the new digital RtW scheme, why not join our free of charge webinar on 9th March – register using the QR code or this link: Or visit our website – https://www.

NOV/DEC 2022 MAR/APR 2021

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early two years of UK government restrictions related to the Covid-19 pandemic have come to an end, more with a whisper than with fireworks. Despite so many trappings of a war – such as masks, restrictions on socialising, cancellations of events and travel – the Covid crisis in the UK, primarily in England, simply ran out of steam and burned out. How very anti-climactic. Disappointing, you might say. Life has changed for many of us in unexpected, unimagined ways; we have lost many lives, and it “Here’s to all seems ignoble to just let it go without some of the spirit, recognition – a ribbon initiative, cutting, a holiday, a generosity and Covid V E Day of sorts. agility this sector When we look back at the past two years, has exhibited” the changes in recruitment will stand out to represent how a tightly-wound industry dipped and dived with the best in business, epitomised agility and the best of adaptation to new conditions, with the spirit of many in our industry reflecting the initiative and generosity we associate with the finest moments of the Blitz. Let’s not forget the Covid ‘war years’. Here’s to all of the spirit, initiative, generosity and agility this sector has exhibited and hopefully will retain as a living, dynamic set of values and tribute as we live with this virus in the years to come.

DeeDee Doke, Editor


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Hanlin puts his show business success down to recruitment BY DEEDEE DOKE

BEFORE MAKING A career of ‘now you see it, now you don’t’ magic, headline entertainer Ben Hanlin was a recruiter, a line of work in which he said performing his magic tricks was sometimes a calling card for him to get in front of clients. In recruiting accounting & finance professionals for the NHS, Hanlin told Recruiter: “I was 22 or 23 at the time – I looked about 12 – and I was trying to convince 60-year-old finance directors in the NHS that they should work with me. And they didn’t really buy into that, but they did like the magic tricks


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38,953 FOLLOWERS AS OF 24 FEB 2022

that I showed them. They’d remember my name because they’d be like, ‘Oh he’s the guy that showed me the magic’. It got to where they might want to take a meeting with me because they knew that I would probably make them smile at some point.” Hanlin entertained the 300-strong audience with a variety of magic tricks at Recruiter’s Investing in Talent Awards, which he hosted on 1 February. A former recruiter at SThree in Birmingham, he praised the company’s training and meritocratic culture, as well as giving him tools to pursue his show business career. “There were people in the company that had been there six months, a year, two years, that had real career progression and were making amazing money. And it seemed like the kind of career you got out of it what you put in really, so I was up for that challenge,” he said. “I will definitely say that their ability to train salespeople was brilliant, and I had no sales background. But they taught me the basics of sales,” Hanlin went on to say. “And then I realised I loved magic, and I understood how to sell something. If I put that together, I could go and start my own little path and business, and sell what I love, which was magic.” Recruiting turned out to be Hanlin’s last full-time job. In addition to working his magic onstage, on TV and more recently, on Zoom, Hanlin has co-founded a digital marketing agency, which he said he hopes will serve recruitment clients in the future.


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FCSA could name and shame non-compliant firms, says new CEO BY DEEDEE DOKE

THE NEW CEO of the Freelancer and Contractor Services Association (FCSA) says there is “a possibility” that the umbrella company trade body could look to ‘name and shame’ companies in the sector that ignore compliant practices and don’t uphold tax obligations. Speaking exclusively to Recruiter, Chris Bryce said that HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) already publishes a so-called ‘warning list’ about errant umbrellas, “and I don’t see why FCSA wouldn’t be able to do that, subject to

legal advice. We have to be cautious in that regard”, he said. “Having said that, where we have conclusive evidence of bad actors, I see no reason why we shouldn’t publish the evidence and ‘name and shame’.” Bryce, who succeeded former FCSA CEO Phil Pluck in January, went on to say that he would need to discuss such a practice with the FCSA board and its members, “but my own personal view is yes, I see that as a possibility”. In February, government departments HMRC, Treasury and Business, Energy & Industrial


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Strategy concluded a three-month consultation around the umbrella company market. The call for evidence invited views from stakeholders on the role that umbrella companies play in the labour market, and how they interact with the tax and employment rights systems. It set out the concerns that have been raised by some stakeholders, as well as government action already taken to tackle tax non-compliance and improve protection for workers. Asked if he believed the consultation would have any impact on the Off-Payroll Working Rules (IR35) themselves, Bryce said he expected the focus to be specifically around the UK umbrella market. “It’s always nice to think that government might change its mind on IR35. However,

that’s not the remit of this consultation, so I very much doubt any influence in that direction.” Bryce also discussed the threats of cybersecurity and company cloning on the umbrella market, which has recently experienced instances of both that forced systems outages and other damage on the sector and contractors alike. “FCSA has to take the view that all umbrella companies need to be ever more vigilant about cybersecurity, that they need to have plans in place to deal with any attacks and any system outages,” Bryce said. “Those plans must be focused on communicating to and getting payments to the workers that they employ. FCSA is actively reviewing what we can do to help that happen, and to perhaps amend our codes to reflect the requirement for cybersecurity,” Bryce said. “I think it would not be completely impossible for FCSA to actually include such requirements in our codes. That’s something we’re investigation right now.” With regard to cloning, which is generally carried out through manual activity, Bryce said, “I think that form of attack is on the rise, and FCSA are urging the various authorities involved in defending against that kind of attack to form a working group and to tackle this far more rapidly.” FCSA will submit advice and recommendations to government on improving the approach to handling cloning attacks. Bryce is a former CEO of IPSE, the contractors’ and freelancers’ trade body.

Recruiters should consider ‘operational changes’ to cope with NI increases BY DEEDEE DOKE

Recruitment agencies are warned to get ready for “a large amount of pay rate changes and the workload that comes with it” in connection with a temporary increase to National Insurance (NI) that takes effect from 6 April 2022. The 1.25% increase in NI will be used to fund the NHS, health and social care. In April 2023, the NI contributions will drop to 2021 to 2022 tax year levels, and will be replaced by a new 1.25% health and social care levy, with the revenue ringfenced to support UK health and social care bodies. With the increase affecting employers, employees and self-employed, umbrella company giant’s Lauren Blackledge told a webinar audience on 17 February that the recruitment agencies should consider “operational changes” and “and how this will be passed down to the umbrella or the PAYE provider”. Daniel Haslam, another giant speaker on the webinar said: “Generally speaking, hirers are not looking to be increasing the rates to the workers.” However, he added, given the “dogfight” for talent in the market currently, “rates are continuing to rise”, and he urged agencies to discuss with clients “what their position is”. Blackledge suggested that it might be “good advice” to their clients “to consider [rate] increases for those [contractors, workers] that they just can’t afford to lose”. She went on to say, “we suggest that the agency prepares for a large amount of pay rate changes and the workload that comes along with it. So we’d advise the agencies to start to discuss this that they consider any changes to assignment rates and upcoming renewals rather than waiting until April”.


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CONTRACTS & DEALS Kingsley Gate Partners Executive search firm Kingsley Gate Partners has announced an investment from Crescent Cove Advisors. This partnership will fuel the firm’s growth through further global expansion, increase recruitment and development of the organisational leadership, and accelerate investment in its leading talent acquisition and artificial intelligence software, a company statement said. Umesh Ramakrishnan, one of Kingsley Gate Partners’ co-founders, has been appointed CEO. AI-powered ‘open garden’ technology platform Triller is partnering with recruitment platform in the US., the data-driven, AI-powered recruitment platform, has announced a partnership that will allow Triller users to discover and apply for open positions with a video resumé (CV), rather than the traditional CV.

Majar Group Leading digital, marketing and creative talent agency Major Players and global technology talent solutions company Arrows Group have merged to form the Majar Group. All the businesses within the group will continue to trade independently under their own brands. In addition to the founding brands Major Players and Arrows Group, the group will also be home to BOOSTA, an embedded tech talent consultancy, and Caissa Recruitment, a Berlin-based tech recruitment agency.

NRL Group Engineering recruitment and contracting specialist the NRL Group has acquired CD Group. The Newcastle-based business, which has traded as Contract Design (Northern) for over three decades, is comprised of several business units providing services including temporary and permanent recruitment, design engineering and drafting, and translation services. Brands include Contract Design (Northern) and Eldon Bureau. CD Group managing director Peter Douglass is leaving the business.

Impellam Group Global recruitment company Impellam Group has sold the business and assets of Corestaff, its US-based light industrial brand, to US private digital staffing company Swipejobs for a cash consideration of around £14m ($19m). In the year ended 1 January 2021, Corestaff generated revenue of £72m and gross profit of £10m, and an operating loss of £0.1m. Net assets at 30 June 2021 were £7.6m, Impellam said in a company statement.

redwigwam Flexible staff platform redwigwam has partnered with hospitality software company eviivo to help employers better navigate staff shortages. Redwigwam has over 180,000 vetted workers available through its AI recruitment platform. The partnership with eviivo, which helps over 13,000 hosts, property owners and hoteliers successfully manage properties through its platform, will help redwigwam extend its offerings to ease communication services, manage guests and automate tasks for a wide range of B&Bs, hotels, pubs with rooms, vacation rentals and other independent accommodation.

deverellsmith London-based deverellsmith, the recruitment talent solutions partner for the property industry, has acquired the entire issued share capital of Broomham Recruitment. The acquisition was advised by legal advisory and law firm Wright Hassall. Broomham Recruitment specialises in the estate agency, property and prop tech sectors of the property market.


Workwell (previously JSA Group) Accounting specialist Workwell has acquired the 6CATS Group, a supplier of contractor management solutions to global recruitment agencies. The acquisition was completed on 25 January 2022. John Hoskin, Workwell’s group CEO, said that his organisation liked 6CATS’ “emphasis on customer service and commercial, genuinely compliant solutions”. He said Workwell intended to make 6CATS “the flagship for our international expansion”, as well as “the


expected cornerstone” of the group’s overseas growth for the next few years. Michelle Reilly, CEO of 6CATS, said no staff losses were anticipated, “plus I and the other directors will continue to run the business and continue the… growth of the 6CATS brand across the world”. 6CATS is Workwell’s eighth acquisition since Universal Partners invested in the then JSA Group in 2018. Workwell supports more than 1,000 recruitment businesses and around 30,000 freelancers and contractors.

SmartRecruiters Talent acquisition software platform SmartRecruiters has acquired Attrax, a leading provider of career site software that lets companies build engaging, personalised career sites. According to a statement, the acquisition will result in an integrated offering – SmartRecruiters Attrax – designed to help customers build datapowered, curated career sites that enhance the candidate experience and improve hiring outcomes.

More contract news at

MAR/APR 2022

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Recruitment Mum Do you have a recruitment work dilemma? Ask our Recruitment Mum – she’ll answer questions big or small! Hi Recruitment Mum,



Thank you for sharing what I think is a common situation for many desk recruiters who have worked through the pandemic. It is like being caught between a rock and a hard place: you are doing well, enjoying your job. You don’t want to risk walking away from regular commission and a buoyant desk. Yes, the culture of your company has totally turned on its head. It has been a tumultuous time for employers too. It is worth thinking about that as your leaders will have wanted to stem the flow of people leaving by creating a culture of hybrid. With this in mind, what does the future look like where you are, as more people feel more comfortable coming back into the office? Are there days where everyone works from the office – eg. a Monday? Is this something you could suggest? As you are one of the longest serving and billing consistently well, your leaders will want to hear your suggestions that will benefit their business. Embracing the new culture is down to your own mindset; you clearly enjoy your actual job, and the fact is that unless they revoke the hybrid model – which they are unlikely to do if they are hiring people who are attracted to that – it is

“Another alternative is, could you be based on your clients’ sites for one or two days of the week? This in-house/ RPO model is accepted now” seeing whether there can be a compromise on a couple of days so you feel connected, and those who want to work from home the rest of the week then can do. Another alternative is, could you be based on your clients’ sites for one or two days of the week? This in-house/RPO model is definitely accepted now and becoming more common in recruitment consultancies, especially where you have strong stakeholder engagement, which it sounds like you do. It is a win-win for your employer – you are out of the house, you are promoting their brand in-house with the customer and the advantages of being immersed in your

I’ve been with my current company coming up to three years now, and within weeks of being here I felt this would be where I’d spend the rest of my career. I was lucky to join a great team where we were all motivated and money hungry, but equally it was a nice working environment. However, over the last few months, the team has started to deteriorate, with numerous people moving on to pastures new. I think a combination of this and the pandemic over the last two years has also led to many people working from home. I now feel like there is no ‘team’ anymore, and the culture has deteriorated massively. Simply put, it isn’t the same company I joined three years ago; hardly anyone else is in the off ice, and I am one of the longest standing. I am not happy working remotely as I enjoy the camaraderie of being in a buzzy off ice. This is so hard now the culture is hybrid. I’m really torn what to do at the moment. I have built up some really good client accounts, which means I’m able to consistently bill and earn good commission every month, which I would have to leave behind if I moved on, and potentially start from scratch. But the fact is, I’m not enjoying the direction my department is going in, it’s very different to the team I joined. What do I do?

Recruitment Mum says:

LYSHA HOLMES of Qui Recruitment is Recruiter’s Recruitment Mum

customers’ culture are plentiful, not least with candidates and being able to act as a better brand ambassador for them. If you explore these actions, hopefully you will be able to love your job and the place you work equally. ●

Need a dilemma answering? Put ‘Recruitment Mum’ in the subject line and send your workplace problem in confidence to: recruiter.editorial@

MAR/APR 2022

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PRICING – WHAT’S YOUR STRATEGY? SUPPLY AND DEMAND forms one of the most fundamental concepts of economics – with price and value moving in line with the surplus or scarcity of a product or service. We can’t really argue with that. Yet we sometimes seem to be an industry that defies this rule, all while in possession of the most sought-after commodity: human capital. Is this due to a lack of awareness, or appreciation, of the very game-changing effect and value our service industry brings to business? Or (as I suspect) the lack of a coherent pricing strategy? Do you have a pricing strategy in your business? And is it well (and frequently) communicated? Does the right level of staff in the business have the right level of bandwidth within which to make critical decisions around pricing negotiation and agreement? Pricing is the most critical component to maximizing your revenue. Harvard studies have found that a 1% improvement in your pricing can add up to 11% to your profits – calculate what that looks like in pounds, and it’s an effective internal message that puts the spotlight on pricing. And don’t forget pricing is also a significant factor in branding and reputation in the market in which you seek to dominate. Firstly, it is incredibly important that all consultants in your business understand the full capabilities of the company’s service proposition, having been comprehensively trained on the full suite of offerings – their structure, their compliance requirements, their benefits, etc. Further – and even more importantly – can they articulate the value proposition? To be focused on selling value rather than price, this must be clearly crafted and widely understood within your business. The value proposition is, quite simply, a crafted statement(s) that

COO of Elite Leaders summarises why a customer would choose to work with your business and service. The value proposition informs the overall marketing strategy: crafting and introducing your brand, telling your customers what the company stands for, how it operates and why it deserves their business. If you were to ask your teams today, “What is the value proposition of our company and how are you taking that to your customers?”, can you be confident the reply will be the message that represents your brand and your proposition value? One of my colleagues at Elite Leaders, Jon Brooks, makes the following very salient points: ● First, understand what your client values about your service proposition – this is not always just the placement. The end-to-end process of recruiting key staff can be long and complex; what are their pain points? ● Secondly, communicate value in a way that gets your clients’ attention. Engage your clients in a two-way conversation and educate on the options available. Once it is clear what all the options are, the client will start to share what is most important to them – and what they are willing to pay for. ● Thirdly, we can create choice by designing a range of services to get our clients thinking. Going back to step one, we can see the different parts of the recruitment process that clients are likely to value. When we build services that scale up and down the level of support available at each stage, then we have a great platform to talk about the value we create. ●

“It is incredibly important that all consultants in your business understand the full capabilities of the company’s service proposition, having been trained on the full suite of offerings”

Tara Ricks

TARA RICKS is co-chair, Elite Leaders


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TECH IN THE WORKPLACE: WHAT LIES AHEAD ON THE DIGITAL ROAD? Hybrid working is a multifaceted term, but there are three key ways this will continue to evolve this year, creating successful, truly transformed businesses BY NAVEED MALIK

hile hybrid work has its benefits, it has shown its challenges in that orchestrating a hybrid team can be time-consuming and difficult, and managing projects with a hybrid team involves a deep learning curve that many are still not prepared for.


Work platforms will be a need, not a want To cope with the overnight shift in ways of working, businesses cobbled together a few tools to get work done: Zoom for meetings, Outlook for email, Google Docs for editing, etc. But now, enterprises are realising they need a centralised platform or operating system within which all work can happen, no matter its nature or scope. As the UK shuttles between working from home (WFH) guidance and hybrid work, adoption of work platforms to accelerate collaboration will be critical in keeping up productivity and employee engagement.

and ‘no-code’ are not new concepts to the tech industry – they have been around for over a decade in some shape or form. Historically, the application of code to products has remained the territory of IT or at least people/teams with some technical experience. However, in recent years, the opportunity to use no-code and low-code tools has opened up to include regular business users. If you look at the likes of Wordpress or Canva, they produce high-quality

content that requires no technical skill. In the world of work, teams will no longer buy pre-fab tools and platforms, but instead choose those that give them the flexibility to design the workflows and processes they want, customised to the nature and breadth of their work and teams. It is this ability to work your own way that will allow teams to define the next generation of distributed work. This customisable aspect will give businesses a competitive edge in the next iteration of work.

Businesses will look for more clarity around digital transformation Many businesses rushed to cope with the influx of tools and

Businesses will make way for no-code and (very) low-code working by the average employee Hybrid working can be bolstered with a number of tools to manage workflows internally. The likes of ‘low-code’


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companies, making digital seem like a less viable option for solving remote work issues. For the channel, it meant that many partners were often caught in the crossfire of support issues across multiple applications due to incorrect configuration or installation of collaboration tools. These can be time consuming, costly and unnecessary for both customers and partners. To prevent this problem from worsening, partners will now be looking for solutions which will complement their customers’ existing investment choices, allowing them to be more productive without the added stress of having to learn new ways of working or without having to troubleshoot new tech tools as they go. To envision their future digital ecosystem for true transformation, this is the clarity needed. Clearly, hybrid working is not just about working from varying locations anymore – there are so many more considerations than previously. At the top is keeping businesses

operating as ‘normal’. While the term ‘normal’ varies in definition across organisations, the common goal is to ensure traditional business functions operate with optimised efficiency, minimal delay and low stress to the workforce – and this is where work platform technology can plug the gap. ●

technologies designed to help employees maintain a number of things from engagement to safeguarding themselves from burnout by taking care of their day-to-day. However, in some instances, enterprises were not the decision makers of the tools implemented to support this. Employees had to take the plunge into WFH into their own hands, modifying their workflows and acquiring productivity and collaboration tools with a view to becoming more effective – but it also created what is defined as shadow IT (tech that is outside the purview of an enterprise’s IT workforce). These tools drained existing IT resources and created performance degradation across

NAVEED MALIK is regional director, EMEA,



Post-pandemic, hybrid working is truly here to stay. It has brought on many benefits for both employees and employers alike like greater flexibility and autonomy.


However, businesses need to look at the infrastructure supporting their hybrid working journey. For effective communication and collaboration, digital tools will be at the heart of how organisations rebuild their teams for the hybrid road ahead.

3 4

Adopt a centralised work platform so that all work can take place no matter its nature or scope.


This also provides businesses with more clarity on how these feed into enterprises’ existing digital ecosystem for true transformation.

Implementing ‘low-code nocode’ application produces high-quality content that requires no technical skill and can maintain a competitive edge.


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Hiring platform builds in enhanced compliance Supporting the switch to candidate-driven recruitment Finnish talent acquisition start-up Jobilla has secured funding to further develop its candidate-driven recruitment platform. The solution combines AI-driven candidate filtering, a mobile-supported funnel and marketing strategies that ensure the best active and passive candidates see the job opportunities. By analysing up to 35 different metrics from the recruitment funnel, Jobilla wants to remove obstacles from the candidate’s path, “one click at a time”. The company believes that megatrends like the ‘great resignation’ and the ‘war for talent’ are forcing companies to shift from organisation-driven recruiting to a candidate-driven model because merely offering a job with salary perks isn’t enough to attract top talent. The platform is available globally and clients include Pfizer in the US and the German Red Cross in Europe. Jobilla recently closed its €8.25m (£6.92m) funding round led by venture capital investors Juuri Partners and Trind VC.

The latest release of SmartRecruiters’ hiring platform has introduced several new compliance-related enhancements, including a dedicated European Union (EU) email service. The platform processes and stores all email data within European countries, including all conversations, notifications and marketing emails set up in SmartCRM. It has also introduced support for consolidated and segregated consent models within SmartPal. After consent for a job application has been provided, candidates will be presented with an overview of additional consent options. They can choose to accept them all or review them individually.

Smart interviewer gets smarter


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

Easing end-to-end recruitment for SMEs Manatal, an end-to-end recruitment and onboarding software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform, developed by the Bangkok-based start-up of the same name, is scaling up its offering for SME recruitment after securing $5.1m (£3.76m) in seed funding. The start-up will channel the funds to further develop its product offering and AI-recommendation engine. Manatal uses a range of technologies to streamline the entire SME recruitment flow from sourcing to onboarding. It enables SMEs to source candidates from a range of channels and its AI Recommendation Engine filters and scores candidates. It provides reporting/KPI features, an applicant tracking system, internal and external communication, and the ability to create a careers page. It also allows recruiters to enrich candidate profiles with data from LinkedIn, social media and other sources. I M AG E S | I STO C K

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Software technology company PredictiveHire has developed an algorithm to help recruiters extract more meaning and context from candidates’ written responses in the interview stage. InterviewBert by PhaiLabs combines Google’s model for natural language processing (NLP) with PredictiveHire’s dataset of more than 330m words. PredictiveHire’s AI-based smart interviewing tool can identify personality traits and communication skills using a candidate’s written responses. InterviewBert will speed up and enhance this ability. Phai interviews a new candidate roughly every 30 seconds. PredictiveHire claims it can assess candidate suitability in milliseconds.

Gaining an intelligent edge Recruitment software company Voyager has launched a business intelligence tool. It includes a library of pre-defined reports, plus the ability to create customised reports to suit business needs. The suite contains over 50 charts on 15 visualisation dashboards looking at almost 250 business areas. Recruiters can drill down and find out what activities are working well and plan future strategies. A customer activity heatmap shows recruiters what sectors are spending and when and how this is affecting business. They can also see which clients are spending and in which areas. Agencies can create some healthy competition between consultants by using the leaderboard facility. Voyager Business Intelligence is free with Voyager Infinity SaaS.


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Tackling the labour crisis Why recruitment is about more than just jobs BY MATT OLDHAM

he Times headline ‘Broccoli pickers paid £30 an hour as Britain runs short of vegetables’ highlights the plight that farmers faced last year when it came to recruiting workers to help with the harvest season in the wake of Brexit and the Covid-19 pandemic. While it makes for an eye-catching headline, the UK remains in the midst of the worst labour crisis since the late 1990s. Across nearly every sector, businesses are struggling to fill the gap left by the lack of overseas workers, after an estimated 94,000 more EU nationals left the UK in 2020. And while the UK government strives to offer temporary solutions, these won’t rectify the situation long term. With the National Farmers Union predicting 55,000 seasonal workers needed this year, and the government’s Seasonal Workers Pilot only allocating 40,000 six-month visas at the most, farmers in 2022 will likely experience significant labour shortfalls in much the same way as we saw last year. More telling is that, even when additional visas are offered, uptake seems slow. For example, out of the 800 temporary visas made available for overseas butchers to work in the UK (helping to end the practice of culling tens of thousands of healthy animals), only 100 workers applied to the scheme. Although Defra believes that making ‘employment more attractive to UK domestic workers through offering training, career options and wage increases’ could offer a solution, the


MATT OLDHAM is co-founder of e-current account provider Unizest


reality is that the UK is reliant on an overseas workforce to support our economy. And a recent NFU Scotland survey supports this: out of 100 employment contracts offered to UK workers on farms, only six were accepted and just three people turned up to work. The survey also found the retention rate between EU workers and UK workers differs massively: 80% compared to 32% respectively. Recruiters are now faced with the difficult challenge of encouraging more overseas workers to come to the UK to fill crucial roles. But it’s not simply a case of offering them a new job – offer support packages that help drive retention and ensure they have the best start to life in the UK.

Duty of care to workers

Recruiters have a responsibility to give their candidates an honest portrayal of what life in the UK is like. Learning a new language, experiencing a different culture, even Britain’s temperamental weather conditions can come as a surprise – particularly for those working outside in the agriculture and horticulture sectors. Financial exclusion is a growing issue for overseas workers who find themselves unable to open a high street bank account, since banking regulations require a permanent UK address, proof of ID and often a minimum of three months of utility bills. The knock-on effect can mean accommodation cannot be secured and wages cannot be paid. Workers are left vulnerable to illegal working practices run by gangmasters, just to ensure they have cash to pay for food and a roof over their head. Recruiters must therefore educate and offer guidance on how to open a bank account or secure somewhere to live, ideally before their candidate arrives in the UK. In regard to labour exploitation, recruiters should carry out due diligence when it comes to their labour supply chain, with regular audits of working environments and pay grades, and an understanding of the next steps if they believe there is suspicious activity. By recruiting ethically, supporting and educating candidates about their new life in the UK and offering them a safe environment to work in, recruiters can help to fix the long-term issues posed by the Covid-19 pandemic and Brexit. ●

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WEBCHAT RE-INVENT YOUR HIRING PROCESSES TO GET THE BEST TALENT Following on from your article ‘Turbulent year ahead for job market as employers strive to retain staff’ (, 17 February), it’s no secret that there’s currently a war for good talent. Now, combine that with the emerging technology sector and you’ve got yourself an even smaller talent pool. Believe it or not, some companies’ interview processes last more than three stages, take over 48 hours to provide feedback, reject candidates because they ‘only’ hit 90% of the role criteria, low-ball offers – I could go on. I spoke with a candidate recently who accepted an offer after three quick interview stages that turned around within a week (for a £140k+ director-level position). They told me they had 11 other opportunities on the go, and the crazy thing is, this is normal. Up to 90% of the candidates we speak to have several roles in the pipeline at one time. So let me put this back to the hiring managers: what are you doing to make sure the candidate picks you, and not the other way around? Candidates shouldn’t be grateful that you’ve invited them for an interview. If you’re waiting for an expert to apply and go through your 12-stage interview process, you’re living in another world! Harrison Goode, co-founder at emerging technologies recruiter Edge Tech

“How would you sort out the skills crises and shortages in the UK?” WAYNE BROPHY MA N AG I N G D I REC TOR , CA ST UK

“Firstly, employers and companies should embrace a more inclusive, skills-based approach to hiring, rather than focusing on qualifications. Our method is to concentrate on competencies that can be transferred from other industries. Secondly, accelerated training schemes are required to develop skills and retrain people. Thirdly, we should encourage schools to produce more students who are better equipped to go out into the world of work – at the same time as showcasing certain sectors that are struggling to attract employees, such as logistics or supply chain.”


“In the short term, I would abolish the ‘NHS tax’ for work permit employees. It’s costly to employers (especially start-ups) and it sends a ‘second class citizen’ message to employees. Let’s make the UK competitive and open for business. Invest in electronics/computer science training for teachers and provide hands-on development kits for students. In the longer term, teachers need to be paid a decent wage – especially nursery teachers, who are critical to long-term societal health. Reduce admin pressure on teachers, allowing them to run extracurricular activities/ clubs (and have a life!).”


“First, I’d increase the number of people eligible to work in the UK by rejoining the EU and embracing freedom of movement. I also think it’s important to invest in bursaries and scholarships, enabling the brightest STEM minds to work in green technology so we can build that sector. Then, I’d incentivise organisations allied to that area (such as vegan companies) to invest in the UK. Finally, I’d provide funding or tax breaks to businesses to invest in automation, either through CAPEX or software.” WWW.RECRUITER.CO.UK 17

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By Lisa Hanley

Nadia Edwards-Dashti, co-founder

of Harrington Starr, is a true champion for women in Fintech, and with a passion for diversity & inclusion, as her new book on gender equality in the workplace shows amed the Most Inspirational Recruitment Leader at the 2019 Recruiter Investing in Talent Awards, Nadia Edwards-Dashti has been recognised as a trailblazer in her field. With a determined nature, successful podcast and new book, Edwards-Dashti aims to make Fintech an inclusive environment for all women. Falling into recruitment straight out of university, Edwards-Dashti


never knew she wanted to be a recruiter. With two degrees under her belt, her first role working in recruitment came through an agency, but at the time, she had no idea what recruitment was. “I remember, my rep prepared me really strictly,” she says. “He was like, ‘So they're going to ask you about candidates and ask you about clients’ and I was like, ‘What are you talking about?’ But somehow I impressed the interviewer, and I got offered a job.”

Placed in a company renowned at the time for being quietly ‘aggressive’, as a trainee consultant, Edwards-Dashi said that first role came with many challenges. Although it created a great training ground to teach her the basics of recruitment, Edwards-Dashti said she struggled with her confidence, which meant the company’s heavy reliance on cold calling was a major challenge. For Edwards-Dashti, recruitment never came easy and was something she really had to work hard at. “That’s how the early part of my career was; it was very much sink or swim and to be really honest, I sank at the beginning. Looking back, I’m surprised I lasted the first six months. But I just kept kicking, so in the end I did swim,” she says. Finding her purpose in recruitment came over time. Once she started to build confidence, she tried to bring parts of herself to the process. “If I do any of those

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“Fintech is built on change. It’s built on agility. It’s built on challenging the status quo”


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psychometric tests, I always come out as a defender. I really like standing up for people, and I think actually recruitment: if you boil it down, what are you doing when you’re helping find someone a job? You’re standing up for them, and you’re representing them.” She sees the recruitment process as an opportunity to fight for people and push companies to take chances and invest in people. She adds: “I think that part of it really worked well for my personality, and over the years I’ve allowed my personality to come through and take more and more of an active role in my job.” Her first introduction to the Fintech industry came in 2005, working in a recruitment company which placed technologists within the financial sector. Learning the marketplace from scratch required her to ask more questions and go the extra mile with companies to find where she could add value. This led her to identify genuine gaps within the marketplace, which


allowed her to build on ways to solve those problems. Nadia EdwardsDashti was named Most Inspirational Recruitment Leader at the 2019 Recruiter Investing in Talent Awards

NEW VENTURE As chief customer officer for the Harrington Starr recruitment agency, which she co-founded in 2010 with CEOs Toby Babb and James Hounslow, Edwards-Dashti brought her unique style of recruitment problem solving to a new venture, which aimed to bring back traditional values missing in everyday recruitment. Values such as hosting, looking after people and building relationships with companies outside of business-as-usual, is their well-received approach to engaging with clients. “For us, we wanted to genuinely add value to people outside of when they were looking to recruit,” she explains. “Then, when they are looking to build their team, they already trust us, so they will use us.” Building this ideology within her recruitment approach, and aligning it with her passion for gender equality, allowed Edwards-Dashti to find her

“We wanted to add value to people outside of when they were looking to recruit” purpose in the recruitment process. She started hosting career workshops, offering free CV tailoring and salary surveys, and by 2013 she was invited to talk at various Fintech events to show companies how to drive inclusion.

APPEALING TO WOMEN In 2020, she built a campaign called The 17% List, based on a UK report by the Female Founders Forum that claimed only 17% of all technology roles across the UK were filled by women. At the time, a common theme in Fintech, regarding the low numbers, was a lack of visibility of female talent. So Edwards-Dashti decided to approach female technology workers outside of Fintech, to help drive up the numbers within that technology sector specifically. “I approached female technologists and I would say: ‘This is my programme. I’m all about trying to help customers create roles for you so that we can build a role around your skillset

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47% of her podcast Fintech with Nadia audience are men

and allow you to step up into a position within a business’ and it was incredibly successful.” Her successful podcast, ‘Fintech With Nadia: The Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Discussions’, has become an instant hit online, gathering a diverse audience from across the Fintech space and even across the waters. “It’s reaching countries I never even heard of, and I am so proud to say that considering it’s a discussion on women, 47% of my audience is men.” She adds: “I think that is great, as the big problem within gender inclusion conversations is that it’s only women in the conversation, and I’m a big believer that inclusion is about including everybody.” It’s also a great source of first-hand research for Edwards-Dashti as she invites women to discuss their working experience in Fintech, as well as encouraging companies in the Fintech space to address their


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inclusion policies. “I get to find out whether there are any problems that companies are having right now, and whether I am solving them.” Harrington Starr CEO Toby Babb thinks Edwards-Dashti’s immersion in podcasting has helped highlight the issue of gender diversity, a problem faced by nearly every business they have spoken to. When asked about her work, Babb says: “Through a sustained programme of The 17% List, the book, the podcast, content, events and insight, Nadia has thrown herself at making change in the sector with stunning, tangible results. She is a force for positive change and helped companies

“I’m a big believer that inclusion is about including everybody”

diversify and many women boost their visibility and create opportunities to grow. It is incredible and powerful to see.” During the lockdown in 2020, right after having her first child, Nadia felt motivated to jump right back into work, but she realised very quickly that there were no books written for women who wanted to continue their career post-pregnancy. It was here she found a gap in the market that led her to create her podcast, Maternity and Paternity Stories of Fintech, where she interviewed women and men on their experience continuing their careers after having a child. “I was really passionate about that series. It’s about understanding what individuals want. We placed a woman recently at a company that didn’t have a maternity package in place and that was something that she specifically needed. So we helped them set up their maternity package, which she’s over the moon about – and which I think is exactly what we should be doing in terms of supporting people in this industry,” she said. The success of her podcast has led to the publishing of her new book, The Fintech Women Who Walk the Talk: Driving change for workplace gender equality. She started to write the book after listening back to over 100 Women in Fintech podcasts, and realising the amazing lessons discussed. Based on discussions with 118 experts across the Fintech sector, she describes the book as a ‘how to’ guide for gender equality. “Fintech is built on change. It’s built on agility. It’s built on challenging the status quo. Did we ever think that we would be able to transfer money abroad within a second? No, Fintech has allowed that to happen. If it can work that out, I think we can work out how we bring in more women and retain more women to our industry.” ●


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What happens when great minds don’t think alike? Building the Recruitment team of the future.

9l =Q$ o] Z]f]Õl ^jge l`] \an]jkalq g^ gmj l]Yek every day. That’s why we’re passionate about empowering our people to live their purpose, by creating an exceptional experience where everyone belongs. Our Diversity, Equity and Inclusiveness (DE&I) team has set out an ambitious strategy, which challenges us to do more, and do it faster. O]Ìj] lYcaf_ Y[lagf lg Õp l`] _]f\]j Yf\ ]l`fa[alq imbalances within our business and that means a target to increase the representation of female and ethnic minority heritage partners, to 40% and 20% (of which 15% will be Black partners) respectively by 2025.

As a Talent Attraction and Acquisition team, we have a unique role to play in helping EY realise our ambitions of being a bold and disruptive voice on DE&I. We make sure our processes don’t exclude people and we’re here lg [`Ydd]f_] ZaYk]k o`]f o] k]] l`]e& O]Ìj] Y eYkkan] ]fYZd]j lg `]dh l`] Õje _]l al ja_`l&

How are we building a better working world? Our seven commitments to anti-racism In July 2020, we launched our Anti-Racism Commitments and vowed to be a voice and force for change, both within our own organisation and in society more widely. We were clear that we, and others, needed to do egj]& Gmj =ehdgq]j :jYf\ l]Ye ogjc]\ oal` gmj :dY[c [gdd]Y_m]k lg [j]Yl] Y Õde l`Yl []flj]\ gf l`]aj dan]\ experiences at EY and the actions we’re taking to ensure that EY is a place where every one of our people feels they belong.

“Never has there been a more exciting time to join the Recruitment team at EY. In a period of hypergrowth, we’re investing in the diversity of our team to help attract the best talent in the market. When we get this right, truly we can shape the world and all our lives for the better.” Matthew Jeffery, Talent Attraction and Acquisition Director, UK & Ireland A spotlight on Wellbeing For Gen Z, career motivations have changed: from monetary desire, towards a culture focused on support and wellbeing. This, along with over 50% of students on our programmes saying their mental health declined during the pandemic, was a challenge we wanted to address. In 2021 we launched a series of virtual events l`Yl _gl klm\]flk lYdcaf_& 9[jgkk Õn] aehY[l^md \Yqk$ o] afnal]\ Y `gkl g^ []d]Zjalq _m]klk Ç af[dm\af_ <j& 9d]p$ Anthony Joshua and Joe Wicks – to touch on different aspects of wellbeing.

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Championing neurodiversity at EY and beyond EY and society derives value from the unique diversity each of us brings to the table. We’re focused on many aspects of DE&I including an ever-increasing momentum to make a difference on the ability agenda. This manifested in better language, adapted recruitment processes and a working environment that supports the talent of neurodivergent employees. In 2021 we also launched our Neuro-Diverse Centre of Excellence (NCoE) at EY in Manchester to bring a new dimension of creativity in the workplace. Over the next three years we aim to hire 150 neurodivergent individuals to work with our client teams across the UK. Attracting the leaders of tomorrow We’re on a mission to help attract a more diverse pipeline of student talent to EY. We refreshed our Discover EY programme to more boldly attract females and those from Black heritage – from this we launched our Women in Business and Black Heritage in Business programmes. 86% of last year’s attendees were fast-tracked and converted to a Summer Internship or Industrial Placement in 2022.

“There is a lack of Black talent across senior roles in professional services and there is a strong case for improving diversity. We have recognised our own challenges at EY and I’m amazed by the support I’ve been given to help bring in more diverse talent.” Edmund Young, Senior Associate, Talent Attraction and Acquisition The power of networks Our DE&I networks and communities are voluntary groups of EY employees that come together based on shared identity, experiences and interests. All led by passionate and dedicated volunteer employees – many of whom sit within our UK Talent Attraction and Acquisition team. Our six employee networks – Gender, Race and Ethnicity, Embrace (faith and belief), Ability (supporting disabilities), Unity (LGBT+) and Life (family, age, carers) – work to build community, to educate across differences and to connect with each other and with external stakeholders.

“At EY, I can be myself and I’ll never take that for granted. 0\ FDUHHU LV RQ DQ XSZDUG WUDMHFWRU\ VR GL̆HUHQW WR ZKHUH I was a few years ago. I’ve had fantastic role models around me who have been both nurturing and supportive.” Hayley Vaughan, Talent Attraction and Acquisition, EY Unity Co-Chair (EY’s LGBT+ Network)

As Recruiters we have a huge responsibility to ensure that everyone has equal access to opportunities. No matter the disability, socio-economic background, gender identity, sexual orientation or ethnicity. Often the most valuable perspective is the one you don’t have yet. That’s why we’re growing our team and looking for extraordinary people, like you, to help us create lasting change.

If you’d like to help us build a better working world, scan the QR code or search for opportunities at

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Hybrid working: the new post-pandemic normal While home working has many benefits, numerous studies show


Companies are thinking twice before being locked into a traditional office lease after lockdown, so are flexible workspaces the solution? Rachel Masker investigates it has downsides too. It’s perhaps no surprise then, most businesses and individuals prefer a mixture of home and office working going forward, according to a government survey on the future of homeworking, published in May 2021. Very few bosses (2%) reported they were not expecting their workforce to return to the office at all. There was some uncertainty among businesses, however, with 32% unsure what proportion of their employees will be at their normal place of work in future. Overall, the main advantage of remote working was a better work-life balance, the survey

showed. Another positive was less time taken to complete work. Meanwhile the main disadvantage was a feeling that it was harder to collaborate. Millennial and Gen Z workers, aged 16 to 29 years, were less likely to give homeworking a thumbs-up than older workers. The decades-old trend towards bigger offices in taller buildings is likely to be replaced by a focus on


he pandemic revolutionised how we work in the UK. Almost overnight, working from home became widespread. For some, remote working ended a miserable daily commute and enabled a better work-life balance. For others it meant juggling conference calls with childcare. The end of January marked the official end of work from home guidance in England. Few are expected to return to all week in the office. Instead, businesses of all kinds are embracing the ‘hybrid’ approach, working from both home and office. As company bosses review and adapt to this new reality, it’s clear that offices offering agility and value are increasingly attractive. In the raging debate about the role of the office post-pandemic there is a strong case for considering flexible workspaces.

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smaller workspaces, according to research by KPMG. Potentially, this could free up space for more businesses to relocate teams in previously expensive and crowded locations, albeit for fewer than five days per week. Corporates could start to spread their offices around the country, putting workers in smaller offices in commuter belts or even apartment buildings, say analysts. Meanwhile big cities, such as London, Birmingham and Manchester could become regional hubs and attract even more workers.

“We believe that adopting a fixed hybrid model, all in on the same days, is the key to striking the right balance”

Innovative timeshare office space

Jon Dweck, CEO and founder of recruitment specialist POD Talent, believes a cost-effective solution is hybrid office timeshare agreements. Together with co-founders Rich Fine and Keith Lomas, he is launching SpaceThreeTwo, believed to be the first timeshare office marketplace.

When the online platform goes fully live this summer it will work in a similar way to Airbnb which has disrupted the landscape of hospitality with millions of listings worldwide. SpaceThreeTwo will connect companies seeking places for hybrid working with office space providers. Dweck said: “We believe that adopting a fixed hybrid model, all in on the same days, is the key to striking the right balance for businesses and staff.” He added: “As well as full-time offices, our marketplace offers access to offices available for between one to four days each week. This is an entire office for exclusive use of an individual business on set days of the working week. And because all staff come in on the same days, it improves work-life balance for staff while maintaining a sense of culture and collaboration.” A ‘clean desks’ policy and secure storage are part of the deal. Firms only pay for the days they need in the office rather than leaving them empty, cutting costs. The minimum term will be six months.


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Initially, listings will all be London-based but the goal is to expand into other cities and towns across the UK and then globally within two years, said Dweck. Businesses in the capital alone waste an estimated £21bn on empty office space, according to his company’s research.

Flex space options


TOMORROW LONDON After nearly two years of remote working, Tomorrow London, a recruiter for the creative arts, has just moved into a flex office space in the beating heart of Shoreditch. The 18-strong team is now based in a 500sq ft studio in a Workspace property, The Frames, on a short-term 12-month lease with a six-month break clause. Founder and director Emma Bond is a big fan. “We chose The Frames not only because of the fab spaces but because they offer flexibility, are in a great location and give us the opportunity to grow without committing to more space until we need it.” Under a hybrid working arrangement, the company has two to three set days in the office, so the team can make the most of the space to collaborate. Tomorrow London previously occupied a non-serviced office in Shoreditch. While it had “a great


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warehouse vibe”, said Bond, they had a long lease and the recruiter had to cope with problems like power cuts or internet shortage. “It’s great now to have someone we can rely on to manage this for us, also the team is very friendly. It’s hassle-free.” Other pros include the on-site café, option to rent meeting rooms, impressive reception area, great art and ability to make the space their own/brand it, said Bond. On the downside? “It is more expensive than a traditional office but nowhere near as expensive as a fully serviced office. For companies of our size, we can save on the need to have an office manager, so it’s all comparative.” Her advice to fellow recruiters contemplating a flex space. “I would say it’s a great option. Just having that flexibility in this market is brilliant.”

Flex space is designed to give businesses more freedom and value. From a single hot desk to roomy offices, you skip the long lease; minimum of three years, more often at least five. Offices come fully furnished with free WiFi, security, cleaning and maintenance. And all the rent, bills and rates are included in one all-inclusive price. The serviced or flexible office is seeing increased demand, according to a survey by Savills. The estate agent reports that 75% of landlords are expecting their tenants to seek more flexibility from their lease agreements in future. Flexible office space was already a trend which the pandemic accelerated, according to Will Abbott, chief customer officer for Workspace, the largest provider of flex space in London, with buildings in 60 locations across the capital and plans to buy more. During lockdown most flex space providers took a huge hit. Workspace lost 10% of its customers. But Abbott is bullish: “We are pleased that this trend has now reversed, and we are seeing more customers expand than contract, as well as increased demand which means our occupancy is recovering well.” Asked if the office is dead or just different, Abbott said: “The office is alive and well. But the way businesses choose to use their space has undoubtedly changed. Rows of desks are being replaced with meeting rooms, phone booths for private video calls, breakout areas and more social space.”


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Abbott said Workspace had seen enquiries from recruiters more than double over the last two years. “Some things are just better done face-to-face. Work should be a place where teams meet to collaborate, and support and train new joiners and those starting out in their careers.” New kid on the block Fora, with 15 venues in London and Reading, and plans to open more in Oxford and Cambridge, promises to “elevate” the work experience and drive productivity with premium facilities and hotel-inspired hospitality. Fora offers both single desks in co-working areas and office suites. Open 24/7, shared office amenities include off-street cycle storage complete with tyre repair kits along with showers with toiletries and fluffy towels. Fitness and meditation classes to

“The office is alive and well. But the way businesses choose to use their space has changed” boost mental and physical wellbeing are available too. LABS workspaces, with 11 buildings across London, has launched a similar offering with day passes from just £25 for a spot at an open-plan desk in a communal, coworking area. The company also provides serviced private offices, suitable for individuals or large teams. Member perks include preferential rates to gyms, free tea and coffee, biscuits and fruit. Pets are even allowed. Some landlords are transforming

traditional offices into flexible workspace. For example, infinitSpace, a European flex space provider, has launched its first London location in Aldgate Tower, owned by Brookfield Properties. The 16-floor glass building offers coworking and private office spaces, all with flexible terms. Wybo Wijnbergen, CEO of infinitSpace, said: “Since the pandemic, flexible working has become the become the norm for many businesses. This means they need flexible spaces to work in – that can be accessed around the clock, are optimised with technology and provide an exceptional experience to inspire people to travel to work.” Property consultant Anthony Lorenz, whose business is 80% traditional offices, has seen a rise in demand for flex space. His firm Lorenz Consulting is working with a range of companies looking to downsize but also to move to premium facilities. Latest must-haves include high spec air ventilation systems, ultra-fast WiFi, showers and a high EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) rating. Traditional offices are more cost-effective in the longer term than co-working or flexible space, said Lorenz. “Flexible workspace is at least 20% more expensive than traditional office space. A lot of tenants who go into flex space don’t realise how much the extra charges will be.” Plus, the longer you sign-up for a lease, the larger the potential rent-free period you can negotiate. A recruiter moving to a flexible workplace from a traditional office is likely to pay a higher price per sq ft. However, the HQ-standard amenities provided by some flex spaces might attract and retain talent. Factor in hybrid working timeshare or no business rates or service charges and the value is clearer. And with rapidly evolving work patterns, not being locked into a long lease is a big bonus. ●


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Prioritise wellbeing in the new normal p3 B I G TA L K I N G P O I N T

The skills of the future p4 L E G A L U P D AT E

Recruitment Issue 96 Matters March-April 2022

Digital right-to-work checks here to stay p6 Q&A

New opportunities to close the gender gap p7

Labour shortages

Workforce planning must take priority


he UK’s jobs market is as tight as it has ever been. We have a record number of vacancies – 1.3 million at the last official count – and demand is still rising. Meanwhile, the REC and KPMG Report on Jobs shows candidate availability continuing to fall month-on-month. Our labour shortage problems are not going away any time soon. This situation is not new, although Covid has made it worse. Recruiters and their clients have been warning about shortages in sectors ranging from driving to healthcare and IT for many years. But there has been insufficient forward thinking and training to avoid the crisis. It took the pandemic to expose the extent of the problem and prompt the government to acknowledge the scale of the issue. We must ensure that it does not happen again. It’s time for workforce planning to be taken seriously by both employers and politicians – and the REC’s campaigns team is shifting its focus to this issue. At the top level, this will require cooperation between the government departments of Business, Education and Work & Pensions, among others. Working with industry bodies, these departments must take a long look at where the shortages are, and put measures in place to make sure that enough people are being trained to take on the vacant positions in the long-term. This will involve attracting young people into these vital roles, but also encouraging older people to come back to work and retraining workers who are looking for a career change. It will mean making many sectors more diverse and flexible, bringing in and building up

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talent from all walks of life. And the business world will have to play its part as well, with recruiters in the role of trusted advisers. Leadership teams who say their people are the most important part of the company must now back that up by raising staffing up the agenda and making workforce planning the key element of their business strategy. The REC will continue to push this as a priority with government and business in the coming months.

Making great work happen 23/02/2022 11:37

Leading the industry

the view... Business is booming, but take the time to prepare for more challenging days to come, says

Neil Carberry,

REC Chief Executive


ate last year, the economy bounced back to prepandemic levels – and the buoyant mood among recruiters certainly backed that up! We’ve come a long way in the past two years. Omicron had less of an impact than previous Covid strains, and we expect decent growth in 2022. Certainly, the first few weeks of the year proved very positive. But while the sun shines, we should recall it also rains. In times like these, leaders should be cautious and prepare for when the boom slows. I’m no pessimist, but we cannot know what October 2022 will be like. The odds are that it won’t be the same as January. Our JobsOutlook survey of clients identifies three headwinds, aside from Covid. Labour shortages still constrain activity and Brexit has added barriers to trade. But the major worry for every business leader that I speak to is inflation; we are all watching its effects closely. Employer confidence in the broader economy is dropping, but I hope some of this concern is transient. There are reasons for optimism – most employers still plan to hire and invest in their companies. Inevitably, leaders must think about the future sustainability of their business model. Clients are dealing with rising costs across the board, from energy and supplies to wages and taxes. Staffing companies can play a valuable role here as advisers on all aspects of workforce planning. Clients will need that more than ever as they try to adapt. And we also need to look after our own houses. Chasing salaries up, and tolerating huge price rises from suppliers, could fundamentally damage firms’ ability to adapt to change. We need to train more consultants, not just fight over the pool of good people we have. The REC will be working on a range of initiatives to support you with that, from apprenticeships and new material on careers in recruitment to advice on handling suppliers. Your counsel will be indispensable to clients in the months to come – but make sure you practice what you preach at home. If you want to keep up to speed with all things recruitment then follow me on Twitter @RECNeil



Disability workforce reporting Shazia Ejaz, Director of Campaigns at the REC


s part of the National Disability Strategy, the government recently consulted on the introduction of mandatory disability workforce reporting for large companies. The intention is to ensure greater transparency around levels of employment of disabled people with a view to making workplaces more inclusive. In principle, that is the right thing to do, but there are some aspects of the consultation that could have serious implications for the recruitment industry and we need to consider these. The government proposes that reporting would apply to “large companies” – those with 250 employees or more. However, it’s unclear whether the definition of “employee” would include an employment business’s temporary workforce. If so, this will affect the number of recruiters this requirement applies to. Smaller agencies may also struggle to manage the administrative process if temporary workers are included. If the government moves forward with these proposals, individuals may have concerns about the way their personal data is gathered and used. If mandatory reporting is introduced, individuals should have the opportunity to opt out of the data-sharing process to protect their personal data freedoms. The way in which any data gathered for this purpose is used also needs to be transparent. The introduction of disability reporting should not be a tick-box exercise. An external body, either government-led or independent, should be set up to ensure that the reporting data is analysed effectively and can lead to changes if necessary. Disability workforce reporting is potentially a useful tool to drive equality, diversity and inclusion, but only if the reporting requirements are implemented in a meaningful way. The consultation, which the REC has responded to on behalf of members, is now closed and we will have to wait until June for the government’s response. We will keep members up to date with any developments in the meantime.

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23/02/2022 11:37

Leading the industry

the intelligence... Prioritising staff wellbeing in the new normal By Atanas Nikolaev, Research Manager Over the past two years, the global pandemic has impacted our working lives in myriad ways. Often, this meant accelerating trends that existed before the pandemic. Levels of hybrid and remote working and use of new technology were already increasing, but Covid-19 acted as a catalyst for their rapid adoption. Indeed, the speed of these changes was a shock to the established order. Employers across all industries were forced to adapt quickly to the changes that followed the pandemic outbreak in early 2020. Many businesses adopted hybrid or fully remote working as an immediate response. But, after a while, the new normal (as it was quickly labelled) felt more stressful, lonely or isolating for many employees than the old. The speed and scope of change created a huge amount of uncertainty and stress for workers. An Ipsos Mori survey of nearly 13,000 employees across 28 countries revealed that more than half of working adults (56%) feel increased levels of anxiety around job security or are stressed because of changes to their routine or organisational

$2.5 trillion The global cost of lost productivity because of ill-health, absenteeism and high staff turnover

56% An Ipsos Mori survey

revealed that more than half of working adults feel increased anxiety around job security

practices (55%). A further half (50%) struggle with work-life balance, while more than two in five employees (45%) are affected by family pressures such as childcare. With two in three employees (66%) saying they feel unable to switch off and three in four (74%) feeling stressed, according to a Cigna report, workers are increasingly looking for more wellbeing support from their employers. The same survey showed that nearly two-thirds of respondents (64%) said the things they wanted support for most were finances, living conditions and health provision. In recent years, more businesses than ever have increased their support for the mental health and wellbeing of their workforce. This approach benefits the business as well as staff. The global cost of lost productivity because of ill-health, absenteeism and high staff turnover has been estimated to be around $2.5 trillion (£1.8tr) per year – increased support for staff should help to decrease that.


of employees say they feel unable to switch off.

Many businesses started offering, or increasing the number of, support schemes for staff during Covid-19. EY enhanced an already comprehensive suite of wellbeing offerings by adding daily group counselling sessions for staff and their partners, including specialist support for caregivers and people with disabilities. The firm also gave employees access to a free mobile app that supports them with their emotional resilience and improving their sleep habits. Meanwhile, the Financial Times partnered with an employee assistance provider to offer bespoke webinars on a variety of topics. The media company also mobilised its internal network of mental health ambassadors to ensure that staff were supported by their peers. As the country comes out of the pandemic, many of the changes that businesses have made during Covid-19 will stick. It looks as though increased hybrid and remote working will be one of those – so it’s important that firms also continue to support their workforce’s mental health while staff adjust to the evolving new normal.

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23/02/2022 11:38

The future of skills

big talking point

Skills evolution What skills will you and your clients need in the coming years – and where will they come from?


hat will your workforce look like in a year’s time? What will it look like in five years’ time? In periods of immense disruption, it’s hard to look ahead by a few months, let alone years. But this is critical when organisations’ need for talent and their ability to source it is shifting dramatically. From one perspective, this looks like good news for recruiters – increased need for skills means more demand for their services. But of course, if there is a serious shortage of candidates or they don’t have the skills to meet clients’ needs, it can turn into a serious problem. This does mean that recruiters get a ringside view of shifting trends. It’s not hard to see the skills most in need now, but spotting those likely to be most needed in future involves analysing the causes of shortages and watching evolving workplace patterns. Recruiters see changes as they happen on the ground, but they need also to consider the wider picture and match anecdotal evidence to macro industry research. “There are two key types of skills that we’re envisaging becoming more critical in the years ahead,” says Kate Shoesmith, Deputy CEO at the REC. “There are the technical skills that people need to do specific jobs and there are the transferable skills, sometimes referred to as ‘soft’ or ‘people’ skills. These have always been important, but the pandemic has accelerated changes to how we manage and work with other people.” 4

Transferable skills are crucial for people to be resilient in a rapidly changing jobs market. But while our training systems have been set up to teach technical skills, many transferable skills have traditionally been learnt on the job, with junior staff members learning from colleagues and managers about how to behave in meetings, how to ‘read’ a room and ways to win others around to their preferred strategy. Now that many people are unlikely to return to the office full time, where will this learning come from? These are important questions for employers, recruiters and education providers, Shoesmith says. All parties must work together to build the skills base we need in the future. And since transferable skills can be enhanced and improved at any stage in a person’s

career, this is an opportunity for more experienced workers as well as people just starting their careers. “Leaders who know they haven’t finished learning and are aware of the need to evolve constantly tend to be more effective,” she points out. The skills to manage ‘new normal’ offices effectively will be more crucial than ever, because managers play a key role in corporate culture, motivating staff, identifying what new recruits want from jobs and how their wishes can be accommodated. “Managers need to engage with all parts of the workforce as never before,” Shoesmith adds. “It is concerning how many older, skilled and experienced people are opting out of work altogether or moving to less-pressured employment,

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23/02/2022 11:38

Statistics Top three digital skills needs 43% of UK digital leaders want to hire cyber security professionals. 36% of UK digital leaders want to hire big data analysts. 33% of UK digital leaders want to hire technical architects. Harvey Nash 2021 Digital Leadership report.

50% of all employees will need reskilling in the next five years. Employers expect to offer reskilling and upskilling to just over 70% of their employees by 2025, however, only 42% of employees are

taking up employer-supported reskilling and upskilling opportunities. WEF Future of Jobs 2020

while younger people are delaying entering the workforce.” These older people may be lost forever if organisations cannot tempt them to stay. “The pandemic has caused people to reassess their lives and many are feeling burnt out,” Shoesmith says. “Employers need to think about how they can tempt these people to stay and pass on their skills – this is likely to mean considering flexible working, parttime, job shares and sabbaticals, and demonstrating a supportive, innovative and inclusive culture.” Recruiters also have a part to play in this. They can help clients to understand how to promote their culture externally. They can also encourage candidates to identify their transferable skills, and think broadly about the opportunities available and how to demonstrate skills learnt in previous roles. This widens the talent pool and increases development possibilities for individuals.

Tech hot spots When it comes to technical skills, it is no surprise that technology skills are the most in demand and the shortest in supply. This has been true for years, but the shortage is particularly acute now that many offices have gone virtual and almost all businesses have started offering products and services online. There has been a digital revolution creating even more demand for those who can design, implement

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and develop these new technologies ‘‘and ensure that they protect their customers’ data. Bev White, CEO of Harvey Nash, has tracked these needs via her firm’s 2021 Digital Leadership report. One sign of change is that this annual research report has broadened its scope from chief information officers to all the senior executives now responsible for some area of digital development. “The context is far broader now,” she says. “The same three skills were most in demand in the UK and globally and we expect these to continue to dominate in the near future.” Top of the list is cyber security skills. “I looked at open roles in cyber security globally recently and there were over 3.5 million vacancies,” White says. “This supports the report by DCMS at Christmas that showed 10,000 roles currently advertised in the UK.” She sees this as a huge opportunity to get new people into IT roles and to increase diversity in the sector. “I believe we will see a real shift in the next three or four years,” she says. “Previously, only 12% of senior tech roles were held by women, even though lots of women came into the profession at entry levels.” Companies must identify what they need to get the job done, not what they’ve had before, she advises. They will have to look further afield and offer flexible working that will tempt back people who have left the sector. This

could open doors for people from other parts of the world and those who have disabilities or neurodiverse conditions that made it harder for them to commute to a physical office. “Recruiters have a clear role helping organisations to identify the skills they will need in three or four years’ time and looking at their long-term talent strategy and training. Can they upskill their existing staff or retain people by moving them into different functions?” she asks. This will necessitate a closer long-term relationship with clients. The skills crisis poses problems, but the opportunities are huge. Recruiters must think hard about the skills they need to help secure their future – and, even more importantly, they will have to work closely with clients to improve their workforce planning. Recruiters can help businesses to search more widely, finding candidates with transferable skills and the potential to succeed in more than one role within the business. The industry will also play a valuable role in advising clients on how to hone their candidates’ skills and build up a talent pipeline by nurturing their staff ’s ability to develop on the job. Ultimately, in a tight labour market where skills are scarce, businesses will need to invest more in training staff to get the exact skills they need. In the long run, this could prove a much more sustainable way to hire and will help the economy to succeed.

March-April 2022 Recruitment Matters


23/02/2022 11:38

Employment law

legal update Permanent digital right-to-work checks By Karen Afriyie, Legal and Compliance Adviser, REC


n 30 March 2020, the government introduced a temporary, adjusted right-to-work (RTW) check regime, because of disruption caused by the pandemic. This temporary regime enables employers to conduct checks via video calls, and to accept scanned copies of original documents. It has been well-received across the board. Following the positive feedback and calls from all sides to have the regime extended, as well as lobbying efforts from the REC, the Home Office (HO) has confirmed that it will be putting a permanent digital RTW regime in place from 6 April 2022. This new system will replace the temporary, adjusted regime, which will end on 5 April. The HO’s policy paper published on 27 December 2021 announced that employers will be able to use certified Identity Service Providers (IDSPs) to conduct digital identity checks for UK and Irish nationals. Under the new regime, candidates will be able to upload images of their personal documents to an Identification Document Validation


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Technology (IDVT) provider, instead of presenting physical documents to a prospective employer. The new regime will align with the Disclosure and Barring Service’s (DBS) proposal to enable digital identity checking in their criminal record checking process, through the introduction of its Identity Trust Scheme. The cost of using IDSPs will be met by employers and will vary depending on the level of service supplied by the provider. The government has advised that costs could start from as little as £1.45, but could rise to between £50-70 per check. The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport also produced guidance on 17 January 2022 explaining how organisations can become certified Identification Validation Technology service providers under the new rules. This new regime is likely to present issues for recruitment businesses which may conduct thousands of RTW checks

per week. The fees could result in high and unnecessary costs for businesses, particularly when there are other systems, such as the Employer’s Checking Service (ECS) for EU nationals, that can be used for free. The REC’s Campaigns team will be lobbying the HO on the costs of this new regime and calling for these to be reduced significantly.

23/02/2022 11:39

Gender gap


The Chair of REC explains why Covid-19 could create more opportunities for women

Sarah Thewlis, Managing Director, Thewlis Graham Associates and Chair of REC After years of focusing on the gender pay gap and equality at work, how much progress have we made? I’ve seen many changes over the years since I joined the workplace and many of these have been positive. The impact of the Covid pandemic was interesting – it helped us to move further away from a culture of presenteeism and enabled many more people to work from home, but the statistics also highlighted the high percentage of childcare that is still done by women – 17% of women left their jobs in the first lockdown to care for their children, compared with 10% of men.

What more can employers do to improve gender equality at work? They need to grasp the issue of flexibility for women and men. Childcare is still a major barrier. More women are going to university and qualifying, but they still

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do most of the childcare. Managing flexibly means thinking more about how you can gain high quality output than about input. The pandemic has provided an opportunity to make this work better, but it needs careful management. There are times when we need people to work together in offices, but also many when it is fine to work from somewhere else.

Can legislation and regulation do more? Lord Davies’ work on increasing the number of women on boards is instructive. Quotas make a difference, but it also put pressure on people in the FTSE 100 who didn’t want to end up on his “naughty step”. We need better measures to gain data to see whether there is progress in all sizes of organisation. Having to declare the gender pay gap is useful because it creates a need for employers to say what they will do about it. But we also need to encourage smaller

organisations to collect data – most people don’t work for FTSE 100 companies.

What part can the recruitment industry play in this? The shortage of job candidates gives employers and recruiters an opportunity to think differently and more creatively. Recruiters should be discussing flexibility and asking what competencies are really necessary for the role. They need to tell employers that they are unlikely to get the “perfect” candidate, but that they could employ this person and support them with training and development. During the pandemic, recruiters have been amazingly creative, for example placing people in different industries, encouraging them to move sideways and to recognise the versatility of their competencies. We need to use all this now to help clients and candidates seize new opportunities.

We must also put our own houses in order – there are a lot of women in our industry, but many of the senior managers are male. We must hold up a mirror and ask what we can do better.

What key challenges do you see ahead? The next issue is how we upskill middle managers to manage a flexible workforce from a distance. This requires a mature relationship with staff. During the pandemic, managers have had to admit that they don’t know all the answers. We need to build on this and encourage managers to talk openly to staff and learn what individuals want and how they work. It’s a reciprocal relationship – we’ve seen how valued employees will go the extra mile when they are needed. It’s also the only way we will encourage people to bring their whole selves to work and benefit from real diversity of thought in our workplaces.

March-April 2022 Recruitment Matters


23/02/2022 11:39


Mastering management T

he most important asset to any recruitment business is its people. In an increasingly competitive market, how will you develop talent and retain top quality managers? We have teamed up with Expressions Partnership to bring you the REC Management Academy, a progressive programme aimed at anyone who is responsible for leading and managing people within a recruitment business. Being a great recruiter and managing your own desk requires a different set of skills and behaviours to managing a whole team of people doing this role. Far too many managers are given the job title without the appropriate tools,

Recruitment Matters


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

Recruitment Matters March-April 2022

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development and support they need to fulfil the role to the best of their ability. You might be surprised to hear that “accidental managers” – those without any development or training – cost the UK economy between £86 billion and £89 billion every year. The REC Management Academy aims to provide managers with all the skills they need to be the best they can be. Managers will gain the confidence and competence to lead their teams so they can contribute to the overall aims and objectives of the business. The course will cover a wide range of topics, including effective communication, techniques to motivate staff, ways to

manage change and how to delegate authority effectively. It is delivered over eight months to accommodate the requirements of the day job and to enable progressive learning. Participants will receive unlimited over-the-phone coaching in addition to attending interactive workshops. They will also be encouraged to network with other people in similar roles. They will receive the best support to demonstrate return on their investment of time, effort and money. The next REC Management Academy course begins on 20 April 2022. Find out more about it and book your place on the REC website.

Membership Department: Membership: 020 7009 2100, Customer Services: 020 7009 2100 Publishers: Redactive Publishing Ltd, Level 5, 78 Chamber Street, London E1 8BL Tel: 020 7880 6200. Editorial: Editor Ruth Prickett. Production Editor: Vanessa Townsend Production: Production Executive: Rachel Young Tel: 020 7880 6209 Printing: Printed by Precision Colour Printing © 2020 Recruitment Matters. Although every effort is made to ensure accuracy, neither REC, Redactive 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 Redactive Publishing Ltd. No responsibility can be accepted for unsolicited manuscripts or transparencies. No reproduction in whole or part without written permission.

23/02/2022 16:11


RECRUITMENT CONSULTANT GOES FROM START-UP TO 7-FIGURE SALE IF STARTING A 7-FIGURE RECRUITMENT BUSINESS WAS MADE AS EASY AS CHANGING JOBS… WOULD YOU DO IT? MOST PEOPLE SAY “I’d do it if I had the money”… If you’re like most successful recruitment consultants, you know that owning your recruitment business has the potential to make you far more than working a desk for your employer. Starting your own recruitment business is the best opportunity for you to secure a 7-figure future and reach your long-term goals, quickly. When Mary Cox launched GotPeople in 2011 her aim was exactly that, to build a recruitment business that would deliver a secure 7-figure future. Now, Mary is set to sail off into retirement having sold the company in a 7-figure deal. Mary had worked tirelessly for years in recruitment running desks for other

businesses and decided in 2011 it was time to do it for herself. When Mary came to The Recruit Venture Group she had been caught up in the confusion of how to get going. For far too long Mary

“If you’re a recruitment consultant, with the ambition to run your own consultancy, this is the way to do it. It gives you the perfect mix of support and autonomy. It meant I could build my business quickly with full focus on what matters.” Mary Cox

had deliberated over how to cover the costs, retain an income and feared failing due to cashflow. “It was 7th February 2011. I took my business idea for a new recruitment consultancy to The Recruit Venture Group. It was quite possibly the best day of my life when I look back now,” says Mary, “I’m so thankful for The Recruit Venture Group. They provided the backing I needed which gave me the confidence and ability to go out on my own without the fear of financial restrictions or loss and we got trading with volume clients immediately.” GotPeople launched in late September 2011 and Mary produced a turnover of half a million in her first eight months of trading. She pushed the figure up to £1.5m in her first full year. Within four years, GotPeople had a turnover of £4m per annum. The rapid growth was generated because Mary could focus purely on recruitment, and forget all the back-office and administration that would normally bog down any new start-up. Mary is proud of GotPeople’s track record in generating not just turnover but, more importantly, healthy mark-up, margins and profit. “They are the real keys to success,” she explained. The support Mary had was a major factor in creating the right conditions for her to build a team and drive the business forward at pace. At The Recruit Venture Group, our culture is rooted in the cycle of Create, Invest, Support and Grow – and ultimately succeed. We specialise in recruitment companies because we’re experts in the sector. Now Mary is planning another journey: a new home on the coast, plans to visit her children in South America and to learn to sail. Mary is living proof that, with the right support, a successful recruitment business can deliver a secure future. You can achieve your goals too. Contact The Recruit Venture Group in confidence at or call 01362 88 25 85 today.


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WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN UP TO? GET IN TOUCH! Spring is in the air, so time for recruiters to really get their show on the road! Here’s what some of you have been up to since the last Recruiter…


THE SHOW FINALLY WENT ON FOR ILLUMINA’S HECTOR Hector Wheatley, EMEA talent acquisition partner at Illumina’s Early Talent Programmes, was cast as banjo-strumming Kipps in the musical Kipps (Half A Sixpence)) in February 2020, “blissfully unaware the world was about to drastically change”. With Cambridge local company Festival Players, the group managed to get in “four or five” rehearsals before the show was postponed until January 2022. When Omicron surged at the end of 2021, “we had people testing positive from every angle and had to adapt the show every night. We never had a full cast performance… By closing night, we were missing seven cast members of the cast, and we had both our choreographer and director in the show”. A bit of the recruitment industry’s resilience was obviously centre stage in this show.

Recruitment agency Nigel Wright Group has donated 30 laptops to charities that help ex-offenders find employment, and children at risk of criminal exploitation. The laptops will help employment agencies Clean Slate Solutions and Recruitment Junction to better support young adults in the Teesside region and the North-East with convictions to find work. Recruitment Junction has passed some of the laptops onto social enterprise Edge North East, which works with young people at risk of serious violence and child criminal exploitation, including county lines and gangs. These laptops will be used by young people for education and to apply for jobs. Pictured above, l-r: Joe Clarkson at Clean Slate Solutions, Deborah Hugill at Nigel Wright, Beverley Brooks at The Recruitment Junction and Mark Simpson at Nigel Wright

VANTAGE TAKES CARE OF THE RSPCA IN Q1 Vantage Consulting has chosen the RSPCA as its Q1 charity, following company-wide feedback. The recruiter will kick things off with its “legendary” internal office quiz, it says, which will be as competitive as ever. And after that, some of Vantage’s fittest staff members will be running the gruelling Stafford Half Marathon. In addition, the animal loving staff will put on a range of events in the office, including The Vantage Table Tennis Open, Internal Karaoke Night and the How Hot Can You Go spice eating trial. Mmmm, sounds tasty!

SR2 HANDS OVER £35K TO CHARITIES Socially responsible recruitment firm SR2, and winner of Best New Agency at 2020’s Recruiter Awards, made another amazing donation to its current charity partners – Jessie May and Young Bristol. A cheque of £35,458.80, brings its total donation over the last 18 months to £98,637.83. SR2 has now given over £130k to charity in its first four years of business!

KEYSTREAM PICKS HESTIA AS ITS CHARITY OF THE YEAR Keystream, a provider of non-clinical talent to the NHS, has chosen Hestia as its Charity of the Year for 2022. Hestia supports adults and children in times of crisis, delivering services across London and the surrounding regions. The people it has helped in the past include victims of modern slavery, domestic abuse, young care leavers and older people. Part of the fundraising activity, led by Keystream’s CSR team, include a team hike in the Lake District, an endurance spin-a-thon and office-based themed charity days.


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24/02/2022 09:45






Morgan McKinley


Signify Technology

Seven Resourcing

BEST ONBOARDING PROGRAMME Gravitas Recruitment Group

COVID-19 CHAMPION Select Offshore


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22/02/2022 11:31



Kayley Savage: Senior Consultant, Oakwell Hampton

Camino Partners


Louise Foster: Head of Talent and Development, Baltimore Consulting




Nicholas Hopkins: Associate Director, VIQU


Duane Cormell: Director, Realm Recruit


Xpertise Recruitment


Ryan Adams: CEO/Founder, Signify Technology



Amy Hambleton: Director, RedLaw


Raph Mokades: Managing Director, Rare Recruitment

On Tuesday 1 Februrary Recruiter’s Investing In Talent Awards took place at The Brewery London. 15 winners were announced at the fantastic event, celebrating those investing in talent within the recruitment industry.

L@ RecruiterAwards

| #investingintalent | #RITAwinner REC.MarApr22_040-041.indd 41

22/02/2022 11:31



JW Marriott Grosvenor House London

ENTER NOW Could your company join the industry's professional elite? Enter these prestigious awards!



New categories for 2022 • Most Effective Emerging Talent Recruitment Strategy • Diversity, Equality and Inclusivity (DE&I) Service Excellence

Sponsored by:

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22/02/2022 11:32




The Body Shop’s Anita Roddick taught me: “You don’t build a business; you build people and people build the business” MY BRILLIANT RECRUITMENT CAREER What was your earliest dream job? I always wanted to work in fashion. I went for an interview to be a buyer at Topshop, and they really wanted to hire me, but I couldn’t pass the maths test.

I’m one of those people that actually y didn’t fall into recruitment. I love meeting people, reading people and making lifelong relationships. I was walking past a local agency and went in to have a chat, and haven’t looked back since. Ironically, they put me into financial recruitment!

Who is your role model – in life or in recruitment? Anita Roddick. My first job was working for The Body Shop when I was 16 and she taught me that money shouldn’t be a priority – passion should be what you do. She always said: “You don’t build a business; you build people and people build the business.” She also said that in a products-based business, your products are key. In service-based industries, you rely heavily on testimonials. She was ahead of her time with her drive and entrepreneurial skills.

What do you love most about your current role? I like joining the dots and helping people. There’s nothing better than connecting people. It’s about building long-term relationships and seeing the bigger picture – not taking a


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

NATALIE MCGREGOR Commercial director at finance recruitment agency Headstar

NATALIE MCGREGOR short-term approach. It’s never about making a quick buck. Also, bringing great people into your team and demonstrating that people matter.

What would you consider to be the most brilliant moment of your career? There are a few, but a turning point was when I became a business owner. All those years of hard work paid off.

Laugh or cry, what did your most memorable candidate make you want to do and why? I received a call from a client to say that a candidate hadn’t shown up for interview. I called the candidate and said: “Are you stuck in a ditch?” To my horror, she said yes – she had just crashed her

car! She was fine, and we still laugh about it today.

What would you regard as your signature tune? Queen’s Don’t Stop Me Now. It’s a song about celebrating together.

What was your sanity go-to during Covid-19 and various lockdowns? Lots of running with my headphones in – podcasts, dance music. I was like Forrest Gump! It clears my head.

What did you learn about yourself during the pandemic? That I’m resilient. I gave birth one week into lockdown and had to go into hospital on my own. I know I can deal with anything difficult that comes along. ● Natalie McGregor spoke with Roisin Woolnough


24/02/2022 13:57


ACORN The recruitment firm has appointed Richard Hilliard as the company’s first in-house recruitment consultant, taking on the newly created role of talent scout within Acorn’s HR department.

search firm’s finance team to lead its transformation team. Hyde joined the recruitment firm in 2018 to help develop its search offering.

APSCO The Association of Professional Staffing Companies has appointed Joanna Rice as its new partner success manager. She takes over from Teri Etherington who will be moving into a new role as talent development manager, where she will be supporting APSCo’s training services.

ASPEN PEOPLE The Glasgow-based executive search firm has promoted associate director Debbie Shields to board director and Mike Orr to senior consultant.

Accenture has appointed Lisa Rose as the new HR lead in the UK and Ireland. Based in Lancashire, Rose is responsible for Accenture’s talent management and recruitment services in the UK and Ireland, overseeing the organisation’s workforce strategy and operations. Having spent 27 years at Accenture, she most recently led HR in Ireland for three years. She brings extensive experience, including roles as Accenture’s HR lead for financial services in Europe and Latin America, and global HR lead for security. Rose also set up Accenture’s Analyst Consulting Group to develop early career consultants. Rose takes on the role from Candida Mottershead, who after five years leading HR in the UK and Ireland, is now Accenture’s HR lead for technology in Europe.

CIELO BIG TABLE GROUP The operator of restaurants Las Iguanas, Bella Italia and Cafe Rouge has appointed Debbie Moore as new HR director. The company aims to open 50 new restaurants and refurbish 70 sites over the next three years, creating 1,250 new jobs.

Jason Munoz has been appointed as the strategic recruitment process outsourcing partner’s senior vice president of global accounts.

HEAT RECRUITMENT Martin Delahoyde, former REED group MD, joins the professional recruiter as recruitment director in Manchester.

HORTOR The global resourcing and managed service consultancy has taken on Laura Jenkins as head of finance and James Brown as strategic business manager

B&W ENGINEERING BIE EXECUTIVE Director Alex Hyde has moved from the executive 36 RECRUITER

The Newcastle-based global engineering consultancy has brought in Rachel Ovington as HR director.

in Leeds. Jenkins was previously management accountant at Link Group. Brown was previously a retained search business consultant for Pivot Search.

ISE Anne-Marie Campion, early careers manager-recruitment at Jaguar Land Rover, has been appointed as new chair of the Institute of Student Employers. She succeeds Deborah McCormack, head of early talent at Pinsent Masons, who has served her three-year term.

ISOURCE GROUP The IT, digital and change management recruitment

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

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specialist has hired Charles Coultas as software consultant in Leeds.

recruitment sector for the Invoice Finance team at the bank. Horton will be responsible for ensuring the Invoice Finance facilities the bank offers to recruitment clients are appropriate to help them achieve their goals.

Redactive Publishing Ltd 78 Chamber Street, London E1 8BL 020 7880 6200

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

MEDIAWORKS One of the UK and Ireland’s largest independent digital marketing agencies has bolstered its senior team with the appointment of new group people director Samantha Link. Mediaworks has doubled its headcount to nearly 200 staff in the last two years and is aiming to double it again over the next 24 months.

NSCG People advisory firm New Street Consulting Group has appointed Graham Atkins as managing partner, taking a board role at the company.

RABOBANK The specialist food and agri bank has appointed Lisa Atkinson head of HR in the UK.

SF RECRUITMENT The Midlands-based recruiter has appointed Sarah Harvey as a new divisional director. She brings more than 25 years’ technology experience to SF Recruitment.

TML PARTNERS The recruiter has appointed co-founder Charlie Green to MD. Green joined Simon Bassett when the business was founded in 2015. tml Partners specialises in placing senior marketing and communications talent in the UK and internationally.

VIQU The IT recruiter has appointed Storm Robertson as lead consultant in its Southampton office. She specialises in software developer recruitment and brings over eight years of experience from within the industry.


SANTANDER UK Alan Horton joins as head of

The accounting specialist has appointed Kate Bates as chief people and culture officer. Bates joins from NHS Professionals, where she was head of workforce planning and talent acquisition.

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

Contributing writers Lisa Hanley, Rachel Masker, Sue Weekes, Roisin Woolnough Production editor Vanessa Townsend

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

Senior designer Will Williams Picture editor Akin Falope ADVERTISING +44 (0)20 7880 7661 +44 (0)20 7880 6231



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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. © 2022 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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“Employee ownership, done right, plays a part in shifting the dial and improving the lives of its employees” GARETH QUARRY AND JILL WHITEHOUSE Employee-ownership trusts: a smooth and collaborative transition

n 2018, when we were suddenly presented with the opportunity to become the majority shareholders of SSQ, the leading global legal talent business, we openly acknowledged that when our management colleagues felt the time was right, we’d listen to any proposals they had to take over. That time came in 2021, and with it a shopping list for what was needed. What did that list look like? Pretty impossible. It included: ● Continuing to provide our employees with the best career paths on an unrivalled platform ● Keeping control – SSQ’s ethos, its culture is key to its success, and nobody wanted to hand the reins over to a third- party purchaser or private equity house with their own agenda ● Not weighing down the company – or colleagues – with borrowing; A smooth and collaborative transition. Amazingly,



moving to ownership by an employee-ownership trust has enabled us to tick off every one of those items and plenty more besides. So, what does it take? First, it takes a lot of trust. This is because the way an EOT transaction works: the selling shareholders – in our case 100% of them were selling – agree to sell their shares with the purchase price payable in instalments to a fresh-out-of-the-box EOT, an entity which here had only £10 to its name. The purchase price is funded by the company making gifts out of its distributable profits over a number of years. There is no obligation on the company to make those gifts – they are purely discretionary. But if everyone believes in the ideal of true employee ownership, and the outgoing parties have trust in those remaining to run the business, it is quite easy to see that everyone at the end of the day has the same objective.

This is because, once the purchase price for the shares has been paid in full, the profits can all stay in the company to be used for the benefit of employees. So while the sellers obviously want to receive their money as quickly as possible, everyone else also wants this to happen. The trust wants to clear down its debt and get on to its main purpose – ensuring the company is run for the benefit of employees and that its profits, to the extent not needed for investment in the business, can all be applied accordingly. The trust effectively acts as the business’ conscience making sure that happens. And the employees want to get to that point as quickly as possible also, so that this can happen. A crucial macroeconomic contribution is at play here. Global economic inequality desperately needs fixing. Employee ownership, done right, plays a part in shifting

the dial and improving the lives of its employees. It is no coincidence that while EOTs originated in the UK, several other countries are actively looking at adopting the model. With its international footprint we believe SSQ has a role to play blazing EOT’s trail internationally. We could have sold to trade or private equity: all the money up front and much less risk. But it didn’t feel like the right thing to do. We wanted SSQ’s employees to be the ones to benefit long term from its amazing success. For a recruitment business, where our people make the whole thing tick, this is something that anyone looking to exit should think about seriously. ●

Gareth Quarry is outgoing chairman and Jill Whitehouse is outgoing COO and GC at SSQ

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