Recruiter - Nov/Dec 2021

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Business intelligence for recruitment and resourcing professionals

Nov/Dec 2021

INCORPORATING Recruitment Matters

Entrepreneur David Spencer-Percival on serendipity and success

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05 Q3 trends show jump in global hiring Data and analytics firm GlobalData’s latest report reveals an increase in hiring activity across global markets 06 Talent acquisition contributes to innovation in changing work environments Water-cooler moments take new forms in hybrid working 07 Thoughts from... Ed Bastian, Mischa Walmsley, Dave Ulrich 08 Contracts & Deals

INCORPORATING Recruitment Matters

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INTERACTION Viewpoint Gary Ashworth, InterQuest Group Soundbites



18 Recruiter Awards 2O21:



10 Workplace



Paul Goodman on being an environmental employer, and Mike Beesley on innovating in an unpredictable market Insight Latest APSCo/Saffery Champness index reveals the resilience of recruitment firms Tech & Tools The latest recruitment technology and services

Getting it right Celebrate with some of the winners of the latest Recruiter Awards and discover their secrets 26 Profile: David SpencerPercival The entrepreneur has certainly led a recruitment life less ordinary 31 SPECIAL REPORT: Payroll security Staying one step ahead of fraudsters using oldfashioned techniques to strike umbrellas

E COMMUNITY 45 Social 47 My brilliant recruitment career: Sophie McIntosh

48 Movers & Shakers 49 Recruiter contacts 50 The Last Word: Alan Furley


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speaker at a virtual conference I just attended offered wise advice during a discussion of remote working’s effect on innovation: he suggested that we not draw too many conclusions about anything associated with remote working for another 12 months. Quite right. The story is still developing, and at the end of the first full year of Covid, it’s hard to make a definitive, well-researched judgement on anything. Well, there may be a few caveats – one can see the immediate positives and negatives in one’s own life that have been a direct or side effect of the global pandemic or remote “Let’s aim to working. But on a apply the most mass scale, we really heartfelt lessons are still stumbling from the around in the dark, trying to find our pandemic: let’s stick together as best way. The roller-coaster an industry” ride continues as we hurtle toward 2022, our destination unknown. But let’s aim to apply, and not forget, the most heartfelt lessons from the pandemic: let’s stick together as an industry and profession, let’s provide our candidates, clients and contractors with the finest, blue-chip services of our world-leading sector, and let’s adapt to the pavement moving under our feet as robustly, ethically and thoughtfully as we can. And be kind. A joyous holiday season to you and yours.

DeeDee Doke, Editor


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Q3 trends show jump in hiring says GlobalData BY DEEDEE DOKE

HIRING IN Q3 2021 has been more significant as compared with other quarters in 2021, as companies continued to post and close jobs, according to data and analytics firm GlobalData. GlobalData’s latest report, ‘Hiring Trends & Signals Quarterly Report Q3 2021’, reveals that hiring jumped in Q3 2021, with over 5.3m job closures and another 3.7m jobs open for application. Rajeev Gupta, director of financial markets data at GlobalData, said: “Vaccine availability and inoculation has had a positive impact on hiring activity across various industries. Companies are exploring options such as ‘remote work’ and ‘sign-on bonuses’ in a new normal and subsequently hiring increased across all sectors and markets.” Markets such as India, the UK, South Africa and Brazil are reportedly leading hiring activity, with the active jobs index far surpassing pre-Covid-19 levels. Sector-wise, seeing the most growth in Q3 for hiring were insurance, aerospace, defence & security, and food service, with companies in these sectors looking more at digitalisation and automation, GlobalData reported. “Companies will be focusing on surpassing pre-COVID operations and offsetting the impact of the pandemic with increased job postings,” Gupta said.


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AS OF 17 NOV 2021

“Markets such as India, the UK, South Africa and Brazil are reportedly leading hiring activity”

Talent acquisition can inspire innovation in hybrid work environment BY DEEDEE DOKE

In the UK, the Office of National Statistics reported that the employment rate for July to September 2021 increased 0.4 percentage points on the quarter, to 75.4%. ONS’s most recent estimate of payrolled employees indicated that in October 2021, there were 29.3m employees, up 160,000 on September 2021. The ONS acknowledged that those made redundant at the end of furlough may be included in the data for a few further months: “Responses to our business survey suggest that the numbers made redundant was likely to be a small share of those still on furlough at the end of September 2021.” The quarterly increase in employment was driven by a record high net flow from unemployment to employment. Total job-to-job moves also increased to a record high, largely driven by resignations rather than dismissals, during July to September 2021, the ONS said. The rise was also driven by an increase in part-time work and a rise in the number of people on zero-hour contracts, driven by young people. The unemployment rate decreased 0.5 percentage points on the quarter to 4.3% while the inactivity rate remained unchanged at 21.1%.


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WHEN IT COMES to innovation, organisations have both “lost and gained” from enforced remote working that resulted from the global Covid-19 pandemic, a panel of talent and tech specialists have agreed at the recent ERUPT virtual conference. The concept of the legendary chance meetings at water coolers and coffee stations that prompt collaboration among colleagues is often used as a key argument to encourage workers back to the offices. However, with remote and hybrid working appearing set to stay, panellists

said, organisations must now define how innovation occurs in a remote environment, and how to define culture within a remote organisation. Speaking on a theme of the impact of mass-scale remote working on innovation, the three-member panel consisted of Soeren Winter, talent acquisition for home e-commerce retailer Wayfair, growth and innovation consultant Naomi Timperley and Mischa Walmsley, senior talent partner at Element. “A lot of businesses for the last 18 months have been forced to innovate… even like the local restaurant on the High Street or the local shop,” Timperley said.


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“What’s been truly amazing is seeing people that have had no choice, they’ve had to innovate. I think I’ve seen a really big rise in people coming together and collaborating. But that all comes from conversation and yes, you can do that online – but those conversations also sometimes happen better offline as well.” The role that innovation plays in an organisation and who is expected to be innovative within the business will influence the impact of remote working on innovation, Winter said. “Are you in a business where everybody can innovate? While we have a large population of employees who just need to do their job in a certain environment… I believe that everybody should be able to innovate because everybody knows their area and their responsibilities best,” he went on to say.

“But then to have a team that actually enables and uncovers innovation is going to go on and inspire others to innovate as well,” Winter said. A talent acquisition (TA) function has the responsibility of being able to identify such characteristics as an entrepreneurial mindset that may reveal a person’s ability to innovate, panellists said, with Walmsley saying he believed the TA and people teams to be the “cultural guardians for any organisation”. Added Winter: “I think that… talent acquisition can play a very instrumental role in the innovation space in organisations.” ERUPT is the knowledge-sharing channel of the Business Transformation Network, part of Annapurna Recruitment.


“As leaders, we need to be unapologetic that that is the talent we are looking for … it’s the differences that make us better” Ed Bastian, CEO at Delta Air Lines

“I question whether having a team that is innovationfocused is a healthy or safe way to look at the practice, as opposed to having innovation hardcoded in a mindset, as an enabler in dayto-day practice” Mischa Walmsley, senior talent partner, Element

“Uncertainty is a reality. Harness it for opportunities” Dave Ulrich, HR guru


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CONTRACTS & DEALS GCS Recruitment Specialists GCS Recruitment Specialists has joined forces with European-based technology specialist Proactive (Europe), rebranding to GCS. Both firms are part of nGAGE Specialist Recruitment group and have merged to increase nGAGE’s presence as a technology sector specialist in Europe and globally.

Energize Group Energize Group has completed a management buyout (MBO) led by Craig Molloy, group managing director and co-founder. Molloy has acquired the shares of fellow co-founder Gavin Jones to become 100% shareholder in the Energize Group. The MBO has been supported by funding from specialist lender Caple.

CoderPad Technical interview platform CoderPad has acquired CodinGame, a candidate assessment platform. CodinGame’s entire team has joined CoderPad.

Bullhorn Software computing firm for the staffing industry Bullhorn has partnered with recruitment technology provider Pixid Group. Pixid’s pay-as-you-go vendor management system (VMS) will implement a two-way integration with Bullhorn, enabling its users to connect two tools to provide contingent staffing services to its clients.

Arrows Group Recruitment specialist Arrows Group has acquired executive search firm Caissa Recruitment in Berlin. Caissa will continue to trade under its own brand as it expands to a wider international market.

Heidrick & Struggles Heidrick & Struggles has announced a partnership with Eightfold AI to develop a new digital leadership platform to offer organisations a “new way to understand, assess and make decisions about leadership talent”.

Hudson RPO Global talent solutions firm Hudson RPO has acquired Chicago-based recruitment provider Karani. Serving mainly US-based customers from its operations in India and the Philippines, Karani partners with recruitment and staffing firms to assist with recruiting, sourcing, screening, onboarding and other talent-related services across a variety of industries. It has around 500 employees in India and 100 in the Philippines.

The MCG Group The MCG Group, a collection of recruitment companies offering consultancy, project management and training services, has acquired Sixth Sense, an independent training company based in central Scotland. The acquisition is the third for The MCG Group in the last 12 months. The MCG Group operates in the aerospace & aviation, healthcare, construction, education and technology sectors.


Castle Employment Castle Employment has undergone a management buyout. Managing director Kerry Hope has bought out long-standing director and owner Suzanne Burnett. Hope will become the company’s fourth female owner in its 55-year history. Burnett is retiring from the business, having taken control of Castle in 1997, the company statement said.


Castle Employment is based in Scarborough, Hull, Leeds and York, working throughout Yorkshire to deliver recruitment solutions for staffing and HR needs. The company works primarily in the accountancy, finance, business support, education, engineering & manufacturing, hospitality, industrial, IT, HR and procurement sectors.

Randstad USA Randstad USA has announced that it has acquired staffing firm Cella for around €112m (£96m). Randstad says the acquisition enables it to “build a strong position in the significant and growing US marketing, creative and digital staffing and professional services market”.

More contract news at

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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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recruiters this is where we can place our efforts in helping to accelerate the trend. Something all recruiters can do is to challenge candidates and companies in relation to their choices. We can communicate to clients that they will struggle in the competition for talent if they operate unsustainably. This will also resonate with investors. The Schroders Institutional Investor Survey for 2021 found that climate risk was a primary factor influencing investment for 21% of institutional investors, compared to just 8% in 2020. We can encourage candidates to prioritise asking questions about the environmental policies of employers. The impact will be to make evidence of strong environmental practices a prerequisite of sealing the deal between candidate and client. This may feel uncomfortable in that it may put placements at risk but “we must learn to value ethical actions above expedient ones” – Captain Jean Luc Picard, The USS Enterprise, Star Trek, The Next Generation. The first thing we must do, so that we can be credible, is put our own houses in order. The journey to carbon neutrality is not a difficult one for recruitment businesses. The bulk of our carbon output arises from

“The evidence suggests that jobseekers will naturally direct themselves to environmentally responsible employers” transport, energy usage and single-use plastics. These can be cut back on by restricting business travel to what is necessary, eliminating flying for all non-essential intra company travel, adhering to in-house policy in relation to single-use plastics and using green energy suppliers. If the right behaviours and beliefs can be incorporated into workplace culture, they will no doubt positively influence the reputation of our businesses and sector. The rest can be achieved via paying to offset. Goodman Masson achieved carbon neutrality in 2020 and we are in the process of submitting our 2021 application.

ACCORDING TO ENVIRONMENTAL community Eco Jungle, the top 5 polluting industries in 2021 are energy, transport, agriculture, fashion and food retail. Comparatively, business-to-business service companies like recruiters are insignificant. Nonetheless, we share the responsibility for preserving the planet. So, what can recruitment firms do to commit their efforts to the environment, and how should they go about it? In 2019, Amnesty International’s Future of Humanity survey interviewed over 10,000 18-25-year-olds across 22 countries and revealed that 41% of respondents cited global warming as the most important issue facing the world: making the link between environment and talent acquisition increasingly apparent. In fact, examples of talented people only willing to consider employment with businesses making environmentally-sound choices are plenty. For example, according to a survey in Environment News, 71% of employees and employment seekers say that environmentallysustainable companies are more attractive employers. The evidence suggests that jobseekers will naturally direct themselves to environmentally-responsible employers. Therefore, as

PAUL GOODMAN is founder of Goodman Masson

Carbon neutrality is not the goal. Carbon net zero is the goal. This means removing as much carbon as you produce. It feels like we have a long way to go if we are to achieve net zero! As recruiters we can make a difference, and it is imperative that we use our voices as individuals, businesses and as a sector to help. ●

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HOW TO INNOVATE IN AN UNPREDICTABLE MARKET HOW INNOVATIVE CAN clients be in the current jobs market? It’s a question that keeps on coming back to me as recruiters are being consistently tasked with coming up with ‘cutting edge’ solutions – but will they stick? After all, there are hugely competing forces at work. On one hand, we must solve EDI [equality, diversity & inclusion] issues and be serious about equity in the workplace and on the other there is a huge need to get bums on seats. Recruiters are increasingly feeling the heat on this and reacting with varying degrees of success. Some solutions being punted around feel more like PR exercises rather than anything substantial. But this could be because at the client end there is a lack of will to take on anything that is different. Innovation, quite simply, has not been written into the terms and conditions of the highly regulated UK plc. In fact, the CIPD’s most recent ‘Resourcing and Talent Planning Survey’ showed that the recruitment and retention efforts of many employers have been found ‘wanting’. Of the 1,000 employers surveyed for the report, more than two-fifths (43%) take an ad hoc approach to recruitment and are therefore not planning ahead for future skill and staff requirements. And in organisations that say talent is increasingly difficult to retain, only two-fifths (40%) had undertaken any kind of retention initiatives. Now, more than ever, with a labour market in flux due to Covid and Brexit, the report argued that organisations need to take a more strategic approach to resourcing. This is key when to trying to train and reskill more domestic workers or increase routes into work for young people – both of which can take time and investment. My argument is that none of this is going to really

Founder TIMESTWO Consulting

stick if innovation – and essentially some level of risk – is not given a chance to make a difference. So, what can recruiters do? In my experience, innovation is based on collaboration. It is about finding solutions together, and if recruiters are to shift the dial on any of the significant challenges posed by racial, gender and mobility services, it’s not going to be solved tomorrow. My top tips for cultivating innovative thought are: ● Get in a room: get your people together and talk ● Cultivate honesty: be prepared to know what is really happening – this requires a dedication to openness and being ‘blame free’ ● Make mistakes: no one ever learned anything without screwing up ● Put performance first: strive for excellence in all your endeavours ● Allow ideas to rise above the day-to-day running of the business. If you’ve developed solutions based on a position of strength and openness, you can start to build relationships based on creation and shared risk. Sometimes you’ll win, sometimes you’ll lose. No one ever won the big prize by being faint of heart – we all need to have courage if we’re to solve what is arguably the most complex jobs market in living history. ●

“It is about finding solutions together… if recruiters are to shift the dial on any of the challenges posed by racial, gender and mobility services, it’s not going to be solved tomorrow”

Mike Beesley

MIKE BEESLEY is founder, TIMESTWO Consulting


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INDEX REVEALS RESILIENCE OF UK RECRUITMENT FIRMS Findings from the latest APSCo/Saffery Champness survey shines a light on the health of recruiters today BY DEEDEE DOKE

ecruitment businesses in the East of England and London were the most financially resilient in the UK this year, with businesses in Scotland the least, according to the ‘UK Recruitment Index 2021’. At the same time, respondents from the East of England and the East Midlands have reported the highest operational resilience this year out of nine geographical areas identified in the index report. Responses to the index survey also revealed the prevalence of greater organisational resilience on average in 2021 in recruitment businesses reporting more than £50m in profits. The findings suggest that “bigger companies have found it easier to remain resilient from an organisational perspective throughout the pandemic, maintaining strong teams within their businesses”. The index, produced by the Association of Professional Staffing Company (APSCo) in conjunction with Saffery Champness, was based on responses from companies in four net fee income (NFI) categories: Less than £2m; £2m to £10m; £10m to £50m; and greater than £50m. The findings include: Sales team strength improved in companies across all categories between 2020 to 2021. “In a competitive market, firms have recognised the importance of investing in the sales team,” the report says. “Management have used this period of disruption… to review the effectiveness of the sales team and introduce appropriate training where required. It



also notes: “The importance of a collegiate, focused and dedicated sales team has grown over the pandemic as the competition for clients and candidates has increased… the need for the sales team to adapt quickly, respond effectively and be attentive to the needs of their clients is necessary.” Respondents in all size categories said they felt “slightly more confident” than they did last year in that they have sufficient cash to fund growth. “However,” the report says, “this remains an area where larger firms have an advantage over smaller firms.” The report warns that there will be increased strain on firms’ cash reserves in respect of the government’s furlough initiative having ended and a requirement to pay deferred VAT/ PAYE payments. Profit margins have been hit in most categories, except for the businesses with NFI of less than £2m. The survey revealed that 66% of respondents “still had an appetite” for international expansion, and for 26%, even an increased interest. The main focus for international expansion continues to be the US and Europe, primarily German and the Netherlands “where we continue to see higher margins and better growth opportunities being achieved”, the report said. UK companies also are expanding into the Nordics, in particular recruiters operating in the energy, environmental and change management sectors. A shortage of candidates was the greatest external challenge for 47% of respondents, with 43% reporting that a shortage of consultants was

theirs. Only 6% of respondents said that a shortage of roles topped their list of challenges. Nearly half of respondents (47.5%) said they would occupy less space because of the Covid-19 global pandemic. Slightly less (47%) said they did not plan to change their space arrangements. Only 3.5% of respondents said they planned to consider reducing the remuneration of consultants working from home. An equal percentage said they would consider raising their employees’ pay to include a ‘work from home’ allowance. However, the vast majority (93%) said they were not going to change consultants’ remuneration. Firms with multiple service lines reported better resilience compared to single service line firms, with firms offering more than four service lines faring best. “Those that can compensate for a fall in one area with an increase in another will remain strong, successful and resilient through a downturn in the economy, and will also recover the quickest once the economy starts to bounce back,” the report says. Additionally, it goes on to say, companies that have multiple service lines with overseas locations

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POWER POINTS No information was provided about the number of respondents that took part in the survey. However, the percentages of respondents by head office location were: Scotland



1% Yorkshire and the Humber

3% East Midlands

2% have even continued to grow during 2021 and have had “a significant increase in trading activities as the effects of the pandemic ease”. What the report calls “a significant number” of respondents admitted that they felt their IR35 processes were not sufficiently robust, including 48% of respondents in the £10m to £50m NFI category. Recruiters are relying less on a small number of clients to ensure their firms’ resilience, the survey found. Firms also are relying less on a small number of consultants for their resiliency than they did in 2020. In the report’s opening remarks by APSCo CEO Ann Swain and Jamie Cassell, head of the recruitment sector group at Saffery Champness, recruiters are warned to “prepare for the market settling down. The hiring spike we’re experiencing is being significantly influenced by the events of the last 20 months, but this will come to an end at some point. It’s likely that we won’t set the longer-term impact on the economy and inflation until the second half of 2022… it’s crucial that recruiters plan for a hiring slowdown next year”. ●


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East of England



West Midlands

6% 1% 8% Wales


Outside the UK





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REDWOOD CAN EASE YOUR RECRUITMENT BUSINESS DEBT Redwood Collections offers a specialist debt collection service dedicated to easing the burden of debt, leaving you free to focus on what you do best – growing your business. Michael Rogers, Business Development Manager, explains What exactly does Redwood Collections do? Redwood Collections is a partner of the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC). As well as being the go-to debt collection agency for the recruitment sector, we have a fantastic track record of success with a diverse portfolio of clients, from large, blue-chip corporates experiencing stubborn debtors to one-off bad debts, and even international collections.

1. How did Redwood Collections become involved in the recruitment sector? We were introduced to the recruitment sector a few years back when we were approached by a construction recruiter to recover several overdue invoices. We were able to collect more than 90%, which is higher than our typical collection rate so of course we were keen to explore this further.

2. What are the benefits of using a debt collection agency? Debt collection is an extremely time-consuming job that requires


consistency, persistence and structured processes. There will be occasions where communication has broken down and there is no longer a prospect of collecting internally. Using a debt collection or credit management agency will not only offload the burden of pursuing bad debt but also holds the weight of third-party psychology, which is often enough to get the job done.

3. Can you add your commission to the debt? We will seek to recover costs in full where possible, often under The Late

“We found Redwood to be very straightforward to deal with and they took the case on a ‘no collection, nocommission’ basis. Within a matter of days they secured payment in full, plus some overdue charges and interest.” Redwood Collections client

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Payment of Commercial Debts (Interest) Act 1998. This only applies to business-to-business debts, so for maximum protection we suggest amending your terms of business to include a debt recovery clause.

4. Why should we choose Redwood Collections? We are passionate in our pursuit of recovering bad debt and dedicated to delivering the best experience for our clients, with the best possible outcome. First and foremost, we want to lift the burden of managing debt from our clients’ shoulders and deliver results with the utmost efficiency and minimum of fuss. Working as one, we aim to achieve shared success and ultimately help our clients grow stronger. For more details, contact Michael Rogers, Business Development Manager Email mrogers@redwoodcollections. com or phone Direct Line: +44 (0)20 4519 4953. Website:


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TECHNOLOGY AND SERVICES Smart recruiting platform for tech sector

Customer feedback used to bring more transparency SmartRecruiters has increased transparency throughout the hiring process with a suite of new features. Enhancements to its recruitment technology package include employee and internal mobility career portals, an employee application tracker, SmartPal, which offers enhanced chatbot conversational capabilities while expanded language support has been added to SmartMessage facility. In total it has made 30 improvements, which it says are all based on customer feedback and also include the integration of Microsoft Teams Link in the calendar invite and JobAdID support in the Posting API. The career portal is designed to offer an improved post-application experience to internal candidates by displaying the status of their applications. Employees can also update answers to screening questions and attach new files. aims to address the need for tech talent in the SME and start-up sector, and combines machine learning and human intelligence to offer an alternative to traditional head-hunting and associated costs. The all-in-one hiring platform uses smart algorithms, moderated by “human relationship managers” to screen thousands of candidates with skills in areas such as AI, software development, web and mobile applications, data science and analytics and digital design. The relationship managers reportedly take the time to understand the business requirements, and personally interview all prospects before sending a shortlist to the client. 360Work offers a no-hire, no-fee policy and it also offers teamwork and team-sourcing capabilities.


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

Gamified recruitment expert helps define future of work The Talent Games is among the autumn cohort of SAP’s Future of Work Accelerator. SAP launched a virtual start-up programme focusing on HR technology and the future of work solutions at the SAP. IO Foundry in Singapore, alongside SAP SuccessFactors. The six start-ups were selected by a jury of SAP experts and partners. The programme will help The Talent Games to accelerate innovation and design a gamified recruitment strategy for SAP’s customers. “Gamified assessments have the unique ability to test candidates against specific traits that the employer regards highly,” says Shail Niazi, co-founder and president of The Talent Games. Other start-ups include Accredify, which helps organisations to create, issue and verify digital credentials like employee records, and Wagely, which enables companies to provide employees with affordable financial services, including access to earned but unpaid wages.


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Boosting social reach in Asian market with messaging app Avature, an enterprise software-as-aservice platform for talent acquisition and management, has launched a set of marketing capabilities for the messaging and calling app WeChat for the Asian markets. It aims to boost its customers’ social reach to the 1.2bn active users of the app. It will allow customers to promote open positions and recruiting events on WeChat and send WeChat messages from the Avature platform. It aims to help them tackle competitive recruiting challenges in countries such as China. Recruitment teams can also access to key metrics, with insight into candidate conversation rates, source effectiveness and return on investment of recruitment marketing in real-time.

Opportunity knocks for internal candidates Recruitment software specialist iCIMS is aiming to better connect employees to internal job opportunities with its Talent Cloud Opportunity Marketplace, helping hiring managers improve internal mobility. Research by the consulting firm Deloitte found that almost half (49%) of employers do not have the processes in place to identify and move employees into different positions. iCIMS is applying its candidate experience to the employee experience with added capabilities to improve retention and reduce mobility friction. It describes the service as going beyond opportunity “identification” to “opportunity inspiration”. Features within the marketplace include employee-generated video content to provide insight and employee control over their career path.


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Top biller Smashing through the big biller ceiling BY GARY ASHWORTH

ot everyone is suited to being a manager; massaging the egos of needy recruiters isn’t for everyone. However, there’s an equally respectable career path to be had in being a top biller. As a top biller, you can keep going from strength to strength, you won’t necessarily stagnate, you’ll inevitably earn a greater amount and have a more fulfilling career than someone who chooses to go into management and spend their life dispensing enthusiasm to the highly paid, inconsiderate colleagues that we all know and love. After all, the world would have been a poorer place if Leonardo da Vinci had spent his time managing galleries and churches, rather than becoming a renaissance artist and visionary scientist. If you want to succeed as a specialist biller, choose a niche that is an inch wide and a mile deep. Ideally this would be an area where you have earned the authority to charge a commitment fee up-front and have the confidence to insist that you get paid without capped fees, then make sure you deliver the service to back it up. Take this approach, and you will find yourself travelling an exciting path, growing from


GARY ASHWORTH is chairman of Albany Beck, InterQuest Group and Positive Healthcare.


rookie to trusted source of knowledge, and finally becoming the irresistible first choice. You’ll need to be patient though. Be aware that like a vintage wine, things improve with age. The longer you’ve been in the game, the more trust grows, and suddenly you’ll find that there’s less competition, the salaries and fees are higher, and the interview-to-placement ratio falls in your favour. How do you know when you’ve really made it? When both clients and candidates close their office door, and take your call when you ring them. So, how far can you go? Without the usual recruiter exaggeration, I can confirm I have worked with people who have billed more than £1m a year and earned roughly a third of that amount. I met one lady who, working with a team of three resourcers, regularly bills £3m to £4m annually. In one particular year, that figure topped £5m. The ceiling is where you set it. If they choose to, recruiters can keep this pace up for decades. I met one whale of a biller last year who told me that they didn’t have clients or candidates – just friends they dealt with. In-house recruiters can’t compete with these kinds of people, and in any case, sensitive, highly-paid, board-level roles will usually require outside help and negotiation to attract the right talent. Like all high-performing athletes, people at the top of their game have a support team to help them with resourcing, marketing, writing original content and making sure that their thought leadership pieces are on-point. The original material you create and distribute, followed by the response and market intelligence it leads to, tells the world that you’re the ultimate expert. Discrete communities of subject matter experts are built as a result, and they will go on to become your modern day “little black book”. Think carefully about the sector you pick though. Make sure you feel passionate about it, because it’s all-consuming and it’s difficult to change horse halfway through your career. It’s not impossible, but like a Snakes and Ladders game, you may slide down and have to start again! ●

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“What impact will the government’s net-zero plan have on the availability of jobs and the availability of talent in the energy sector?”

In response to your article on the alleged breach of furlough rules [recruiter., ‘Recruitment firm Brewster Partners in breach of furlough rules allegation’, 15 November], I was shocked when I saw the The Times/BBC Sounds File on 4 footage. I was then furious when I saw their statement. They must think people are stupid or that they are above the law. It’s damaging for the industry and that they should be held to account… and it’s quite preposterous that they are trying to play down the fact that their managing partner bent the rules of furlough that were quite clear. As a very prominent business who are the main sponsors of tonight’s [15 November 2021] YFL [Yorkshire Finance Leaders] Awards, it quite frankly sickens me that they seem to be brushing the matter under the carpet in broad daylight. Anonymous


“The net-zero plan will create around 30,000 new jobs in the UK energy sector. This is an exciting prospect, but doesn’t come without its challenges. We expect to see significant demand for specific, highly skilled roles in mechanical and electrical engineering, but also at executive level with more competition for seasoned and innovative C-suite talent. Firms will need to be quick to adapt – reskilling employees for emerging areas such as carbon capture and storage, and hydrogen. With new opportunities across the energy sector, we’d anticipate sector mobility to increase drastically. Our 2021 Global Energy Talent Index, for example, stated 50% of oil & gas professionals would be open to moving into the renewables sector.”


“The net-zero plan will have a big impact on resourcing within renewable energy, particularly offshore wind, which is booming in the UK. The increased target of 40GW installed capacity by 2030 represents a quadrupling of the current position. Whilst great news, this represents challenges to meet talent demand. The UK – market leaders within offshore wind – has witnessed significant career opportunities for talent globally, with countries citing ambitious targets, resulting in UK talent being targeted with competitive rates. Sourcing/deploying talent in high demand will become increasingly challenging, so employers need to consider innovative sourcing, including apprenticeships, upskilling and careers-shifters.”


“The net-zero plan will undoubtedly open new opportunities across the energy sector. Such a challenging goal will drive innovation and will require new and more efficient technology to achieve targets. Digital skills will be in demand and with exciting developments such as floating wind turbines, carbon capture storage and hydrogen projects gaining ground, brand new skills and an increased range of skills will be required. Training the existing workforce will also be important; our recent ‘Energy Transition’ survey showed that over 70% of engineers in the sector felt they required further training to effectively transition their skills. Recruitment firms will be vital to ensure the talent can be found to drive the transition forward.” WWW.RECRUITER.CO.UK 17

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By RACHEL MASKER n a year that has seen a global pandemic, the recruitment industry has had to grapple with the seismic impact on the world of work, jobs, skill shortages and business generally. The 2021 Recruiter Awards celebrated the agencies, in-house and RPO teams who fought their way through the tide of uncertainty and got it right. The inspiring leaders, consultants, back-office teams and individuals who showed resilience, innovation and compassion. Faced with exceptionally challenging times, many have gone above and beyond to pivot their business models to turn a crisis into a win.


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AGENCY RECRUITMENT LEADER OF THE YEAR Andrew Anastasiou Founder and CEO of Pertemps Professional Recruitment (PPR) Andrew Anastasiou knows more than most about leadership. The teacher-turned-recruiter was a managing director of corporate giants Hays and Capita, employing thousands of people worldwide, before finally starting his own recruitment business. Award judges praised Anastasiou as the “epitome of what a great leader should be – energetic, engaging, authentic, honest and passionate about his role and the industry in general”. After a 27-year career in recruiting, Anastasiou said that to be recognised by his peers was “the biggest thing for me” and “a fantastic accolade for myself and my team”. Based in London, Anastasiou currently employs 60 people and specialises in education, health and social care. When he set up PPR in 2016 it was just himself in the corner of an office with a laptop. Today – five years later – his business is the fastest growing branch of the Pertemps Group Network. Anastasiou is now a group board director of Pertemps Network Ventures,


giving him a seat at the table of one of the biggest UK recruiters. But there’s something to be said for starting small. “I like the intimacy of being able to make a decision,” said Anastasiou, adding he became fed-up with the “stuffy” corporate world where decision making can take months. Adaptability to change is the one key quality of a good business leader, says Anastasiou. Coronavirus highlighted how important it is to be able to respond quickly. Despite the pandemic, PPR delivered a £1.4m profit in 2020. Plans in the pipeline include expanding into life sciences recruitment. “We want to grow. The big goal for me is to hit that £50m turnover.”

When the pandemic hit, some recruitment companies reluctantly closed their doors and put staff on furlough, unsure when they would reopen. But niche, medtech recruiter Elemed pivoted their business to survive Covid, “punching well above their weight,” say award judges. The mostly female, multilingual team specialises in technical roles – regulatory, quality, clinical – within the medical devices industry. Travel restrictions had an immediate effect on business. While London-based, the team recruits across Europe, including Germany, France and Switzerland.

RECRUITMENT SUPPLIER OF THE YEAR Winner: Tribepad Coronavirus lockdowns made recruiters more reliant than ever on technology. And Tribepad showed its credentials as “a true business partner to its clients and a caring and committed member of the recruitment eco-system”, said judges. Commenting on the award, Dean Sadler, CEO, said: “To win means everything to Tribepad, especially this year during the pandemic. It’s an accolade to how hard our teams have worked to provide the best possible service to our clients despite, at times, really challenging circumstances.” Known for its software, which helps recruiters track applicants, host video interviews, onboard candidates and manage contractors, the tech firm massively upscaled its operation. During the first lockdown, it went from processing 1m job applications per month across all its clients to 1m

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Karen Muenz, senior marketing and operations specialist, explains: “A lot of our candidates are relocators, and we move people

per week. Tribepad systems became critically important for recruitment drives for key workers by Tesco and Nightingale Hospitals, for instance. Judges also praised the firm’s innovation. Working with a Sheffield charity as part of the national Covid-19 effort, the firm adapted its contractor management system (Flex) for free to connect charities with volunteers. This custom-built platform made it quicker and


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around Europe. With limited travel, the potential for companies to accept relocator candidates decreased, decisions were taking longer, companies weren’t comfortable interviewing or onboarding people online as they hadn’t done it before.” The pipeline slowed. Elemed had to adapt to survive. The company

launched Elemed Mentoring Academy. The initiative took about three to four months to set up. “We had to research, test, plan and prepare lots of material and the actually mentee/mentor matching process literally took days,” said Muenz. Candidates were paired with experienced professionals in the industry. In addition to one-to-one mentoring, the structured, seven-month programme included on-demand webinars, work packs and virtual monthly meetings. Some 23 mentees signed up, providing a much-needed revenue boost. “We are the first recruitment company ever that has built a hybrid programme combining mentoring, training and networking,” said Muenz. International Regulatory Affairs Professional Society (RAPS) asked to collaborate. Currently closed to new applications, the plan is to offer a revamped Mentoring Academy in spring 2022.

easier to verify DBS checks, driving licences and other documents. More than 1,100 volunteers were recruited and mobilised. Tribepad believes tech should be a great leveller. By developing its anonymous applications feature, one council that wanted to improved its equality, diversity and inclusion, saw Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) applications more than double and 39% of hires are now from BAME backgrounds. What of the future? Sadler said: “We’re focused on people first, product second and profit third. That means we want to be the best possible company we can be for our team. We want to continue to grow our platform and deliver brilliant service for our clients.”


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BEST PUBLIC/THIRD SECTOR RECRUITMENT AGENCY BEST RECRUITMENT AGENCY OF THE YEAR – MEDIUM BEST TEMPORARY RECRUITMENT AGENCY MOST EFFECTIVE BACK OFFICE OPERATION Winner of all four: Seven Resourcing Seven Resourcing has triumphed, with four awards to add to its growing trophy colllection. The Ipswich-based company clinched

RECRUITMENT IMPACT AWARD Winner: Hung Lee When Hung Lee sent out his first ‘Recruiting Brainfood’ email newsletter in 2016, he didn’t have big plans. It was just a fun thing to do, a “reasonable side hustle”, he says. Today some 25,000 people are signed up to receive the free, weekly newsletter which has grown into a full-time, multi-channel business, including podcasts.


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the best public sector, best temporary recruitment, best medium-sized agency and the most effective back office. Commenting on the record-breaking haul, George Owen, head of marketing, said: “This was the biggest night we have ever had on the awards front by far.” He paid tribute to employees who worked round the clock to supply frontline, temporary health and social care workers during the fight against Covid-19, including Britain’s vaccination programme. Owen said: “It’s a mix of being in the right place at the right

time and really going for it.” Seven’s back office staff was the driving force behind a 40% increase in gross profit to £5.6m. Judges not only praised Seven’s impressive commercial growth, but said the business showed “innovation, investment, compassion and reward”. In early 2020, the company was inundated with urgent requests from health and social care services for temporary key workers. Faced with processing a mountain of paper timesheets, still used by healthcare organisations, owner and managing director Richard Cooke, a “technical whizz”, designed a digital timesheet. The new software, PayTech, means paper timesheets “no longer get lost, damaged or forged and clients

Asked for his reaction to winning, Lee said: “Shock. Surprise. Delight. That it came from nomination and vote by people in the industry made it all the more special.” Unlike other categories, where companies and individuals nominate themselves, those shortlisted for the Impact Award are nominated by the judging panel. Judges praised Lee as “an acknowledged thought leader, particularly in the technology recruitment space.” Recruiting Brainfood aims to cope with the digital age. Lee says: “There is too much information for busy recruiters to process; certainly, too much bad information that you have to swim through to get to the great stuff. I had this problem myself and found a solution by creating an archive of the great content I found. Halfway

through, it occurred to me that others might have the same problem, so why don’t I share my solution?” Lee says some of the best blogs and articles are from people outside the recruitment industry. His favourites include: “Dan Luu, a software engineer but really a philospher of human behaviour, Dr Richard Claydon, who is some kind of organisation anthropologist and Chloé Valdery, author, feminist, a true breaker-of-chains. There are so many more.” Despite its huge success, Lee still curates the newsletter himself. “The reason why the newsletter works is because the pieces in it are from non-mainstream outlets, usually bloggers or commentators. How I find them is simply to be in the middle of information flows – it’s less search, more catch.”


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can easily track spend”, said Owen. Moreover temps get paid on time, every time. While health and social care sectors were busy, Seven’s animal health and education branches froze as schools and vets closed. Instead of furloughing staff, they were retrained to help provide a 24/7 service for frontline key workers.

In a bid to keep staff safe, happy and motivated, Seven invested £30k in PPE and remote working improvements. With communal facilities out of bounds, staff in the company HQ were each given their own fridge, microwave, kettle and water filtration system. Remote working can bring extra stresses and strains. Seven hired a full-time professional specialising

in employee development and mental health, ran workshops for all staff and asked charity MIND to train managers. Meanwhile, rewards included quarterly gift boxes up to the value of £500. Key worker temps were sent ‘Hero Boxes’ filled with critical PPE, their own reusable mug, pen and tasty treats. Future plans? “We are looking to double the size of our office space in Ipswich, going from 100 to 200 staff on site by Christmas,” said Owen. Other plans include a bigger Colchester office which recruits for life sciences and expanding nursing recruitment in the US. “It is all going to be about growth for us. It’s going to be a super exciting time.”


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Sponsored by:

s R e N In w

#rmas21 | @theRMAwards GRAND PRIX

On Wednesday 28 October we celebrated the industrys most outstanding & successful recruitment campaigns at The Brewery, London.

cOnGrAtUlAtIoNs tO oUr 2021 wInNeRs

ThirtyThree – Essex County Council



VIDEO (£15,001 +)

TMP Worldwide – Essex County Council

CA3 – GE Healthcare

Blackbridge Communications – Amazon, Let Your Mind Play




Havas People – Next Careers

Radancy – EY


Havas People – Costa Coffee





VIDEO (£5,001 – £15,000)


Ph.Creative – BT

ThirtyThree – Essex County Council

TMP Worldwide – Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust

Stafford Long and Partners – Secret Intelligence Service (MI6)


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TMP Worldwide – NHS

12/11/2021 17:05




Radancy – Siemens

Springpod, Content Marketing Pod and podcastr – Cygnet Health Care

Radancy – EY




Blackbridge Communications – Baker McKenzie

Black Bear Creative – Mitie

Pink Squid – Vodafone

HIGHLY COMMENDED Stafford Long and Partners – CyberFirst

King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION INITIATIVE Blackbridge Communications – Police Now

INTERNAL COMMUNICATIONS TMP Worldwide – King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

RECRUITMENT WEBSITE (BELOW £50,000) That Little Agency – NFU Mutual

HIGHLY COMMENDED Creed Communication – Iceland



HealthSectorTalent – HSC

Radancy – Mondelēz International

HIGHLY COMMENDED Stafford Long and Partners – Secret Intelligence Service (MI6)



ThirtyThree – B&Q

REC.NovDec21_024-025.indd 25

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e f i L t n e m t i u r c A Re y r a n i d r O Less David Spencer-Percival admits luck may play a part in his entrepreneurial life but his numerous business successes prove there’s a bit more involved than just serendipity s there such a thing as good luck? Serial recruiter David Spencer-Percival is obviously a very shrewd and skilled entrepreneur. His record speaks for itself. The Huntress Group, his first recruitment business specialising in IT, was sold for £50m. More recently he sold his highly successful global energy, engineering and infrastructure recruitment business, Spencer Ogden. And now he’s recently established Life Science People to service the medical and life sciences market.



But there is a thread of serendipity running through the three enterprises, as he will readily admit: “I’d like to think there isn’t an element of luck in business, but we sold Huntress three months before a global financial crash – that’s luck. There’s no other word for it. And Spencer Ogden was sold six weeks before the pandemic. Again, pure luck. And setting up a life sciences recruitment business just before a pandemic occurs. Again, very lucky in some ways.” But luck can only get you so far. Clearly, Spencer-Percival has

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worked very hard indeed, and it’s this and his keen eye for an opportunity that really fuels his success. After selling the Huntress Group, a non-compete clause meant he had to look beyond tech for his next venture. “I saw this enormous gap in the market in energy,” he says. “There were a lot of renewable energy enterprises setting up and the oil price was flying. When that happens, everyone goes exploring for oil, so we decided to ride that wave. “For me, the sector was full of tiny recruiters operating at a


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relatively low level and three or four absolute giants, and nothing in between. I found that fascinating and thought it would be cool if someone came along and started a new energy recruitment company with a bit more, forgive the pun, energy and style around the offices and branding.”

Life science focus As for his current venture, Life Science People, Spencer-Percival saw it as the last backwater in recruitment that nobody had ever really focused on. “Obviously with the pandemic, everyone’s spotlight is now on life sciences and it’s high up on the political agenda,” he says. “But prior to this, nobody had really got into the market.


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“A few recruitment companies had added a bit of life sciences to their offering, or there were a couple of outfits that had been doing it for an awfully long time. So, again, I thought it would be great if I could set up a bright, fresh, young recruitment company that concentrated exclusively on life sciences and do it really well.” But while the pandemic has obviously fired up global interest in the life sciences and biotech – AI has speeded up clinical trials – it’s also made setting up new ventures trickier. “I’d bought the lease on the office and already hired two people when the pandemic hit,” says Spencer-Percival. “I remember thinking ‘this is going to be interesting. We’re about to set up a life sciences business that’s connected to clinical trials and drugs, and we’ve hit a pandemic. Is this going to be good or bad?’.” He faced the stark choice of whether to park the whole idea or just plough on. He opted for the latter and hired a further 15 people during the first lockdown, bucking the norm and opening an office as soon as the lockdown ended. “We realised very quickly that people were actually going a bit crazy at home and young people, in particular, were desperate to get back into an office,” he says. “We obviously did social distancing, temperature tests at the door and made mask wearing mandatory,” he adds. “It was tough, but it worked. And now, coming out the other side of the pandemic, which I think we are, everybody in the world is hiring. We took a brave decision and it’s paid off.”

“I’m good at engendering a culture where everybody is excited about grabbing an opportunity and growing”

Building the brand What is the Spencer-Percival brand? He’ll admit there are better people than himself at running large, complex organisations, “but I’m really good at getting a business built quickly”, he says. “I’m good at engendering a culture where everybody is excited about grabbing


an opportunity and growing, and being part of something special. I think that’s probably my brand.” In creating an environment where success is celebrated, Spencer-Percival also admits to being fixated on quality office space. “I love creating a really cool environment that people want to come to work in,” he says. “And I

like to offer a lot of incentives around the business and reward people. That said, recruitment is tough – I expect people to work hard at it every day. I like an underlying culture of work hard and play hard.” Spencer-Percival confesses that he wasn’t always that driven, and the entrepreneurial itch wasn’t

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something he was born with. “To be honest, I messed around in the fashion industry for about 10 years when I left school and hung out in Ibiza most summers, so I was a late developer,” he says. But growing up in Thatcher’s Britain, where most of his friends were starting their own companies, an entrepreneurial seed was planted and gradually began to take hold of him. By the time he (in his words) “fell” into recruitment and realised he was relatively successful in that sector, he realised he wanted to go it alone. “I definitely had to learn how to do this though,” he says. “But once I learned how to build my own business, I knew I didn’t want to do anything else. I guess I’m not particularly good at being told what to do, and anyone with an authority problem generally ends up running their own company.”

Strings to his bow

“I guess I’m not particularly good at being told what to do, and anyone with an authority problem generally ends up running their own company”

Recruitment might be his first love, but having also founded drinks brand No1 Botanicals, which is sold in more than 27 countries, Spencer-Percival clearly has other strings to his bow. I ask him if he has any other ventures in the consideration stage that he can reveal? “I’m very interested in space exploration,” he says, “but you need billions of dollars to do it. And I’d love to do something green that helps save the planet. “Actually, I’m setting something up in 2022 that might help. Over the years, I’ve often questioned why

charities are paying for the services they use, such as recruitment or accountancy. So I’m going to set up a recruitment company that deals exclusively with British charities and any distributable profit that the company makes will go back to the charities as a percentage of how much they spent with the agency.” Spencer-Percival is baffled why all sectors don’t do this. “Why should big accountancy agencies, for example, make millions doing the accounts of charities?” he asks. “So that’s something I would like to change before I retire.” Not that retirement seems likely anytime soon. With a home in London’s Chelsea, Spencer-Percival’s modus operandi is very much “work like crazy for five days and spend two days in absolute peace and privacy”. A second country house in the Cotswolds in Gloucestershire and the recent purchase of a fruit farm in Ibiza offer the peace and privacy part of the equation. Unfortunately, he didn’t manage to escape Covid-19 and was very ill with it. It’s taken him a good nine months to recover fully. “I normally have a lot of energy,” he says, “even though I'm getting older. But after Covid I was like a battery running out of power, but very quickly. It was quite debilitating, particularly for the new recruitment business.” Thankfully, with his energy levels back to full strength, he can continue making more of that Spencer-Percival luck. As his dad used to say to him: “It’s funny, the harder I work, the luckier I get.” ●


No1 Botanicals Executive chairman

No1 Rosemary Water CEO and founder

Sep 2020-present

Aug 2020-present

Mar 2017-Aug 2020

Spencer Ogden Co-chairman 2017-Feb 2020

Huntress Group Managing director


Sep 2000-Jun 2009

Dec 2009-Jan 2018


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AGILITY OF PENGUINS Deniz was staring at the penguin for what seemed like forever. The penguin stared back, and the seasoned marketing director was beginning to feel a bit anxious… She was supposed to rearrange the virtual playing board so she could slide the cute penguin into a fishing hole at the centre. She’d just solved a dozen similar puzzles but this one seemed impossible. The instructions clearly stated that ‘some challenges may not have a valid solution’ and there was an ‘unsolvable’ button she could use to skip the challenge and save precious time, but somehow, it felt wrong: it was a matter of character. While the marketing director deliberated, both her analytical skill and her persistence were being assessed. She had recently completed a successful launch during the pandemic and now was on her way of becoming CMO, the leadership role she yearned for many years. The test she was facing was part of a personal development process designed to help her build better awareness and resilience, and ultimately make her a better leader.

competencies, in turn, help leaders make better decisions in uncertain situations and result in successful leadership and a higher operational effectiveness. The company used a suite of game-based skill development and evaluation solution for this program called Accelium, which uses proprietary strategy games; a wide range of cognitive and emotional challenges; and assess complex, higher-order skills

The above-mentioned example is one part of a program called ‘Devinim’ (literally – ‘momentum’) in Turkey, for personal leadership development for high performers in a fast-paced, competitive environment. The program’s core idea is that improved personal awareness fosters better resilience, an enhanced sense of control and higher adaptability. These


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such as analytical thinking, strategic thinking and execution. A detailed evaluation report is then produced, assessing up to 12 different sub-skills (such as focus, persistence and agility) into a personal skill profile, enabling the company to examine various personal strengths, thinking and leadership styles. The test is cloud-based and can be integrated with companies’ hiring/assessment platforms, so participants could access the tests from wherever and whenever their busy schedule permit. Upon completion, test results can be reviewed with an organisational consultant or by the assessors in the company to define a development plan for those individuals or to make decisions to hire them or not. When asked, Deniz described her experience as: ‘“I found myself taking the entire test at one take, it was fascinating!” The appealing nature of the test had an additional effect beyond engagement: “Unlike the rest of the tests we take during the program you can just enjoy the challenge with no bias, especially since it’s fun and there’s nobody else involved. It simply doesn’t feel like a test.” Today, companies are discovering what game-based assessment and development tools have to offer beyond fast, cost-effective solutions. They also benefit from valuable new insights about candidates’ ‘softer’ skills – such as execution, adaptive thinking and persistence. In addition, the immersive nature of these solutions help reduce assesses’ anxiety and provide meaningful feedback. All these factors are driving an accelerated adoption of game-based solutions, making it likely that game-based components will soon be a fundamental part of the whole employee experience. To find out more and get a Better Outcome for your company’s training and development: Better Outcome 143 Hatch Lane Windsor, Berkshire SL4 3RL Email: Tel: 0782 499 8608


18/11/2021 08:59


Looking ahead to 2022 p3 B I G TALKI N G POI N T

What counts most for candidates now? p4 Issue 95 Recruitment NovemberMa ers December 2021


Carrying over annual leave next year p6 W H AT I KN OW

Employees must be seen as individuals p7

The talent pipeline

We need a skills and training revolution A

s all of us in the recruitment industry know, the issues that have been caused by labour shortages since pandemic restric ons were li ed are not new. There have been shortages in sectors such as logis cs, IT, healthcare and hospitality for many years. So now more than ever it’s vital that, while shortages are at the front of everyone's thinking, we act to ensure we have a pipeline of talent to take up those roles. When REC Chief Execu ve Neil Carberry gave evidence to the Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy commi ee last month, he emphasised the vital role that the skills system should play to solve these issues both now and in the future. “We need a revolu on in how we offer training for work,” he said, if the UK is to recover fully from the pandemic and prosper in the months and years to come. Last month’s Budget and Spending Review was a chance for the government to start to put some of this into ac on, pulling the right levers to enable businesses to invest in their workforce. But while the announcements on skills were a step in the right direc on, the opportunity to start a real skills revolu on was missed.

@RECPress RM_Nov_Dec-NEW.indd 1

One major element of the required overhaul is to broaden the appren ceship levy into a wider training and skills levy, to allow funds to be used on other types of accredited training. This would help businesses to fill vacancies and increase produc vity, while also improving career prospects and the earning poten al of workers across the economy. Agency workers, who are locked out of benefi ng from the current system, would be included.

Making great work happen

This is just one of many changes which could help to revolu onise the way that skills training is offered in the UK, and this will con nue to be at the forefront of the REC's campaign work in the future. It will also be a key aim for the cross-departmental forum that we are campaigning for – an aim that was included in the REC's partnership agreement with the Department for Work & Pensions which was re-signed in October. 16/11/2021 17:14

Leading the industry

the view... Why we should be posiঞve about the future of the market and our industry, explains

Neil Carberry,

REC Chief Execuঞve


can't believe this is my last column of 2021. Where did the year go? I know others will feel the same – this year has been a whirlwind, from the third lockdown in January to the busiest market many of us have ever seen. The REC’s role is to be at our members’ sides whatever the economic weather and I prefer the issues we are facing now to the ones we had in March 2020! Our guiding principle is to put member interests at the heart of everything we do, to help the sector thrive. That's how we make a difference for you, and for the clients and candidates you help every day. The early part of 2021 was dominated by our Recruitment for Recovery campaign, which set out how important the sector is to the UK and why we should hold our heads high and be confident about the future. Most of what the REC has done this year has benefi ed from that posi vity – from lobbying wins (such as digital right-to-work checks) to new business advice support, the legal advice that lies at the heart of our support to you and our increased regional profile with teams across the UK. I am looking forward to ge ng back out on the road next year. Our recent work on labour shortages perhaps shows most clearly why what the REC does ma ers to the industry. It infl uences government – we've met more ministers than ever before this year – but, as one member noted, it also makes client discussions easier as they see the picture we are pain ng. That’s what it is all about. And so to 2022. There will be more market change, more regula ons and an uncertain economy. But we're ready to support you every step of the way with work on business development, the recruitment workforce and inclusion, as well as the best data and the most powerful voice in recruitment. A wonderful Christmas and a prosperous new year to you and to your business. If you want to keep up to speed with all things recruitment then follow me on Twi er @RECNeil 2


REC and DWP renew partnership Shazia Ejaz, Director of Campaigns at the REC


ast month, a delega on from the REC and a group of our members were pleased to meet Mims Davies MP, Minister for Employment, to re-sign the partnership agreement between the REC and the Department for Work & Pensions (DWP). The REC-DWP partnership has existed since 2012 and sets out how we will work together with one of our most important government stakeholders to help people to access and progress in work – which is even more vital given the events of the past 18 months. This update to the agreement focuses on suppor ng those furthest away from the labour market, as well as sharing intelligence, championing diversity and inclusion, and leading the debate on the future of work. That includes preparing the jobs market for a “greener” economy in the future and understanding the needs of employers as they work to meet the challenges of tackling climate change. The renewed partnership will also help us to achieve one of our key campaign aims – tackling skills shortages – as we look to establish a joint forum with DWP, the Department for Educa on and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). This forum would allow the recruitment industry to work with mul ple departments in a coordinated way and ensure there is a comprehensive and joined-up approach to delivering the right skills programmes for the jobs that employers need to fill. It will put recruiters at the heart of workforce planning and avoid further supply chain “crunches”. It is crucial that business and government work together in the months and years ahead to help business grow and the UK to level up. By renewing this partnership agreement, we hope to kickstart that process.

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Leading the industry

the intelligence... Quesঞons for the labour market as furlough comes to an end. By Atanas Nikolaev, Research Manager

On 30 September 2021, the Coronavirus Job Reten on Scheme (CJRS) closed a er almost 18 months. Over the course of the pandemic, the scheme was a vital support for employers and their employees. It covered the wages of 11.7 million workers, and as many as 2.3 million days of work were spent on either full or par al furlough. In many ways it was the star policy of the Coronavirus crisis. Cos ng almost £70 billion (in gross terms), the CJRS, alongside other support measures, ensured that the rise in unemployment was far lower than that ini ally feared – peaking at 5.3% in the UK. The latest figures from HMRC show that at the end of August there were s ll 440,000 employers with 1.3 million workers on furlough. Since the peak in January 2021 (5.1 million), those numbers have steadily decreased as the economy re-opened. The Resolu on Founda on es mated that a million workers could be s ll on furlough when the scheme ended, with half of these fully furloughed.


billion spent on CJRS.

We must wait for the next CJRS bulle n to give us the final o cial sta s cs on the scheme, but early signs suggest that there won’t be a significant rise in unemployment when furlough ends. In early November, the ONS es mated that 87% of furloughed staff returned to work. But there are other significant challenges to the labour market that threaten to slow down the economic recovery. At the me of wri ng, the number of job vacancies is at an all- me high with expansion in nearly every sector and there is uncertainty about poten ally low re-employment rates for those made redundant during the pandemic. The latest KPMG and REC UK Report on Jobs showed that at the end of October recruitment ac vity rose sharply, fuelled by robust demand for staff. However, at the same me candidate availability deteriorated at a near record rate, pushing up star ng salaries. The current challenges


million days of work were spent on full or parঞal furlough over the course of the pandemic

around shortages are driving a sugar rush in the labour market, but this won’t last forever. It is impera ve for the government and business leaders to work together to find a way out of the current situa on with policies that support sustainable economic growth. That means inves ng in skills, especially at lower levels, suppor ng younger people into work, and helping firms to compete interna onally.

440,000 employers with 1.3 million workers on furlough at the end of August

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Focus on candidates

big talking point Chronic sta@ shortages are in the headlines, but recruiters are seeing a far more fundamental shi[ that is increasing their workload, but also creaঞng opportuniঞes

Reputation and relationships S

ome crises shake the founda ons of our lives and Covid-19 may prove to be one of these. No recruiter – or employer – could be unaware that the UK is dealing with unprecedented labour shortages, and the CBI and REC have told companies that this situa on could last for another two years. However, there is a deeper and possibly more permanent shi going on that is changing the rela onship between employers and their staff. Many company bosses are finding that simply offering more money is not a rac ng the people they need. Candidates in some sectors can pick and choose their opportuni es and the pandemic has made them reconsider what ma ers most in a job. This could be good news for those who have long advocated increasing diversity and inclusion. Employers who cannot find staff in their tradi onal pools must think more broadly about who they could employ, which a ributes or qualifica ons are essen al and which can be developed, and what makes their workplace special. They may need to look in new places or raise their corporate profile with a different audience – and recruiters can help them do this. However, recruiters may also need to deliver di cult messages to companies that have not demonstrated an inclusive culture, care for staff wellbeing and


fl exibility in the pandemic. Most companies have a list of values, but if their staff and customers know that these are merely words on their website they will have limited effect. Worse s ll, staff working for organisa ons that proved uncaring during the crisis may jump ship now – and those firms will struggle to replace them. So what is on candidates’ wish lists, and how can recruiters help them and their poten al employers to find each other? “Home or Agile working is now a standard request from many candidates for a number of roles and industries – many of whom didn’t work this way before the pandemic,” says Kelly Dunn, Managing Director at KD Recruitment. “Another common requirement is the opportunity for upskilling and personal

development within the job. They want to know what the culture of the company is like, so corporate reputa on is important, along with sustainability, community engagement and health and wellbeing, even for employers who never had to look far for people in the past.” She adds that the candidates are there – some looking to move because they did not feel valued or looked a er in the past 18 months – but you need to find them. “The way people look for jobs has changed. You can’t wait for them to come to you – we’re in a digital age and you need to be proac ve and find different ways to look for them,” Dunn adds. “You can’t just post a job advert and expect people to apply.” Reputa on is important for recruitment companies as well as for

Statistics 1.2 million job vacancies in September – a record high 29.2 million people on payrolls in September – a record number 134,000 jobs adverঞsed by the hospitality industry –

almost double pre-pandemic levels

4.5% unemployment

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employers. Recruiters need to have a strong presence on the right social media pla orms and ensure their brand is known and trusted. Dunn says that many of the people she places have come via referrals. “We ask successful candidates who else they know and whether they would recommend us or suggest that friends and family talk to us about opportuni es,” she says. Similarly, those who have a good experience with a recruiter are likely to come back when they want to move on, so it’s worth playing a long game. Recruiters are in a good posi on to educate candidates and employers about poten al opportuni es. Now is a great me for a candidate to move into a role that may have been di cult for them to consider in the past. A good recruiter can help them to see opportuni es and to iden fy and highlight the skills they could bring to the job. Similarly, they can explain to the employer why that person would be good even if they lack one or more of the tradi onal requirements. “We were approached by someone working in a care home who wanted to know what alterna ve jobs she could do. She came to us because we’d helped her in the past and we facilitated her move into a job as a recep onist. She hadn’t worked in an admin role for years, but she had fantas c people skills which her new employer really appreciates,” Dunn says.

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Nadeem Ahmad, Founder and CEO at Templeton & Partners Recruitment, agrees that culture and corporate reputa on are more important than ever. “Employee engagement is a huge issue. Candidates want to be treated as individuals and they are less afraid to be honest about what they want. At the same me, Covid has been a leveller. Managers have had to trust staff working from home and this has reset the way that companies interact with their people. The rela onship has become more equal,” he says. This could have a posi ve effect on diversity, but Ahmad warns that true diversity comes from recrui ng people with different backgrounds and experiences who think diversely. “Many companies have increased the number of women, LGBT people and people from BAME backgrounds they hire,” he points out, “but they have been less good at considering candidates who are disabled, neuro-diverse or from a different social class.” Some are keen to do this, but they are nervous of making mistakes or being accused of posi ve discrimina on, he adds. “A good recruiter can help them to put together a recruitment strategy that looks at bias in, for example, their job ads and recruitment processes, and at making sure their company is talking to the

right people and is known in the right places,” he says. They can also encourage the company to assess its rela onships with exis ng staff. Are they ac vely pro-diversity and do they encourage their employees to be open about who they are and how they feel at work? Companies that can demonstrate that they listen to staff and learn from what they’re told will be able to differen ate themselves when they seek new employees, Ahmad says. “It’s not just about colouring your logo with a rainbow in Pride month,” he explains. “It’s about knowing your staff, listening to their needs, removing barriers and helping people with diverse backgrounds to progress up the career path. It has to be real.” All of this requires a lot more work from employers and from recruiters, Dunn points out. “We need to know candidates’ full back stories, who they are and what they can do, and we need to help companies understand what they need from staff and what they can offer in return. We have to consider corporate culture and candidate ap tude rather than a set list of skills or qualifica ons.” For those keen to switch careers, or for employers seeking the best people from the deepest talent pool, this me of change is a golden opportunity – and recruiters could hold the key to the door of possibili es. November-December 2021 Recruitment Ma ers


16/11/2021 17:15

Working Time Regulaঞons

legal update Carrying over annual leave to 2022 By Leo Isce-Taylor, Legal & Compliance Adviser


any employers allow their sta@ to carry a small number of holiday days over to the next working year. For example, some permit sta@ to carry three or four days of annual leave over to the next year, but urge them to take any other remaining leave before this, so they don’t lose it. This encourages sta@ to use their holiday enঞtlement to rest for the benefit of their health. At the end of March 2020, the government announced that it would amend the Working Time Regulaঞons 1998 to give employees/workers the right to carry over up to four weeks of annual leave over the following two years. Employers can decide whether to allow sta@ to carry over the remaining 1.6 weeks of statutory annual leave, and any addiঞonal leave they provide. However, the employee/worker must fulfil certain criteria if they wish to carry


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leave over. Employers must consider whether the pandemic created a situaঞon where it was not reasonably pracঞcable for the worker to take leave. Factors for employers to consider include: • Whether the business faced a significant increase in demand because of Covid-19 that reasonably required the worker to conঞnue to be at work, and could not be met through alternaঞve pracঞcal measures. • The extent to which the business’s workforce was disrupted by the pandemic and the pracঞcal opঞons available to the business to provide temporary cover for essenঞal acঞviঞes. • The health of the worker and how soon they need to take a period of rest and relaxaঞon. • The length of ঞme remaining in the worker’s leave year (to enable the worker

to take holiday at a later date within their leave year). • The extent to which the worker taking leave would impact on wider society’s response to, and recovery from, the pandemic. • The ability of the remainder of the available workforce to provide cover for the worker going on leave. When considering these factors, employers must take all reasonable pracঞcable steps to ensure their sta@ can take as much of their leave as possible in the year when it is accrued. Where leave is carried over, it is best pracঞce to ensure that the workers/ employees take it sooner rather than later.

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What I know

Two recruiters on how they plan to beat the candidate shortage

Aimee Treasure, Head of Markeঞng, Templeton & Partners Employers are more aware of the value of employee engagement.

However, many adverts focus on the company’s values, but don’t explain what makes that company unique and a great place to work. For example, everyone says they are innova ve, but what does it mean in prac ce? Has anything fundamental changed?

Candidates are being braver about asking to work different hours or more flexibly to fit around family, health needs and interests.

This is good for diversity – but more needs to be done.

Diversity is about thought and background, not just the way you look. More employers are proudly displaying their diversity and Be authenঞc. inclusion creden als, Your people are your but many are s ll business. Companies reaching a restricted need to put as much talent pool and need analysis into their hiring programmes and help to provide relevant reputa on as employers role models, create a suppor ve environment as they do into their and reach candidates R&D programmes. in different places. We can help them to create People are being more honest about a posi ve conversa on with exis ng staff, to what they want. listen and learn from Employers must assess them, and find out how them as individuals. they can a ract a wider Covid has humanised variety of applicants us all because we’ve with a bespoke seen people at all recruitment strategy. levels in their homes.

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Paul Hipkiss, Managing Director,

The Recruitment Group How did you fare during the pandemic?

We started two years ago with a plan to buy and amalgamate established regional recruitment companies. We now have seven businesses and rebranded as The Recruitment Group this year. We bought three firms in the first lockdown. We took the opportunity to gain trac on and posi on ourselves in the market while li le business was being done.

What next?

We are s ll growing and focusing on building the brand and consolida ng our businesses. Keeping our momentum is vital. I recently launched our strategy, three-year plan and company values via branch roadshows. I don’t

want our values stuck on the wall. I want people to know that we live them. What we’ve got now is special and if we don’t have this in 10 years’ me, we’ll have failed, even if we’re successful financially.

What are the main challenges?

The shortage of labour is acute and that affects everyone. We aim to differen ate ourselves by living up to our slogan “Powered by people”. We say we will always put candidates and staff first – without them we don’t have a business. If you look a er your staff and candidates, you look a er your clients. The recruitment sector tends to have a high staff turnover and we hope that pu ng staff at the centre of our business will make a difference.

November-December 2021 Recruitment Ma ers


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REC Awards

REC Awards 2021 Winners Individual awards

Company awards

Recruitment resourcer of the year Winner – Jessica Harber, Rthirteen Recruitment

People development business of the year Winner – Amoria Bond Highly commended – VGC Group

Temporary recruiter of the year Winner – Haseena Mooncey, Hyper Recruitment Soluঞons Highly commended – Ilya Donets, Carrington West Permanent recruiter of the year Winner – Chrisঞna Giakou, Hyper Recruitment Soluঞons In-house recruiter of the year Winner– Abigail Farnham, Pertemps Business leader of the year (turnover up to £2m) Winner – Jim Roach, ARV Soluঞons Highly commended – Nik Pratap, Pratap Partnership Business leader of the year (turnover more than £2m) Winner – Nadeem Ahmad, Templeton & Partners Temporary worker of the year Winner – Brashanthiy Vijaragavan, Hyper Recruitment Soluঞons Highly commended – Gezim Elezi, Enhance Catering

Diversity champion of the year Winner – Urban (STR Group) Highly commended – Bruin Financial (The FISER Group) Start-up of the year Winner – Enhance Catering Best company to work for (up to 20 employees) Winner – Ashdown Group Best company to work for (up to 50 employees) Winner – Contract Scotland Highly commended – Osborne Appointments

COVID champion of 2020 Winner – Tracey Beecham, Ethical Recruitment Agency

Best company to work for (over 50 employees) Winner – Harvey Nash Highly commended – Carrington West

Recruiter of the year

Lifetime achievement award

Winner – Tracey Beecham

Winner – Louise Hewe

Recruitment Ma ers


Recruitment team of the year Winner – ASAP Pertemps

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

Recruitment Ma ers November-December 2021

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

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How do your insurances measure up? • Providing Recruitment & Payroll insurance solutions since 1988 • Insurance packages tailored for your individual business • Dedicated & experienced Account Managers offering bespoke advice • In-house claims experts protecting your business, workers and your reputation


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Special Report


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EDITOR’S COMMENT Concerns that some UK umbrella companies’ systems had been compromised recently by fraudsters will have sent a chill down the collective spines of contractors, recruitment agencies and the umbrellas themselves. Cyber is the channel of choice today for infiltrating the inner workings and net infrastructure of major organisations, but it seems old-fashioned techniques of deception and devious minds did much of the damage in these cases. With the vast amounts of money flowing through umbrellas’ payroll systems, it’s no surprise that they’re a target for fraudsters. In our Special Report, technology journalist Sue Weekes speaks with the experts about how you can protect your business and the steps you should take now to do so. We also reinforce the ongoing call for government regulation of the umbrella industry – a long-overdue move that would protect contractors and temporary workers, recruitment agencies and the umbrellas themselves.

DeeDee Doke Editor Recruiter/ 34 RECRUITER

ATTACK OF THE PAYROLL CLONES Fraudsters are cloning umbrella companies and then contacting recruitment companies with new bogus bank details. Sue Weekes investigates the extent criminals are going to and how umbrellas, recruiters and contractors can spot the signs and remain protected and secure

NOV/DEC 2021

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hen is imitation not the sincerest form of flattery? Answer: when your company is cloned. This is the situation a number of umbrella companies appeared to find themselves in recently when companies with similar names as theirs were registered at Companies House. Among them was Clarity Umbrella, whose owner and founder, Lucy Smith, told Recruiter that a company was initially registered with the name Clarity Umbrela (with one ‘l’) Ltd. She contacted Companies House and was informed this had since been changed to Clarity PAYE and was told it was sufficiently different from her company name. “The fact that something similar had happened to several umbrella companies with the same director’s name showed that something was not right,” said Smith, explaining that she then took to social media to voice her opinion and alert her network to what was happening. “I said ‘this is not Clarity’ and we all need to raise awareness so this becomes too hot to handle.” Phil Pluck, CEO of the Freelance & Contractor Services Association (FCSA), which is currently investigating the situation, explains that having created the clones on Companies House to gain legitimacy in the “eyes of the unwary”, the fraudster’s final act is to contact numerous recruitment agencies – whose PSLs are openly available to view – and then inform them that their preferred umbrella company has



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Special Report

changed its banking details, because of any one of the following: ● a criminal hack has been attempted on its current bank account ● change in directors/ownership has taken place, hence the need for new accounts ● the bank has offered a more secure portal account, so the details are new. “The fraudster then goes on to assure the agency through VAT registration documents, Companies House numbers, and details of current banking arrangements, so that the avenue for a sophisticated theft is now totally open.” The cloner’s attempts to build legitimacy also included scraping social media and professional networks and job boards to access personal information. It also emerged that some contractors were being contacted by the clones offering them preferential terms such as 85% take-home pay. Julia Kermode, founder of IWORK, which provides a range of resources to support all types of independent workers, and former CEO of FCSA, believes it is a concerted effort by somebody to undermine the umbrella industry.


“The umbrella market is not regulated so anyone can spring up and be an umbrella company” Clearly, Kermode is extremely well-informed and able to spot the incorrect details of many of the companies in the sector but, as she highlights, if you don’t it is easy to be duped. “They are sometimes changing one or two letters and, for example, have listed one company as LLP. I know that isn’t the case but a recruitment agency may not know that level of detail,” she says. At the time of writing Pluck said so far he has only known of one attempt that has been successful and which amounted to £60k of umbrella fees being transferred out of a recruitment agency to a false bank account but warns: “This practice is also happening further up the supply chain where recruitment firms are being cloned in order to bring on board innocent job applicants and contractors. “Vigilance is the key to preventing an actual cloning attack alongside robust IP protection of your brand should you need to take action if cloning has already taken place.” Further harm must be prevented by ensuring those behind the clones don’t get access to bank details and the onus is on recruitment agencies to undertake due diligence in any dealings with umbrellas, especially in conversations over money transfers.

Check, check and check again Robust checks need to be in place and Pluck recommends each company in the supply chain should have a single point of contact (SPOC) who carry with them agreed passwords, and if any banking details are to be changed then this platform should be the first stage in any changes. “Where money transfers take place from end client to agency or agency to umbrella then very strict transfer protocols should be in place and should always be a double or even triple check system. Passwords should be used and be highly restricted, transfers should be confirmed immediately on both sides and never change banking details from any party in the supply chain unless a sperate protocol has been agreed and is acted upon. “Always query any calls coming in to

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make banking changes or indeed providing supporting documents. AI is now becoming so sophisticated that there is emerging software that can replicate voices and indeed images in remote meeting platforms hence the need to have multiple protocols if any changes are made.” Stamping out the cloning activity is a challenge, especially if legal action is prevented because the cloner is operating in an offshore jurisdiction. It is not, of course, a sector-specific problem and happens across all industries but it has come in what has already been a difficult year for umbrellas with a BBC investigation finding that 50,000 mini-umbrellas were operating tax avoidance schemes, which reportedly cost the taxpayer millions. Kermode describes the timing as

interesting in this regard, which is why she remains convinced it is a deliberate attack to further tarnish the industry. That the sector has been targeted is also no surprise given the large amounts of money that are transferred across companies in the supply chain. As James Poyser (pictured top left), founder of, which seeks to promote transparency in the sector, points out, the “eye watering amounts of money that flows through means a cloner wouldn’t have to have a great success rate to make a lot of money. “So it’s always going to attract people looking to exploit this,” he says and adds compounding the problem is that it is all too easy to set up an umbrella company in the first place. “The umbrella market is not


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The FCSA provided Recruiter magazine with the following guide to spotting a clone. It says these are the key clues to look out for: lack of any other presence. Cloners need to keep below the radar while creating just enough legitimacy to convince agencies or contractors. They also need to get in quickly, steal the money and run no website presence no presence on social media no heritage on Companies House. Clones are typically very infant with no accounts the same old names. It is often the same directors who set up multiple clone companies in a very short space of time, often from the same address which is often just an address of a residential property, and often multiple occupancy those directors are often based outside the UK. Currently, the trend is towards a handful of individuals who are based in India a clone company will differ only slightly in name from the legitimate one. It might be just one letter or number or an added word to the company title, for example, ABC Ltd becomes ABC1 Ltd or ABC Pay becomes ABC Paye.


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regulated so anyone can spring up and be an umbrella company, which means there is very little legal protection against preventing this happening in the first place.” recently launched a new rating system for umbrellas called FairScore to highlight ethical, well-run companies and those that are rogue and campaigns for regulation in the sector (see Road to Regulation, p40).

Be commercial and compliant Janet De-Havilland (top right), founder and CEO of Pendragon Consultancy, which are experts in compliance and deliver a range of services in the temporary and contract labour market, is currently working with the authorities and the FCSA following the appearance of two apparent clones: Pendragon Consultancy Ltd Payroll Account Limited and Pendragon Consultancy LLP Ltd. Like Smith, she alerted people on LinkedIn and believes openly discussing it is important. “If we keep it all quiet, these people will be allowed to work under the cover

“If we keep it all quiet, these people will be allowed to work under the cover of darkness” of darkness and we all need to help to shine a light on it,” she says. “Also, if you’re a client, you would be disappointed if the first time you heard about this issue is when money has gone missing.” Pendragon carries out compliance audits for clients and she believes compliance lies at the heart of tackling this and other issues the sector faces. She adds that clients are often shocked when they see where the holes are in their processes and systems following an audit. Part of the challenge is that sometimes the person charged with the responsibility for due diligence and compliance isn’t as senior as they should be. Pluck


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agrees and notes that the fraudsters are often targeting middle grade employees of contractor recruitment agencies, perhaps knowing that senior directors will be on top of what transfer protocols are in place, and “thus smell a rat”. De-Havilland highlights another issue, too, which is that compliance costs rather than generates money. “When you go into some businesses and ask where compliance is in their hierarchy of importance, you can hear a nervous outburst of laughter,” she says. “Compliance teams are challenged all the time with the ‘we’ve got to get these people out to work, so let’s get on with it’ attitude. But if something goes wrong, things can become much more costly, and you potentially lose the client that you’re trying to help. You’ve failed in your due diligence, and you’ve failed the client.” The answer, she believes, is moving compliance up the agenda and her desire is to bring it “screaming and kicking” from the back office to ensure it’s on the table of “every senior manager and boardroom director”.


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Special Report


REGULATION Campaigners for regulation in the umbrella market had hoped that this year’s autumn spending review would have allocated funding required to get the Single Enforcement Body (SEB) up and running and bring lasting positive change in the sector. Disappointingly for them, it didn’t feature this time round and attention now turns to the spring. James Poyser, founder of, and Rebecca Seeley Harris, chair of the Employment Status Forum and former senior policy adviser to the Office of Tax Simplification, submitted the policy document ‘Umbrella Companies: call for regulation’ to the to the Spending Review in September, having previously sent it to BEIS in the spring. The pair were motivated to write the document by the feeling that the industry wanted to change. They contend unscrupulous behaviour has reached “a tipping point”, with regulation the only course of action. Poyser said the document was backed by many umbrellas because it closes the loopholes that allow unethical practices and tax evasion to persist. Among supporters is Lucy Smith, founder of Clarity Umbrella, who also gave input into the policy document. “If we were regulated it could stop the agency PSL and we wouldn’t be allowed to trade unless we were doing things properly,” she says. “I think it is disappointing that the budget gave us no support. The government have forced more contractors to work via umbrella companies yet offer no protection against the cowboys in the industry.”


Even though there was no mention in the autumn budget, Poyser says he would be surprised “if it was off the table altogether” and has meetings lined up with BEIS over the coming weeks. “It may be that the particular department wasn’t ready to ask for the money yet because they need to think it through and make sure they’ve got a really good plan because they are only going to ask for this money once,” he said. “They need to make a considered plan and ensure it’s going to be effective. Hopefully, in the spring, we’ll see them come back and say, ‘OK, this is what we need to get things started’.” Poyser explains that the Single Enforcement Body (SEB) would give contractors somewhere to go to if they had a problem with their umbrella company as they currently fall between government departments. “You can go to HMRC about some tax and National Minimum Wage-related matters but really egregious things that some the umbrella companies do are lawful in the eyes of HMRC,” he says. “If it’s well resourced, the SEB could ensure they are treated lawfully.” In the meantime, uk has launched what it describes as a “stopgap” rating system to its website called FairScore, which aims to help workers find compliant, fair and ethical umbrellas to run their payroll. Umbrellas are invited to assess their operations against a comprehensive set of criteria associated with ethical and fair best practice and FairScore then provides a score out of 100. Poyser

explains that 90% of the points in FairScore are based on information in the policy document sent to the government. “What we’re trying to do with FairScore is say, ‘OK, there’s a lawful minimum that you can do but what if you want to go above and beyond that and make sure that everybody in the supply chain is treated fairly?’ And that’s where FairScore comes in,” he says, acknowledging that it might not be taken up by everyone but is a positive step forward. “The analogy I give is that of fair trade chocolate: it’s not for everybody but there are a lot of people that put a lot of trust in the provenance of their cocoa beans. FairScore means that anybody from the supply chain

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“Yes, you have to be commercial – I’m as commercial as the next person – but I believe you can be good commercially, and you can be good compliantly,” she says.

Robust reporting

“If every umbrella was independently audited, we could drive bad practices out overnight”

– end-client, recruitment agency and contractor – can see what an umbrella is doing to make sure those workers are being treated fairly.” Rob Sharp (above), CEO of Orca Pay Group, is a champion of regulation and says the company will be part of FairScore. In addition, Orca recently became the first umbrella to proactively get all of its financial activities audited by tax experts WTT, which it hopes provides everyone in the contractor supply chain with peace of mind. It provides WTT with full access to the Orca bank accounts, HMRC portal and its real-time compliance platform The Apex. The latter provides agencies and businesses time-stamped records from HMRC as

well as providing a full transparent audit trail each time a payroll is processed. As part of the process, Sharp explains that agencies and businesses are shown all HMRC liabilities are correctly deducted, processed and submitted “to the penny”, as well as ensuring fair treatment for every contractor paid. Sharp admits that he is terrified when he sees how “blunt, blatant and in your face” some avoidance schemes, mini umbrellas and disguise renumeration products are being flouted. “It’s the worst I’ve seen it in 17 years in the industry,” he says. “But if every single umbrella was independently audited, we could drive these bad practices out overnight.” Because it has its own audit platform and software, Orca is being entrusted to carry out audits on behalf of recruitment agencies or businesses on other payroll partners. He said although a recruitment agency can be culpable and risks potential reputational and financial damage if avoidance schemes are found in its supply chains, there seems to be “an educational gap” about this among some agencies. “And I fear there is the potential for an Armageddon of reputational damage to agencies because they don’t take their due diligence responsibilities seriously enough.”


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Having robust processes in place benefits everyone in the supply chain. De-Havilland also urges contractors to be vocal if something doesn’t seem right and for umbrella and recruitment companies to be supportive of them. “Contractors can sometimes worry that if they raise an issue, they won’t get the job,” she says. “But it is important they report issues that seem unusual or that they have concerns about.” Kermode agrees that contractors and other independent workers need support and guidance as they will be less able to spot if there is a problem. “They might be looking at umbrellas for the first time and simply won’t know if the product they are being offered is dubious.” Of course, Recruiter cannot comment on any legal investigations that may be taking place but Charlotte Gerrish, a commercial law and data protection expert and founding lawyer of Gerrish Legal, explains that there are two areas that those affected should explore. If the cloning attack leads to a data breach, this will be covered by GDPR because it applies to companies that process data of UK individuals regardless of where they’re located. “So that could be a route to getting at the cloners,” she says but she also warns that umbrellas need to be vigilant and act quickly if they notice anything untoward so they themselves don’t find themselves liable for a data breach. Gerrish highlights the case of British Airways, which was the target of a cyberattack in 2018 and which remained undetected for more than two months. The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) fined the company £20m for failing to protect the personal and financial details of more than 400,000 of its customers. An ICO investigation found the airline was processing a significant amount of personal data


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Special Report

without adequate security measures in place and the failure broke data protection law. “So those running payrolls need to be alert to cloning, a cyberattack or any activity that could lead to a data breach,” she says. While it is difficult to stop someone subtly changing a company name on Companies House, Gerrish explains that trademarking provides more protection and this is something that could be considered going forward for those umbrellas that haven’t already done so. “The test is: is what they are doing to names likely to cause confusion to the relevant public – the relevant public in this case being other umbrella companies, recruitment agencies, end-user clients and contractors?” she says. “Adding something like PAYE or anything that references the services delivered would be considered a trademark infringement.” This still wouldn’t get around the problem if the cloner operates offshore but may be worth considering as good


practice going forward for umbrellas that haven’t trademarked their name.

Continuity and resilience plan The era of digital transformation means that going forward, all organisations in the recruitment supply chain must be alert to known and unknown threats ranging from online scams, cloning attempts right up to sophisticated cyberattacks. In September, Giant suffered a cyberattack, which is still under investigation. It was understood to be a ransomware attack, which is where cybercriminals can potentially freeze operations and demand a ransom payment. Pluck recommends that organisations imagine the “worst-case scenario” and build a disaster plan

around it. “This costs money but there are very clever and legitimate firms who will take you through something called penetration testing. They will, in a safe environment, attack your company with the latest technology and reveal to you where your defences are weak. “Your IT support should be as active in providing security analysis as they are providing the operating platforms to function.” And he has a stark message for those who have reservations about investing money in this area: “Imagine the cost to your company if you are actually cloned and or hacked. If your defences are not robust enough and your transfer protocols aren’t tight then a business you spent 10 years developing can be brought down in 24 hours.” ●

Looking for an umbrella firm you can trust? Check out IWORK’s partners IWORK partners are ethical firms that offer services to support contractors, independent workers and the wider recruitment sector.

“Your IT support should be as active in providing security analysis as they are providing the platforms to function” 42 RECRUITER

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“IWORK’s partners have been specially selected as they are trustworthy and committed to compliance. Look for businesses displaying the IWORK Partner logo to give you peace of mind.” Julia Kermode, Founder, IWORK


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Digital Transformation for Recruitment, with Limitless Scalability.

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WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN UP TO? GET IN TOUCH! From litter picking on the streets, donating community football kits or pledging to do fundraising feats, you’ve certainly been busy since the last Recruiter…


SF RECRUITMENT CLEANS UP IN THE MIDLANDS Midlands-based SF Recruitment has challenged its staff to pick up a minimum of 20,000 pieces of litter from areas in Birmingham, Leicester and Nottingham throughout October and November. Each employee is being encouraged to take time out of their working week to collect their share of the litter, which will be recycled where possible. SF Recruitment is also inviting other local businesses to get involved with similar pledges to help clean up the locality. It is hoped that almost one tonne of plastic and litter will be removed from those areas.

To celebrate a record-breaking year, careers specialist Frontline Recruitment felt it was time to give something back, so it has upped its charity and community work. The recruiter is currently supporting, via sponsorship or fundraising, around a dozen groups, including community-based grassroots football team Toton Tornados FC in Nottingham. Among other offers of support, Frontline has donated the away playing kit for the Under 11s. Frontline’s operations director David Essam said: “The last 18 months has been tough for charity and community groups … However, Frontline is very proud of its roots in the community and after having such a strong 2021, it’s only natural that we should support a range of people who are doing such wonderful work.”

RED DIAMOND’S 10 PLEDGES FOR 10 YEARS Red Diamond Executive Headhunters is celebrating 10 years in business by making 10 fundraising pledges to charity. The Huddersfield-based company, founded in 2011 by Emma and Simon Robinson, kicked off the fundraising drive with a climb of Mount Snowden. Joining them was Emma and Simon’s eight-year-old son Bertie, who not only kept pace with the grown-ups but managed to raise an impressive £750 in sponsorship. Nine other fundraisers will be held as part of the 10th birthday celebrations, with the money raised going to the Sick Children’s Trust, the charity that runs Eckersley House. The Robinsons stayed at Eckersley House for six months, spending every moment they could with son Jasper, who was born prematurely 10 years ago, before he sadly passed away at just six months old. To donate, please visit`


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“Working in film and TV, you are constantly meeting new people. You learn to adapt, work in teams, and co-ordinate with people” MY BRILLIANT RECRUITMENT CAREER What was your earliest dream job?

What was your first job in recruitment and how did you come into it? My role at Anderson Quigley in London is my first job in recruitment. A recruitment agency approached me about the job as we were coming out of lockdown. They knew I was studying – I've nearly finished a Master’s in public policy – and had plans to work in the public sector so thought it would be a good fit.

Who is your role model – in life or in recruitment? Former US First Lady Michelle Obama.

What do you love most about your current role? I enjoy getting to communicate with new and interesting people every day. I find the careers and experiences of the candidates and clients that we meet very inspiring.

What would you consider to be the most brilliant moment of your career? We had a particularly challenging assignment come to a close recently,


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Growing up, I always had my sights set on becoming a ballerina or an actress. I competed internationally in ballet, and at 16 I was a semi-finalist at the Genée International Ballet Competition. I also pursued acting and was lucky enough to portray Honour Aleni on Shortland Street, New Zealand’s biggest soap, which was a wonderful experience. So I actually landed those dream jobs!

SOPHIE MCINTOSH EPA project co-ordinator, executive search firm Anderson Quigley

SOPHIE MCINTOSH and it was very satisfying, after months of hard work, to see the placement made.

Laugh or cry, what did your most memorable candidate make you want to do and why? There was an assignment that had a few technical issues due to Covid restrictions. One of the candidates was incredibly kind and forgiving of the changes, and really made the whole process a lot less stressful for me.

What would you regard as your signature tune? Anything from a musical, but especially Cell Block Tango from Chicago.

What transferable skills have you found between acting and executive search? I think there are many. Ballet can be very intense

and instilled in me a strong work ethic. Working in film and TV, you are constantly meeting new people. You learn to adapt, work in teams, and co-ordinate with people. These skills have been incredibly useful in my role with Anderson Quigley. Most importantly perhaps, the ability to communicate with ease and having the confidence to speak up when needed.

What has it been like making the move into executive search – are there cultural differences between acting and the business world? Yes and no. I enjoy working in a team and that is very much the culture at Anderson Quigley. There is a great level of support to do your best work and buiwld a meaningful career. Everyone cares about each other in every part of the business. I am still getting used to working in an office though! ●


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human resources officer (CHRO). Ross was previously a global director of people at MessageBird.

FUTURES ASSOCIATED BRITISH PORTS UK ports group ABP has appointed Kate Cornhill as head of human resources for the Southampton region. She joins from cruise ship operator Carnival UK where she was senior people director.

The public sector recruitment specialist has made two senior hires to help accelerate growth. Leeds-based Futures has hired Dan Wilson as marketing manager and Jane Loftus as talent acquisition manager.

PepsiCo has promoted Charline Berry to chief human resources officer for its Europe business. She will oversee all aspects of food and drinks brand PepsiCo’s people agenda for more than 40,000 associates across 50+ countries in Europe. Berry was previously vice president, HR Europe Functions at the company, focused on building new capabilities across the business and developing future talent and leaders. With the Covid-19 pandemic bringing substantial changes to businesses across the globe, Berry partnered with functional leaders to head up the company’s transformation across the region, building an agile and connected organisation that is adapting to “the new reality”. These initiatives have included embedding new ways of working, process transformation and targeted investments in future focused capabilities and technologies. “There has been a shift in corporate culture, not seen within many lifetimes. The HR function is at the forefront of driving that change, with our people at the centre, as we reimagine the future of work,“ Berry said.

BALTIMORE CONSULTING Phil Renison has joined the Bristol-based recruiter as finance director, at the same time joining the board of directors. Renison joins from Options Resource and will head Baltimore’s finance & operations team.

BIE EXECUTIVE The executive recruitment firm has appointed Rob Knight as chief operating officer. Knight joined BIE in June 2021 as interim CFO.

BITPANDA Lindsay Ross joins the digital asset broker as chief


GREENBEAN The recruitment outsourcing provider has promoted Louise Reed to director of client solutions. Reed joined four years ago as head of client solutions and her promotion will see her take responsibility for client development throughout the UK under the direction of managing director Leanne Chambers.



The global provider of executive search and leadership advisory services has appointed Meg Bear, chief product officer of SAP SuccessFactors, to its board of directors as an independent director. Aliceson Robinson has also been appointed partner at its London office, joining the firm’s consumer practice.

Digital recruitment firm iSource has hired Matt Kirk as associate director. Kirk has over 10 years’ experience in the recruitment industry.

KENNEDY EXECUTIVE SEARCH Frank Schulz, founder of Frank Schulz Human Capital Consulting, has been appointed partner at the executive search firm in Tokyo, Japan.

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Honeyman Brown as CEO to lead the group’s global operations. Before becoming CEO, he was appointed as non-executive director of Petroplan Holdings in 2018.

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RANDSTAD KINGSLEY GATE PARTNERS The executive search firm has announced the appointment of Andy Davies as senior partner. He will be based in the firm’s London office.

NET TALENT The IT recruitment consultancy has appointed Shannon McKechnie as its new director of digital and technology recruitment in Scotland.

PEDERSEN & PARTNERS The executive search firm has appointed Michael Larsen as a client partner in Vienna, bringing experience in business processes, executive search, HR and leadership advisory.

The recruitment giant has announced that Jacques van den Broek will step down as CEO and chair of the executive board. Sander van ’t Noordende will take over at the end of Broek’s second term in March 2022.

RANDSTAD RISESMART Marisa Kacary joins the global outplacement and career mobility provider as global chief marketing officer (CMO). She joins RiseSmart from global workforce solutions provider AMS.

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

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REALM RECRUIT Legal recruitment consultancy Realm has appointed Sarah Glynn as its first head of marketing.

PERSONIO Katarina Berg has joined the board of the HR tech firm. Berg is chief HR officer at Spotify.

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


PETROPLAN The specialist energy talent acquisition group has appointed Christopher

The professional services recruitment specialist has appointed Laura Hayward to the board of directors, and marks Hayward’s eighth promotion since joining the recruitment specialist in 2011 as a resourcing consultant.

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“The opposite of having purpose is being indifferent – and we all know that no one wants that”

Alan Furley If you’re not hiring with clear purpose, you’re doing it wrong imes they are a changin’, so the Bob Dylan song goes and, while this can certainly be true in relation to the past 12 months, looking ahead to 2022 this is set to continue. However, it is clearer where this change is going to happen and what we need to do about it – and I think a lot of it will be around defining purpose. Working in the tech space and having helped 100+ start-ups find great people I have learned a lot about why purpose-based hiring is the secret ingredient for a jobs market that we can all feel is different post pandemic. The anomalies we witnessed in sectors such as hospitality and care homes, where demand is going up but applications are dropping, is happening in other places and professional arenas, too. And, while again it’s almost becoming a stereotype, ‘Gen Z’ are



proving themselves true to their hype with purpose being at the top of their agenda – both from a jobs and consumer perspective. But what does this mean for recruiters and how can we help bring purpose into the hiring processes with impact and efficacy? Essentially, you have to make it clear to clients that their EVP [employee value proposition] is front and centre of the hiring tool kit. Encouraging businesses to create a sense of meaning starts by understanding how people value things differently – although, of course, salaries will always matter. We all know flexibility remains one of the main areas that talent is seeking. This aligns with the new model of ‘how’ we work and treating people as adults – trusted to get on with the job in hand. It is pivotal also that progression is not seen only as a linear ‘promotion’ based

mindset. This is about showing candidates they are going to have a chance to do more of what they are good at and what they enjoy. For this reason, creative recruiters are in a strong position to help bring the candidate feedback and experience right into the employer’s mindset. Showing them what this looks like has real potential to open more innovative thinking in hiring managers who are often too focused on the time and costs aspects of our services. And there really is no substitute to hearing about purpose from the horse’s mouth – so showcasing talent is pivotal in telling the purpose story. Why do people do what they do and what is the experience of purpose within the organisation? We’ve particularly found digital storytelling is key – which falls into a marketing mindset. The overall benefit of this means

that there is brand ‘shine’ – which in turn feeds into the impact of the attraction strategy itself. And while, as recruiters, we know these things to be true, now is the time to get ahead of the game. Perhaps that means for some of us looking inwards before we jump to help those externally. At ISL, we’re finalising a rebrand that stemmed from wanting to be clearer about our purpose after the experience of the last two years. So, as we approach 2022, how confident are you that the purpose of your business is clear to your future hires? And how can you communicate this for your clients too? After all, the opposite of having purpose is being indifferent – and we all know that no one wants that. ●

Alan Furley is director at ISL

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The UK group of companies and LLPs trading as RSM is a member of the RSM network. RSM is the trading name used by the members of the RSM network. Each member of the RSM network is an independent accounting and consulting firm each of which practises in its own right. The RSM network is not itself a separate legal entity of any description in any jurisdiction. The RSM network is administered by RSM International Limited, a company registered in England and Wales (company number 4040598) whose registered office is at 50 Cannon Street, London EC4N 6JJ. The brand and trademark RSM and other intellectual property rights used by members of the network are owned by RSM International Association, an association governed by article 60 et seq of the Civil Code of Switzerland whose seat is in Zug.

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