Recruiter - May 2020

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Business intelligence for recruitment and resourcing professionals

May 2020

INCORPORATING Recruitment Matters


Levelling the educational playing field

e r a l g e h t r e d un s u r i v e h of t cks down lo d rl o w s a y a rw tion unde Workplace revolu

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05 Covid-19 knock-on effects






hit recruiters hard Recruitment agencies certainly haven’t remained economically unscathed Agility and flexibility rescues logistics recruiter J&J Recruitment Services shows how a long-term approach works in a crisis D&I must look beyond London and the South-East Employers should make sure they don’t ignore the needs of white workingclass males Start-up of the Month: NDC Tek Recruitment Aaron Brown, Ryan Heywood, Callum Williams have set up cloud & DevOps staffing specialist NDC Tek Recruitment Contracts & Deals




18 THE BIG STORY Under the glare of the virus Healthcare recruiters lead the frontline war for staff, plus tips from the home front 24 Funding in a crisis How are agency and umbrella workers faring?

INCORPORATING Recruitment Matters

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upReach levels the educational playing field Social Network Workplace Innovation: Dr Dane Poboka – Building resilience Business Advice: Alex Arnot My brilliant recruitment career: Karen Alexander, Intelligent Resource Movers & Shakers Recruiter contacts The Last Word: Paul Maxin

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Augmented hiring: looking after the employee lifecycle Tech & Tools Pinpointing talent


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Chris Smith, Clearwater International Soundbites


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ratitude’ is a word I’m feeling a lot these days: gratitude that so far, knock on wood, Covid-19 has ignored my husband and me, to have a lot of time now with him, and also to spend lots of time with our two little dogs. I’m grateful for having a home – and for my wonderfully passionate colleagues and friends around the world. The NHS has again earned my unswerving gratitude for nothing short of a frontline wartime response of quality and caring care in this science-fiction-ish reality we find ourselves in. And our social carers, emergency services and everyone who is putting their lives on the line to save lives. Then there are the postal workers, “I am grateful for transport workers and chemist and our healthcare supermarket staffs and social care who are making our recruiters, world go round. And I am grateful without whom many of the UK for our healthcare and social care trusts could not recruiters, without staff their wards whom many of the or treat patients” UK trusts could not staff their wards or treat patients. They are among the unsung heroes to whom the UK owes a great deal for providing medical and social care personnel, in some cases providing much sought-after PPE and services to the frontline teams. We could do without those in our industry who are pushing their rates up at this time of crisis – but as usual, the majority are rolling up their sleeves to help, support and know that they can make a difference.

DeeDee Doke, Editor

Covid-19 knock-on effects hit recruiters hard BY COLIN COTTELL

THE RECRUITMENT INDUSTRY has not escaped unscathed from the challenges to the economy brought on by the coronavirus. Illustrating the situation for recruitment businesses throughout the UK is a sobering statistic from Elite Leaders, the networking and leadership development organisation for recruitment agency owners and leaders: around four out of five, or 80%, of Elite Leaders members are furloughing their staff, according to Elite Leaders’ CEO. Under the furloughing scheme announced by the government, employers whose business has been hit by the pandemic will receive a grant of 80% of an employee’s normal salary up to £2.5k a month, although the employer must pay the worker first before claiming it back from the government. The first grants are expected to come through in April. Speaking to Recruiter after his weekly video call with members, Elite Leaders’ CEO Jeff Brooks said: “Eighty per cent of my members have done some sort of furloughing in some shape or form.” Brooks emphasised that this didn’t mean that 80% of members’ companies staff had been furloughed. “There is no golden rule here, but I would say some have done as little as 20% and some have gone up to 70%.” Those staff who were continuing to work tended to be mission-critical staff, “the ones who have got the best relationships with their clients”, said Brooks. He explained that because there were now fewer jobs around because of the effects of the pandemic on the economy, there was less need for resourcers, and consequently these tended to be the staff that were being furloughed. Another effect of the coronavirus on members was that “because managers have less management to do, they are turning back into recruiters”, said Brooks. The impact of the pandemic on member companies varied, with some in certain sectors “doing fine”. He cited one IT recruiter, who although it had furloughed some staff was reporting regular requirements from clients wanting to take people on. “Not to the same level as three or four weeks ago, but still busy,” said Brooks. It was a similar picture for recruiters in life sciences and healthcare. In contrast, he said other sectors such as engineering and construction had been hit harder. Brooks said that members’ finances were generally holding up well. “It wasn’t that they had lost cash at all. We are at the start of this downturn, we are not three months in, and their receipts from March should be able to set them up for April,” he said.


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AS OF 7 APRIL 2020

Agility and flexibility rescues logistics recruiter

WITH MANY RECRUITERS struggling to survive the effects of coronavirus, a small logistics and driver recruiter has demonstrated how ingenuity and taking a long-term approach can help recruiters through the crisis. As the coronavirus took hold of the UK, even before the start of the government lockdown on 23 March, transport operators were having to ramp up deliveries to supermarkets. So J&J Recruitment Services, based in the Midlands, decided to waive all fees to transport operators that were finding themselves in this fast-paced situation serving supermarkets, many of whom J&J already partner with. The only cost the transport companies are being asked to cover is the cost of advertising their vacancy, usually about £100. “The last thing I want to do at this

time is to make any money on anybody else’s shortfall – the country is in crisis,” said J&J c0-founder Joanne Davies. “As a person in the most vulnerable group who can’t go out and volunteer, this is my way of being able to give something back.” According to Davies, five transport operators have already taken up the offer that guarantees fees at cost for 12 months. With hiring by builders merchants, clothes retailers and commercial hiring into offices, the other sectors that the company serves grinding to a halt pretty much overnight, Davies says that without this initiative the business, which prides itself on being perm only, would have had to close its doors – at least until the pandemic was over. “I think you have to be agile and flexible,” says Davies. “If you are a



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recruiter that is stuck in one kind of mind frame it limits what you can do. You have to be versatile and chop and change what you do. It is just different demands at different times. You have to be able to jump from one thing to another.” As well as ensuring that the company survives in the short term, Davies says she expects the move will have long-term business benefits: “I can imagine that by doing this there will be a lot of repeat business. People who wouldn’t have necessarily tried us or put us on a PSL [preferred supplier list] because we would be deemed as not big enough, now they may use us.” The company’s long-term goal is to achieve top client satisfaction, with clients believing the firm is “worth their weight in gold. We will continue to work with them”, says Davies.

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D&I must look beyond London and the South-East


“Really, it’s not tough finding enough nurses right now. It’s impossible” PE TER LOGIN B A F IRST OFFIC E R , WH O N OW WORKS A S A FOOD DE LIV E RY D RIV E R

“British Airways 747 keys hung up for a while. Back in the cockpit with Tesco” MATT HANCOCK UK H E A LTH SE C RE TA RY, ON 24 JA N UA RY 2020

“The clinical advice is that the risk to the public [of the coronavirus] remains low”


EMPLOYERS SHOULD FOCUS more diversity & inclusion and corporate social responsibility initiatives outside London and the South-East, and also make sure they don’t overlook the needs of white working-class males, according to the CEO of a charity that supports graduates, who attended state schools into graduate jobs and careers. John Craven of upReach told Recruiter that many employers and charities that supported underprivileged groups were based in London, with the result that people outside London did not get the support they needed. “Outside of London, there just isn’t the support available for charities or from employers,” said Craven. “While a lot of banks in Canary Wharf or in the City and a lot of other firms support their local schools, or support their local communities, you just don’t have that in ‘cold spots’ like Scarborough, Skegness, Blackpool and Mansfield, etc.” Craven also called on employers to not neglect the needs of white working-class boys, who often fall through the net when it comes to employers’ diversity initiatives. White working-class males often stood “no chance” for support, Craven said, because although white males tended to be over-represented in senior roles, white working-class males often lacked the polish, social skills and the networks associated with the white males in these senior roles. The latter who generally come from middle-class and more privileged backgrounds. “The key thing though for employers is making sure that they’re casting the net wide,” he went on to say, “and not just hiring people here from London and the South-East, and making sure that if they’re doing CSR activities, it is not just on their doorstep but all over the UK.” Craven said ‘cold spots’, such as Bristol and Newcastle would be a real focus for Upskill over the next couple of years. For more on upReach’s work, please see p28-31.



NDC TEK RECRUITMENT Aaron Brown, Ryan Heywood, Callum Williams have set up cloud & DevOps staffing specialist NDC Tek Recruitment. The trio, who previously worked together at a different agency and have mainly focused on cloud & DevOps recruitment in their careers, say they plan to stand out due to their sole focus on this area of recruitment in the UK and Nordics. Credibility will also be a stand-out feature of the agency.

“Having the same certifications as a lot of their candidates/clients it is only going to make them more credible when it comes to talking about the technology. They have the recruitment skills and by adding the technology knowledge it will take them to the next level. “Also, due to their extensive network, many end user clients ask them for advice or recommendations when they go to tender for their cloud projects. Therefore, they have won

Find more daily news stories at

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many of their consulting/agency clients projects previously and will continue to do so. Looking ahead, the spokesperson said: “They will also be looking to build the team within NDC Tek with consultants that are passionate about the cloud & DevOps space.” The agency has partnered with start-up specialist Davidson Gray to provide their support services.


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CONTRACTS & DEALS Hospitality jobs board, trade body UKHospitality and charity Hospitality Action have joined forces to create Hospitality Redeployment Hub – a new jobs hub that will help hospitality workers find short-term roles in other sectors.

Ten Live Group Scottish recruiter Ten Live Group has teamed up with sports marketing technology company Eleven Sports Media to become a community partner of Celtic FC. The Celtic FC Community Partnership has been formed through an agreement between Eleven Sports Media, Celtic FC and a number of regional businesses, including Ten Live. As a community partner, Ten Live’s branding and services will be promoted via state-of the-art pitch-facing LED screen technology as well as displayed on the main screen at Celtic Park, on StadiumTV and StatTV screens within the stadium concourse. Ten Live also sponsors StatTracker social media content, which is shared on Celtic FC’s official social media feeds.

Venturi International specialist technology staffing company Venturi has completed a vendor-initiated management buy-out (MBO). As a result of the MBO, founder Brad Lamb and the existing management team have acquired the two other directors’ shareholdings, enabling director James Doyle and staffing industry entrepreneur and investor Keith Jones to exit the business and pursue other interests. Following the MBO, Lamb and the management team aim to further scale Venturi operations in the UK and internationally, particularly focusing on building its support for technology clients served by its New York office and dedicated team assisting clients in Germany.

Sigmar Recruitment Irish recruiter Sigmar Recruitment and online training and educational platform Alison have agreed a partnership that will see Alison offer all of its courses free on Sigmar’s emergency jobs initiative Covid Response Jobs.


McCarthy Recruitment Kate McCarthy-Booth is to sell the agency she founded 15 years ago to her management team. McCarthy-Booth, managing director of McCarthy Recruitment, told Recruiter her management team of Ian McMullin, Liz Lee, Keith Smith and Amanda Freeman will take over the business, while she retains a role as chair and oversees a new consultancy business


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she has set up offering NED, consultancy and advice services for recruitment businesses, internal recruitment and HR departments. While the current coronavirus pandemic has not influenced her decision to sell the business on, McCarthy-Booth revealed she is likely to stay on with the business longer than October when she had originally planned to reduce her role.

Primary Care Recruitment Gosforth-based Primary Care Recruitment has secured a six-figure funding package to further scale its operations. The business will use the funding as working capital and to expand its operations, both in terms of its own workforce, but also the number of permanent and temporary health and social care professionals it places within the clients it works with, including the NHS. The funding will be deployed immediately to support the UK’s battle against the Covid-19 outbreak as the company works closely with clients to provide key personnel. Support in securing the funding was provided by RG Corporate Finance (RGCF), led by partner and head of corporate finance Carl Swansbury, alongside James Clingham from business finance brokers TBP.

More contract news at

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AUGMENTED HIRING AI is changing the hiring process for the better, but so also is the career management for employees BY DELPHINE VANTOURS

R professionals need the right tools to meet the needs of the employee on the move. And I am convinced that artificial intelligence (AI) is to become an essential resource to onboard, develop and retain the most talented people. It’s a tool for the entire employee lifecycle. Currently, the focus of AI seems to be on recruitment; little is said about the use of new predictive AI tools to enhance career management. And yet, we must guide and support our people throughout their careers with us. It’s taking a data-driven approach, rather than a ‘gut feeling’ approach to hires, although human experience is vital to work with data and AI, not be replaced by it. But there’s a challenge. We can conduct skills assessments, but how do we follow through? Annual appraisals provide structured information, but once a year is insufficient. On the other hand, ongoing feedback is too unstructured to be efficient. Information exists in disparate forms (sometimes handwritten notes), siloed, with little insight about best practices in other departments and sectors. Human capacity to meaningfully analyse such data is limited by time. Truly individualised guidance on training and development is needed for each employee. To be relevant, guidance needs to be custom-tailored on a wide scale.



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This is where the ‘augmented manager’ artificial-intelligenceorganization-work/ comes in. An augmented line manager is one who uses the latest generation of AI software, to access large quantities of data, analysed specifically to develop their teams. AI can distinguish and process even weak signals for insights.

New employees Let’s take a practical case. An employee arrived six months ago. Having gone through onboarding, she has a clear picture of her role and the organisation of her department. She is assimilating the corporate culture and starting to build her internal network. At this stage, few companies would look after her proactively. Now, let’s imagine that your organisation has adopted two AI platforms. The first platform is a virtual adviser, always ready to answer your new employee’s questions about the company and give her tips. It can keep her informed of events organised by colleagues. It can also listen to and process any remarks she might care to make. The second platform sends the line manager custom recommendations, specific to each member of the team.

AI is not an HR gadget; it is a tool for the entire employee lifecycle Feeding on huge amounts of anonymised data, algorithms detect and interpret weak signs. For example, the system can warn the manager to hold a one-on-one with the new talent before she decides to explore other horizons; or it can recommend internal mobility for a high flyer who seems to be getting bored with their current duties, especially when it spots a recent opening that would fit them like a glove! Current advances in conversational interfaces suggest that it will become more and more natural soon to interact with this type of AI.


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These developments in career and skills management will affect larger and smaller enterprises alike. Eventually, smaller firms will benefit from algorithm models developed for or by big businesses. Personally, I have tried out this principle in a firm where it is still possible to have systematic one-on-ones with newcomers to help them fit in. These meetings enable us to deal with a learning curve phenomenon that consistently occurs around 21 days after the employee’s arrival: the ‘I know that I don’t know’ syndrome, a source of anxiety. In a large company, how can you possibly assess this type of phenomenon without an intelligent data processing system? AI is not an HR gadget; it’s a tool for the entire employee lifecycle.

The arrival of AI raises major issues with regards to skills. I am convinced that AI will fundamentally change the nature of work, as laid out by John and Matt Rauscher in their book Service revolution 4.0. The authors explain why transformation of skills is an issue, particularly for ‘knowledge workers’. From where I stand, it is obvious that managers will not be competing with AI but will be harnessing it – augmented management. It is recognised that a broader definition of ‘training’ is needed. For example, the notion of ‘training plan’ is giving way to that of ‘skills development plan’, and skills-based on the job training modules are increasingly valued as alternatives or supplements to conventional classroom learning. On the employee side, workers seek greater flexibility in continuing education and more options for choosing which skills to develop. On the employer side, management is expected to communicate more specifically on strategic training goals. Not only will AI bring about the ‘augmented manager’ but we will also need to move from mere training and development, to something like ‘augmented competencies’. This is going to happen fast. The traditional hiring process and career management are being transformed for the better. ●

DELPHINE VANTOURS is chief people officer, Sidetrade

TOP 7 BOOKS READ BY RECRUITERS What are you reading these days? According to online learning platform Perlego, the following were the most popular books with recruiters across Europe between August 2019 and January 2020, based on the choices of 500 recruiters. Recruiters read 24% of each book on average and spent an average of four hours and 28 minutes reading per month. Build It The Rebel Playbook for WorldClass Employee Engagement Glenn Elliott, Debra Corey, 2018 Exceptional Talent How to Attract, Acquire and Retain the Very Best Employees Mervyn Dinnen, Matt Alder, 2017 The Diversity Bonus How Great Teams Pay Off in the Knowledge Economy Scott Page, Earl Lewis, Nancy Cantor, 2017 Talent Wins The New Playbook for Putting People First Ram Charan, Dominic Barton, Dennis Carey,2018 The Millennial Whisperer The Practical, Profit-Focused Playbook for Working With and Motivating the World’s Largest Generation Chris Tuff, 2019 The Alliance Managing Talent in the Networked Age Reid Hoffman, Ben Casnocha, Chris Yeh, 2014 The Effective Hiring Manager Essential Hiring and Team Building Lessons Mark Horstman, 2019 WWW.RECRUITER.CO.UK 11

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Pinpointing talent Selling the job to attract the best BY SUE WEEKES

Applicant tracking systems (ATS) were one of the first pieces of technology to land on recruiters’ desks back in the 1990s. As advanced as they were at the time, many systems subsequently took a while to catch up with the changes that were taking place in the recruitment process brought about by the advent of social media and professional networks – and more recently, technologies such as artificial intelligence. Now a new generation of systems has emerged that aim to align themselves more closely with how recruiters work. One such product is Pinpoint.

DRIVING FORCES Pinpoint CEO Tom Hacquoil is a former programmer who, when building and growing companies, found he was good at finding lots of people “much smarter than him”. He found himself sitting through meetings with recruitment and HR teams who were spending hundreds of thousands on recruitment agencies but still only getting “ok” candidates. He says he consistently sees global organisations struggle to attract top talent but being unable to identify what they need to do to fix this. He puts the problem down to: not getting the right roles in front of candidates in the right way; offering an outdated candidate experience; and having

an “allergy” to change.

SELLING NOT BUYING Hacquoil believes recruitment is not about buying talent but rather selling opportunities to work at your organisation – this ethos underpins the Pinpoint platform. “This means you need to treat jobs like products,” he writes in his blog. “The better you sell them, the better the candidates you’ll get.” Hence Pinpoint has a number of built-in tools that help clients evolve and communicate their employer brand. This includes an employee value proposition template. Hacquoil asks: “Would you buy something from a company that talked more about what they wanted from you than

what you were going to get from them?”

HOLISTIC APPROACH Pinpoint takes a holistic approach to the recruitment process and packs a raft of features into one system, all of which are aligned to modern recruitment methods. Hacquoil stresses that every element of a candidate experience is part of the sales process and should be “quick and easy”. Features include candidate sourcing, branded career pages, automated social recruiting, intelligent filtering, candidate scorecards, blind recruitment intended to remove the bias and building talent pipelines alongside more expected functionality such as

N E X T- G E N A P P L I C A N T T R A C K I N G If buying a new or upgrading an ATS, it is important to check out the extent of its functionality in key areas such as talent pooling, candidate screening and filtering, data analytics/reporting and automated search. Also, can it be customised to suit the way your recruiters work? I M AG E | S H UT T E R STO C K

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CRM, recruitment workflows and interview-scheduling.

EARLY ADOPTERS Among the early users is Jersey-based healthcare start-up Care Connect, which aims to provide health practitioners to cover last-minute as well as planned staffing gaps. As a start-up, its main challenges were hiring enough people to cover requirements and getting enough clients to keep staff busy. It set a goal to make at least 10 hires in 10 weeks leading up to launch. Using Pinpoint, it doubled its target, filling 20 vacancies with an average cost-per- hire of £23.30. The company used the software to create targeted recruitment adverts in what Pinpoint claims can be just “a few clicks”. Across the 10 weeks, Care Connect engaged with 440 potential candidates through social media via the system.

BEYOND THE ATS Pinpoint is part of a growing breed of software that is evolving to better serve recruiters in the future. Last year, Beamery launched what it claimed was the first “talent operating system” (TOS), which is custom-built for new recruiting work practices, while modern-thinking developers such as TribePad have continued to evolve their functionality to better align with the recruiter’s needs and aspirations. “Unless you have the budget for a vast in-house recruitment marketing and talent acquisition team, you need to be able to find a way to automate as much of the recruitment process as possible,” says Hacquoil. “But done in the right way, automation doesn’t mean losing the human element.” ● WWW.RECRUITER.CO.UK 13

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CBIL: Offering a helping hand Good financials are still paramount though BY CHRIS SMITH

he UK government has launched the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan (CBIL) scheme to provide liquidity to small and medium sized UK companies during the Covid-19 pandemic. The CBIL scheme is available for SMEs in two tranches: • businesses SMEs with revenue of less than £45m can apply for loans of between £10k and £5m. • businesses with revenue between £45m and £500m can apply for loans of up £25m. This tranche of the scheme is in the initial stages of roll-out and details are still emerging on the expected terms that will be offered to borrowers. With the hiring market ever-more impeded in recent weeks, we know that recruitment firms may be facing immediate working capital shortfalls and may benefit from the much-needed, additional liquidity offered by the CBIL scheme. Currently, the scheme is accessed directly through 40+ accredited banks and alternative finance lenders, either by phone or through their websites and loan applications should be submitted directly. Funders will determine CBIL scheme eligibility; requests don’t need to apply for the scheme specifically. Other lenders including challenger banks have also applied to become accredited lenders but to date have not been approved. In the latest iteration announced by the Chancellor, viable SMEs who have been impacted by Covid-19 will be eligible for CBILs, regardless of whether they were able to secure regular commercial finance or not. This is a major change from the


CHRIS SMITH is a chartered banker and partner at global corporate finance house Clearwater International

initial scheme criteria and in our view has made it easier to access for a lot of businesses. If a CBIL scheme application has been rejected already it may be worth revisiting this with your lender. Currently, banks are still implementing new processes for the CBIL scheme and the success of the scheme will be reliant upon the banks having the resource to handle the deluge of applications that are being tabled. Whilst the government will underwrite 80% of loan value, the banks will still carry 20% of the risk. This will require a full credit analysis, so clarity of applications and high-quality presentation of financials will be paramount. For all loans below £250k, the banks have agreed not to ask for personal guarantees from directors, but for loans above £250k, personal guarantees are being considered on a bank by bank basis and are at the discretion of lenders. Personal guarantees are limited to 20% of any CBIL loan amount outstanding and principal private residences cannot be accepted. Banks will be looking for sensible financial projections and a sound proposal for returning to full-strength, post-Covid, in order to make it through credit committees. While coronavirus is a major consideration, banks have been clear that they do not intend to lend to businesses that were not financially viable before the pandemic. Current applications should purely constitute requests for additional working capital, designed to support companies with short-term liquidity needs and ‘in case of need’ facilities. Having discussed with banks in the market, we know that priority assistance will likely be given to customers where banks have pre-existing credit exposure, however new applications are being accepted. In the corporates market, payment holidays and covenant waivers are also being considered more widely to assist existing customers to manage their outstanding obligations in the face of reduced cashflow. Clearwater International is able to provide support with any complex financing arrangements, whether through standard debt channels or through the CBIL scheme. We can help to navigate the complexities of the application and negotiation process to ensure the best possible access to financing in the current market. ●




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L ET T ER S TO THE EDITOR NOT ALL RECRUITERS TAKE ADVANTAGE I was just writing to you to say I read the article you published today on recruiters taking financial advantage of the national crisis by hiking up rates (APSCo warns against recruiters taking financial advantage during ‘national crisis’,, 20 March). I completely agree with you and have seen recruiters trying to take advantage of both candidates and clients by exploiting them for leads and forcing clients in to taking sub-standard candidates through fear mongering. I just wanted to say that not all agencies are like that, and this morning at Vector (before the release of your article) we actually launched an initiative to waive all of our fees for permanent hires for any NHS service or public sector organisation that is currently embroiled in battling Covid-19. We believe that in times of adversity we have to do everything that we can to help those under pressure through trying to help the public.

Do you plan on embracing homeworking more once things are back to some semblance of normality? RICKY MARTIN MA N AG IN G D I REC TOR , H Y P ER RECRUI T MEN T S OL UT I O N S

“Homeworking certainly will be something HRS will embrace more, post-crisis. It has been a great opportunity to stress-test our company’s connectivity, our people’s commitment and to learn how to selfdiscipline better than ever, business wide. I predict that what it has done for most companies and employees is made people realise how the flexible working-fromhome benefit (as people call it) has upsides, but also is not the ‘be all and end all’. In fact, the continued people interactions, the environment and culture of your office are a bigger thing to what we love about what we do than we realise. Having a role which supports agility is one thing, but what we love about what we do, other than the purpose, is the people around us all working towards that common goal. It still exists remotely, but much harder to see, feel and breathe!”


I’ve attached a screenshot (above) to show that we aren’t just jumping on the bandwagon after the release of your article and you never know it might be nice to see something published in the near future showcasing the positive things that are happening in the industry since the outbreak. CHRIS NICHOL, RESOURCING TEAM LEADER, VECTOR RESOURCING

“I think so. Not just for me, but more broadly. I expect it will be a wider trend across businesses. We’ll do it more because we can and because we’ve proved it can work. We’re finding out how efficient it can be. There are also some significant environmental benefits that I’m sure many people will have read out about – rivers getting clearer, air quality improving etc. With climate change top of mind as a global issue, homeworking has significant benefits it can deliver there, too. Many things will come out of this crisis that have long-term positive effects.”


“Once Covid-19 has left us then I will remain working from home as I prefer it and have no reason to pay for office space. I have the technology and peace to work from home. I enjoy my surroundings; I can walk to the beach in less than two minutes when I want a break, and I feel comfortable at home. I can be myself, and I make great coffee, so why change it?” WWW.RECRUITER.CO.UK 15

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Like a meteorite from space, it struck the general UK population with little warning. The UK’s first two patients with Covid-19 were identified in York in January; it was six weeks later when initial social distancing measures such as working from home were suggested to avoid spread of the coronavirus and then only a week later when the lockdown across the UK was put in place. As Recruiter goes to press, new questions and issues around the government’s strategy to support UK businesses, employees and the self-employed – along with its healthcare and social care professionals – develop every day. What is true one day, changes the next. Anecdotal evidence tells us that many agency workers had to be released from work as employers shut down to sit out the crisis. Most recruiters themselves found themselves in the brave new world of working from home. This is a collection of snapshots of life in the glare of the virus from the world of recruitment – this Big Story is going to be with us for a long time. Tell us about your experiences: drop us a line to 16 RECRUITER

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Taking the world’s temperature


Healthcare recruiters around the world are trying to keep up with the Covid-19 crisis against all odds. Recruiter caught up with some in the middle of a staffing challenge “It’s call after call – clients are crying out for more and more nurses,” says Roland Sheehan, director at the TFS Healthcare recruitment agency, in a rushed telephone call. Sheehan and his team are working seven days a week, and at the same time, 20% of the nurses TFS works with are self-isolating. “We’ve never seen anything like it,” he says. The spotlight is on health and social care staffing within the UK and elsewhere around the world as the coronavirus pandemic continues to muscle its way through populations at home and abroad. On 31 March, New York state governor Andrew Cuomo pleaded with healthcare professionals across the US to come to support his state and New York City in particular, which has proved to be the main US hot spot. Once the pandemic has abated in New York, he suggested that visiting healthcare staff might want to take their skills to other stricken communities across the US. In the UK, the government has moved to extend NHS staff visas. Some expired visas have been extended for three months, and qualified nurse visas expiring this year have been extended another year. Other government support has come in the area of cutting certain DBS check red tape. At the same time, UK healthcare recruiters are supplying staff to NHS trusts coping with the pandemic. They also are supplying staff across other geographies. Here in the UK, Joanne Wood, a former nurse who has since become a

recruiter told Recruiter that she had never experienced anything like the current medical crisis – even during the Gulf War, which she experienced as a UK-based nurse in her previous career. She described the current situation as “unprecedented”. “One of our support workers assisted the first person with Covid-19 in the North-East,” Wood says. In anticipation of the lockdown, Wood’s company recruited and trained 120 staff in skills such as Immediate Life Support in four weeks, she says. “We are having enquiries from new clients as to how we can support their business if needed,” she said. “We have a lot of staff concerned about self-isolation, and we are offering support and NHS England advice on these matters to ensure staff are available for work.” In addition, she said, demand has increased in the last week to fill the same roles on the same wards.

Global pressures Penny Streeter, MD of A24 Group, an international recruiter with operations in the UK and South Africa, told Recruiter she is working flat-out at the moment with increased demand for services in both countries. “We are working in completely unprecedented times and while the hospitals in both countries are under huge distress and are actively recruiting back ex- and retired employees, the nursing home and other health sectors are also struggling,” she says. Meanwhile in South Africa, Streeter reports the agency’s nurses are

Healthcare market Coming back from a “crushing” M&A period, better days could lie ahead for healthcare recruiters, who are much in demand given the current climate, according to Marcus Archer, partner at Clearwater International. Healthcare recruiters “providing really valuable support to the Government, the NHS and the care industry” will be “very well placed to benefit” from the explosion in demand for quality healthcare staff, Archer tells Recruiter. These circumstances “may well lead to M&A opportunities for some of those fast-growing, high- quality healthcare recruitment agencies, who are continuing to see opportunities and demand for their candidates but require some funding support from external sources, which will most likely come from private equity”, he said. “The market opportunity is something that PE teams could get their heads around. We expect to see a number of the larger healthcare recruiters, which are compliant and of a high quality, make a case for PE investment to help support their growth.” He notes: “The last three or four years have been a crushing period for healthcare recruiters. The M&A market has been pretty much non-existent for them, and they’ve had to deal with both price-capping and IR35 among other factors. From a trading perspective, businesses have had a pretty tough time for three or four years, but the sector has been seeing a pick-up, probably since summer 2019.” With the government expressing negative views on the use of agency staff, the realisation now of a “massive demand” for healthcare staff, which cannot be supplied without support from healthcare recruiters is a significant turnaround in perception and a great opportunity for the sector to support the NHS, he said.


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struggling to get to work “as the famous South African taxis are unhappy about the number of people being restricted in their taxis and they have had their hours of operation curtailed as well”, she says. “There is a basic lack of understanding of how dangerous this situation is, and we are fearful that the pandemic is going to hit the South African people extremely hard, and indeed our first cases have been reported in areas of very low income.” At the Positive Healthcare agency, CEO Olivia Spruce told Recruiter some contractors on her books including psychologists have self-isolated instead of going on assignment. However, she said this has been mitigated by the sheer volume of frontline locums that have registered with the agency.

Cross-border challenges Paul McQue, MD at Northern Ireland-based MPA Recruitment, has faced the challenge of co-ordinating a cross-border workforce involving two different sets of restrictions – and weathering these challenges well. MPA has seen a significant increase in demand for its services, especially in healthcare, and within private care home providers and NHS partners in particular. “Many of these are for frontline services within hospital environments. Nurses and healthcare assistants and support workers are in high demand, and there’s also been a massive call for domestic assistants, kitchen staff and cleaners,” he says. And, internationally, after an initial slowdown and pause in early to mid-March, MPA has seen “a large push within perm [permanent] markets, for senior-level healthcare staff, particularly in the Middle East”. “Our staff are coping well from home, and obviously some enjoy this more than others… Hopefully, we can all push through the next two months… with a sense that things are starting to move towards normality,” McQue says, “whatever that may look like after this.”


Running recruitment remotely How are recruiters coping with locking their office doors? Recruiter spoke to a number of managers about their experiences For recruiters used to the close-knit, competitive, sociable and sales-y office environment, and those who revelled in face-to-face meetings with candidates and clients, and for managers used to working check-by-jowl with their staff, an immediate impact on the recruitment sector was clear: a swap of the normal office for the spare bedroom or even the kitchen. Such a change will have come as quite a shock to the system. But running remote operations are not unheard of in the sector. What recruiters will have to adjust to, says Martin Jones, managing partner at technology and finance recruiter Knownfour, which was established as a remote operation in 2016, is that there are many aspects to running such a recruitment agency successfully. For instance, when it comes to monitoring and managing the performance of remote teams, Jones says a tailored approach is needed. Because of the distance separating manager from consultants, there is a danger of overkill of leaders using too many or ill-considered KPIs [key performance indicators] that drive the wrong outcomes. “You have to understand the DNA of someone’s desk, and that means understanding the individuals as well as your teams,” Jones says. Parker Young Recruitment As a small business, the effects are noticeable but our business and our clients are taking a pragmatic approach. We’re using video software to stay connected when working remotely

Of all the measures of performance, revenue is by far and away the most valuable, he says. Indeed, he argues, the fact that it can encapsulate so much makes recruitment the ideal industry to embrace remote working. “A lot of people are very scared of what is happening at the moment and how they can manage to work from home with the kids around,” says Ali Wallace, founder and MD of DNA Recruit, a specialist search and career consultancy for marketing agencies globally, whose business model is built on staff working remotely.

Unprecedented times Not only are recruiters having to adjust to having to work from home but they are having to do so in the unprecedented situation of the coronavirus outbreak, he points out. “A lot of people won’t have seen anything this tough,” Wallace says. “It’s all about TLC and not coming across hard because everyone is going to be stressed out.” He suggests: “Bosses need to have a daily one-to-one with everyone and a regular daily catch-up, so they know what they are doing and where they are going.” (See box opposite, p19, which shows how recruiters are embracing technology to help staff communicate both internally and with clients and candidates.) At digital recruiter Futureheads, which has moved to remote working, director Jon Wall says that how staff should be managed depends on a mix of factors. “Some people are quite early in their career, and this is the first downturn in the market they have ever

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EllisKnight International Recruitment We know this is a particularly challenging, difficult and uncertain time for all businesses. In that line, we are offering a new temporary payment scheme: #RecruitNOWpayLATER worked in, so they need constant reassurance,” Wall says. “Then we have experienced recruiters who might have done really well for a few years, and this is the first time their part of the business has been seriously challenged. They are learning quite a lot; while some people are very positive, they see the challenge and want to provide solutions. So, it does vary, partly based on skill set and experience, and partly due to mind set,” he adds.

Flexible leaders With many staffing companies thrown into operating remotely almost overnight, the key to adapting will be strong leadership, Jones says. In

Tech for remote-working recs Technology is proving invaluable as a way to both carry on business, and to manage and communicate with staff. Martin Jones at Knownfour sings the praises of a workplace collaboration platform called Wurkr. “It’s like a virtual office; you login and you walk into it as you would your actual office, and you are in there all day,” he explains. “It gives staff the ability to see each other… and takes away the suspicion that people are sitting on their couch and watching daytime TV, creating a much more open and comfortable environment for people to work and succeed in.” DNA Recruit relies on Microsoft Teams, a unified communication and collaboration platform that combines workplace chat, video meetings, file storage with application integration. DNA Recruit founder and MD Ali Wallace says his company also holds regular video conferences – including Monday morning meetings – using Zoom, a mid-week catch-up and a wash-up on Friday afternoon. “We constantly communicate with people, so you actually probably end up talking with them more [than if they were in an office],” he says. Ryan Cleland-Bogle, CEO of Tempting Ventures, a company that invests in recruitment start-ups, says that in addition to using Zoom for video conferences, he and his colleagues are using Microsoft Teams to keep everyone updated on what is happening. “It is as much like being in an office as it could be,” he says. Graham Palfery-Smith, chairman of 6Cats International and adviser to several recruitment businesses, says technology is proving particularly helpful in replacing face-to-face meetings that between clients and candidates with virtual alternatives.

particular, he adds, it will take leaders with a flexible mentality. Although he acknowledges this won’t be easy for an industry that for a long time has resisted remote working, “flexibility is what it is going to take”, he says. “If people aren’t able to embrace it, they are going to find themselves in the weeds.” Wall says managers have a vital role to play: “The biggest thing is trying to keep highly engaged with the team – working very hard so the teams are thinking about what they can control and what is in front of them, and letting the management team worry about what the longer-term management goal is. “Just do an outstanding job for the clients we have got and if we can take that pressure away from staff, we will worry about what is next.”

Home and away While currently unprecedented numbers of recruiters are working from home, when life returns to normal, it is likely that many will drift back to their offices. If that is the case, Jones says there is the danger of discord between those allowed to work from home and those not given that same flexibility. “But that is not the deal,” he says. “The deal is that you are doing a recruitment job, and you are judged on your performance within that job, not where you conduct your job.” If the perception develops that having this flexibility has to be earned, the danger is a workforce that is split between the haves and the have nots, engendering the suspicion that some employees can be trusted and others OSR Recruitment Ipswich It’s business as usual as possible as it can be at the moment, lots of health-based precautionary processes in place but still ticking along. We’re only a small team so we have to be really careful but our spirits are still high!


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can’t. “In actual fact, if you don’t trust someone they shouldn’t be on your team,” says Jones. While some recruitment owners may fear that the upheaval of staff moving to remote working will lead to a dip in performance, with a knock-on effect on the company, this doesn’t have to be the case, Jones says: “It is going to depend very much on their ability and their focus, but also how you and your management team can help. Could you help them with their skill set? “If you do so you may find there is no downshift at all. In fact, in some people you might find you get an uplift in productivity because they feel so empowered.” Lorraine Douglas, founder of rec-to-rec firm Douglas John Recruitment, who supplies recruiters with staff that want to work from home, says performance isn’t generally an issue. “If you get the benefit of being able to work from home, then you are going to work as hard as you can because you don’t want to go and work back in the office, so the incentive is there.” However, she says there could be a problem when inexperienced or trainee recruiters are forced to work from home because of coronavirus. “That could be quite tricky because they don’t know what they are doing; they joined the company working in an office, and suddenly they are at home on their own, and probably won’t like it.” For these individuals, careful managing and perhaps even hourly calls from their manager may be necessary, she suggests. Jones agrees that careful management of staff is important, but as someone who worked in a traditional office for 17 years before he began working from home in 2016, he says that some of the concerns about lower levels of productivity are overblown. “My productivity now is as high as it has ever been. I don’t have


any wasted time commuting, and as a result my home life is more fulfilled as well.”

Keep talking – don’t sell Despite hiring taking a hit across large swathes of the economy as a result of coronavirus, recruiters are not sitting on their hands, but using this time constructively so they are ready for the recovery – whenever it comes. Naveen Tuli, managing partner EMEA & APACA in the in-house counsel practice at international legal recruiter Major, Lindsey and Africa, told Recruiter: “The number one focus for us at the moment is making sure we are still going out to market to ensure our profile remains high [in the market]. “The key thing has been not to stop what we are doing, [but to] increase the communication with colleagues, candidates and clients. We have somewhat of a captive audience; people are certainly willing to speak more, conversations are more meaningful, and that is a very good opportunity to develop those client relationships.” While he said staff were not going to cold-call the general counsel of a hotelier, for instance – with hospitality just one sector that has been hit particularly hard – to ask if they want to expand the legal function at the moment, “we will speak to them about offering other services, eg. salary advice or interim support, or possibly even assistance on transformational issues. “In many ways I think it is very positive,” Tuli said, “because it is forcing everybody to pick up the phone, G&J Staffing IT’S TIME TO STEP UP! YOUR COUNTRY LITERALLY NEEDS YOU! With the escalating problem of Covid-19, there is a high demand in HGV drivers around the UK. The Hull branch of G&J Staffing are recruiting HGV drivers based in Kingston-Upon-Hull and surrounding areas

do more video conferences and not rely so much on email – getting back to basics, which is always good.” Jon Wall, director at digital recruiter Futureheads, told Recruiter that this was the time for recruiters to show candidates and clients a bit of TLC. “Whether it is offering advice or support, we are trying to go over and above,” he said. “People we know are spending a lot of time with us on the phone because they just want to understand what is happening in the market, making sure that teams know to engage with clients and candidates – even if they aren’t directly having a conversation that leads to a placement immediately.” At the moment, Wall said “any client is treated like gold dust”. Graeme Read, director of FutureRecruiters, a company that supports recruitment start-ups and an adviser to recruitment businesses, said in the current climate it wasn’t about selling to clients. “Just talk to them, talk to them – that is the key thing,” he explained. “It is about constant communication with clients and candidates just to let them know you are on their side because when we get through this, and the sun does come out, you will be the first person they contact.”

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Advice from the home front If you are one of those recruiters struggling with remote hiring, here are tips and words of advice from those adept at remote recruiting Remote hiring is becoming an increasingly popular practice in recruitment. According to recruitment tech company Recruitee, the number of remote hires has increased 140% since 2005. Less embedded in the industry is remote working. Yet the coronavirus crisis is turning remote working into a way of life. How do previously office-bound practitioners manage to make the transition? Investing in a doorbell that vibrates on your phone when someone comes to

the door, rather than going ‘ding dong’, is a practical suggestion made by an experienced home-working recruiter to fellow recruiters, many of whom are now working from home for the very first time. The advice comes from Lorraine Douglas, a remote recruiter herself, and founder of specialist home working rec-to-rec firm Douglas John Recruitment. “If I am on a call, obviously I don’t want that constant ringing in the background,” she explains. Although Douglas says she had

already noticed a steady rise in interest from recruiters who want to work from home over the past 12 months, she says first self-isolation and then government direction to work from home have obviously accelerated this trend. Harriet Secker, a partner at technology and finance recruiter Knownfour, who has worked at home for four years, suggests that if there’s no spare room to use as an office, a laptop on a table is the next best option. “Avoid sitting on the sofa with a laptop on your lap for any period of time because you will get a hunched back,” she warns. Secker says she moves around during the day, alternating from standing in the kitchen while using a laptop “on the counter next to the kettle until lunchtime”, to the kitchen table and an office she has set up in another room. ●

Tips from the trenches ● Structure your day and take regular breaks. ● Refine your online conference abilities. People can be uncomfortable on webcam, and locations with bad connectivity mean that it may not even be possible. However, sometimes it’s crucial to have distance meetings – it’s helpful for team members to let others know if they’re planning on ‘deep work’ for a period of time and reset their available status to ‘Do not disturb’. ● If working across global time zones, plan your work so that collaborative activities can take place in overlapping hours. Identify key staff so that there is always someone to answer urgent questions and remove blockers. ● Separate announcements from discussions in group communications. To keep employees in the know on key company-wide news and updates, have an administrator create an ‘announcement only’ group for the company. Use smaller groups for discussion.

● Dressing up is optional, but take into account your ‘audience’. For example, if you’re going casual, make sure your favourite t-shirt is clean and that it doesn’t have an offensive message. ● Even if it is indoors, keep moving, and exercise where possible. ● Accept that sometimes life gets in the way of work but look for other opportunities to make up this time. ● Daytime TV is a ‘no no’. ● Think about the equipment, data and information you will now have in your home and how you need to protect it from unintended sight or use. ● Have honest conversations about childcare responsibilities. During this crisis, line managers should have sensible conversations with parents and carers of young children about what is and what is not possible for them to achieve. Sources: BSI, Ellie Ereira & Aly Blenkin of Pivotal Act, Recruitee, WhatsApp, Working Families.


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Will agency and umbrella workers miss out on the government scheme to avoid making staff redundant? Colin Cottell ďŹ nds out


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he day after Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme that should see millions of workers up and down the country receive 80% of their normal salary, Adam Holby, managing director of outsourced payroll and umbrella Fair Pay Services, decided to act. “We were keeping an eye on things, so we knew something was coming through; so we were able to pay our workers the 80% of their salary.” While Holby’s speedy reaction will come as a great relief to many of the company’s workers, concerns have been growing that many agency and umbrella workers may miss out on the scheme designed to avoid employers making staff redundant by paying them a government grant of up to £2.5k a month per worker. Julia Kermode, CEO at the FCSA (Freelancer and Contractor Services Association) that represents many umbrella firms, says the fundamental problem with the furloughing scheme for umbrellas and agencies is funding. With employers unlikely to receive grants from the government until May, she says this situation leaves nearly two months between umbrellas and recruiters paying out and waiting for the money to come in. “No one want to turn around to a worker and say, ‘I can’t pay you’,” but she accepts “it is possible”. “I hope this wouldn’t happen, but I would understand if this was the case,” Kermode adds.


Cashflow challenge Holby admits that having paid out to the workers, “the next challenge is cashflow”. However, he is confident that his own company and most umbrellas will cope: “Most umbrellas are fairly rich in terms of short-term cash because you are deducting PAYE and NI [National Insurance] every week, and taking in VAT, and you are paying that out every three months. So, there is always cash in the business, or at least there should be.” In Holby’s view, the government’s decision to allow businesses to defer this quarter’s VAT payment until the end of the year, and potentially PAYE too, will help umbrellas’ cashflow and allow more of them to make payments. As long as an umbrella’s whole contract book hasn’t been furloughed, Holby says the deductions from the workers who are continuing to work can be used to pay the furloughed employees while umbrellas wait for reimbursement from the government. However, for many umbrellas, who pay hundreds of thousands of workers a week, the sums just don’t add up, says Kermode. Yes, she agrees they could defer paying VAT, and possibly NI, but she says “these will not be enough themselves”. Compared with normal businesses, where workers are PAYE and paid monthly, recruitment agencies and umbrella firms’ payroll costs are huge. “When we start to think about the figures, there is a huge gap,” she says. Stewart Roberts, commercial director of Total Back Office Solutions, says recruitment agencies have a tricky decision to make as to whether to make payments to contractors,


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who are no longer on assignment because of coronavirus. “If it is going to put your business under too much cashflow strain, then it is obviously not worth paying the contractors if that causes your agency to eventually go bust.” The first recruiters looking to furlough their agency workers are those in the public sector, including teachers, Roberts says. “In other sectors, it is dependent on the agency, and whether the candidates are skilled or unskilled, and whether they want those candidates to continue on their books and working, and when the situation finishes, how easy it will be to find those candidates again. It’s a balance between loyalty to their candidates and the agency’s survival.”

Unanswered questions There are many still unanswered questions about the scheme that will sew enough doubts in the minds of recruiters that they may decide not to take the risk. “What happens if you pay candidates for two weeks and then run out of cashflow? Does that mean that you can’t reclaim the two weeks from the government?” Roberts asks. If this is the case, he suggests, companies will need to make sure they have at least three weeks of furlough money available. Roberts says some agencies his company works with are switching their payments to three weekly so that it is in line with the scheme’s payment timetable. Amanda Hobson is managing director at Easypay Services, a company that funds recruitment agencies based on the value of their invoices and then runs their payroll. She says there is still confusion about the furloughing scheme. For Hobson, the big question is, if her company pays the agency workers, will the company then be able to claim the money back from the government? “If we are going to fund this in the first place, we need to make sure there is some authority given to us as an agent to allow that money to come back to us.” To get around this problem, she says, her company has put together a side contract that stipulates the agency must notify HMRC that it [Easypay] is the payee of any grants, and that if the agency doesn’t notify HMRC, they must remit those funds to Easypay immediately.


Another issue that was unclear as Recruiter went to press is how much workers on the NMW (National Minimum wage) receive from the government, given that 80% would take their pay below the legal minimum.

Other avenues

Faced with a situation where many agencies are not receiving their usual income from clients, Roberts says some agencies are turning to external funders that might allow them to pay their workers under the furloughing scheme. He says one agency is considering an Enterprise Finance Guarantee loan that would top up the funding they receive from their invoice COVID-19 JOB RETENTION SCHEME finance company. Other recruiters are relying on their ● All UK employers can apply to existing invoice finance companies, HMRC for reimbursement of up to although he says any recruiter looking to 80% of employees’ wages, up to a raise finance in this way for the first time cap of £2.5k per month (whichever is likely to find it difficult now. “The is the lower). This covers wages invoice finance companies like to meet payable from 1 March 2020 and people to make sure they are who they the associated Employer National say they are – something that isn’t Insurance contributions, and possible at the moment,” he explains. minimum automatic enrolment Other sources of funding that might employer pension contributions. allow recruiters to pay their furloughed ● This scheme is for those under workers are also problematical, says PAYE, including agency workers, Roberts. “A few of our agencies are going umbrella workers and zero-hour through the application process for the contract employees. new Coronavirus Business Interruption ● To be eligible, workers must have Loans [CBILS], but it seems a bit of an been on your PAYE payroll on 28 arduous process, and so far, I don’t think February. However, it is still unclear anyone has been paid out.” whether those employed by you, Kermode says most umbrellas won’t but who weren’t actually on qualify because their turnover is too high, assignment on 28 February, while others won’t qualify for the support have a contractual right to announced for bigger companies because furloughed pay. credit agencies don’t rate them as ● The minimum period a worker can investment grade. be furloughed is three weeks. And as for holding off paying their ● Fees, commission and bonuses workers until they receive a grant from cannot be used in the government, Kermode says that given calculating the wage cost. the scheme is designed to reimburse ● Employers may if they wish top employers this is not an option. up the worker’s While the job retention scheme and wages to their normal level. other government measures should ● Employees on sick leave or help millions of workers, with self-isolating should be paid recruitment agencies and umbrella Statutory Sick Pay. firms caught between doing the right ● There is no contractual right to be thing and threatening the viability furloughed. It is the agency’s of their businesses by doing so, or the umbrella’s right as the without significant changes to employer to offer it. the government’s package of support ● Got to get the consent of the the odds are that many of their worker first. workers will miss out. ●

MAY 2020

24-26 payroll_RECRUITER MAY 2020_Recruiter 26

08/04/2020 09:52


Prepare for recovery p2 BI G TALKI NG POI NT

How to support employee mental health p4

Recruitment Ma ers


IR35 on hold: what are the next steps? p6 Issue 85 May 2020


Ways to avoid unconscious bias p8

Global pandemic

REC welcomes Chancellor’s Covid-19 package W

hen the economic impact of Covid-19 became clear in mid-March, the REC moved quickly along with other business organisa ons to secure largescale ac on from the Treasury to protect jobs. Within days, the Chancellor announced a £350bn package of support for businesses. This includes a job reten on scheme to support staff salaries, the deferral of VAT and other taxes as well as the postponement of the IR35 tax changes, plus grants and interest-free loans to help businesses to overcome cashflow challenges. In his speech the Chancellor praised the collabora on and “construc ve discussions” of business groups.

@RECPress RM_MAY 2020-v1.indd 1

The package was, according to Neil Carberry, CEO of the REC, “the big ac on the REC and many other business organisa ons have been working hard to achieve… cashflow support, VAT deferment and wage payments are the exact radical measures that were needed. The REC has successfully lobbied government to introduce digital right-to-work checks so that members can place key workers in jobs where they are needed quickly. We con nue to ask for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) to be expanded,” he said. SSP support is currently offered to employers with fewer than 250 employees. Many recruitment businesses have a small internal team, but o en look a er hundreds of agency staff, leaving them out of its scope.

The Chancellor’s £350bn package for businesses included cashflow support, VAT deferment and wage payments

Making great work happen

“I’m pleased to say that Government wants to con nue this collabora on with us and other sector bodies, so we will go on working together throughout this crisis,” Carberry said. “Recruitment professionals have a pivotal role in helping people to get jobs where they are most needed at this me, such as in healthcare, logis cs and the food sector. We will get through this and, when we do, recruitment will be central to the recovery.” All details are correct at me of prin ng, but events move fast, so check the REC’s Covid-19 hub. 07/04/2020 12:25

Leading the industry

the view... Let’s use this ঞme of crisis to prepare for recovery, says Neil Carberry, REC Chief Execuঞve


icture the scene. You’re a recruitment professional. It’s early 2020. You’re thinking about how recruitment can help businesses to overcome their biggest problems – produc vity, staff engagement and adap ng to new technology. Skills shortages, Brexit uncertainty and IR35 tax changes dominate the debate in our sector. Then a pandemic strikes. There’s a lockdown, client demand drops in most sectors, but rockets in a few. Big policy changes come in instantly, and your business goes digital. Things change with lightning speed. I don’t know how things look as you read this, but here are a few observa ons. This too, shall pass. This isn’t a slowdown caused by economic problems. To protect our fellow humans we must pause the economy. It’s a choice – that’s why governments are suppor ng firms. When the storm passes, the bounce-back is likely to be substan al and quick. Use the me now to prepare for that. Resilience ma ers. Our mental and physical health is paramount. Let’s look a er each other and our businesses. We’ve all been focusing on managing cash, and the REC has been working to help you by campaigning for government support, and offering informa ve podcasts and briefing webinars, but this outbreak might lead all of us to think differently about how we structure our organisa ons in future. Pride in our industry – and hope for the future. Recruiters are making huge contribu ons to the na onal effort – staffing hospitals and supermarkets, volunteering and caring for people looking for work. That’s living our values. But we also need to prepare for the upswing – ge ng people back to work.

“Prepare for the upswing – geমng people back to work”

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



For his final column before leaving the REC a[er 15 years, Tom Hadley, REC Director of Policy and Campaigns, looks at what recruiters can learn from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Lessons from the crisis A

midst the Covid-19 crisis, some important lessons come into focus. These will leave a legacy as we contemplate what the ‘comeback trail’ looks like for our economy and jobs market. • Who is a key worker? A big part of our work on immigra on policy and skills has been to underline the importance of workers in a range of roles and sectors who don’t fall within the government’s ‘brightest and best’ tagline. The contribu on of those in care, health, logis cs, agriculture, food manufacturing, cleaning and facili es management is there for all to see. • Leadership. Our ‘Leadership 2025’ White Paper iden fied two key a ributes of future leaders: the ability to deal with disrup on and an approach that focuses on people. The pandemic is the ul mate test of both. It was good to see 86% of recruitment leaders flagging the wellbeing of staff and workers as the priority. • Our role. The way recruiters helped people to transi on into roles and sectors where they were most needed in the crisis has been a great example of what our industry is all about. The sector must also be at the forefront of the postCovid-19 comeback. • Our voice. Our work with government and business organisa ons helped to shape radical support packages. Insight from recruiters in the front line was crucial – and will be crucial to future labour market policies and rebuilding. My career at REC began with the Agency Workers Direc ve furore and ends with the biggest crisis we’ve ever known. A constant throughout my campaigning work for the industry has been the support, energy, exper se and op mism of REC members. It’s been an honour and a pleasure. You can follow Tom on Twi er @HadleysComment

Recruitment Ma ers May 2020

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07/04/2020 12:26

Leading the industry

the intelligence...

The cost to UK businesses of mental health and musculoskeletal condi ons could be

Good mental health can increase produc vity


By Thalia Ioannidou, Research Manager at the REC As workers across the UK selfisolate to deal with the coronavirus outbreak, ensuring those working from home receive mental health support has become even more important. This year’s Mental Health Awareness week starts on 18 May, so take the opportunity to focus on how you can reduce the damage the crisis is doing to employees and efficiency. It is not surprising that losing your job is bad for your mental health, but many people in work also suffer from mental distress. This can be caused by unfair treatment, anxiety about job status or being asked to work in a new way. It has a knock-on effect on mo va on, performance and organisa onal effec veness. The rising cost of mental distress The cost to UK businesses of absenteeism and reduced produc vity because of mental health and musculoskeletal


Companies that increase their people management performance from the lowest levels to the UK average can secure a 19% producঞvity gain.


If the UK improved its performance on people management by 7%, £110bn could be added to the country’s income (CBI, 2019).

Data confirms drop in employer confidence because of coronavirus By Josh Pren ce, REC Research Officer 30 20 10 0 -10 -20 -30 -40

Oct 19

Nov 19

Dec 19

Jan 20

Feb 20


Do you think economic condiঞons in the country as a whole are geমng be er/worse? In view of the economic condiঞons, do you/does your organisaঞon expect confidence in hiring and investment decisions to get be er/worse?

condi ons could be as much as £87.8bn by 2025, according to the Centre for Economics and Business Research. That is a £14bn increase on present figures. However, you can alleviate this. For instance, inves ng in specialist early interven ons for mental health condi ons could save businesses an es mated £38.1bn by 2025. These findings add to the importance of helping workers to manage mental distress and providing adequate mental health support at work. Leadership is key Line managers and business leaders generally know that caring about people’s experience in the workplace boosts produc vity. This is crea ng an increasing sense of responsibility for staff wellbeing. Great managers and leaders are commi ed to raising awareness of, and addressing, mental health challenges. The Covid-19 pandemic caused business confidence in the economy to plummet in March, according to the REC’s JobsOutlook survey (conducted between 2 March and 20 March). Confidence levels had been improving since November 2019, when the winter elec on provided poli cal clarity. But the impact

Companies that increase their people management performance from the lowest levels to the UK average can secure a 19% produc vity gain. Similarly, if the UK improved its performance on people management by 7%, £110bn could be added to the country’s income (CBI, 2019). Embrace new ways of working Businesses can support workers by offering flexible working, training on personal resilience and financial wellbeing and mechanisms to deal with staff complaints. Added benefits, such as support with travel and childcare, also help. Central to this is con nuous communica on within and between teams – which is par cularly vital while Covid-19 keeps employees physically apart.

of the pandemic caused confidence to drop from net -1 to net -23. However, firms are s ll taking on staff. While demand for permanent staff has fallen, it remains posi ve (a net figure of +17) both in the short and medium term. Indeed, shortterm demand is higher than average for technology workers and drivers.

Similarly, demand for temporary agency workers jumped by 15% between February and March, as many employers looked to flexible workers. These people are vital to the UK’s labour force in a crisis. The REC will con nue to work with government to ensure that agency staff are not le without support in the lockdown. May 2020 Recruitment Ma ers

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08/04/2020 09:59

Mental health at work

big talking point

Supporঞng our mental health P

eople across the UK are falling sick and the NHS is struggling to diagnose or treat them. Many try to hide their symptoms, fearing the reacঞons of others, or lost work and income. Hiding it generally makes it worse. Sadly, if not treated, it can be fatal. The soluঞon, unlike for Covid-19, is definitely not self-isolaঞon. Poor mental health is one of the biggest challenges faced by society, the NHS, and the workplace. The coronavirus pandemic has raised important quesঞons about how we can look a[er the mental health of ourselves and each other, especially older and vulnerable people. In January, when the virus was sঞll largely confined to one region of China, the World Economic Forum’s Global Risk Index for 2020 predicted that noninfecঞous illnesses were more of a threat today than infecঞous ones. Last year there were many indicaঞons that the UK’s mental health medical provisions were under strain and, o[en, inadequate. The coronavirus demonstrates that, while governments, scienঞsts, doctors and society rally to deal with a physical disease emergency, long-term condiঞons, parঞcularly mental illnesses, rarely a ract such a enঞon. Employers need to do as much as they can to support employees who are struggling with mental health condiঞons. This is essenঞal at a ঞme when medical provision is o[en available only for the most acute mental health problems, and the naঞonal focus is on dealing with a pandemic. And, of course, drasঞc social and economic measures, fear of infecঞon, social distancing policies, increased working from home and other consequences of the virus will all compound many mental health condiঞons. 4

Recruitment Ma ers May 2020

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Coronavirus raises important ques ons about how we look a er our mental health in a me of social distancing and self-isola on. With one in four people worldwide suffering from a mental disorder at some point in their lives, and as mental health week approaches, what can recruiters – as employers and as advisers – do to help?

Good mental health is good for business

And while coronavirus is puমng many businesses and livelihoods at risk, mental illness also has a business cost. According to a recent report by Deloi e, UK poor

mental health costs employers £45bn a year, a rise of £6bn a year since 2016. The OECD puts the figure higher at £94bn a year No demographic is ‘safe’ – in fact, young people appear to be parঞcularly vulnerable. Research


– the cost of poor mental health to employers each year.


– the cost of produc vity losses caused by mental illnesses to the global economy each year.


Employers lose the equivalent of 8.3% of the salaries of those aged 18-29 as a result of poor mental health.

3x – ‘presenteeism’ costs three

mes more than

sick leave.


of the popula on worldwide will experience mental health problems at some point in their lives.

50m people in the EU are affected by mental health problems.

65% of Bri

sh workers say they lose sleep because of stress.

300,000 people with a long-term mental health problem lose their job each year.

08/04/2020 09:59

What can recruiters do?

shows that employers lose the equivalent of 8.3% of the salaries of those aged 18-29 as a result of poor mental health. Young people are less likely to disclose mental health problems and more likely to use holiday instead of sick leave. Moreover, the Covid-19 lockdown is likely to compound mental problems that are affected by isola on and for people who struggle to switch off from the workplace – an issue familiar to recruiters who depend on close personal contacts and being always available on mobile devices.

Mental health in the recruitment industry

Recruitment is already one of the most stressful jobs in the UK, with 81.8% likely to suffer from workplace stress – which is likely to increase in the lockdown. “Our research finds that, while an increased use of technology can enhance working prac ces, having the ability to work outside of normal working hours can add to the challenge of maintaining good mental health, and make it hard for some to disconnect from an ‘always-on’ culture,” said Elizabeth Hampson, Partner at Deloi e.

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Despite posi ve changes in workplaces, including greater openness about mental health and more support, costs are climbing. This is a ributed largely to a significant rise in mental-healthrelated ‘presenteeism’, where employees work when they are not at their most produc ve. Mentalhealth related absenteeism and staff turnover add to the costs. Meanwhile, the World Health Organisa on (WHO) includes mental disorders on its list of workrelated illnesses and says that people exposed to chronic stress at work have a significantly higher risk of developing symptoms such as depression or anxiety. It points to contribu ng factors such as poor leadership, a lack of input in decision-making and excessive stress, adding that nega ve experiences at work can lead to isola on and estrangement. But it’s not all doom and gloom. Work can also be a source of mental strength and can contribute to mental wellbeing. “With good leadership and a suppor ve work environment, work serves as a ‘health resource’ that can help prevent mental illness or make it less common,” the WHO says.

“Smart, forward-thinking employers are inves ng in staff wellbeing, and those who do tend to save money in the long run,” says Paul Farmer, Chief Execu ve of mental health charity Mind. The World Economic Forum agrees. In January, it urged employers to take mental health seriously: “For companies, it is important to proac vely support the mental health of employees – not just for economic reasons, but also to ensure inclusion and preven on in the workplace, par cularly since some triggers for mental disorders can o en be found at work.” So what can recruiters, as employers and business advisers, do to help? Check out our top ps. • Early warnings: create a culture in which people can talk about mental health concerns early, before they become worse. Research indicates that you gain a higher return on investment from early interven ons, such as organisa on-wide educa on, than from support once a person is struggling. • Reduce ‘presenteeism’: unwell staff who spend me at work not only hurt themselves, but tend to be unproduc ve. “As presenteeism costs three mes more than sick leave, we need to look at suppor ng employers to change the culture so their staff feel able to take me off when they are unwell,” says Farmer. ‘Leaveism’, where people fail to take holidays is a similar sign of a damaging culture or workload. • Invest in health: according to Deloi e, for every £1 spent on suppor ng mental health, employers get an average of £5 back in reduced presenteeism, absenteeism and staff turnover. • Switch off: conscien ous staff can struggle to disconnect. Employers should make sure staff are not under pressure to remain connected at all mes and that they do not reward behaviour that could prove damaging in the long term. • Engage with staff: highly engaged employees seem to struggle less with mental health. Teamworking and a posi ve workplace culture are important. Individuals should feel able to talk about mental health concerns, but managers and colleagues should also be alert for signs and able to raise concerns in a sympathe c, non-threatening way. • Promote inclusion: the WHO makes it clear that people who find their work unchallenging or uns mula ng and have li le say in decision-making are as at risk as those under constant physical or mental stress. Enabling staff to express opinions and contribute to their environment can help. The REC has partnered with Punter Southall Health & Protec on to create a free guide for members with prac cal ways to support mental health in the workplace. Download your copy at business-support/business-partners/businesspartners/Punter-Southall-Health-and-Protec on May 2020 Recruitment Ma ers


07/04/2020 12:26

IR35 on hold

legal update Delayed, not cancelled: the next steps for IR35 By Lewina Farrell, Legal Advisor at REC


n 17 March 2020 the government answered the REC’s call to delay the IR35 tax changes un l April 2021. This means the current rules, in both the public and private sectors, will apply up to and including 5 April 2021. So, if you’re dealing with a client in the private sector, they don’t have to do anything about IR35 at the moment. If the client is a public authority, the rules that took effect in April 2017 remain in place. Some businesses have already prepared for IR35. And some private sector clients have decided that some roles are ‘inside IR35’. So what should recruiters do?

From a legal perspecঞve The rules aren’t changing

Don’t lose sight of standards – especially at a ঞme of crisis sign up at membership/how-tojoin 6

Recruitment Ma ers May 2020

RM_MAY 2020-v1.indd 6

un l April 2021. Neither the client’s obliga on to provide a status determina on statement (SDS), nor the fee-payer’s obliga on to deduct tax and na onal insurance, apply for the me being. So, even where a client has determined that a role would have been inside IR35 from 6 April 2020, there is currently no obliga on on the fee-payer to make any deduc ons before paying the Personal Services Company (PSC).

“The current rules will apply up to, and including, 5 April 2021.”

From HMRC’s perspecঞve HMRC said that SDSs made before 6 April 2020 will have no standing. It also said that it will not consider any SDSs made if it opens an inves ga on into a contractor in the mean me. Coronavirus may have rocked our economy, but this is no excuse to lose sight of our standards and the importance of compliance. Calami es like these are an opportunity to showcase your commitment to best prac ce and professionalism to help the economy back on its feet. When candidates and clients are worried, they will be predisposed to working with those they can trust. REC Professionals have to abide by the REC’s Code – the founda on for ethical and transparent recruitment prac ces. Since the dawn of Covid-19, we saw our members rise to the challenge, to support the people who have been affected the most. By signing up as an REC Professional, you’re also signing up to become a brilliant

Some contractors may want to con nue to work through their PSCs. Agencies and clients can agree to this, but some may choose not to. The agency can con nue to pay the PSC gross and will not be liable for their failure to comply with IR35 unless, under exis ng legisla on, it can be shown that they are facilita ng tax evasion. Blanket decisions Some businesses decided not to allow contractors to work through PSCs past a certain date. They may con nue with this ban, or may now allow those contractors to work through PSCs un l the changes in 2021. Some contractors may choose to stay on PAYE if, despite the lost income, they decide it is more beneficial to be en tled to rights such as sick pay and holiday pay. Note that this is a delay, not a cancella on. All other legal changes resul ng from the government’s Good Work Plan came into effect on 6 April. Agencies and clients will s ll have to implement the IR35 changes by April 2021. The REC will support members to do this and our IR35 hub on our website is there to help our members.

recruiter, while con nuously progressing in your career. Signing up is easy. Depending on your experience, you will become an Affiliate, Member or Fellow REC Professional (recognised by the industry as AREC, MREC or FREC respec vely). You can also claim 20% off all future recruitment training courses, exclusive lifestyle benefits and networking opportuni es. Your REC Professional membership will become a way of life as you climb up your career ladder. To become an REC Professional, contact Joseph Solich at or sign up at how-to-join

07/04/2020 12:26



What I know

Behind the scenes with REC Professionals

REC charity partner St Giles Trust on the value of helping the UK’s most disadvantaged people Good work can help people to get back on their feet. Good work is o en the final stepping stone on the road to independence. Most of our clients have many barriers to overcome before they are ready for employment. These include homelessness, mental and physical health issues, substance misuse, a criminal record or long-term unemployment. We work with people to help them address these and increase their skills, confidence and mo va on.

New ways to help vulnerable people cope with Covid-19. We work with some of the most vulnerable people in society and the

RM_MAY 2020-v1.indd 7

Covid-19 pandemic could have a terrible impact on their fragile lives. We are working hard to limit the impact. We have turned Brewbird, our social enterprise cafe, into a food distribu on centre, allowing our clients access to affordable, healthy essen als during this crisis. We have also established an appeal for funds on www.stgilestrust. to help us address the longterm needs of our clients resul ng from this situa on.

The value of each posiঞve impact. We typically help around 25,000 people annually. The help we give each one has a posi ve impact on them, their families and friends and on wider society.

Kellie Gordon, director,


What is Appoint-Ed?

Why are you in recruitment?

A recruiter solely for school technicians, admin, facili es and leaders.

I started as a Hays trainee in 2008. Five years ago, I formed Amnis with three other directors. I’m proud of this, but I wondered what I could achieve on my own. I meet great people and solve problems daily and I get a kick out of building my business and shaping my future.

Why set up a new business in this market? I have a hear elt interest in the future of educa on and it’s the people who make the difference. We all remember a teacher who made an impact, but there are opera ons staff also doing great things every day; from securing funding to se ng up an ‘Aha! moment’ in Science. I set up Appoint-Ed to give these roles and staff the a en on they deserve.

Where will the business be in five years’ time? I want to see na onwide growth in five years and an increase in headcount in 18 months. I’ve had to adapt because of the Covid-19 crisis, but when the schools open, I’ll be more than ready.

May 2020 Recruitment Ma ers


07/04/2020 12:26

Arঞficial intelligence

Indiscriminate robots

How to avoid human and machine bias in recruitment Human bias, unconscious and conscious, in the recruitment process is a major blockage for any business trying to achieve a diverse workforce. From the job advert to the faceto-face interview, the recruitment process is li ered with opportuni es for bias, which limits career progression. According to ‘Gaining Momentum’, a global report by the Interna onal Labour Organisa on, five of 14 barriers to women’s leadership were related to discrimina on and unconscious gender bias. This is a problem not just for the candidate, but also for the employer, who may miss out on an opportunity to diversify their team. There’s plenty of research that shows diversity is good for the workplace. It increases produc vity, enhances problem-solving, and can increase profits. The business case for workplace diversity is clear, but achieving diversity is more complex. Recruitment professionals can help employers to evaluate their recruitment prac ces and advise them on the necessary changes they can make to help eradicate bias and increase diversity.

Women’s chess club captains need not apply The REC’s ‘Future of Jobs’ report has iden fied technology as the biggest disruptor in recruitment. In a bid to inject more diversity into an organisa on, employers are increasingly turning to ar ficial intelligence (AI) and algorithms

Recruitment Ma ers


Recruitment Ma ers May 2020

RM_MAY 2020-v1.indd 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

to eliminate bias in the hiring process. The use of algorithms in recruitment is not new. Algorithms have long been used by online recruitment boards to promote job adverts to par cular candidates and to shortlist CVs by scanning the text for specific words. However, the use of algorithms in recruitment to help reduce human bias is fairly new. Employers are now using AI tools such as Applied to reduce bias in the early stages of the recruitment process. Applied helps employers to write compelling and inclusive job descrip ons with gender neutral language. Other tools, such as TribePad’s Applicant Tracking So ware, remove all personal and demographic informa on from the hiring process so hiring managers can assess candidates on ability alone. However, employers should be cau ous. Algorithms rely on humans to provide the informa on they base their decisions on. This means AI is only as unbiased as the informa on it uses. Last year Amazon’s AI recruitment programme was found to be systemising gender biases on a huge scale. The tool, which was designed by AI experts at Amazon, was trained using successful CVs submi ed to the company in the past. Unsurprisingly, the majority of these CVs came from men, so the tool began to discriminate against women by penalising CVs that referenced them. One person was rejected because their CV said she was a “women’s chess club captain”.

Dealing with the biases of humans and robots Late last year the REC hosted a series of roundtable debates with members and the Centre for Data Ethic and Innova on (CDEI) to discuss how the recruitment industry can tackle algorithm bias. One of the key recommenda ons was for employers to be diligent about the data sets they use for algorithms. Employers need to check they are supplying the tools with as much unbiased informa on as possible and should test them regularly to ensure there are no glitches. While there are pros and cons with using algorithms to help reduce unconscious bias in recruitment, employers must not rely solely on machines to change workplace behaviours. There are several tac cs they can use to reduce unconscious bias that don’t even require WiFi. For example, using nameblind CVs and having a diverse interview panel will help to reduce opportuni es for unconscious bias. The REC has created a toolkit offering ps for employers on reducing unconscious bias in their recruitment process. This can be found on the Good Recruitment Collec ve sec on of the website and accessed by signatories of the GRC. Signing up to the GRC is free and includes access to research reports and training events. You can sign up at www.

Membership Department: Membership: 020 7009 2100, Customer Services: 020 7009 2100 Publishers: Redac ve Publishing Ltd, Level 5, 78 Chamber Street, London E1 8BL Tel: 020 7880 6200. www.redac Editorial: Editor: Ruth Pricke Produc on Editor: Vanessa Townsend Producঞon: Produc on Execu ve: Rachel Young rachel.young@redac Tel: 020 7880 6209

© 2020 Recruitment Ma ers. Although every effort is made to ensure accuracy, neither REC, Redac ve Publishing Ltd nor the authors can accept liability for errors or omissions. Views expressed in the magazine are not necessarily those of the REC or Redac ve Publishing Ltd. No responsibility can be accepted for unsolicited manuscripts or transparencies. No reproduc on in whole or part without wri en permission.

07/04/2020 12:27


Of contractors we surveyed said they have not yet been spoken to about IR35 by the business or businesses they contract for.

MAKE SURE YOUR RECRUITMENT AGENCY IS PREPARED FOR THE CHANGE! With only a few months left to prepare – speak to the experts for a FREE IR35 education session.

Get in touch with our agency support team: 01925 694 521 | |

*Conducted by Brookson Legal, between 15th April 2019 – 30th June 2019. Based on 502 Brookson contractors working in the private sector.

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hile many like to see the UK as a meritocracy, where people succeed based on their talent and hard work, the facts suggest otherwise. According to research by Dr Louise Ashley, an expert on diversity & inclusion within the workplace, access to graduate schemes into the professions, such as law or accountancy, is heavily skewed, with 70% coming from those who attended private or selective schools. This despite these schools only educating 11% of children. John Craven, CEO of upReach, a charity that works to support university students from less privileged backgrounds and on whose advisory board Ashley sits, claims that statistically, “a former comprehensive school pupil is 17 times less likely to get into a graduate scheme than someone who attended a private or selective school”. Although an attainment gap emerges between school pupils from privileged backgrounds and those from less privileged backgrounds during the first five years at school, Craven says this has nothing to do with a person’s intelligence or ability. As he points out: “At university, where everyone has access to the same lectures and support, that attainment gap closes.” Nevertheless, Craven says the legacy of going to a state school when compared with attending a private or selective school continues to linger all the way through university, with devastating effects on the former’s careers and professional opportunities. Describing this lasting legacy as ‘the employability skills gap’, Craven says it comes about from “things like access to work experience through extracurricular activities, being taught in smaller classes, where teachers can take more risks, and more group work”.



relevant to professional careers.” It was while working as a maths teacher in a private school and ST U D E N T S CO M E comparing it with his experience of F RO M H O U S E H O L DS teaching in a number of state schools EAR N I N G L E S S T H A N that Craven says the penny dropped. £42K A Y E A R And especially after he read some research from upReach that had been working with educational and social mobility charity The Sutton Trust. This showed that even when people from state schools got a good degree, they were disadvantaged when it came to jobs and careers. “They aren’t able to get a good job afterwards, they typically earn less and they get promoted less quickly,” says Craven. His interest piqued, Craven successfully applied for upReach’s then vacant CEO’s position. Almost five years on, Craven says upReach supports 1,600 students across 66 UK universities, including Russell Group Universities such as Exeter and Cambridge, with the aims of increasing the number of students to 2,500 by 2022. Among the high-profile organisations that actively support upReach’s work are Deloitte, Goldman Sachs and McKinsey, who this year took four of upReach’s students

“The charity has developed a framework, which measures students against 10 different criteria, such as communication skills, teamwork, work experience and commercial awareness”

Background basics A student’s background also plays a big part, says Craven. “People from more affluent backgrounds have networks that are very useful to them and enable them to perhaps get an internship, or perhaps some work experience in the ON LY WORKS first year. There might be Radio 4 on at W IT H P UP IL S W H O home, and they might get involved in AT T EN D ED STAT E dinner party conversations, where S CH OOL S things are being discussed that are

SUCCESSFUL STUDENT SUPPORT Gemima Pople, a BA History graduate from University of Exeter, who now works as a management consultant for KPMG, who received support from upReach in 2017-18, says: “upReach has helped me throughout all of the stages of my internship and graduate scheme applications over the last 12 months. Liam (an upReach programme co-ordinator) has read through and made comments on all of my written questions in the initial stages of the applications. This was the stage I was often rejected at before upReach. “The support I have received over the last year has been extremely valuable. In particular, having mock interviews and the detailed feedback has allowed me to go into the real interviews feeling much more confident. Beyond application help, upReach and Liam in particular have been a great motivational factor during this stressful final year of university.”


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onto its graduate programme. “On the whole it’s because they want to access talent that maybe they currently aren’t accessing very well,” Craven explains. Craven says levelling the playing field in terms of narrowing the ‘skills employability gap’ means that upReach only works with pupils who attended state schools. Additional eligibility criteria are household income of less than £42k a year, and at least three Bs at A-Level. upReach also contextualises students’ academic performance, having developed an algorithm that boosts their UCAS points by up to 24 points – the equivalent of three grades. This adjusts students’ academic performance based on factors, including their exam results relative to that of their school, and their postcode. Craven says the vast majority of upReach students have multiple indicators of disadvantage. “Three-quarters come from a home where household income is below £25k, over half were eligible for free school meals when they were at school and three-quarters were the first in their family to go to university,” says Craven.

Employability assessment Craven says the first step for those on the three-year programme is to assess their employability. He says the charity has developed a framework which measures students against 10 different criteria, such as communication skills, teamwork, work experience and commercial awareness, giving them a score between one and five. Craven says using the framework at the start of the programme confirms the gap between those from advantaged and less privileged backgrounds. According to Craven this is evident in terms of things like teamwork, and leadership. “Or maybe it is around confidence in conveying very commercial awareness.” The results of this assessment, which students are asked to complete every August or September each year so their progress can be tracked, form the basis for the programme, which is tailored to each individual student. “So if we know that a student is level one for teamwork, we know that we need to get them engaged in team activities, or encourage them to attend team events we run to help them build their team skills.” Among the 14 interventions on the programme are skills workshops, for example, to improve a student’s communication skills, and insight days at employers. “It might be the first time a student has gone into a professional STUDE NTS ARE environment; it might be a flashy USUA LLY THE F IRST office in Canary Wharf, so that can be IN TH E IR FA M ILY TO a great experience for them.” G O TO UNIV E RSITY Other support and advice includes


PROUD TO PARTNER UPREACH “As proud partners of upReach, we support their social mobility vision to help talented individuals achieve their full potential, regardless of their background. We have worked with upReach since 2016; in that time we have built a strong mentorship programme, offered networking sessions and insight events. Most recently, we launched the Banking and Finance Springboard, designed to enhance participants understanding of the finance industry and provide employability skills to help them realise and achieve their career ambitions.” International head of talent at Bank of America Merrill Lynch

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helping students to build networks is every bit as important as skills training, says Craven. Networking takes several different forms, he says, with one being for students to sign up for mentoring with existing professionals, attending upReach’s employer events on behalf of their organisation. Craven says efforts are made to match students with mentors working in professions that they are interested in entering, as well with those from similar backgrounds as their own.

Continuing support

“They are willing to support each other because it is a kind of community, where they feel they have something in common"

CV reviews, mock interview and assessment centres, as well as an online platform, where students can S UP P ORT S practice tests remotely. They can also 1, 60 0 ST UD EN T S watch videos and participate in Skype ACROS S 66 UK sessions. Other aspects of the UN IV ERS I T IES programme include work experience programmes and internships run by upReach on behalf of employers, such as Aviva, which don’t have their own. Each student has one to one support and coaching from one of the charity’s 28 programme co-ordinators, who work with the student for the three years they are at university. Building those all important social connections and

Additional support comes from students who have previously been through the programme, who come in to give talks, as well as peer-to-peer support from those on the programme - even from those in different universities, with WhatsApp groups proving particularly helpful. “They are willing to support each other because it is a kind of community, where they feel they have something in common, and this means they are able to massively increase their network than it would otherwise have been.” upReach also works closely with university careers services, as well as university societies and clubs. According to Craven eight universities, among them Exeter, fund students on the programme, while many others promote it – for example, by putting on events. In addition to working with employers’ graduate recruitment teams, upReach also works closely with organisations, whose commitment to improving social mobility comes through their CSR programme. Craven says “a great example” is Bank of America Charitable Foundation, who gave upReach a grant that will pay for someone in the charity’s team to support 90 students interested in a career in banking and finance, as well as the salary of upReach partnership manager David Steel. “They are supporting us not just to support the bank but because it is a good thing in its own right as a charity,” says Craven. Bank of America Charitable Foundation is also funding upReach to open in Bristol, Nottingham and Newcastle. Craven says support for those from underprivileged backgrounds, outside London, where most of the corporate world’s efforts is focused is particularly welcome. “Social mobility is a much bigger issue outside of London,” he says, “particularly white working class males and females, who are underrepresented when it comes to getting graduate jobs.” While upReach and the universities and employers it works with have already made a big difference, when it comes to levelling the playing field for university students from state schools, it clear that much more remains to be done. ●


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We have been celebrating all that is fantastic in the world of recruitment marketing for 40 years and this year we aim to make the celebrations even bigger than ever!!



When the RMA’s launched in 1981 Twitter was but a twinkle in our eye, and you were more likely to send a telegram than post on Instagram. But one thing that hasn’t changed is the value in being crowned the best at what you do by your industry peers. Things have developed over the years and the RMA’s now has 28 categories, showcasing the best teams and individuals across all elements of recruitment marketing. To see a full list of the categories in more detail, head to



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In testing times, recruiters are still trying to help out in the community. Here are just a few examples of what you’ve been up to since the last Recruiter…


EASTER EGG COLLECTION ON HOLD BUT GAP PERSONNEL PROMISES TO PICK IT UP Every year, the Norwich team at gap personnel have an annual Easter Egg collection, raising money for Jenny Lind Children’s Ward. The business donates £1 for every egg collected, which last year was more than 600 eggs. Unfortunately, in the current set of circumstances the team naturally hasn’t been able to go out and collect the eggs from their clients, despite having another 350 ready to collect. However, the team promises to pick it up again when all this blows over!

Global executive search and leadership consulting firm TS Grale has donated £2,120 to a charity that raises funds to aid research into the causes of motor neuron disease (MND), following a gruelling cycle challenge earlier this month. Leeds-based TS Grale chose the ‘My Name’5 Doddie Foundation’ as its chosen charity for 2020 and successfully completed the 224 mile static ride in its offices. The 224 miles is the distance between Leeds Carnegie Rugby Club and Murrayfield Rugby Stadium, where the Foundation’s founder, Doddie Weir OBE carved out an illustrious rugby league career.

Gattaca Still need to get projects delivered during these tough times? We can help with #FlexibleLabour ( or #ProjectOffload services ( ZwdEGb)

EllisKnight International Recruitment We know this is a particularly challenging, difficult and uncertain time for all businesses. In that line, we are offering a temporary payment scheme: #RecruitNOWpayLATER For more information: #Recruitmentindustry #RecruitmentTrends #recruitment

HUNTER BOND GETS INTO GEAR FOR SPORTS RELIEF Before we all went into lockdown, finance and technology recruitment specialists Hunter Bond supported Sport Relief Week (9-13 April), culminating on the Friday where staff came to work dressed in sports gear and made very generous donations.



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↗ DR DANE POBOKA is a talent solutions director at Morgan Philips Talent Consulting and works with clients to make data-driven talent decisions and understand the potential of their people


Agility amidst Covid-19: build resilience and come back stronger BY DR DANE POBOKA

WE CURRENTLY FACE a global crisis on three fronts: health, economic and financial, the scale of which we have never seen before. We are in uncharted waters. With government measures, not experienced in generations, there has been a rapid – almost overnight – move to remote working for the majority of businesses across the globe. It is the ability to be agile – at all levels – that will enable organisations to navigate and adapt to these uncertain times. The simple fact is, those that can’t or won’t are unlikely to survive. Agility enables the ability to respond rapidly to organisational changes. As an example, many organisations have had to move to remote on-boarding of new staff to ensure their business activities continue as normally as possible. It also provides us with the ability to respond as individuals and teams – for example, the rapid move to working from home will have been a considerable challenge for many. Importantly, in what are extremely challenging and worrying times, it is agility that also provides the ability to respond quickly and effectively to our people’s needs. Whatever the realities of your current business situation, the best interests of your people should be at the forefront of your mind. At Morgan Philips, we define agility as the ability to work with insight, flexibility and confidence in response to challenging and changing circumstances. Our agility model describes an inner perspective – how we think about business – and an outer perspective – how we behave in response to our thinking. Within these perspectives, we focus on three key agility components: • People agility: understanding yourself and others, acting with empathy and leveraging interpersonal insight to achieve results

• Performance agility: being resilient, dealing with pressure, flexing and adapting plans to meet objectives • Growth agility: openness to learn from experience and drive improvements. In this context, agility is an overarching attribute that shapes your approach and ultimate success across a broad scope of activities, indicating the pace at which potential can be unlocked.

Opportunities within agility Build resilience. The importance of resilience within agility cannot be understated, certainly during trying times. Once all available cost and process efficiencies within your business are identified, what is the next performance ‘currency’ with which to invest? Your and your people’s resilience. Business efficiencies can only be realised when there are the necessary levels of staff resilience to execute them. Resilience is the ‘engine room’ of adaptability and agility. Why? Because, they are one and the same thing. Resilience is less about being tough, impervious to stress and fully in control. In fact, and our current situation dramatically bears this out, resilience is being able to tolerate uncertainty, to generate options in the face of such ambiguity and a willingness to respond and pivot quickly. While you may observe colleagues’ actions that demonstrate courage and resolve, the enabler of this is an ability to think fluidly – to re-frame and re-shape challenges; to zoom into

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the development of your staff. Provide them with help, guidance and training to build and maintain resilience during a very difficult time. Not only will it help their mental wellbeing, but it will also ensure your staff remain engaged and proactive during this period of time. Just because your staff aren’t working, doesn’t mean your duty of care stops there. When the disruption caused by Covid-19 ends, staff will remember employers that supported them through this difficult time versus those that didn’t. This could easily lead to a retention issue when the job market returns to ‘normality’. Take this opportunity to develop an agile and productive workforce.

detail and zoom out to the broader context; to proactively manage one’s energy levels to ensure you have the reserves to sense and respond to a consistently evolving situation. Take this opportunity to start building a resilient organisation that can perform in even the most difficult circumstances.

Develop. Over the last few weeks, many individuals have had to step up in to leadership positions. For some, this will be completely new to them. Generally, most organisations will have no data around agility in their people, making it difficult to forecast how quickly these people will realise their potential in new roles. By embedding an agility model within an organisational framework, an organisation can assess their talent, new and old, and use this data to coach and develop so they can quickly unlock and realise the potential of their people. Conversely, many companies have had no option but to furlough staff. This is another opportunity to ensure you continue supporting I M AG E | I STO C K

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“Being agile enables individuals and organisations to find opportunities in any situation”

Growth. The fact that organisations have been forced to very quickly move to remote working, remote on-boarding and, in some cases, remote hiring has substantially changed ways of working for most. On a positive note, this may make organisations review their work from home policies, enabling access to talent pools that are unable to work in a traditional office-based role – potentially boosting diversity and inclusivity in their workforces. Being agile enables individuals and organisations to find opportunities in any situation. Mercedes F1 team is a great example. Within a matter of weeks the luxury car manufacturer has used its existing resources to design, test and manufacture a type of breathing device to help patients suffering from Covid-19. The firm’s incredible ability to do this has been built up over many years of learning from their experiences, constantly driving for improvement and, most importantly, selecting and developing the right people. Take this opportunity to find new products, services and ways of working that will help your organisation and support your clients. However you approach it, agility at an individual, team and organisational level is, undoubtedly, a key factor to business performance in such uncertain times as these in which we live. ● WWW.RECRUITER.CO.UK 35

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ASK THE EXPERT We revisited our flexible working policies due to coronavirus but the results have been mixed – any advice? The potential impact of coronavirus to employee health and business productivity has naturally led to employers expanding remote working options. While many of these changes were enforced by circumstance, it is likely the virus will change working patterns in many companies longer term. In my experience companies that fudge existing policies experience mixed results. Those that achieve real positives from flexible working tend to be bold in their approach, reimagining business processes and operations as they balance opportunities with compromises to existing operations. Here are some of the key lessons I’ve observed.

Empower your team through greater autonomy Many companies question whether, without managers looking over employees’ shoulders, flexible or remote working will lead to teams slacking off. A minority of employees may take advantage but generally the majority embrace the opportunity to create rhythms that work for them, colleagues, clients and candidates. This improves retention and billings. The number of hours consultants work doesn’t matter so long as they hit targets and neither the brand nor operations are compromised. In fact, removing the idea that recruitment is 9-5 Monday to Friday encourages consultants to take ownership of their roles and responsibilities. While clients appreciate recruiters being available during office hours, candidates often find out of hours conversations easier and in a candidate-short market that flexibility makes a big difference.

Use metrics to avoid nasty surprises


The SME Coach Apart from creating a cohesive team dynamic, the biggest challenge to remote working is getting the best out of researchers and rookie consultants. Listening with half an ear to the variety and frequency of their mistakes is an effective tool for helping shape their training but it isn’t the only way; again metrics can quickly identify their strengths and weaknesses.

Infrastructure and connectivity With SaaS systems like Microsoft 365, cube19, slack, Bullhorn etc putting ‘connectivity’ at their heart, truly virtual offices are now possible. Investing in the right technology, choosing the right metrics and ensuring that systems are set up in the best possible way pays dividends. The ‘office’ dynamic may change but the delivery should remain seamless as far as candidates and clients are concerned. Maintaining internal communication and the sense of team and brand can be challenging but Microsoft Teams or slack can go some way to creating a sense of office camaraderie. Once the present situation with social distancing is over, there is, however, no substitute for face-to-face meetings; and office (away) days will become even more important the more virtual the office gets.

Commit to see results In the future, remote working won’t work for every recruitment business but if you want to see if you can generate a competitive advantage from it, then invest in technology and reimagine both policies and processes. ●

While looking over consultants’ shoulders when they work remotely isn’t feasible, it is nonetheless possible to monitor individual performance. Traditional metrics (monthly billing vs target; number of new jobs on; number of candidates at interview; number of calls per week etc) continue to be critical. And other measures should be added/reprioritised to enable a rounded assessment of each consultant’s performance. For example: client service checks to ensure that clients’ expectations are being met; internal 360 reviews to identify improve internal operations and collaboration etc. To empower consultants give them confidence that they are doing the right things by being crystal clear how you will assess their performance.

Alex Arnot

ALEX ARNOT is founder of MyNonExec and board adviser to more than 30 recruitment companies

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“My dad was absolutely phenomenal at sales and I really looked up to him. He’s my role model” MY BRILLIANT RECRUITMENT CAREER What was your earliest dream job? An estate agent. Early on I focused on the sales part of the role and I ended up being an estate agent running a branch just outside Glasgow, where a lot of the rich and famous live, so I had lots of interesting house viewings.

It was in high-street recruitment doing admin and secretarial temporary recruitment in Glasgow many moons ago. I actually went from estate agency into that, because I think like most people you don’t just wake up one day and decide you want to be in recruitment – you kind of fall into it.

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

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

KAREN ALEXANDER managing director at Intelligent Resource

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

My dad was absolutely phenomenal at sales and I really looked up to him. He’s my role model. He taught me everything he knows.

My recent appointment to managing director.

What do you love most about your current role?

Probably the worst is, “If you were an animal – what would you be?” That’s my pet hate – pardon the pun!

There are lots of things I love but I especially love the fact I have full autonomy to build and shape the business. I thoroughly enjoy working with the team and having an influence on people’s careers. I’m very passionate about the recruitment industry, which is why I’ve been in it for so long. I just find it really interesting; having that kind of influence on somebody’s life when they move roles and being part of one of their key milestones in life.


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What’s the best or worst interview question you’ve ever heard?

What’s your top job to fill? We’ve got some exciting roles in the

digital space with a retail client. They’re doing quite innovative things in digital and there are some senior leadership roles that we’re recruiting for.

Laugh or cry, what did your most memorable candidate make you want to do and why? A combination of laughing and crying when you hear the endless book of excuses for not going to an interview. I think we’ve all had those moments in our career in recruitment… A lot of dead relatives – people seem to have a lot of unlucky relatives around them.

What would you regard as your signature tune? If it’s to get me on to the dancefloor, it would be Dignity by Deacon Blue, but if it’s about challenges I’ve overcome, then it’s Ain’t No Mountain High Enough by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell.


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The recruitment giant was due to nominate Rachel Duan for election to the board of directors at its upcoming annual general meeting of shareholders in April.

The recruitment membership network welcomes Sid Barnes as a key associate within the Elite Leaders peer-to-peer network. He will be co-chairman of the Elite Leaders member groups alongside Jeff Brooks, Elite CEO, and provide additional expertise to Elite members. Barnes is founder and CEO of Mastermind Consulting and was previously managing director at Cordant Group.

BOSTON HALE Guy Stubbing has joined the multi-sector recruitment consultancy to head up its change & transformation division.

CAMINO PARTNERS The back office to boardroom recruiter promotes Harry Hewson from head of practice to associate director and Natasha South from head of operations to operations director.



International recruitment firm Eames Consulting Group has made two appointments in its operations in Asia. Chanel Wee joins the front office team in Singapore as principal consultant and Toby Miles joins the change and technology team as managing consultant in Hong Kong.

Samuel Griffiths joins the global recruitment specialist to head up its new office in Tokyo, as Japan country manager. Based in Tokyo, Griffiths has been recruiting


Former SThree CEO Gary Elden has been appointed chairman at multi-sector recruiter Amoria Bond. Elden left international STEM staffing business SThree a year ago following five years as CEO, six months as deputy CEO and five years as chief strategy officer. He is also the founder and former MD of SThree brand Huxley Banking & Financial Services. Touching on the reasons for its new chairman’s appointment, Amoria Bond notes Elden, who has in-depth knowledge of international STEM markets, having grown SThree’s global headcount by 40%, increased gross profit by 55%, and doubled both turnover and profitability, will significantly strengthen the board’s capabilities and operating effectiveness in these and other complementary market sectors. Elden says: “I’ve been watching the rise of Amoria Bond with interest over the last few years, and have been really impressed by their success in establishing themselves as an international industry leader in specialist recruitment consultancy services. Their growth and financial results have been impressive from day one, and I look forward to working with the board as chairman to help them take the business through the next stages of growth.”

in the Japanese market for the past 15 years and will head up ersg’s ninth office.

GUIDANT GLOBAL The talent acquisition and managed workforce

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

solutions provider has made two senior appointments to support business growth. Louise West has been promoted from client solutions manager to director of client solutions (EMEA), while Robin Sanders has been appointed as senior vice-president client solutions (NA), moving on from her previous role of VP global solutions.

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Paul Geist as head of practice – regulation, compliance and financial crime. Geist joins the recruiter with more than 15 years’ experience in the compliance and financial crime space.



Kirsty Stanton joins the global strategic resourcing consultancy as client services manager, supporting the recently appointed client services director Gill Robinson.

The global executive search firm has promoted Katharina Kaiser to country manager for Austria. Josef Buttinger, who has led the Vienna office since joining the firm in 2015, will move on to the global industrial practice. Also joining the executive search firm in Moscow are Gregory Camou, appointed country manager for Russia, and Sergei Serdioukov, who becomes head of industrial practice CIS.




Rik Esselink, former managing director Europe of Amazon’s subsidiary Ring, joins the team at the German digital staffing service as chief revenue officer. Zenjob provides temporary work to students and employees to firms.

MCGREGOR BOYALL The global recruitment specialist has appointed

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

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

Reporters Colin Cottell, Graham Simons

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

Contributing writers Sue Weekes Production editor Vanessa Townsend

Art editor Sarah Auld Picture editor Akin Falope ADVERTISING +44 (0)20 7880 6231



Recruitment industry grandee Paul Jacobs is the new chairman at global finance and technology firm Hunter Bond. Jacobs, who joined Hunter Bond in early March, has held main board positions at Adecco UK and Hudson UK. He grew the Office Angels network to over 100 branches from 60 while managing a headcount of 650 staff. Over the last 10 years, he has been involved in supporting and developing a wide range of recruitment businesses throughout the UK and abroad.

The global digital ad verification specialist has appointed Lisa Nadler as chief HR officer.

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

Mark Hewitt has joined the International search and recruitment firm to lead its Interim CFO offering in London.

STAFFLINE The recruitment and training group, has appointed the former Harvey Nash CEO Albert Ellis to non-executive director of the company, with immediate effect. Ellis spent more than 21 years at Harvey Nash, the technology recruitment and IT solutions group.


CIRCULATION and SUBSCRIPTIONS Recruiter is the leading magazine for recruitment and resourcing professionals. To ensure each issue of Recruiter magazine is delivered to your desk or door, subscribe now at Annual subscription rate: £35 UK; £45 Europe and £50 Rest of the world • Recruiter is also available to people who meet our terms of control: • To purchase reprints or multiple copies, or any other enquiries, please contact or +44 (0)1580 883844 CONTRIBUTIONS Contributions are invited, but when not accepted will be returned only if accompanied by a fully stamped and addressed envelope. Articles should be emailed. No responsibility can be taken for drawings, photographs or literary contributions during delivery, transmission or in the editor’s hands. © 2020 Redactive Media Group. All rights reserved. This publication (and any part thereof) may not be reproduced, transmitted or stored in print or electronic format (including but not limited to any online service, any database or any part of the internet) or in any other format in any media whatsoever, without the prior written permission of Redactive Media Group. Redactive Media Group accepts no liability for the accuracy of the contents or any opinions expressed herein. The publishers cannot accept liability for any loss arising from the late appearance or non-publication of any advertisement for any reason whatsoever. ISSN 1475-7478

Total average net circulation between 1 July 2017 & 30 June 2018 – 14,837. is also sent to all REC members

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“If you are interested in being on the ride for this journey, get in touch”

Paul Maxin Doing well by doing good: recruitment’s role from pandemic to climate emergency verything has changed in the last few weeks, and that transformation is speeding up by the day. I am writing this piece on the morning that the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and health secretary Matt Hancock have tested positive for coronavirus. One can only imagine the number of people they’ve had contact with before government, COBRA and the daily press conferences going virtual. So who knows where we’ll be by the time you read this. One small positive, though, is that pollution levels in the UK have halved since the nationwide shutdown. Air quality improvements have been seen in nations around the world from Italy to China. Before the outbreak, I had been giving much thought to the role that talent management and talent acquisition, whether in-house or agency, can play in the fight against the



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climate emergency. Our house is on fire; scientists have warned that we may have crossed a series of climate tipping points, which is an existential threat to us all. To have any chance of meeting a commitment to net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, it’s my contention that all organisations above a certain size will have publishable targets set for them. Those targets will apply across the supply chain and will impact how goods, services and people are procured. Globalisation will evolve, or change. It won’t be sustainable to fly or ship fresh food items covered in plastic across continents. Nor will it be to regularly fly in big teams of people. Projects will still be delivered, but differently. Agile thinking and agile methodology will help. To protect lives the Covid-19 pandemic has fundamentally changed the

way we work and exponentially sped up what can be achieved remotely. I’ve seen some fantastic examples in recent days of team building, from virtual workouts to team drinks. In many cases they’ve got to know each other’s families a little bit too. This will have a lasting impact on the way we engage and deliver business outcomes. I also suspect that once the virus has been conquered, a fear factor will remain part of its legacy. A kind of collective psychological shock, which will be hard to overcome. The climate emergency will outlast the current global contagion. Once it’s over, could these changes ultimately have a positive impact for the talent cycle and workforce planning as business plays its role in tackling it? I believe so. Using all the tools at our disposal, from tech stacks to AI, rapidly iterating and reiterating, it is our collective and moral

responsibility, as an industry, to develop a meaningful Talent Sustainability Index (TSI) for capacity planning, recruitment and deployment of people. The TSI will feed into overall corporate governance. Taking it to the next level, teams and individuals could have collective or personal targets that are ripe for gamification. I know this is conceptual. I don’t have the answers as to how this will work – yet! What I do know is that we have many brilliant people in our profession, and I’m keen to crowdsource your thinking on methodology of what a TSI might look like and how it will operate. If you are interested in being on the ride for this journey, get in touch. Collectively we can do well by doing good. ●

PAUL MAXIN is founding director, Max Intalent


08/04/2020 11:34


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