Recruiter July/August 2023

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PERTEMPS WINS THE IIP GOLD AWARD Full story inside INCORPORATING Recruitment Matters Your regular issue of Recruiter continues inside... Advertisement


PertempsNetworkGroup hasbeenawardedaWe InvestInPeopleGold Accreditationaward.

Theawardwas revealed ataninternalawards ceremonybyGroupHRand QualityDirectorTracyEvans,who expressedherdelightandpride atthebusinesswinningthe accolade.

Pertempshasbeenaccreditedby awardingbodyInvestorsinPeople (IIP)formorethan20years, reflectingtheamountoftimeand resourcewedevotetolookingafter ourpeople,creatingagreatplace

toworkandhelpingdeveloptheir skillsandcareers.

Nowthough,afterinterviews withmorethan60staff from acrossthegroup,including Scotlandandnetworkgroup companies,Pertempshasbeen awardedthesought-aftergold standard–attainedbyonlyseven percentoforganisationswhotake partintheassessmentprocess.

PNGLifetimePresidentTim Wattssaid:“Ihavealwaysbeen justifiablyproudofthecompany anditspeopleand howyoualwaysgo aboveandbeyond.

“Wehavemaintainedourstatus withInvestorsinPeopleformore than20years,butIamabsolutely delightednowtohavebeen awardedthisgoldstandard.

“Itspeaksvolumesabouthow muchthisbusinessbelievesinits peopleandinvestsinitspeople andwewillalwayscontinueto doso.”

Overthelast30yearsIIPhave accreditedmorethan50,000 organisations.The‘WeInvestIn People’accreditationisrecognised in66countriesaroundtheworld, whichmakesittheglobal benchmarkwhenitcomesto peoplemanagement.Acrossthe UK,only16percentofcompanies holdInvestorIn Peoplestatus. You can find out more

Recruiters ride the rise in growth rates INCORPORATING Recruitment Matters Business intelligence for recruitment and resourcing professionalsJul/Aug 2023

to grow your business

costs into variable costs to







Let’s Grow!
RWWW.RECRUITER.CO.UK 3 12 E COMMUNITY 33 Social 34 My Brilliant Recruitment Career: Alex Dick 36 Movers & Shakers 37 Recruiter contacts 38 The Last Word: Gavin Sharpe INCORPORATING Recruitment Matters 38 18 26 16 C INTERACTION 16 Viewpoint Ruella Crouch, Ruella James Recruitment 17 Soundbites D FEATURES 18 FAST 5O: Growth rates on the rise There is cautious optimism in a challenging market as this year’s FAST 5O firms are announced 26 Critical issues in digital hiring An end-to-end digital hiring experience raises issues of dangers from AI. Recruiter investigates the Digital Right to Work scheme A NEWS 05 Boosting standards in recruitment New parliamentary group launches to improve UK employment and hiring 06 Levy gifting helps Sodexo support ex-offenders Funds will be made available to help firms seeking to recruit an exoffender as an apprentice 07 Impact of war in Ukraine IT recruiter Lucky Hunter remains resilient 08 Industry input called for in umbrella consultation A consultation has been published on regulating the umbrella industry 09 Contracts & Deals B TRENDS 10 Workplace John Mortimer on why the EA’s time has arrived 11 Business advice Tara Ricks on getting the best out of opportunity 12 Insight Rethinking the job application experience to attract the best talent 14 Tech & Tools The latest recruitment technology and services
YOU What does a future employer look like? Visit Shape your future, study with GBS.

Alack of connection between employees and their organisations is one of the major topics in business generally this summer, in both the UK and the US. More connection is essential for your organisation to grow, thrive and prosper, the experts tell us.

With Recruiter buried in press releases about this every day of the week (you wouldn’t believe…), my question is ‘How do you fix the lack of connection in authentic ways? How do you build a community?’ This week, some answers were forthcoming at a Gartner virtual roundtable, and I’ll share a couple of key points. One is to ensure that your workers are able to use the spate of new communication tools available. They may not tell you out of the blue, but leaders and managers need to ask everyone if there is difficulty with technical understanding, does any temporary or permanent physical problem impair their ability to use them and, most importantly, what would improve their comfort and equipment agility? Another is to foster a sense of purpose. What contribution does their work make to the organisation’s success? Why are they needed? This feedback has to be sincere and specific.

There’s more to tell you, but that’s for another day.

Until then – enjoy the magic of summer.

New parliamentary group launches to improve UK standards in recruitment

AN ALL-PARTY PARLIAMENTARY Group (APPG) on modernising employment and hiring has launched in the UK Parliament. Its initial objectives are to improve standards in recruitment, with a special focus on new technology platforms, to better protect workers and jobseekers, and help tackle labour abuses and improve UK labour market regulation.

Other objectives include reducing barriers to work, helping more people get into work and into new forms of work and, the group said, “to make UK hiring the fastest globally, improving people’s choices and chances of getting employment”.

The APPG will meet in Parliament across the next 12 months to develop briefings and action plans to achieve its objectives, which will be shared with UK government. Chairing the APPG is Labour MP for Hull Emma Hardy.

The APPG secretariat is Hook, Hampshire-based Wychwood Consulting, supported by the Better Hiring Institute (BHI). Among Wychwood’s consulting specialities is identity management schemes. The BHI is a social enterprise part of the

“More connection is essential for your organisation to grow, thrive and prosper”

ModernWorkFoundation,a CommunityInterestCompanythat alsorunsUKflexibleworkeradvice platformJobsAware(www., directorofReedScreening,isoneof BHI’sadvisoryboardmembers.

“Thisiscriticallyimportantwork torevolutioniseUKhiringand workingtobestmaximiseavailable talent,harnessinnovation,enable thetransitionintoourfutureof workandensurethatournewworld ofworkisprosperousforall,”saida BHIstatementabouttheAPPG.“The strategicquestiontheAPPGwill seektoaddressishowcantheUK createtheworld’smostattractive/ prosperouslabourmarket?”

TheAPPGchairsaid:“Modernising employmentandhiringisessential tomaximisinggoodjob opportunitiesforall,tomakebest useoftheavailabletalentintheUK, andtopromotetheregionsofthe UKasdestinationsforworkersto workflexiblyandremotely.This is essentialtounlockingthefull potentialoftheUKandofplaces suchasHullthatcanbetransformed asinnovativeworklocationsforour newageofworking.”

TheBHIhasplayedakeyrolein advisinggovernmentandindustry onthecurrentdigitalrighttowork anddigitalidentityschemes designedtomakehiringfasterand moresecure.TheBHIworkswith morethan6,000employersand recentlylaunchedsector-specific hiringbestpracticeguidance.

Rosser,chairoftheBHI,said:“We haveahugeopportunityto revolutionisehiringhereintheUK tomaximisethebenefitsoffastand remotehiring,whilstatthesame timeimprovingtheUKlabour markettomakeithighlyattractive toall,beingbothpro-growthand pro-workerinournewdigitalageof work.”

• The website for the new APPG on Modernising Employment can be found here:

Apprenticeship Levy gifting helps Sodexo support ex-offenders

SODEXO WILL PLEDGE £100kofits annualApprenticeshipLevyfunding insupportoftrainingex-offenders thisyear.

Fundswillbemadeavailableto anysmallormedium-sized employers(SMEs)ornot-for-profit organisationsseekingtorecruitan ex-offenderasanapprentice.

Recentresearchcommissionedby thefirmrevealedthatthe ApprenticeshipLevygiftingscheme could incentivise more UK businesses toofferemploymentopportunitiesto ex-offenders.

The findings,whichwerereleased tomarkthelaunchofSodexo’s StartingFreshcampaign,foundthat oneinfive(21%)ofUKbusinesses wouldbemorelikelytohirean ex-offenderiftheycouldreceive ApprenticeshipLevygiftingfundsto covertrainingcosts.

Businessesinthehairdressingand beautysector(below)weremost interestedinreceivingthesefundsto hireex-offenders(24%),whilewith HRprofessionalsthisfiguresoaredto 43%–perhapsreflectingtheirgreater experienceofapprenticeshipsand


Sodexo,whichrunssevenUK prisonsonbehalfoftheMinistryof JusticeandScottishPrisonService, launchedStartingFreshto encourageandprovideguidanceto businessesonproactivelyhiring ex-offenders.

“Whenweinitiallypolled businessesontheirattitudestowards recruitingex-offenders,weincluded thequestionaboutapprenticeship levygiftingasweweregenuinely interestedtoseeifthiscouldbean influencingfactor,”saidSueDavison, headofapprenticeshipsatSodexoUK &Ireland.

“Giventheresultsofthesurvey,we decidedtotakeemployersattheir wordandprovideaproportionofour levygiftingfundspecificallytothose whowouldofferapprenticeshipsto ex-offenders.”

Aspartofthecampaign,thefood servicesandfacilitiesmanagement companyhascreatedanonlinehub withresourcesforemployersseeking tounlockthetalentavailable.

Since2019ithasgiftedaportion oftheApprenticeshipLevyitpays andinFebruarythisyearpassedthe £2mmilestone.

AS OF 28 JUN 2023

Lucky Hunter remains resilient and expands despite war in Ukraine

NOTWITHSTANDING THE INTERNAL turmoil for the Russian leadership, the war in Ukraine continues, and continues to have significant impact on businesses not only in Ukraine but in Russia itself.

International IT recruitment agency Lucky Hunter, which relocated from St Petersburg in Russia to Armenia and the UK at the start of the conflict in February 2022, is no exception to the challenges.

As a result, the recruiter has adapted its strategies and operations, and has opened several new offices in Dubai, the UAE and Kazakhstan to expand its global presence and cater to the tech industry’s changing needs.

By actively seeking new clients and helping candidates relocate to safer places, over the past six months alone the company has onboarded more than 30 new clients, demonstrating its ability to thrive in a shifting landscape.

Founder Tatiana Melnichuk (pictured above) told Recruiter the

company still places candidates from Ukraine and Russia into remote roles and positions that require relocation, despite the conflict: “Remote positions have become more prevalent,” she said.

“Lucky Hunter also offers discounts to companies willing to relocate candidates, striking a balance between flexibility and practicality.”

Expanding Lucky Hunter’s reach beyond its London and Armenian offices has not been easy. To set up the offices in the UAE and Kazakhstan, CEO Melnichuk invested significant resources, including hiring new employees, and collaborating with local experts to navigate the complexities of international business operations.

In 2022, the company welcomed seven new employees, with plans for further expansion on the cards.

While Russian and Russian-speaking professionals make up a good portion of the team, Lucky Hunter embraces talent from various nationalities. It places IT specialists across Germany, Thailand, Armenia, the UK, Italy, Georgia, Hungary, Spain and beyond. Language proficiency in Russian and English is mandatory, as the company serves clients who often prefer to communicate in Russian.

On a personal level, Melnichuk has also felt the impact of the Ukraine/Russia war. She has moved family members and friends to safer countries, leaving only her mother in Russia, who she aims to relocate as soon as she is able to.

Despite the ongoing challenges, Melnichuk and her team are determined to build a brighter future, both personally and professionally, and continue to make a positive impact in the tech recruitment industry.

• Has your recruitment company been affected by the conflict in Ukraine? Get in touch and share your story with us at


Government calls for industry input on umbrella consultation

In early June 2023, the government published a consultation on policy options to regulate umbrella companies and to tackle non-compliance in the umbrella company market.

The consultation closes at 11:59pm on 29 August 2023.

In a statement, the government said: “The purpose of this consultation is to seek views on proposals to tackle non-compliance with both tax and employment rights by umbrella companies.

The government has three main objectives for the

umbrella company market.

These are to:

● deliver improved outcomes for workers

● to support a level playing field in the umbrella company market

● to protect taxpayers from the significant revenue losses that currently arise from non-compliance.

“Together, these will enable both people and businesses to succeed in the labour market, supporting economic growth and ensuring everybody feels its benefits.”

With this latest consultation, the government is responding to the call

for evidence on the umbrella company market that closed on 22 February 2022.

The government is also publishing a consultation seeking views from stakeholders on proposals to regulate umbrella companies, which a significant number of respondents supported, the government said.

It also seeks views on options to tackle tax non-compliance in the umbrella company market that respondents to the call for evidence suggested is “causing harm to workers, businesses and taxpayers”, according to a government statement.




Global recruiter Hays has purchased a majority stake in Vercida Consulting, a diversity, equity & inclusion advisory organisation.

Hays will immediately look to put Vercida Consulting at the forefront of its DE&I offering as part of its advisory services, the company said. Vercida Consulting is currently focused on the UK market; however it also provides services through employees and an associate network in the US and parts of Europe. Hays said it intends to expand the business globally, targeting US, Australia and New Zealand (ANZ) and Germany in the initial phase. Clu Skills-based inclusive hiring platform Clu has announced an investment round of £1.2m. The London-headquartered talent-tech company began trading last year, and was founded by tech entrepreneurs Joseph Williams and Cayelan Mendoza. Its team of advisers include tech industry leaders Maggie Lower, NED of Grindr; Kia Christian, VP of people ops at Google; and Lalitha Stables, SVP public sector sales for EMEA at Salesforce.

Catch 22

Facilities management recruiter Catch 22 has achieved continued accredited supplier status for Crown Commercial Service (CCS) RM6277 non-clinical staffing for the next four years. Catch 22 has been supplying the NHS with quality estates, facilities and support staff for more than 40 years.



Veritone, an enterprise AI software and services firm, is to acquire CareerBuilder’s Broadbean, a provider of software-as-a-service (SaaS) technology for talent acquisition and engagement.

The $52.5m (£42.4m) acquisition will expand Veritone’s AI-powered HR solutions offerings and will build upon Veritone’s acquisition of PandoLogic last year.

The combined businesses of Broadbean and PandoLogic will be

integrated and rebranded as Veritone HR Solutions, enabling Veritone to better service new and existing customers with a broader suite of HR-enabled solutions.

Veritone is making several executive changes within its HR Solutions business. Terry Baker has stepped down as president and CEO of Veritone subsidiary PandoLogic, and takes on an independent adviser role, supporting Veritone’s HR Solutions business.

Matthew O’Connor is appointed chief revenue officer of Veritone HR Solutions.

InfoSec People

InfoSec People has announced the completion of a management buyout (MBO). The cybersecurity recruitment firm transitions the ownership from CEO Chris Dunning-Walton to managing director Ben Craig. Under the leadership of DunningWalton, over the past 15 years the team has expanded to more than 20 professionals, achieving an annual turnover of £7m. With the MBO in place, Dunning-Walton will continue to support the company’s progress as a board adviser, alongside strategic advisers David Clayden, Mark Schiller and Buck Rogers.

Nicholas Associates Group

‘Apprentice to boardroom’ talent solutions provider Nicholas Associates Group (NAG) has acquired a number of key construction labour contracts and launched a new brand. Following the dissolution of a competitor, NAG’s new company is called Cra-Cro Site Services. The new brand will specialise in helping skilled, experienced construction workers and tradespeople find jobs across the UK. Cra-Cro is an original brand name used by NAG founder Nick Cragg when he launched his first company back in 1975. Serocor Group

The Serocor Group has acquired the German-based recruitment firm Orson. Based in Havant in Hampshire, Serocor comprises six external recruitment brands: Advanced Resource Managers, Optamore, Hawker Chase, zyx associates, BLOC and now, Orson. The group focuses on STEM skillsets.

More contract news at


The transformation of secretaries

IN THE LAST 50 YEARS, the support staff role has evolved dramatically, yet is most devoid of any high-level strategy. This started to shift in the 1980s with female emancipation, IT and the growth of universities. We set up our business in 1976. In particular, we levelled up, both with our own female staff and our mainly female candidates. We saw them as executives with futures.

By the end of the 80s, we were at the top of the tiny – albeit global – high-level secretary recruitment business. We set up a division called Career Development, which looked for openings for women in established executive roles. It failed. We set up the Push Division, based on the American Black liberation movement. Again, we failed.

At that time, we took on an Irishman called Peter Toner. He set up an association to help existing secretaries transfer to the modern workplace. It was called Fasttrack. One of the main challenges was transitioning traditional candidates and clients into a new less structured, but more demanding environment. Converting them from ‘re-active’ to ‘pro-active’. Toner also predicted the demise of the secretary. He called ‘her’ replacement the CCO – Communicator, Co-ordinator, Organiser. She is now known as the

Executive Assistant or EA. Fasttrack did not fail. Now, 30 years on, the need for Fasttrack is back again.

Current market and societal dynamics echo the 80s. The office is about to revolutionise. The role of the PA will stay and those filling the role will come from the same section of the population. But there is one huge, tangible issue: attitude. However, this paternalist structure is bound to change, not through strategy, but enforced evolution.

How we helped change the PA into the EA

1 In 1989, we commissioned Dr Diana Bisdee, an industrial psychologist, to write our first brochure. As a result, we were approached by Dr Sue Vinnecombe (now a professor and Dean of Cranfield), who had majored in women in work. The most striking result, she said, was that candidates wanted to be in control of their own fate.

2 Clients wanted well-educated candidates. We defined that as A-level and graduate standard. We started to run seminars to persuade clients to design career switch programmes from support to executive staff.

3 In the 80s, we noticed an increase of graduates being enticed into marketing roles at lower salaries.

4 The arrival of email created two changes: execs learned to write, and spelling mistakes became pardonable. Shorthand was no longer important.

5 The biggest change was seismic. Many said that computers would replace secretaries. They were wrong. Secretaries had the necessary keyboard skills and so took over from middle managers.

Secretaries with briefcases

Through the 90s, the glass ceilings imposed from above crashed. A woman’s ambition was no different from men at career entry-level. Secretaries showed that they could and should be allowed to progress. Then something else began

to happen: as predicted by Toner in 1990, secretaries became officially CCOs or EAs. As a result, business owners have become high net worth individuals and the cost of their support staff has been inconsequential. EAs’ salaries have risen. AI will create changes just as radical as in the 1980s. It was the secretary that first truly understood the power of Microsoft Word. This time it will be no different – only now, everyone will know their name. The EA. Engaged, empowered and well led. ●

JOHN MORTIMER is CEO of office staff recruitment agency Angela Mortimer.
“AI will create changes just as radical as in the 1980s... This time it will be no different – only now, everyone will know their name”


“VICTORY COMES FROM finding opportunities in problems”

– so said Sun Tzu, renowned strategist and philosopher – a phrase we would do well remembering in these challenging times. Undoubtedly 2023 has brought a continued softening of most recruitment sectors and geographies, with some sectors experiencing much deeper troughs than expected when budgets and forecasts were being written for the year. However (there always is an ‘however’!), with the right strategy, planning and call to action your business can – and should – be in a position to grasp those opportunities and emerge stronger and resolutely ‘match fit’ for H2 and into 2024.

Strategy and planning to include

Do not be tempted to lower charge rates and pricing –price reductions will create a perception of lower value among customers and it’s certainly harder to put your prices back up when markets bounce back; reducing prices can conflict with your brand positioning and protecting that may outweigh any short-term benefits of reducing prices.

● Marketing – not an area to over trim at times like these. Develop a plan that re-focuses energies very specifically; your business will have been focusing on generating in-bound candidates in a job-rich market, so have you pivoted the strategy quickly enough? Identify the channels that give you the biggest bang for your buck, not forgetting allocating budget to external events that bring your teams face to face with your clients.

● Technology – evaluate your current tech stack and operations infrastructure and identify any inefficiencies, including adoption rates, in the business. Develop a plan to streamline and/or implement where necessary. The acceleration of AI and machine learning to take over many of the labour-intensive tasks in recruitment is breathtaking – it’s so important to stay abreast of this.

● Keep recruiting for your own business – while this may seem counter intuitive, this is one of the best times to focus on those key strategic hires for your business. A softer market is the right time to approach individuals who can be key to driving your revenues into 2024. You will find that a challenging market can reshape thinking, so grab the opportunity to get in front of salespeople that you may have struggled to find in the past.

● Performance management – in the line with the above, additional recruiting should only take place when you are confident you are really effectively and consistently managing performance in your existing teams. While we may be in a tighter market, there are so


Co-chair, Elite Leaders

many activities that can be directly controlled by your teams. If you have set objectives, measure them and be resolute in the application.

● Cost reviews – cash is king, ever more so in challenging times. Ensure you are constantly reviewing costs, identifying any areas where efficiencies can be made and implementing with energy. Collections should be top of your weekly/daily agenda, there will be pressure to extend payment terms so be confident you know what that does to your working capital costs.

● Cashflow – develop cashflow forecasting that is constantly updated in line with trading. Sound financial projections that accurately forecast operating expenditure against any new revenue forecast are of paramount importance, allowing you to determine where you may need to adjust your business model.

When was the last time you did a SWOT [strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats] analysis of your business? If your market space and your buying community are changing their buying habits then you need to re-identify your company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Then use this analysis to feed into your thought process and internal conversations to develop plans.

Let’s end with another saying from someone who without doubt excelled at war room mentality. “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” Winston Churchill. Be more optimist! ●

TARA RICKS is co-chair of Elite Leaders, and a non-executive director and board adviser


Rethinking the job application experience to attract the best talent

As businesses navigate the current climate of skill shortages and subsequent challenges around recruitment, creating a positive candidate experience for job applicants continues to be key to gaining a competitive edge and attracting the best talent.

Yet, too many companies are missing the mark when it comes to creating a user-friendly job application process for candidates – and are missing out on great new recruits as a result.

At Resource Solutions, we carried out an extensive research study this year, auditing 100 UK companies across nine industries, and unearthed several compelling insights around the real ‘candidate experience’ for jobseekers right now. Drawing on these findings, I’ve outlined five key takeaways for businesses, which hold the potential to redefine the candidate experience.

The need for speed

In a world that’s accelerating at breakneck speed and where convenience is king, the recruitment process can no longer afford to drag its feet. Our research revealed that an average application process takes four minutes and 42 seconds, requiring as many as 40 clicks and 24 mandatory fields. These figures are daunting for jobseekers yearning for streamlined application processes to match their busy schedules and consumer expectations.


1 Speed up

Strive to streamline your application process, ideally keeping it to a swift three minutes or less. Let candidates apply first, then offer them the option to create an account, giving them control over the process and potentially cutting down application time significantly. The race against the clock has begun and lagging behind could mean losing out on top talent.

2 Be transparent

Businesses need to create a trust-based relationship with candidates by being open about the details that matter to them – compensation, benefits and working patterns. A transparent approach can not only enhance your employer brand image but also ensure that candidates are fully aware of what they’re signing up for.


3 Enhance brand perception

Companies need to recognise the importance of brand perception in the application process – it’s a silent game changer. They must strive to communicate effectively, maintain a positive image, and keep candidates informed about their application status. During our audit, it was surprising to see that nearly 30% of organisations did not have a diversity disclosure mechanism in their application process.

Brand perception is often overlooked within the job application journey

Mandatory account and user login creations at the start of applications can extend the process duration by over half the time, made worse when a two-factor authentication is involved.

It’s time for businesses to shed the weight of lengthy applications and sprint towards swift, efficient processes.

Transparency: A non-negotiable Transparency is no longer an optional ingredient in the recipe for a stellar candidate experience – it’s nonnegotiable. Glassdoor found that 75% of workers are more likely to apply for a role if it includes a salary range, and 88% see transparency around benefits as a key decider in accepting a job offer.

Yet our own findings show that only 5% of advertised roles are disclosing any form of salary, and a mere 3% are transparent about salary, benefits and working patterns. This indicates a disconnect between what candidates expect versus what they are presented with during their job search.

While some states in Australia and the US have gone as far as making pay disclosure a legal requirement, it’s clear

4 Communicate

Good communication is equally crucial in creating a positive candidate experience. Avoid ‘ghosting’ candidates and keep them informed at every step of the process. Use the power of technology to automate and personalise communication during the hiring process. Remember, the way a company communicates during the application process is often seen as a reflection of their future communication.

there is a long way to go when it comes to transparency in the UK job market.

Perception: Silent game-changer

Brand perception – including company reputation, its communication style, and its commitment to diversity & inclusion – is often overlooked within the job application journey.

Yet a survey conducted by LinkedIn found that 75% of jobseekers consider a company’s employer brand when deciding whether to apply for a job; how companies interact with and convert candidates throughout their application process plays a big part in this.

Our own research found that only 56% of companies inform candidates about the outcome of their application within four weeks of receiving it. It is clear that organisations have considerable work to do to improve their communication style and improve brand perception throughout the application process.

Organisations must critically examine their current practices and take decisive steps towards creating a positive candidate experience. As we continue to break new ground in 2023 and beyond, let us strive to create a recruitment landscape that values and prioritises the candidate's experience. After all, talent is a company’s most valuable asset. ●

5 Champion diversity

Showcasing your commitment to diversity & inclusion can enhance your employer brand and appeal to a broader range of potential candidates. Make a point to include diversity disclosure mechanisms in your application process. It’s not only beneficial for data collection but also signals your commitment to a diverse and inclusive workplace.



IN FOCUS: Smart ways of onboarding

Nobody would underestimate the importance of onboarding.

However, the practice hasn’t always been used to maximum effect by organisations. Research published last year by UK HR software and systems supplier Cezanne HR found that more than a quarter of remote workers surveyed said they’d been let down by poor onboarding and 20% of new employees felt they’d been left isolated or alone during the process.

Worryingly, it also revealed that more than a fifth of new hires said their onboarding made them question their choice and only half felt capable of doing their role. Meanwhile, research by the Fosway Group found that onboarding is one of the lowest-rated areas in talent acquisition technology but one of the most in-demand areas for future investment.

The rise of specific onboarding platforms and tools are enabling recruiters and employers to make onboarding much more targeted, personalised and meaningful. Such tools also facilitate virtual and remote onboarding, which gathered momentum during the pandemic and has become part of the new world of work. It also means the process can begin earlier and the individual can do it at their own pace. Crucially, talent platform technology providers are also helping to shift onboarding from being a relatively transactional process to a more value-added one that directly addresses some of the concerns highlighted in the Cezanne HR research.

Ben Slater, senior vice president of marketing at talent lifecycle specialist Beamery, explains that its focus is not the functional/ operational aspects of onboarding – such as sending someone a laptop

– but allowing companies to start developing employees before they even start. Pre-boarding is designed to help employers understand any skill gaps or training opportunities for new joiners, while onboarding aligns new joiners with mentors and career plans that help them upskill and learn in their role.

“To successfully improve the productivity of new joiners, you need to start before someone joins the organisation,” said Slater. “The first step is to understand the skills that someone has today, and what they need to learn to thrive in their new role. This will allow you to match them with pre-boarding mentors that will accelerate their development from day one and help you build a clear career path to help keep them engaged.”

One of SmartRecruiters’ aims when it launched SmartOnboard last year was to automate activities and free up onboarding teams from


managing paperwork, allowing them to focus on gearing new hires up for success in the role. It also allows new hires to manage their onboarding tasks. When it launched, Sven Elbert, senior analyst in the human capital and talent management practice at the Fosway Group, said the technology enables hiring teams to “own the onboarding process” and see it through to the end, accelerating the drive to productivity.

Another trend is the rise of tools designed to facilitate international onboarding. G-P (formerly known as Globalisation Partners) wants to help companies build “borderless teams” and to be able to do so “in minutes, not months”, it says. Its G-P Meridian suite of products provides a control centre for building and managing teams from a single dashboard and includes G-P Meridian Core for onboarding, management and compliance.

Earlier this year, Localyze revamped its talent platform, which aims to make it easier for organisations to relocate employees around the world. “At its core, good onboarding is about getting your employees set up for success in their new role,” said Localyze co-founder and CEO Hanna Asmussen.

“When a new hire relocates to join your company, it’s not just a new work environment they have to adjust to; their whole lives transform. They have to establish a new home, adjust to a new culture and build connections with a new community. Not to mention the bureaucracy involved with visa and immigration questions...

“Navigating these details can completely sidetrack onboarding and distract from their new role, so our part is to bring everything in one place and make the relocation process as smooth and efficient as possible.”

As new employees join, the Localyze platform provides a clear overview of their immigration and relocation journey, with a structured timeline and outlined steps on tasks to move things forward. Localyze encourages recruitment and talent teams to monitor how their people are progressing through the process via the platform’s reporting dashboards.

“But even more importantly, we recommend using these insights to think about the bigger picture with their employee mobility strategy,” said Asmussen. “Our team works with hundreds of employees and authorities, and can help advise on relocation trends, what employees are looking for, and how companies can enable their people to move for work more efficiently.”


Self-service analytics identifies room for improvement

Recruitment platform Modern Hire is launching a self-service reporting system to help recruiters and employers identify opportunities to improve their candidate recruiting and hiring funnel. The system allows filtering by job title, stage type, recruiter team, location, and job custom fields. In a separate launch, Modern Hire has made its Virtual Job Tryout (VJT) simulation assessment technology available for flight attendants.

Remote technical talent network expands

Andela, the global network for remote technical talent, has acquired Casana, a Munich-based network of IT professionals. The acquisition means the network has more than 4 million technologists across 175 countries. Earlier this year it acquired Qualified, a skills assessment platform to identify, qualify, and certify top engineers.

Bringing consistency to virtual interviewing

Video interviewing, assessments, and text-enabled recruiting platform HireVue is combining its structured interview generator with its live interview platform to bring more consistency and fairness to virtual interviews. HireVue Builder for Live provides hiring teams with pre-written and science-backed interview questions that evaluate job-relevant skills, while capturing feedback within the interview experience. HireVue reinforces its commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion by ensuring its platform takes into account the needs of autistic and neurodiverse candidates.

Leaving interview notes to AI Technology company Metaview has launched a tool that generates interview notes via AI. AI Notes synthesises candidate’s responses into bullet point summaries so recruiters don’t have to worry about note-taking during the interview. It integrates with the recruiter’s calendar, applicant tracking systems and videoconferencing tools. The information is editable so the recruiter can make additions or amendments.


A career for all ages?

The over 50s could solve the UK’s talent shortage

Jeremy Hunt has urged older people to return to the workforce, saying that the country needs them and that he is looking at ways to make ‘work worth your while’.

The evidence is compelling; a third of people made redundant during the pandemic were over the age of 50 and I find that really disappointing.

As a recruitment business owner, I have always been passionate about bringing new talent into our industry. I am also a massive advocate for the over 50s in an industry often seen as a young person’s game.

Unfortunately, for more years than I care to remember (I started in recruitment when I was 19 and turn 55 this year) I have witnessed a huge amount of age discrimination in the workplace.

In a recent study conducted by 55/Redefined and the recruitment firm Reed, 65% of over 50s from a sample of more than 4,000 felt their age ‘worked against them’ when applying for a new job.

With a struggling economy awash with job vacancies, the

over 50s could solve the UK’s talent shortage. Yet employers seem slow to respond to the huge amount of talent in this age group. So, what is happening and why do I feel these stats are not going to improve any time soon?

Among hiring managers, the most common misconceptions are that older candidates will retire soon, it takes longer to get them up to speed and that there will be a struggle around culture fit.

I must rubbish these sentiments as it is the same for the younger generation. They move around more frequently, require investment in time and training to get them up to speed quickly and there is also no guarantee that they will fit into your culture. In fact, I’ve seen culture fit used as a reason NOT to take young people on more times than I care to remember!

My two recent ‘older’ hires have both shown they are just as capable and productive as their younger counterparts. They provide an invaluable wealth of experience and knowledge to the business and are reliable and dedicated to their work. They also work extremely hard and are incredibly resilient. A real bonus in this ever-changing economic landscape.

If you are in a position to hire, I encourage you not to discount older candidates, whatever your sector. While there is not a ‘one size fits all’ approach, we need to ensure our hiring practices are as inclusive as possible, otherwise we are in danger of missing out on a huge swathe of talented workers capable of really making a difference.

I have more energy, drive and purpose than I did in my 30s, plus a wealth of knowledge and experience still relevant in today’s recruitment landscape.

Additionally, it is so important we share our knowledge, wisdom and experience to support our up and coming generations.

Isn’t it time we really started to tackle the issue of ageism once and for all, and judge people on their skills and character, not just their birthdate? After all, age is just a number. ●



In addition to helping develop collective regulation, I have been discussing the recently published consultation on tackling non-compliance in the umbrella sector with HMRC, Treasury and the Department for Business and Trade.

Initial conversations have been positive, with broad recognition of the need for change in order to protect workers from being exploited by dubious practices.

Implementing legal changes resulting from this consultation will be a twostage process – primary legislation to allow for umbrellas to be regulated, plus legislation to specify how umbrellas will be regulated. Although this is not going to be a quick process, it is one that the government is committed to, so I am cautiously optimistic for the longer term.

Julia Kermode Founder, IWORK

[IWORK was launched in December 2020 to support and champion the UK’s army of temps, gig economy workers, contractors and the selfemployed.]



“Although the market has been affected by current economic/geopolitical situations, I wouldn’t say it was unexpected. Larger organisations will always be impacted more; smaller oganisations, who are potentially more nimble, are able to adapt and thrive. As a result, three of the most in-demand skills we have seen are adaptability, flexibility and relationship building. The surge in working from home has created challenges for firms to foster an environment that encourages collaboration and team work. The ability to form relationships and work effectively in a virtual environment is vital in today’s world. Those are the types of candidates who are highly sought after.”

“The skill most lacking is multi-tasking. Multi-tasking and perpetuating a positive attitude are of critical importance for hospitality workers, who often work long hours and must be prepared to jump in wherever it’s needed. Workers who rise to this challenge without exhibiting negativity are more likely to succeed; however, this skill is in decline. Another important skill that is lacking in the hospitality industry is customer service. Hospitality businesses rely on positive customer interaction and experience. With the younger generation often interacting via technological devices, customer service and satisfaction has declined.”



“The skills shortage in the UK is spreading. What was once confined to sectors such as housebuilders, construction, hospitality and healthcare is now noticeable in areas such as technology, digital and specialist engineering positions. One area that is focused on more recently is AI knowledge. This is particularly prevalent in the tech sector, but also with roles such as business development, sales, marketing and automating processes in manufacturing, engineering and retail. Companies are asking candidates whether they are up to date in their knowledge of AI and – and many aren’t equipped to answer such a question.”

“In your sector(s), what skills do too many candidates lack?”


this year’s FAST 50 shows, there is cautious optimism in a challenging market for UK staffing businesses

Last year’s FAST 50 analysis made two predictions:

1) Increasing in average growth rates in 2023; and

2) Challenging macro-economic factors that were likely to adversely affect the sector. While both predictions have been proven correct, it is fair to say many of us had underestimated the extent to which the ensuing political uncertainty, rising interest rates and rocketing inflation would affect both UK and global businesses. Nevertheless, it is

encouraging that the UK is expected to avoid recession this year, and while unemployment rates have crept up, they remain at a near 50-year low and vacancies remain high, reinforcing the structural skills shortage in the UK economy.

I am pleased to report this year’s FAST 50 achieved an impressive 31% average compound annual growth rate (CAGR), the highest score since 2020 and significantly up on last year’s 26%. Buoyant market conditions in 2021/22

RECRUITER FAST 50 2022 20 RECRUITER JUL/AUG 2023 Rank 2022 rankingCompanySectorsRevenue(£000s) Compoundannual growthrate(%) 1UnderstandingRecruitmentTechnology22,66797.0% 213ICGGlobalHealthcare131,02496.2% 3XcedeRenewables,technology78,70765.7% 42MachRecruitmentMulti-sector291,50162.6% 51DartmouthPartnersProfessionalservices38,92752.3% 646SMGlobalConsultancyIndustrial,automotive,aviation91,32647.7% 731Fawkes&ReeceGroupConstruction47,04645.5% 835HrGoMulti-sector176,16144.1% 911SevenResourcingHealthcare,Education44,43041.7% 1036MeetRecruitmentLifesciences49,64140.3% 1137I-PharmConsultingGroupLifesciences29,01540.0% 1215M4RecruitmentMulti-sector23,59738.6% 1330PrecisionResourceGroupMulti-sector59,39537.7% 1421ExtrastaffLogistics,industrial81,20933.9% 15MerakiTalentFinancialservices,technology,professionalservices16,18032.8% 16RiseTechnicalRecruitmentIndustrial,construction,technology19,17432.1% 17CoreAssetConsultingFinancialservices,professionalservices26,12932.0% 18NationalLocumsHealthcare48,13430.2% 1914QuestEmploymentIndustrial,logistics,administrative98,57227.8% 204ChallengeGroupLogistics,industrial142,32827.3% 21WhitehallResourcesTechnology91,52327.3% 2216TriangleRecruitmentAutomotive,logistics10,94327.0% 23MajorRecruitmentMulti-sector48,05527.0% 2443CentralEmploymentAgencyMulti-sector25,68526.8% 258WinnerRecruitmentLogistics,technology,education52,43726.2% 26DanielOwenConstruction,industrials59,33825.7% 27TheMCGGroupMulti-sector73,36623.5% 2839KPIRecruitingIndustrial,professionalservices,healthcare30,17522.8% 297LeathwaiteMulti-sector37,97322.7% 30GemPartnershipConstruction,industrials,property21,15122.5% 31NextVenturesTechnology84,00822.1% 3224HalesGroupMulti-sector51,17822.1% 33ThornBakerGroupConstruction,industrial41,60521.9% 3425CarringtonWestConstruction,builtenvironment50,09720.8% 35SkilledCareersConstuction,industrial,property29,35920.5% 3628OliverJamesAssociatesGroupMulti-sector219,71220.2% 37LHiGroupTechnology,lifesciences,renewables,builtenvironment81,34519.6% 38SmartSolutionsGroupMulti-sector134,96919.1% 3944HarnhamGroupTechnology33,05118.4% 40SaltTechnology,professionalservices58,73218.0% 4140TripodGroupHealthcare81,37617.9% 42HWGlobalMulti-sector16,77716.5% 43TaskmasterResourcesMulti-sector60,34415.9% 4432OneCall24Healthcare25,38115.8% 45K2PartneringSolutionsTechnology232,09415.7% 4619BluestonesInvestmentGroupMulti-sector80,68715.3% 474RecruitmentServicesHealthcare14,95615.2% 48ARCGroupConstruction,logistics,healthcare24,82914.2% 4938DirectMedicsHealthcare64,29713.9% 50OptionsResourcingBuiltenvironment41,31013.9%


Financial year-end ChristopherJackson,















RichardCropper,ThomasCropper,AndrewBell, TremayneHall,





PhilipAndrews,RobinAndrews, ColmMcginley,ToscaDebtCapital,KayeMcGinleywww.themcggroup.comWatfordDec-21






















captured in this year’s data will be contributing to the strong performance and while we are optimistic for 2024, we expect growth rates to slow with the uncertain economic backdrop filtering through to market demand. Nevertheless, experience suggests that the best operators succeed in such markets, and we’re impressed to see many businesses focusing on the execution of key strategic initiatives, internal process optimisation and use of technology that, in many instances, had been deprioritised during the high-growth, post-Covid environment.

Understanding Recruitment and ICG Global are the two stand-out performers in this year’s list, both reporting growth in excess of 95%, representing the Technology and Healthcare sectors respectively.

Understanding Recruitment successfully put in place an Employee Ownership Trust (EOT) in January 2023, making its staff a 60% shareholder in the business. EOTs are increasing in popularity as business owners look to empower their workforce, preserve the legacy of their business and benefit from the tax efficiencies of the schemes when extracting value. We expect the popularity of these schemes to rise as a result of M&A activity in the sector slowing, with investors becoming increasingly fastidious.

The Healthcare and Technology sectors are the second and third most represented categories by volume in this year’s list having


experienced phenomenal growth in recent years, particularly following the pandemic.

Technology skillsets were called upon to facilitate rapid digital transformation that was required to adapt business models and react to changing consumer behaviours, which was compounded with the release of a backlog of global projects paused at the outset of the pandemic. This pent-up demand continues to unwind and will be a key driver of the increase in tech recruiters placing on this year’s list.

The Healthcare sector continues to wrestle with record waiting lists that have increased by 59% since May 2020 to 6.2 million people over a three-year period. Healthcare staffing businesses have been integral to safeguarding the provision of care and creating a pipeline of talent for the UK to address the backlog. Yet, rising social care commitments and an increasingly disgruntled workforce have exacerbated the challenges for the sector, requiring staffing providers to think more innovatively around how to attract and upskill talent.

This year’s list comprised 14 multi-sector agencies, the only category to outperform the Technology and Healthcare sectors. It is the third year running that this category has topped the list, which we expect is, in part, driven by the portfolio effect of sectors serviced by these organisations.

Focusing on services rather than sectors for a moment, current market conditions tend to lend themselves to niche contract staffing specialists as organisations opt for temporary over permanent resources, particularly in the current inflationary wage environment. Staffing businesses reliant on permanent placements and embedded hiring solutions will

have to work increasingly hard to achieve growth over the next 12 months. There are always exceptions, and Kernel (previously

Dartmouth Partners) that focuses on ‘future leader’ and executive placements in high demand Financial Services and Legal roles placed fifth on this year’s list. Having received investment from Three Hills Capital Partners earlier this year, the Kernel team will be looking to continue its growth trajectory through 2023/24.

It is entirely feasible that the contract staffing market continues unabated and a contraction in the inflationary environment sees business confidence in making permanent hires return. We are confident that growth rates will be robust in 2024 and hope next year’s FAST 50 will prove this year’s predictions wrong. ●


The Recruiter FAST 50 prepared by Clearwater International lists the fastest-growing, privately-owned recruitment companies in the UK according to a revenue compound annual growth rate (CAGR) over the three most recent annual reporting periods.


To qualify, companies must be unquoted, registered in the UK and not subsidiaries, although their ultimate holding companies may be based offshore. Companies which are backed by private equity or other financial investors, either minority or majority equity stake, are also considered for inclusion. All companies considered for inclusion must achieve minimum annual sales of £5m in each of their last three financial years.

EXCLUSIONS: Companies that have filed abbreviated accounts at Companies House without disclosing audited sales are excluded from the FAST 50. Companies that are not pure play recruitment companies are also not considered. Recruiters that are co-owned by foreign trade recruitment companies or where a listed recruitment firm holds a minority stake are also discounted.


METHODS: Qualifying companies are identified through independent research, which utilises a number of financial databases, Companies House information, press coverage and other research sources. Entry submissions are therefore not required, although any firm which believes that it may not be automatically assessed in the 2023 FAST 50 may contact Clearwater International to discuss. Please email

“Healthcare and Technology are the second and third most represented categories by volume in this year’s list having experienced phenomenal growth in recent years”

Ma ers Recruitment

REC recommends a ‘Darwinista’ mindset

Agroundbreaking report by the REC has made recommenda ons to help recruiters take advantage of the rapid development of technology such as AI to streamline and enhance processes and candidate journeys. The report is published as hirers cope with labour shortages caused by an ageing popula on plus the a er-effects of the pandemic and Brexit, while recruiters are seeking to add more value and help clients tackle these challenges.

Neil Carberry, REC Chief Execu ve, said that talent will be scarcer in this decade than in any of the previous four. Recruiters need to prepare because what C-suite execu ves want now is not necessarily what recruiters have sold in the past.

“We need to become Darwanistas by taking careful steps that bring marginal benefits rather than ‘big bang’ projects,” Carberry said.

The report suggests that recruiters look for ways to diversify into adjacent markets such as training or appren ceships, and use technology to provide services that are valuable to candidates and increase their own revenue by suppor ng efficiency and growth. Technology will also

help them to nurture and facilitate candidate communi es.

The report stresses that recruiters should not adopt technology for the sake of it, but should use CRMs to improve performance and streamline their use of vendor management so ware. It adds that compliance tools are ‘essen al shields’ for recruitment firms.

The authors say: “Genera ve AI presents innumerable use-cases, and perhaps no other technology has been so accessible, so quickly, directly to individual users. In this light, it’s incumbent on us all to explore how this technology could help us. By

doing your due diligence, tes ng tools thoroughly, and keeping results under review, you’ll put yourself in a be er posi on to leverage solu ons effec vely and responsibly.”

They suggest that be er use of IT is the basis of any digital transforma on process. By aligning technology with their strategy, recruiters will get the most out of their exis ng tech investments and leverage all the so ware they pay for but never use.

The report, which also draws on research by organisa ons including Randstad and the World Employment Confedera on, is on the REC website.

advocates for the value we add p2 BIG TALKING POINT
on a mul -genera onal workforce p4 LEGAL UPDATE
of a predictable working Bill p6
Opportuni es for growth p7 Issue 104 JULY AUGUST 2023 @RECPress
Making great work happen

the view...


In June I had the privilege, at the invita on of the Government, to represent the UK business community at the UN in Geneva. The annual Interna onal Labour Conference is where global labour standards have been set since 1919, and this year we discussed everything from trade union rules to increasing global commitment to appren ceship provision.

From a UK perspec ve, interna onal nego a on can seem slow, even remote – but it is vital. The REC being asked to take on this role was a real recogni on of the standing and skills of our industry. Perhaps the most relevant challenges emerged in work on the budget for the organisa on (where we had to work with the Government and the TUC to protect spending on EDI issues) and on labour protec on.

Listening to the debate on labour protec on was like jumping in a me machine. Some of the a tudes to temporary work we heard could have come from an era in the UK’s distant past. Nevertheless, we have seen other countries, notably Norway and Mexico, slip back in this area in the past few years. The argument is never truly won. Pleasingly, there was a strong team from our worldwide organisa on the World Employment Confedera on sca ered across the global business group, and we pushed back strongly to tell the real story about the value of agency work and the good it does. But the discussions were a reminder of how much there is s ll to do to sell the benefits of our sector to Governments, unions and clients all over the world.

With a poten al change of Government in the UK next year, we need to be aware of such threats here. Selling the difference that our sector makes has never been more important. From our economic impact, which runs to billions every year, to the opportuni es we open up – the REC Restart work has brought over 1,000 people out of long-term unemployment in the past 18 months – our businesses make a difference. But we must never re of telling people that. They need to understand what we do. Our campaigns this year will help them do that.

Shazia Ejaz, Director of Campaigns at the REC

Our campaign work is bearing fruit – the Government is listening to us on several issues that could nega vely impact recruiters. This is especially important as we move into autumn when policy announcements are made around party conferences, the Chancellor issues his Autumn Statement, and poli cians think about what they tell cons tuents in the general elec on.

We have been pushing for the regula on of umbrella companies for a few years and, a er the call for evidence on the umbrella company market last year, the Treasury has at last launched a further consulta on on proposals to regulate them. Meanwhile, senior officials at the Department for Business and Trade agreed to meet and hear our concerns about the Workers (Predictable Terms and Condi ons) Bill. Currently progressing through Parliament, the Bill seeks to offer the right to request more predictable working pa erns in a way that will undermine exis ng flexibility within the temporary labour market. We reiterated our concerns about the inclusion of agency workers in the Bill, and argued for changes to parts such as the point at which people will be able to request stable hours. For more details on the Bill and its implica ons, see my colleague Rachel’s ar cle on p6.

In addi on, the Home Office is looking to expand the documents eligible to check for a right to work, subject to technology and security requirements. It will also undertake a formal internal assessment process regarding making accredita on mandatory, which we have pushed for.

But campaigning isn’t easy and some mes you must try different tac cs. One example is our work to get clarity for members in social care in Northern Ireland on whether use of agency social workers will be banned. We had to go to local media when the Department of Health Northern Ireland refused to consult with us. The media has also picked up our survey that found four in ten children’s social workers who work as temps through agencies will leave if proposed curbs on agency social workers go ahead in England. We have not given up on an eventual rethink on these two proposals.

Recruitment Ma ers July-August 2023 2 Leading the industry
Government is listening – but there is much more to do
Selling the difference our sector makes has never been more important, says Neil Carberry, REC Chief Execu ve
If you want to keep up to speed with all things recruitment then follow me on Twi er @RECNeil

the intelligence...

Lots of ideas, but s ll no sign of the Single Enforcement Body Hamant Verma, Communica ons Manager at REC

It is disappoin ng that we are s ll wai ng for the Single Enforcement Body (SEB), given that this July marks four years since the Government opened a consulta on on it. Responses showed such wide-ranging support from labour market experts that Government agreed to implement it – since then, all we have seen is tumbleweed.

We know that non-compliance is s ll an issue in the labour market, despite a empts by our members to reduce it and their willingness to act against rogue employers.

In the REC’s view, the SEB will encourage closer collabora on between the different strands of labour market enforcement and will make it easier for workers to redress issues. We regularly offer to work with the Government to support its crea on. We could, for example, use our extensive insight from the frontline of the labour market to advise on the detail of how these powers might be extended. Our members want a robust and fair labour market where workers’ rights are protected and compliant businesses thrive.

Think-tank Resolu on Foundaon is among a host of learned organisa ons calling for the promised SEB to materialise. Hannah Slaughter, its senior economist, gave a presenta on to REC members in June.

As part of her talk, she provided sta s cs on non-compliance, showing that employees aged 65 or older are more likely to have no paid holiday en tlement or payslips. The stats also reveal that just under 20% of those working

Resolu on Founda on’s Hannah Slaughter said that lower paid workers are least likely to turn to employment tribunals

in agriculture, and about one in ten hospitality workers, report ge ng no payslip. Employees of small businesses and those on low pay are most likely to suffer from non-compliance with regula ons about supplying payslips, she said.

Slaughter also explained that the number of labour inspectors per 10,000 employed persons is low in the UK compared to other OECD countries. Workers on lower pay are the least likely to turn to employment tribunals, while employees earning £25,000 to £29,999 are the most likely to use them.

Slaughter went on to suggest

that the Na onal Minimum Wage regula ons are too complex for some firms.

The REC shares most of the Founda on’s views on the SEB. Slaughter told the mee ng that the Founda on would like to see an SEB with a broader remit which includes ‘all workplace rights’, including those that currently do not sit with any enforcement body, such as holiday pay, sick pay and parental provision (ie, the enforcement of statutory maternity/ paternity leave and pay).

It also advocates a ‘firewall’ between the SEB and immigra on enforcement authori es. Other sugges ons for the SEB include embedding a ‘genuine model of social partnership’ by giving workers (or workers’ representa ves) seats on the board of the new body alongside business managers and experts.

REC members at the talk broadly agreed when Slaughter said that the SEB needs adequate resources to achieve its aims. They were par cularly interested to learn more about the Founda on’s sugges on that a range of work and business bodies should be able to make a ‘super-complaint’ to the new SEB to flag systemic or emerging prac ces that undermine worker rights.

Interes ngly, Slaughter said that the think-tank is calling for the number of labour market inspectors to double, although this would have to be partly funded from the public purse. There are clearly plenty of ideas to help the Government once it decides to establish the new body.

3 July-August 2023 Recruitment Ma ers
Leading the industry

big talking point


The future of work: how can we retain the mul -genera onal workplace in a post-pandemic world?

Most changes in the world of work happen slowly. The global Covid pandemic provided a unique opportunity to try a massive social experiment – what happens when we tell everyone to work remotely? Of course, not everyone could or did, however, it was a transforma onal change for many, and we are s ll living with the consequences.

Predic ng the future of work has become a million-dollar ques on. It will have a profound effect on the recruitment industry, both through its impact on recruitment firms and on the candidates they supply. However, as some organisa ons summon staff back to offices, others se le down to hybrid working and a few abandon their offices, there is li le agreement about which will become the mainstream.


One issue is the way the changes have divided genera ons. In general, the young, living in shared houses with no dependents, struggled, while older workers with houses and family commitments welcomed more me at home. Younger people were more likely to be laid off and to miss training and promo on opportuni es. Older people were more likely to save money.

Covid itself affected young and old differently and this led to a further genera onal split. Many experienced professionals subsequently chose to re re early, or scale down their work. Some younger people say they have been inspired to switch to something that ‘makes a difference’.

How organisa ons respond to these conflic ng needs and maintain a mulgenera onal workplace is a cri cal issue

92% of millennials say flexible working is a top priority when job hun ng.

Only 20% of adver sed jobs offer flexibility.

70% of job seekers say they want to work for a company commi ed to diversity and inclusion.

More than 50% of employees want a great work-life balance.

41% of employees say ethics and values are most important for them.

SAGE: The Role of HR in 2030 report

both to offer advice and to apply in their own organisa ons.

“Age diversity is as important as gender and ethnic diversity in impac ng a company’s bo om line. All companies require that mix of experience and ingenuity and cannot afford to generate a culture of agediscrimina on (either for the old or the young),” according to Dr Eliza Filby, a specialist in genera onal intelligence, in her report ‘Mind the Gap: Managing a Mul -Genera onal Workforce in the Age of Hybrid Working’.

However, generalisa ons are dangerous. “Genera onal analysis is a star ng point, not an end point. Genera onal stereotypes are to be avoided, but understanding the context, values and behaviours of each cohort can help create empathy across the genera ons and raise the consciousness of leaders to ensure be er decisions are made,” Dr Filby says.

While recruiters and employers should therefore pay a en on to the stats, they should compare general surveys with what they see in specific sectors and hear in conversa ons with candidates. They can also ask HR managers how much they know about their own employees.

4 Diversity
Recruitment Ma ers July-August 2023

Flexible and holis c “Employees of the future will want a much more flexible and holis c approach, par cularly as the next genera on enters the workforce,” according to April Marcot, Chief People Officer at global recruitment firm McArthur, who contributed to a report by Sage ‘The Role of HR in 2030’. “They will push businesses beyond their comfort zone.”

Data will become increasingly important and recruiters should not only use data more innova vely themselves, but should also expect to see more of this from clients. Sage’s report highlights ‘People analy cs-based insights that drive business impact’ as one of its top five trends for the next seven years.

When it comes to adjus ng our working styles and environment to suit all ages, there are myriad ideas. Again, recruiters can add value, not only by promo ng innova ve employer prac ces to candidates, but also by sharing others’ experiences with clients and explaining the response they’ve generated. Some are going further and prac sing what they preach.

Jackson Hogg, for example, introduced a four-day week for all employees in August 2022 and, according to Aoife Owens, the firm’s Associate Director for

People, this has improved collabora on as well as aiding wellbeing and reten on. “We did a benefits review and asked what was the most valuable thing we could give our people. We realised it was me,” she says.

This has the poten al to appeal to all genera ons and personali es – those who want to develop hobbies and those who have family commitments. “We’ve had clients ask us how it works and whether it could help their organisa on – there’s a real appe te for this,” Owens says. “The data adds up. Why wouldn’t you do it? We thought it sounded great but wouldn’t work in recruitment. The pandemic made us realise that so much more is possible.”

Dr Filby lists other changes that could help to a ract and retain the workforce of the future – from offering support with home office infrastructure, equipment and costs, to evolving the ethos and purpose of head offices and even se ng up deals with hotels to enable hybrid workers to stay close to the office when they travel in occasionally.

Wellbeing is another hot topic and more employers are looking at hiring wellbeing prac oners and introducing processes to prevent ‘burnout’

from constant online mee ngs and connec vity.

Employees are also reportedly becoming more likely to look for strong environmental, social and governance creden als – something that execu ve search firm tml Partners has taken seriously by becoming B-Corp Cer fied. The process involved se ng up a founda on dedica ng 5% of staff me to community ini a ves. “Staff engagement is essen al, and twice a year we all do a personal carbon footprint assessment and discuss ways to improve,” explains Charlie Green, the company’s MD.

Developments like this highlight the ar ficiality of the five-day nine-to-five job. If we want to en ce people who can afford to re re back into jobs, we must stop thinking in terms of the hours introduced for 19th-century banks and ask what works for people today.

Dr Filby points out that “the workplace has become more informal and more equitable. On video calls, everyone has a seat at the table and par cipants all appear as equal-sized randomly arranged rectangles.” Lockdowns ‘democri sed’ workplaces and forced managers to trust employees to structure their workloads. Younger workers are also reportedly more comfortable with providing digital feedback, so may be less shy about expressing what they like and dislike.

These gains should be op mised so that people can iden fy what they want from a job, beyond the pay packet. This will differ according to age and circumstances, but also by personality type – it could open doors for people with disabili es or who are neurodiverse.

There are also dangers. How can younger workers access training and experience without working alongside experienced colleagues? Will older workers fail to develop crucial digital skills if they are at home? Are people who work remotely more likely to be ignored or become disengaged? Opportuni es for fraud may increase and organisa ons should think hard about culture.

What is clear is that the world of work is becoming less homogenous – there are more opportuni es for employers and individuals to differen ate themselves. Recruiters will have to use all the tools at their disposal to understand what candidates want and where they are likely to get it.

5 July-August 2023 Recruitment Ma ers

legal update

Predictability law may undermine temporary contracts

The REC is fiercely campaigning against the proposal for a Bill to request predictable working pa erns, but there is s ll a strong chance it will become law in early 2024. The Workers (Predictable Terms and Condi ons) Bill provides for two separate but very similar sets of rights, one for agency workers and one for workers.

Broadly speaking, the Bill allows a worker or an agency worker to apply for a change to the terms and condi ons in their contract to obtain a more predictable working pa ern if there is a ‘lack of predictability’. The change relates to their working hours, days or dura on of the contract. Once the applica on is received, the hirer or employment business must respond within a month and, if it is accepted, a new contract reflec ng the agreed change to their work pa ern should be provided within two weeks.

It is important to note that, as with the flexible working regime, the legisla on will provide the right to request this rather than a right for the request to be granted. Employers

Future of the Workforce

and employment businesses can refuse the request for a number of reasons which to a large extent mirror the reasons for refusal in the flexible work regime. If you have a good business reason for rejec ng the request, you must explain the reasons sufficiently to the worker to jus fy refusal. You will need to ensure that you have a suitable process in place to deal with the requests.

What is surprising is the omission within the Bill to define what is meant by ‘predictability’, although it appears to encapsulate anyone whose working pa ern (in terms of days or hours) varies in a way that creates uncertainty for them. For example, someone who is not provided with a guarantee of hours or is on a fixed-term contract of under 12 months would be deemed as not having predictability.

There are clearly concerns with this ‘one-sided flexibility’, as the Bill appears to eliminate dual flexibility under which agency workers provide their services. This is where there is no obliga on to work or be provided

I recently read a thought-provoking report by PWC on what the future of the workforce may look like in 2030.

First, however, I will provide some context by jumping back 13 years to recall past predic ons of the future. Back in 2004, there were no iPhones, Ne lix, YouTube or mainstream access to Facebook. LinkedIn was a year old and it was rare to work remotely. Furthermore, cloud technology was just emerging – much like ar ficial intelligence (AI) is today.

We are living through a fundamental transforma on in the way we work. The emergence of AI is impac ng the skills that businesses are looking for in their people (37% of people are worried about AI pu ng jobs at risk). The study, which includes a survey of 10,000 people in China, the US, the UK, India

with work, which is a voluntary choice for many agency workers. The Bill therefore has the poten al to undermine the fundamental purpose of temporary work. Furthermore, the main dis nc on between employees on a contract of employment and agency workers on contracts for services is that there is no mutuality of obliga on. By introducing a ‘predictable’ working rela onship, it could affect the employment status of workers and cause greater confusion. It may also deter employers from hiring agency workers.

The REC has already made representa ons to the Department for Business and Trade. We will con nue to monitor the progress of this Bill and clarify to civil servants and Ministers why the Bill in its current form doesn’t work for temporary workers.

and Germany, postulates four possible Worlds of Work in 2030. AI is one major opportunity and the growth of green jobs is another.

In the Green World, the prime focus is society, corporate responsibility and sustainability. Workforces are a racted to an organisa on because they believe in its mission (23% say that doing a ‘job that makes a difference’ is most important to their career). This will lead to a rise in green jobs, with an emphasis on conscious roles with a posi ve impact on the future.

Technology is used to ensure there is minimal impact on the environment and those around them as well as to enhance the scarce resources those businesses have. Ar ficial intelligence will have a big impact on the future of green jobs, including enabling the workforce to accomplish more with a lower environmental footprint. Employment law 6 Recruitment Ma ers July-August 2023
There is Government support for a Bill to address concerns about ‘one-sided flexibility’ at work, but the right to request predictable working pa erns could have problema c consequences.

Scarce skills and global ambi ons

What I know Q&A

Northern Ireland remains confident, but employers are hiring more temps. Staffline NI is the largest recruiter in Northern Ireland and the second largest on the Island of Ireland, with 12 branches and 14 onsite loca ons. We have over 30 years’ local experience under the Diamond and Gra on brands. Demand for permanent staff is slowing as more employers seek temps. A er the pandemic, the permanent market boomed. There is more cau on now, but people are hiring.

Candidates are in short supply.

A broad issue for recruiters is a lack of candidates. Northern Ireland has the lowest rate of unemployment in its history and the highest rate of

economic inac vity in the UK. Many lower paid workers go to the Republic where infla on is lower and the minimum wage is higher. The tax system means that highly skilled employees who re re early don’t benefit from earning more. Meanwhile, the UK’s immigra on policies make it easier for Europeans to move to the Republic.

Diversity and flexibility are key.

Some businesses are struggling, but tourism is booming and the shipyard in Belfast has its first order for naval vessels in 25 years – but we need skilled people. Mechanical and electrical engineers are scarce. We are talking to clients about diverse and flexible workforces, but there is more to be done.

What is special about membership organisa ons?

Many people are unaware of the sector, but it offers great careers. It’s commercial, yet profits are reinvested and many people like this ethos. It offers a huge variety of roles, from events management to marke ng, training to lobbying. We have eight key departments focusing on the core roles, and the diversity of subject ma er is matched by the diversity of the people. A large healthcare membership associa on is completely different from an organisa on represen ng logis cs firms, so there are wide career choices.

How did you get involved?

I fell into the sector 12 years ago and it changed my life. It’s

good to work with people who feel they have a stewardship role to support members and pass the baton to another genera on.

Why are you now growing rapidly?

We work remotely and the pandemic created a pool of talented recruiters wan ng the same. Increased video interviewing also helped us to do more, faster. We’re now launching an execu ve search service which will use psychometric tes ng and behaviour analysis to help organisa ons’ boards agree on the person they need and then help us to iden fy the best people. We have the biggest database of people with membership body experience in the UK (possibly in the world) and we’d like to go global in the next few years.

Challenges and opportuni es 7 July-August 2023 Recruitment Ma ers
Donna Parker is MD of the Branch Network and Onsite Divisions, Staffline Recruitment NI Dennis Howes is Co-Founder of Membership Bespoke

Skills for a zero-carbon future

Green jobs will grow only when we have a green jobs market infrastructure

The UK must accelerate progress towards the greening of its economy. Defini ons of what green jobs are vary, but we think they are those that require the skills to use and innovate low- or zero-carbon technologies, and prac ces that do less or zero harm to the environment. Mul ple linked crises caused by climate change, energy supply and cost of living necessitate immediate growth in green jobs to enable our economy to flourish.

But the UK lags behind its European counterparts in progress towards an effec ve infrastructure to support green growth and green job transi ons. A principal inhibiter of growth in jobs of this nature is the lack of an effec ve green jobs market infrastructure. By that we mean a structure that sits below the jobs market, enabling those searching for work with the right skills, and those with the right opportuni es to develop those skills, to coordinate ac on.

This requires a significant effort from mul ple agencies including employers, educa on ins tu ons, recruitment agencies, public sector authori es and professional services. They all need to be connected by suppor ng technical infrastructure that enables the management of the mely training, recruitment and employment of skilled workers. We have been working with a number of different organisa ons to try to secure funding and design new research that can be easily translated into ac on to help build such an infrastructure in Lancashire and Cumbria.

The na onal ‘Just Transi on’ Jobs Tracker indicates that 6.3 million jobs are likely to be affected by changes in the green jobs market in the near future. As one project partner’s CEO told us: ‘There is no job that will be unaffected by green changes. There is a desperate need for detailed, experien al evidence so that we get investments in the right ini a ves in the right places.’ In November 2020, the UK government’s Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolu on set out support for up to 250,000 green jobs by 2030. Companies and professional bodies recognise this need, but without considerable investment up to 660,000 jobs could be at risk, according to the TUC.

Ongoing regional work by the Work Founda on at Lancaster University reveals acute challenges faced by the social, spa al and economic characteris cs of Greater Lancashire and Cumbria, even though the region is forecast to benefit from large numbers of new green jobs. Having the kind of green jobs market infrastructure we talk about above will be cri cal, as changes to the industrial make-up of the economy and associated policy interven ons will require a range of stakeholders to work together to make these jobs come to frui on.

A number of regional organisa ons and networks have been developed specifically to work on the green jobs/ net zero transi on (eg, Net Zero NW, DecarboN8, HyNet NW) and the work of cross-cu ng organisa ons is now incorpora ng green jobs into regional policy ini a ves (eg, N&W Lancashire Chamber of Commerce’s work on a Local Skills Improvement Plan Trailblazer). We see significant opportuni es for researchers like us to work in partnership with regional and na onal stakeholders to create a mechanism that could connect regional projects and help to establish the market infrastructure we need to support green jobs. For exis ng exper se and networks, look to Lancaster University’s Environment Centre, Centre for Global Eco-Innova on and Pentland Centre for Sustainability in Business.

What we do know is that the current infrastructure is failing: it is not fit for purpose. The lack of a consistent categorisa on of ‘green jobs’ across sectors is inhibi ng movement and crea ng confusion for employers and employees. Professional advisory services are likely to be key for any ‘green jobs’ market, with advisory services from accountants, bank lending officers, consultants, insurers and so on, needing to be ‘greened’ to support organisa ons as they green their opera ons.

We need to act quickly to develop an effec ve green jobs market infrastructure. It would go some considerable way to address the significant gap between green aspira ons, the capacity to do certain sorts of green jobs, and the establishment of the professional support mechanisms to match people and work.
8 The official magazine of The Recruitment & Employment Confedera on Dorset House, 1st Floor, 27-45 Stamford Street, London SE1 9NT Tel: 020 7009 2100 Membership Department: Membership: 020 7009 2100, Customer Services: 020 7009 2100 Publishers: Redac ve Publishing Ltd, 9 Dallington Street, London EC1V 0LN Tel: 020 7880 6200. www.redac Editorial: Editor Ruth Pricke . Produc on Editor: Vanessa Townsend Produc on: Produc on Execu ve: Rachel Young rachel.young@redac Tel: 020 7880 6209 Prin ng: Printed by Precision Colour Prin ng © 2023 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. Ma ers Recruitment Recruitment Ma ers July-August 2023
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 ts 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. RSM InTime RSM InTime Innovative pay and bill software used by the UK’s top recruiters


An end-to-end digital hiring experience raises issues of exclusion and dangers from AI. Sue Weekes continues to investigate the Digital Right to Work scheme


The Digital Right to Work scheme continues to embed itself into the recruiting landscape since it came into effect last October. When giving evidence in favour of the Data Protection and Digital Information Bill, which is currently under scrutiny by the House of Commons committees, Keith Rosser, Reed’s director of group risk and the director of Reed Screening, presented a case study to demonstrate its progress. In a sample of 70,000 people who had obtained a job since the scheme came in, 58,000 had chosen to go down the digital route, which represents 83%.

“That is a really good uptake and they were also able to complete the progress in three-and-a half minutes,” says Rosser. “That meant they could get jobs flexibly, remotely, regionally, whereas before, they’d have had to

physically take their documents and attend in person.”

Rosser contends that the Bill matters to recruiting and employment for a number of reasons. Firstly, it will help to put safeguards in place around the Digital Right to Work scheme and place more responsibility on the

Identity Digital Service Provider (IDSPs) – who complete the checks – and how they behave in areas such as tackling fraud. There are now around 41 IDSPs certified by the UK government and up to 60 in total.

Secondly, it provides “a legislative hook”, says Rosser, to allow UK government to share other types of data via digital identity for employers. It isn’t yet clear what this will mean but he suggests benefits could include sharing HM Revenue & Customs payroll data that proves where someone has worked for the last 20 years – rather than rely on the information from the employee. This would also give an immediate and “hard stamp” of when the person was first and last paid.

“It could also be that government holds information on qualifications or allows a link into the driving licence system to prove a person’s credentials and address,” he explains. “As we know there are still painful paper-based parts of the hiring process, and these are those sorts of opportunities that the Bill could help to create.”

He also highlights the importance of more information


“As we know there are still painful paper-based parts of the hiring process”

and data sharing for promoting the “regionality” of jobs today and in the future. “Sharing digital information like this could mean that somebody living in Fife in Scotland could start working for a company in London without having to meet that company, and this would help spread jobs into the regions.”

This is one of several areas of discussion around the Bill that also directly links to the work of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Modernising Employment, which wants to make the UK hiring the fastest in the world (‘New parliamentary group launches to improve UK standards in recruitment’, 30 May 2023,

Digital exclusions?

While Rosser believes the Bill could deliver a range of benefits, he also acknowledges why there is a pushback in some quarters. There has always been a danger that an end-to-end digital hiring experience would leave some people behind. While the UK does not suffer the levels of digital exclusion as some parts of the world, lack of access to the online world is still an issue for some people. For example, according to the Digital Poverty Alliance, more than a quarter (26%) of young people do not have access to a laptop or similar device.

Rosser points out that the scheme is already leaving people behind and not just because of digital exclusion. To take the


Another area touched upon in the Commons was the notion of deepfakes and how to avoid parties creating fake digital identities that pass the IDSP test. Deepfake candidates, where a criminal manipulates a video, image or sound file to effectively create a person that doesn’t exist, are seen as a rising threat in recruitment around the world. In the entertainment world, deepfakes of stars such as Tom Cruise have circulated on social media demonstrating how convincing they can be.

In the US, the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Centre has warned of an increase in complaints reporting

the use of deepfakes and stolen Personally Identifiable Information (PII) to apply for a variety of remote work and work-at-home positions. A public service announcement form the Bureau said that the remote work or work-from-home positions reported include information technology and computer programming, database and software related job functions. The FBI wasn’t explicit about the aims of the scammers but significantly some of the reported positions included access to customer PII, financial data, corporate IT databases and/or

digital route, individuals need an in-date British or Irish passport or visa. “This means one in five people can’t take the digital route. For these reasons, digital hiring cannot be mandatory and there must always be a way for people to get jobs, non-digitally,” says Rosser. “And then we have to work to ensure the system is as fair and inclusive as possible.”

There is also a fear that digital hiring would fast-track artificial intelligence (AI) into hiring in a more biased way to the point that companies

proprietary information.

Complainants report the use of voice spoofing, or potentially voice deepfakes, during online interviews of the potential applicants.

The FBI added that in these interviews, the actions and lip movement of the person seen interviewed on-camera do not completely co-ordinate with the audio of the person speaking. “At times, actions such as coughing, sneezing or other auditory actions are not aligned with what is presented visually,” it stated.

Russ Cohn, general manager of IDVerse, formerly OCR Labs, a certified IDSP, explains that deepfake

technology is developing quickly. “It won’t be long until we have a GPTSight or similar that can do for visual content what ChatGPT has done for text. Already it is very easy to create a realistic fake person in minutes using online tools readily available on the internet,” he says.

He explains that deepfakes are created using AI with a combination of machine learning and neural networks.

“And we have to work to ensure the system is as fair and inclusive as possible”

use robots to sort, sift and select people. In reality, AI has long begun its march into the recruitment space and Rosser’s response is that the only way of dealing with it is to hardwire it into the digital hiring process with rules at the outset. “We need to find some way of regulating AI in recruiting to ensure we remove any bias,” he says.

He points to the approach and warnings made by the TUC at its AI conference in April, which voiced

concerns about AI-powered technologies making “high-risk, life-changing” decisions about workers’ lives and these decisions include “line-managing, hiring and firing staff ”. The TUC says employers must disclose to workers how AI is being used in the workplace to make decisions about them and that every worker should be entitled to a human review of decisions made by AI systems, including job applications, so they can challenge decisions that are unfair and discriminatory.

There is little doubt that digital hiring is the direction of travel in the world of recruitment. Clearly, there are still critical issues to address. These must be confronted by the industry sooner rather than later. Given unknown threats ahead, the recruitment industry must ensure it remains part of the discussion going forward. ●

“Two competing algorithms – one that generates fake content and one that assesses how realistic it is – work together to create a fake person who looks entirely real.”

Cohn estimates that there is a 400% year-onyear increase in the use of deepfakes in creating fake identities and says what’s called “ghost fraud deepfakes” are a real threat to recruitment. “This type of fraud happens when a fraudster steals the identity of a recently deceased person and uses deepfake technology to convince the authorities that the person is alive and well.”

So will digital hiring increase the risk of deepfakes? Cohn

said that digital identities are intended to be more secure, not less. “It’s actually quite easy to make fake ‘analogue’ identity. Cash and VHS tapes are other analogue items that are also counterfeited. That’s why governments, companies and the world economy have been transitioning to digital, whether that’s mobile wallets, movie streaming or digital identity.”

Cohn said like any technology, it can be used

for good or bad and adds:

“For the human resources management field, the modern remote nature of workforces means that more secure digital ID verification is needed to detect synthetic identities and job histories.”

And he adds that in addition to deepfakes, another threat is algorithmic bias. “Decision-making systems are programmed by people, and those programs can contain bias – for instance, some systems, especially older ones created more than five years ago,”

he says. “IDVs [identity verification systems] in the era of generative AI do not work well for people with darker skin tones. Generative AI-based technologies can be used to de-bias algorithms.

“The industry should ensure that biometric and document verification technologies work for users of all skin colours, ages and accessibility needs is essential.”

When choosing an IDSP, it is essential to ask about the platform’s certification and verification. For example, Bixelab, based in Australia, and iBeta from the US are the two internationally recognised labs that certify biometrics. Also, look for IDSPs that are accredited and meet the UK Trusted Digital Identity Framework requirements.

• See also Recruiter MarchApril 2023, p18-22.



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Intrepid walkers from the Midlands-based recruitment and retention consultancy Macildowie have walked 30 miles to celebrate 30 years in business, raising money for local charities. As a result, the Macildowie team has raised an amazing £3,479 to be split between Lamp (The Leicestershire Action for Mental Health Project) and Stonebridge City Farm.


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Daniel Barrett (below), director of Bournemouth-based Holt Executive Recruitment, was among industry leaders supporting a mock interview day for students at Ferndown Upper School, joining professionals from local employers conducting 130 mock interviews with students at the event. Holt Recruitment is due to start its own foundation to support children with business skills that will be effective in future careers.


What do you get when you drop 25 recruiters in the Yorkshire Dales for 12 hours? The answer is more than £5k for Sheffield’s The Children’s Hospital Charity. Twenty-five brave members of Rotherham-based Elevation Recruitment Group team took on the Three Peaks Challenge and raised the recruiter’s entire annual fundraising target in one go! The Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge asks walkers to summit three peaks of the Yorkshire Dales National Park (Pen-y-Ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough) within 12 hours. The team doubled its original target of £2.5k and raised an incredible £5.3k.


Berry Recruitment Group’s inaugural Tony Berry memorial award for the business’s ‘combined top biller’ was won by Nicola Marshall from its Wild Berry Associates business in London. The company’s annual conference heard a tribute to its late chairman who died last year aged 81.


Hampshire-based engineering and manufacturing recruiter

Green Folk is sponsoring ecohero Oly ‘Human fish’ Rush (centre right) on his next antiplastic pollution swim – a 46 mile, 24-hour swim around the Greek Island of Ithaca. Green Folk founder Chris Payne (centre left) has also pledged to fund Oly’s regular beach cleans along the Dorset coast, where Chris and his team of recruiters often help out. Follow Oly’s swim on the website.

Whether it’s charity walks, helping out youngsters, beach cleaning or simply having a ball, you’ve been busy since the last issue of Recruiter…


What was your earliest dream job? Believe it or not, I don’t actually know! I never sat there as a kid and thought “I want to do this”, so I didn’t have a clear view about what career path I wanted to take. However, what I did always know is that I wanted to work for myself, and to make the world a better place, one step at a time.

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

I was working at a charity event for the Samaritans that a family friend was putting on, and I was selling the raffle tickets. He asked: “You like selling stuff, don’t you? Why don’t you come and work for me?”. He explained he owned a legal recruitment company. I gave it a go, and found I really enjoyed speaking to people, as well as the thrill of the chase.

Who is your role model – in life or in recruitment?

Richard Branson. I was attending a specialist school for kids with dyslexia in Reigate, and he spoke to me about his dyslexia and told me it was a superpower. To hear someone as successful as him explain that it’s something to be embraced, rather than to shy away from, was really inspiring and played a pivotal role in guiding me along my entrepreneurial path.

What do you love most about your current role?

Seeing the people


who we work with go on their journey to success, and rediscovering a love of what they do. The desire to help people in this way is what gets me out of bed in the morning.

What would you consider to be the most brilliant moment of your career?

There are two that really stand out. The first is when I had a £100k month while working solo in the early days of ALS. The second is when I brought in the first few people to work for the company. I can’t explain how proud I felt that people wanted to come and join me in my venture. I have amazing people working for me, and I really couldn’t have done all of this without them!

Laugh or cry, what did your most memorable candidate make you want to do and why?

Laugh. I was in a professional interview with a client and a candidate started talking about risqué escapades in the park and exotic piercings in unusual places. Don’t ask…

What would you regard as your signature tune?

Because ALS is on such a roll and our team is expanding, I think Don’t Stop Me Now by Queen perfectly encapsulates the mood right now!

What did you learn about yourself during the pandemic?

I learned to be a much nicer human… I became way more interested in others and helping towards the greater good. My wife had two heart attacks and my second child was born that year, so the pandemic was the least of my worries! ●

“I have amazing people working for me, and I really couldn’t have done all of this without them!”
ALEX DICK Founder, Alexander Lyons Solutions


Former Gi Group COO Paul Smith has joined the workforce staffing solutions group as CEO, ahead of the company’s flotation on The Alternative Investment Market (AIM). Aristotle Partnerships launched in 2022 and comprises Nicholas Associates Group, Syntax and Red Rock Partnerships.


The global executive search firm has appointed Edward Cruz as head of technology, advanced analytics and sciences. Cruz is based in New York City.

agency has launched a drilling and wells division, and appointed Drew Alexander (pictured right) as managing director of the specialist Aberdeen-based team. Senior recruitment specialists Nicola Allan (centre) and Rania Wanism (left) join the team.


Managing partners Aaron Drewitt and Damian Navas have joined the executive search firm for the UK and Europe.


Oil & gas, renewables and space industries recruitment


The recruiter has appointed Laura Cooke as chief financial officer (CFO). Cooke was most recently acting CFO for London-based performing arts theatre The Old Vic.


The international search firm has added one partner and one principal to its executive search business and one principal to its Heidrick Consulting business in the

HR solutions recruitment consultancy

Gi Group has appointed Pete Taylor as managing director of Gi Group Staffing UK & Ireland.

Following the acquisition of Encore Personnel, of which Taylor was MD, Gi Group has now successfully completed the merger of the two businesses.

As MD Gi Group Staffing UK & Ireland, Taylor succeeds Paul Smith, who was at Gi Group for nearly two decades, mostly recently as COO. Taylor has spent 26 years working in the recruitment sector, the last 17 of which involved building Encore into the firm that Gi acquired at the end of 2022.

Americas. Steven Baumruk joins as partner in the Miami office, and is sector leader in aerospace, defense & space and a member of the industrial practice. Nicole Balsam joins as principal in the consumer markets practice in New York. Kathryn Bardi joins as principal in the Chicago office.


The human capital management business has announced that current COO Greg Coleshill will assume the role of CEO within the InterQuest Staffing business with immediate effect. CEO Chris Eldridge will transition into the role of chief growth officer and continue to oversee InterQuest’s business


in America. Group finance director Neil Brown will take on the role of CFO within InterQuest.


The global executive search firm has appointed Iain Brockbank as partner in the firm’s global Industrial Practice. Based in the London office, Brockbank has more than 23 years’ experience working with clients in the UK and internationally. He joins Kingsley Gate from executive search firm Warren

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

Partners, where he led the Industrial Practice.


Alex Mitchell joins the British solar heat tech disruptor as the new head of people. Mitchell has more than 20 years of experience working in HR and specialises in supporting growing businesses.

RAMP Global’s growth strategy.


The Preston-based recruitment agency has appointed Richard Shorrock as its first divisional manager to support its growth plans in the education and special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) sector.


The umbrella company compliance specialist has appointed former FCSA chief Julia Kermode as its new CEO.


The international executive search firm has announced a new global leadership team. Arabella Chichester, Dr Sinead Gibney and Tom Weinberg will take over from co-founders Dan Perrett and Simon Laver, who are transitioning to non-executive roles in the company after 20 years.

Chichester and Gibney will be appointed as global senior partners, and Weinberg will take on the role of global managing partner.


The talent acquisition platform has hired finance, strategy and corporate development executive Brad Collins as investor and board adviser in the US. Collins, who is based in Denver, Colorado, will also bring specific US-market knowledge and experience to


US-based Jeff Schwartz has joined the international life sciences recruiter as vice president of Interim Solutions. He joins from Randstad where he was vice president of Strategic Sales.


West Midlands-based entrepreneur Madhur Bedi has joined the healthcare recruitment franchise to place qualified health professionals throughout Birmingham.



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Editor DeeDee Doke

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Rachel Masker, Sue Weekes, Roisin Woolnough

Production editors

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Senior designer Will Williams

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Global talent intelligence specialist Wilbury Stratton has hired Karishma Navsaria as its new global head of strategic partnerships. She brings 20 years’ experience in forging partnerships with high-level stakeholders in business and finance.


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Recruitment is a funny old game. It seems like only yesterday recruiters were popping champagne corks and celebrating their return to form. They had not only survived a global pandemic, but were riding high, as acknowledged by this publication.

As the global macroeconomic climate darkens, the party may be over. Deal activity is weak. Investment banks, global law firms and big tech companies are scaling down. It is little wonder candidate and client confidence is fragile.

So what kind of leadership style will best serve recruitment companies during these volatile and uncertain times? A traditional, authoritarian command and control style or something more transformational and inclusive? In other words, do you want Steve Jobs or Oprah Winfrey at the helm of your team or company?

Gavin Sharpe

Recruitment leadership – how to survive today’s turmoil

When Marshall Goldsmith famously declared “What got you here won’t get you there”, he was onto something. Leaders who look backwards for the answers are not well placed to move forwards.

Leaders who are thoughtful and able to calmly consider their current external challenges rather than dwell on their past successes are well placed to create plans to move forward.

The Harvard Business Review recently called for today’s leaders to be versatile, defined as “the ability to read and respond to change with a wide repertoire of complementary skills and behaviours”. I refer to it as having a thoughtful sense of urgency. There’s a fine line between headless chicken and thoughtful urgency.

In my work as a leadership and performance coach, one of the first things I assess is an individual’s capacity for self-reflection. Know thyself is coaching lesson 101. If your team leader or company boss

doesn’t have that skill, they might be better off in politics rather than recruitment.

As the market pivots and turns, it follows that recruitment companies will require leaders with a thoughtful sense of urgency and with the resourcefulness to meet the constantly changing demands being made of them. That resourcefulness is firmly rooted in one’s EQ. What if they don’t have those skills? Coach the heck out of them until they do or promote the rising stars with high EQ.

Organisations transition sometimes from external stimuli. This crisis (global macro-uncertainty) looks different to the last crisis (the pandemic), which by the way is different to the crisis that preceded it (global recession). That is another reason why leaders can’t rely on their “proven” leadership style and should not be promoted solely on that metric.

For a decade, I ran one of the UK’s most profitable

recruitment companies, as consistently ranked by Recruiter’s HOT 100. I am not sure I had the thoughtful sense of urgency that is called for now. I might have dismissed such self-reflection as unnecessary navel-gazing. I was reminded of the powerful and relevant quote by holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl: “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”

Recruitment companies most likely to emerge stronger from this hiatus will be led by self-aware and emotionally intelligent leaders who act with intentionality. Put another way, expect to see more Oprahs and less Steve Jobs. ●

Gavin Sharpe runs his own coaching and leadership consultancy. He is also on the judging panel of the Recruiter Awards 2023
“There’s a fine line between headless chicken and thoughtful urgency”

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