Recruiter November/December 2023

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INCORPORATING Recruitment Matters

UK jobs go green PageGroup’s Joanna Bonnett lays foundation for greener employment

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A NEWS 05 Recruiters warned to reduce carbon emissions Recruitment expert Mark Bull advises recruiters to start reporting on their CO2 emissions 07 Savage challenges recruiters to up their game Entrepreneur Greg Savage on achieving recruitment success in any season 08 Green light for sustainable jobs in the UK A foundation aimed at transitioning to future green employment formerly launched at the Eden Project 09 Contracts & Deals

INCORPORATING Recruitment Matters

C INTERACTION 18 Viewpoint


Naveen Tuli, Major, Lyndsey & Africa Soundbites


B TRENDS 10 Tech & Tools




The latest recruitment technology and services Workplace: Business Advice Tara Ricks on planning for AI in recruitment Workplace: Trends The hiring process is crucial, so get the onboarding right for each individual hire Insight Skills bootcamps: Filling the roles in sectors where skilling has severely lagged behind demand

Going green for jobs Joanna Bonnett, head of sustainability and group treasury at PageGroup, seeks to transform green employment in a part-time role as founder of the Green Jobs Foundation 28 Contractor services: PEOs The professional employer organisation is here to make more transparent contractors’ actual pay rates on their wage statements

28 E COMMUNITY 34 Social 35 My Brilliant Recruitment Career Jemma Simpson

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


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SHORTLIST ANNOUNCED 30 November 2023 @RecruiterAwards | #investingintalent AWARDS ENQUIRIES:

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great frustration for me as an editor, a gatekeeper for information for our recruitment community, is the lack of ‘hows’ generally available. What I mean is, our team receive proclamations day in and day out about ‘this is good – all businesses should embrace it’, or ‘this is bad – eradicate it from your business’ covering everything from diversity, equity & inclusion to bullying and wellbeing initiatives. Lacking usually is the ‘how’: how do you create a healthy DE&I culture, how do you stop bullying, and so on. So, it was incredibly refreshing, enlightening and exciting to get a “One lightning large dose of ‘hows’ and ‘whats’ at the bolt came from Joanna Bonnett LinkedIn Talent Summit in New York of PageGroup, in October. One who spoke about lightning bolt came from Joanna Bonnett green jobs” of PageGroup, who spoke about the advent of green jobs, how new green jobs are being developed and how she personally is involved in mapping a course for green jobs and skills in the UK. Incidentally, Bonnett is not a recruiter per se: she’s the head of sustainability and corporate treasury in her day job. Read her story in this issue of Recruiter, and stay tuned for more ‘tales from the Big Apple’ about making a difference in how talent/skills developed are being influenced from beyond the talent enclave for good. Thanks to LinkedIn for bringing these innovators to the world stage.

DeeDee Doke, Editor

Recruitment agencies warned to reduce carbon emissions BY ROISIN WOOLNOUGH

RECRUITMENT AGENCIES, EVEN SMALL ones, need to start reporting on and reducing their carbon emissions to meet supply chain requirements and safeguard future contracts, warns a former recruiter who has become a certified consultant in the carbon industry. The spotlight has previously been on the big polluters with regards to carbon reporting. Oil & gas, manufacturing, construction, large multinationals… Since 1 April 2019, UK organisations of a certain size and turnover (annual turnover of £36m plus, a £18m balance sheet total and/or 250 employees) have had to report on their energy use and carbon emissions. Smaller, less profitable companies with low emission levels have been exempt, allowing many recruitment agencies off the hook. But that is starting to change as big companies and


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39,370 FOLLOWERS AS OF 2 NOV 2023

government agencies are now looking to reduce their carbon footprint by getting suppliers to reduce theirs. In June 2021, the UK government released PPN 06/21, its Procurement Policy Notice (PPN), stating that all suppliers bidding for public sector contracts would have to demonstrate their commitment to achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, in line with the government’s own targets. This means that when bidding for or renewing contracts, all big recruitment groups and managed service provider businesses will be taking a close look at their supply chain to see how green it is; small operators that are non-compliant could lose out. Currently, there’s a £5m cap in England, with contracts beneath that cap being exempt. That is predicted to change in April 2024, when the cap will either be reduced or eliminated altogether, bringing it in line with the devolved countries. Mark Bull (pictured), formerly CEO at Randstad UK and now a franchise partner at the carbon consultancy Auditel, thinks the big recruitment agencies know this is coming and will be ready, but that smaller agencies are largely unprepared, with most not even having a baseline report as yet. “Because recruitment is a professional services business and falls into the low emitters category, recruitment hasn’t seen itself as an industry that needs to get involved with this,” he says. “There’s a lack of awareness that they will need to do this but it’s coming down the supply chain.” As the focus switches to supply chains, Bull says there is a strong commercial risk for recruitment agencies that don’t take this seriously and don’t start addressing their emissions in time. “Take an organisation like the NHS, which many recruitment


agencies work with. It is estimated that it accounts for 4-5% of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions and 62% of NHS England emissions come from their supply chain. Its biggest gain in reducing its carbon footprint is to push it down the supply chain.” As a result, the NHS is on a mission to address supply chain emissions to achieve first neutrality, then net zero. Bull says organisations that aren’t reporting on their carbon emissions are already losing out on contracts. He knows of a mid-sized building contractor tendering for a government agency house building project that was struck off in the initial stages because it didn’t have any carbon reporting in place. It won’t be long, he says, until this starts happening more regularly, which is why recruitment agencies must act now. Producing a carbon footprint doesn’t generally take long but implementing the subsequent action points might be a more long-term process. “For example, if you have 50 cars on the fleet for

your recruiters, your biggest reduction might be to switch to EVs, but that isn’t something that can happen overnight,” says Bull. “Or you might want to increase your use of renewable energy for electricity, again something that doesn’t happen overnight.” Data centre emissions are another area to consider as they chew up huge amounts of energy. The main thing, says Bull, is to get started – having the report and a plan is usually sufficient to reassure those further up the supply chain that emissions are being addressed. As well as the commercial aspect, Bull suggests, recruiters need to think about carbon accounting from the perspective of the future workforce. Recruitment is largely populated by a younger demographic, people for whom environmental considerations are very important. Younger generations increasingly expect their employer to demonstrate strong ethical, environmental values, so carbon accounting could be a make or break factor for them.

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Savage challenges recruiters to up their game BY DEEDEE DOKE

Recruiter, raconteur and entrepreneur Greg Savage brought his show of recruitment expertise on the road to the UK this autumn, enlightening and entertaining recruiter audiences with his guidance to achieving recruitment success. In his two-and-a-half hour session, Savage debunked the notion that UK recruiters are currently experiencing hard times and challenged them to up their games. “We are not in a ‘bust’,” he said. “This is not tough. Now is still good” – especially when compared to the global financial crisis period of 2007-09, he noted. While clients are taking longer to hire, he acknowledged, it’s up to recruiters to “change tactics” to

succeed in the current climate: “You’ve got to get your mindset right.” In his 45-year recruitment career, he said he had seen “thousands of good and not-so-good shooting stars that petered out” in an industry that is “extraordinarily difficult… It’s the only industry where the product can say no”.

SAVAGE SAYINGS “The cold call is not dead – but I’d rather convert it to a warm call.” “Never fear the ‘C’ word… competition!” “The ‘C’ word will kill your career… complacency!” “Don’t talk fees – talk value.” “It’s better to work on eight jobs and fill six than slave away on 20 messy orders and fill two.”

Hosted by the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC), Savage’s stops included Birmingham, Bristol and London. Among his teachings, a theme throughout was urging his ‘students’ to recognise the value of their profession. “Don’t say ‘recruitment is not rocket science’,” he said. “That’s easy to express and hard to do. It means you don’t believe in what we do. “And in our business, everybody wins when it’s done right!” Recruiters must achieve ‘equity’ in relationships with clients, who actually want the recruiter to control the recruitment process, Savage said. “You’ve got to believe that you have value. Don’t say, ‘We won’t take up much of your time’, don’t say ‘the fee usually is’. Don’t use tentative language! It’s not a master-servant relationship. “Equity – it’s a journey,” he said. “The only future for us is moving from transactional to consultative.” He also emphasised the need to build trust with candidates and clients, and always aim to improve communication skills as they are at the core of selling. “Selling is questioning. It is understanding. It is listening. When the client is talking, you are selling. You want the client talking 70% of the time. “To sell, you must be able to articulate your differentials, what your wow factor is. Think about differentiators that reflect your ability to deliver quality candidates.” Recruiting in the Covid pandemic era was affected by depersonalisation through never meeting clients or candidates face-to-face, he lamented. However, he reminded audiences: “People judge you by how you make them feel.” Greg Savage’s latest book is Recruit the Savage Way: Skills, attitudes and tactics to be an outstanding recruiter.


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Green means go for UK jobs BY DEEDEE DOKE

A FOUNDATION AIMED AT SUPPORTING the UK’s transition to future green skills and jobs, including the pilot of a green internship scheme next year, has been launched. Business and civil organisations including PageGroup, City and Guilds, PwC, the Living Wage Foundation, RenewableUK and Lightcast are supporting the Green Jobs Foundation in its aim of accelerating “the awareness and access to green jobs in the UK”. The charity has been created as a personal drive by PageGroup head of sustainability and corporate treasury Joanna Bonnett. Formally launched at the Eden Project on 2 November as part of the Anthropy Gathering, an annual event dedicated to inspiring a better Britain, the foundation was formed at the end of 2022. With the foundation’s launch was its first ‘Green Jobs: State of the Nation Report’, which details where in the UK the number of green jobs are growing and their economic value. The report also emphasises skills development and reskilling as part of the requirement to progress. Bonnett said: “As a nation, we must invest in green skills as the workforce moves towards a skills-first agenda and provide workers with sustainable jobs aligned to their personal values and opportunities they can be proud of.” The foundation’s focus is on “jobs in this emerging economy, the


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skills workers will require, how these skills are acquired, and successful pathways from the old to the new economy”, a foundation statement said. “It was formed as a ‘think and do’ foundation with the goal of helping to tackle the practical issues around the fundamental question of our time: how the UK and the rest of the world can successfully move to a low-carbon and then zero-carbon society, whilst leaving no one behind in a Just Transition.” The report provides case studies of how green skills are being taught at community level in the UK, such as in Maidenhead, where a Green Skills Library is being created. Local residents can access free courses to learn how to upcycle, repair and create, and in future will be offered free group training in organic gardening, reupholstery and common repairs, as a result of recent funding. Donna Stimson, the founder of

the Green Skills Library, is a former councillor and sustainability cabinet member for the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead. Stimson said: “Content in the courses can also provide individuals with new skills, which could lead to sustainable green jobs.” The UK government plans to create 2m green jobs by 2030 and 6.9m green jobs by 2050. “This transition of employment will create significant opportunities as well as challenges, which we must overcome by working together,” the statement said. “Students looking to enter the workforce and workers of today will be required to reskill and upskill to be match-fit for tomorrow.” • For more about the ‘Green Jobs: State of the Nation Report’ and the foundation, see The Big Story on p22.


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CONTRACTS & DEALS Leadline Leadline, an inbound candidate lead generation application for recruiters and hiring teams, has announced its strategic partnership with Talroo, a provider of recruiting technology for hiring frontline and essential workers. The collaboration enhances Leadline’s job distribution capabilities by leveraging Talroo’s AI-driven search and match platform, driving higher quality applicants into Leadline’s conversion-optimised candidate experience.

MBN Solutions Glasgow-based MBN Solutions has received a funding package from UK Steel Enterprise, a subsidiary of Tata Steel, that will help the business drive forward its growth plans and double its headcount. The funding from UKSE will accelerate the firm’s growth strategy by enabling it to purchase enhanced technology, increase its marketing outputs and explore new partnership opportunities with key stakeholders.

HCRG HCRG (Healthcare Resourcing Group) will be the exclusive provider of temporary clinical staff for Chelsea and Westminster and The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trusts. This follows the award of a Master Vendor contract to HCRG, which includes recruitment brands HCL, Sugarman and Team24. Under the new agreement, HCRG will provide nursing and doctors to the trusts where needed to add additional capacity or provide cover for sickness and recruitment gaps, a company statement said.

The Adecco Group The Adecco Group has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with tech giant Microsoft, focused on enabling worker preparedness as Generative AI (GenAI) reshapes the workforce. The MoU marks a further step in the journey between the two organisations, combining Adecco’s global leadership in talent development and employment with Microsoft’s deep expertise and innovation in GenAI.

Cornerstone OnDemand Chelsea FC Women has announced a landmark new partnership with Cornerstone OnDemand, a specialist in learning and talent experience solutions, that aims to empower a futureready workforce. Cornerstone will be powering Chelsea’s entire workforce both on and off the pitch by being integrated into the Club’s wider learning and development programmes, supporting the current Women’s Super League Champions in pushing the game forward.

The IN Group The IN Group, a collection of specialist talent brands, has formed a partnership with hire, train and deploy experts Sigma Labs to expand its digital talent pool with high-performance junior technology consultants. Sigma Labs will expand The IN Group’s global end-to-end talent offering, developing graduates into tech professionals with digital skills that augment delivery teams from day one.


M2 Education M2 Education, an education staffing business in the North of England, has been acquired by Swedish education recruiter Humly to support its continued growth and use of new technology. Founded by Mark Birnie and Melissa Kumar, M2, which has offices in Newcastle and Preston, places teachers, teaching assistants and tutors on a permanent and temporary basis into primary, secondary and special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) establishments. The business focuses on three regions:

Newcastle, Cumbria and Lancashire. Humly is a tech-focused education staffing company, which helps schools access skilled and qualified teachers and teaching assistants, utilising an efficient, automated platform. As a result of the acquisition, Humly will overlay its technology into M2 Education’s operations to serve existing and new clients to enhance overall user experience and increase efficiencies for both education establishments and candidates.

More contract news at


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Tech trends for 2024 BY SUE WEEKES

hat will recruitment technology companies be offering recruiters and resourcing professionals next year and beyond to source the right talent the most effectively? We asked a number of experts in the field to share their ideas and what to look out for.


Toby Culshaw, global head of talent intelligence: Worldwide Amazon Stores, and founder of the Talent Intelligence Collective Generative AI augmentation to enhance recruiters rather than full automation: Using AI tools like chatbots and writing assistants allows recruiters to do more with


less, without fully replacing human roles. This balances productivity with budget. This also gives a risk of outreach message volume increasing dramatically. Cutting through the noise and creating a unique positioning will be very difficult. This could trigger a return to more traditional sourcing offline. Increased use of analytics and algorithms for data-driven hiring: Leveraging more talent analytics, talent intelligence, predictive modelling and algorithms to source, screen, assess and match candidates can improve outcomes and reduce wasted time and resources. This focuses spending on what works. Adoption of vendor recruiting tools with embedded AI: Opting for recruiting tech stacks and

platforms where machine learning and natural language processing are baked in. This avoids needing to build expensive AI in-house. The focus is on maximising value from vendor partnerships.

Wendy McDougall, chief fish, CEO and founder, Firefish Software Data-driven recruitment: Advanced analytics and data-driven insights will guide recruitment strategies, helping companies understand where to find the best talent and how to appeal to them. AI-powered processes: Through the evolution of built-in AI, recruiters will drastically reduce the time that it takes to identify and place top talent. Tech stack consolidation: As

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Rise of digital recruitment business models with no physical presence: How will fully digital recruiters begin to take marketshare in 2024 and how will government respond to the threat of offshoring and extraterritoriality? Digital hiring phase II: The Digital Information Bill is set to pass and get Royal Assent enabling the potential of greater data sharing between government and recruiters. Alongside the rise of open banking and automated HMRC Gateway checks revolutionising the referencing process, both DBS and Disclosure Scotland are working on their digital policies and digital hiring phase II is coming into sight. It is an aim that in 2024, everything is in place to bring about the registration of candidates completely remotely in hours.

Joseph Slavin, chair of the Recruitment Events Co and Occy; board adviser to GetOptimal costs remain a focus for business owners throughout 2024, the emphasis on consolidation within their tech stack and retaining only critical tools will be a focus.

Keith Rosser, director of group risk at Reed Screening Increased use of AI in recruitment: In March 2024 we have a virtual session of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Modernising Employment dedicated to the pros and cons of AI in hiring. It’s already starting to be used by candidates and recruiters; we have by no means seen the bigger impact of this yet, but it is coming. New York has already started to legislate, as has the EU – keeping recruitment human in the midst of the AI storm will be essential.


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AI and genuine ignorance: Naturally, AI will feature at the top of this list but I would also like to point out that ‘genuine ignorance’ or ‘GI’ will be even more pervasive. By that I mean the continued lack of attention paid to candidates – who take their time to apply for a job online – who never hear back, are never told where they are in the process and are routinely ignored. This ‘GI’ will get worse as the balance shifts to the recruiter due to job scarcity. Surely there is an opportunity here for an applicant tracking system? AI tools such as ChatGPT for applications will obviously continue to expand: Everyone’s game will be raised, albeit a bit artificially. Also, an AI tool such as Sonara can apply for literally hundreds of jobs on a candidate’s

behalf, and Adzuna’s Prepper tool can help candidates with interview questions and answers. This incursion by AI will cause two seemingly opposite reactions: One is a rush to blockchain tools such as CV Wallet to authenticate that candidates are who they say they are. The other seemingly opposite reaction will be an increase in old-fashioned, face-to-face meetings, for example, at universities to make sure candidates are genuine.

Dean Sadler, CEO, Tribepad Bias reducing tech: At Tribepad, we’re committed to reducing bias in recruitment. We predict a growth in technology that is constantly checked and monitored to ensure it doesn’t perpetuate bias, but addresses it. And this will be a partnership. A mix of humans who are learning new skills to prompt AI effectively, and clean up data that is fed into it; humans who know how to analyse results, and effective technology that has been trained to reduce bias and boost inclusivity. AI and machine learning: AI will change everything and nothing. Just like email replaced letter writing at a time when nobody did that anymore, it's now ubiquitous and most people send many each day, and so it will be with AI. It will be all pervasive and yet people won’t notice it. However, it will hide the truth. Questions will be asked such as: Did the candidate really write this covering letter? Do they really understand this topic? Do they really have the skills they say they do? We will start to question things more and critical thinking is no bad thing. Predictive analytics: By automating the often time-consuming task of screening, clients know that they can focus on the really important part of


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recruiting – building a relationship with their preferred candidate and getting them to sign the dotted line. Predictive analytics saves time for hiring managers, reducing the time and resources needed to find and hire the right talent, enhance the hiring process, and be faster and more targeted, freeing up capacity for working on more strategic work.

Matthew Jeffery, director, UKI talent attraction & acquisition (TA2) leader Companies are looking at how to implement AI into their recruitment processes: This is whether it is being used for pre-screening, or using ChatGPT for writing content such as job advertisements, blog posts and interview questions. AI will help organise unstructured HR and recruitment data. Meanwhile, candidates are using AI to write their CVs to ‘help’ them pass company assessments.

Identifying top talent: Companies will be able to identify top talent, faster and quicker, and reach out to them. This is where the competitive advantage will creep to those companies who realise that whatever hyper personalisation AI will bring, it is not the human touch that candidates crave. AI may identify where the talent is but employment brand teams will have to be ever more creative in disruptive marketing techniques to stand out. Companies will revert to more in-person assessments: AI will aid the passing of assessments to such a degree that top marks will be routine. So while AI will level the playing field for companies big and small to locate and pre-screen the best talent, the best of the best recruiting teams will laser focus on the art of building human relationships and creating disruptive marketing to be unique in a crowded talent marketplace. ●

IN BRIEF Harnessing the power of potential HireVue is introducing a new category for hiring based on skills and potential called “human potential intelligence”. Relying on the constructs of the past like CVs and job descriptions falls short in identifying potential, says HireVue. It will use AI to evaluate candidates based on potential, skills and interests. Aligning with this new approach is the launch of Find My Fit, an application that claims to offer “precision job matching” ensuring that candidates aren’t merely directed to open positions but to roles that are a genuine fit with their unique skills and potential.

Speed dating for recruitment? is an applicant matching system (AMS), which uses short videos and assistive AI technology to transform the hiring process. It describes itself as “TikTok meets Tinder but for recruitment”. Candidates directly apply to a job using a link or QR code and create a short video expressing their personality and compatibility with the role. The approach mirrors speed dating says the developers, “where compatibility is often gauged in the first few minutes”. AI and advanced algorithms are used to evaluate applicants on a broad range of factors to establish their alignment with the role and company culture.

A bright future for interviewing The interview intelligence platform BrightHire is integrating with the applicant tracking system Rippling Recruiting. It means that hiring teams can add BrightHire links to all of their interviews with a single click. BrightHire’s software will handle the recording and transcribing as well as writing all of the AI-powered interview notes from phone and video interviews. It will also show hiring managers what interview questions to ask. After each interview, BrightHire will automatically convert the conversation into AI-powered notes that are shareable.


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AI: WHAT’S YOUR PLAN? “We don’t want to be left behind, but we aren’t sure what or how to think about generative AI” As a business leader, if you haven’t thought or said this in the last 12 months I would be surprised – it is a sentiment shared by many of the recruitment business leaders I talk to. We know the technology is accessible, is advancing rapidly and will have an impact on the way people work, so it is imperative that firms do more than just ‘keep up’. There is no one right answer (unfortunately?) and the book on how to successfully roll out AI in a recruitment business has yet to be written (although it may have been written by the time this article is published – indeed, by Gen AI?!). A key task for business leaders is to demystify the language and the perceived threats of job replacement and loss – taking a step back to assess the risk and opportunities for your business. Leaders need to build a compelling narrative showcasing how these tools can reduce the repetitive and predictable tasks, freeing up teams to focus on more creative and interpersonal tasks. The part recruitment firms play in the talent ecosystem, in an era where the talent market remains competitive, requires agility and innovation – to respond to pressure to deliver results. This is where AI steps in as a transformative tool, streamlining processes and offering strategic advantages: ● Enhancing efficiency is often characterised by vast amounts of data – from CVs, interview notes, qualifications and references. AI, with its natural language processing and machine-learning capabilities, can swiftly analyse and categorise this information, providing overall accuracy, reducing time spent by your teams and increasing the likelihood of finding the perfect match. This will mean working on the how and why of compiling and recording data in your business. According to McKinsey, 72% of business leaders cite data management as one of the main roadblocks in scaling AI. ● AI-driven predictive analytics have the power to transform recruitment by forecasting which candidates are more likely to succeed in a specific role. By analysing significant amounts of historical data points on candidates and employee performance, AI can provide valuable insights

Co-chair, Elite Leaders into a potential hire’s long-term success within an organisation, and the algorithms continuously learn and improve as they process ever more data. So over time, an AI-empowered recruitment system becomes even better at identifying ideal candidates and predicting success. ● The candidate experience is a crucial aspect of any successful recruitment process. AI can personalise communication with candidates – tailoring messages, providing real-time updates on the application process and answering FAQs. This can benefit and enhance the candidate’s perception of both the recruitment firm and the employer brand. ● One of the most significant challenges in recruitment is unconscious bias. AI-driven tools can help mitigate bias by focusing solely on candidate qualifications, skills and experience rather than any other demographic information – promoting diversity and inclusion. ● It is an implicit part of the economic cycle that recruitment firms experience fluctuations in demand. AI systems can scale up or down to accommodate changes in workload – whether it’s handing a surge in job openings or adapting to a temporary decrease in hiring. The adoption of AI in recruitment firms is not merely a technological upgrade but a strategic imperative. It will empower recruiters to make sophisticated, data-driven decisions, be more efficient and offer a superior candidate experience. It will transform and enhance how we work, making us more agile, innovative and capable of providing ever more exceptional service to our clients and candidates. ●

“AI can personalise communication with candidates”


TARA RICKS is co-chair of Elite Leaders and director of Consulting Eve


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Hiring process is crucial Whether you’re a custodian or a conductor, everyone needs a bit of help in a new role BY GRAHAM BROWN

he riskiest period with a new hire is in those first few weeks after they start. It can make or break the relationship if it’s not done correctly. According to Glassdoor, new hire retention can be improved by up to 82%, and productivity by over 70%, with a good onboarding process. We are all different, and different people like to be welcomed in different ways. Try giving an introvert a cuddle on their first day and see what happens! It’s a hard first impression to shift. Here’s a new way to look at both your candidate/new hire’s profile and subsequently, how to onboard these eight different types. Catalyst: dynamic, stimulating, driven



and inciting. They excel at getting something going with energy. Often found starting new businesses, leading a new project or taking an existing project on to its next big step. Naturally innovative, they bring new ideas and creative approaches to any team. Best onboarding approach: Discuss their creative problem-solving skills and recognise their achievements. Show them what they will learn in the first three months. Keep them creatively engaged by ensuring they have a steady flow of new projects to work on. Champion: a trailblazer who shakes up the status quo and stirs people up to listen to the message they herald. Using their personal credibility, they shine a light on the cause they rally for and incite others to join them. They are

vibrant and exciting. Excel at taking a proven idea and broadcasting its value to a wide audience. Best onboarding approach: They will want a fuss made of them on day one. Show that enthusiasm before they come in through all correspondence. Introduce them to key people. Coach: ignites the fire and passion of others to work together as a team focused on bring a central idea to life or supporting a product or service to shine. Coaches bring warmth, energy and inspiration, lighting the path for others so they may strive for personal excellence and team success. They get what their team really need to overcome challenges. Best onboarding approach: Meet them before they start and arrange for

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someone to greet them upon their arrival. Show them who they’ll be working with, reporting to and who will be reporting in to them as soon as possible. Target them through teamwork and team activities. They tend not to want to work from home; they need to be around people to talk, listen and have water-cooler moments. Connector: an excellent communicator who brings people, ideas and resources together. They have a special gift to unite the right people, at the right time and place. Best onboarding approach: Introduce them to people in different departments who will have an impact on their work. Get paperwork in order well in advance and keep in touch throughout the month before their


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arrival. Schedule touch points with them. As a general rule, set up video calls with them rather than email. They won’t get on with woolly plans so make them realistic. Custodian: excels at getting tasks done, maintains routines and honours commitments and deadlines, while ensuring that the right activity delivers tangible results. Best onboarding approach: Give them some reading in advance to make things more familiar. Explain how the team fits together, where their part to play fits and what the customer journey looks like. Get the person who interviewed them to meet them on the first day. Custodians like the rhythm of repetition as they live by order and routine.

Cultivator: guides and shapes the growth of a team, project or enterprise through a subtle influence that seeks to adjust, refine and develop. Excels in managing complex projects and deliverables, while making sure that resources are carefully managed and risk is mitigated in a timely manner. Best onboarding approach: Help them to establish a routine to their week by suggesting an action for the day/ week ahead, especially their first week. Cultivators are great planners; if they have regular daily/weekly tasks, let them know in advance what those are. They want to be able to control final outcomes. Conductor: a commanding, precise, alert and local individual that focuses energy and efficiency on directing individuals of the team or ‘orchestra’ into a unified and optimised collective. Best onboarding approach: Before their start date, send them information around data, facts and figures relevant to their role. Point them in the direction of further research they can do in advance. They don’t need any ‘pomp and circumstance’ around their arrival; the less fuss, the better. They will want to be shown to their desk and get on with it. Calibrator: the natural perfectionist for your team, relentless in the pursuit of continuous improvements and incremental refinement. Excelling when they can tinker with how a system works and experiment with new approaches to old problems. Best onboarding approach: Before their start date, inform them about current systems and challenges. Encourage them to think about potential improvements they would like to make. Introduce them to someone senior to showcase your ‘genius in waiting’ who is being brought in to improve what in the organisation is ‘broken’. This article is excerpted from the e-book How to successfully onboard a new team member without the risk of them quitting with permission of Graham Brown, managing director, Forces Recruitment Solutions Group. ●


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SKILLS BOOTCAMPS Filling the roles in sectors where skilling has lagged behind demand BY VIVIENNE RUSSELL

ictory Uchenna says she finds it hard to put into words just how transformative her experience with a skills bootcamp has been. Now working as a solutions architect with AWS (Amazon Web Services), Uchenna said the experience helped her not just to find a job but to believe in herself. Like many graduates of the digital skills bootcamps run by the employment charity Generation UK, she initially had difficulty navigating the job market. Visa issues affecting her parents meant the threat of deportation hung over the family, and Uchenna struggled with self-confidence: “My self-esteem was really low. I didn’t feel like a deserved to be in interviews.” The intensive technical training she received on her 13-week course coupled with the wider support offered on with confidence building and soft skills has changed her life, she says. “When I joined Generation, I didn't have any money. I didn't have any means to work, but [now] my parents will come to me for money, and I can actually support my brothers. And it just feels amazing that I can give back.” Skills bootcamps are a government policy, backed with funding from the Department for Education, designed to address the twin challenges of skills shortages and barriers to social mobility. Offering free training, they are open to



anyone aged 19 and over but currently focus on only a few markets: digital, green industries, construction and health & social care, where skills shortages are particularly acute. Michael Houlihan, CEO of Generation UK, says employers really struggle to fill roles in fields where skilling has lagged behind demand. “Cloud computing is a great example that exploded five to 10 years ago, and the skilling infrastructure did not keep up with how many cloud engineers were needed across the sector,” he tells Recruiter. “And the same thing is happening with data now, and it is happening with cyber as well. All of these segments are becoming very big and need tens of thousands of people doing jobs that didn't really exist 10 years ago. It's a very genuine employer need.” This is borne out by Soraya Scott, COO of Microsoft UK. “Our research shows that by 2025 there will be 3m job



Any adult aged 19 or over and keen to learn new skills or improve existing ones can sign up for a skills bootcamp. Funding is provided by the Department for Education so they are free to individuals. Training can take anything between 4 and 16 weeks with a mix of classroom, online and on-the-job learning offered.


Skills bootcamps are currently available in sectors where there is judged to be an acute skills need. Courses are offered in: digital skills such as data engineering, software development or digital marketing; technical skills like construction and engineering; and green skills such as electric vehicle and heat pump technology.

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According to the OECD, social mobility refers to changes in a person’s socio-economic situation either in relation to their parents or throughout their lifetime. It is linked to equality of opportunity: whether someone has the same chance to do well in life regardless of their parents’ background, their birthplace or other factors beyond their control.


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vacancies for tech. If you couple that with the wave of AI that's coming, this digital skills gap has the potential to get so much bigger,” she says. “It’s top of mind for board level executives. It’s definitely one of their top three priorities.” Sarah Atkinson is CEO of the Social Mobility Foundation, which works to support young people who face barriers accessing the job market and pursuing success in the workplace. She points out that economic shocks such as Brexit, the pandemic and cost of living crisis are getting closer together and combine to widen and deepen social inequalities. “These inequalities are widening faster than our capacity or ambitions to close them is growing,” says Atkinson. “We actually need to be much more bold and ambitious about responding to the trajectory that we're facing.” Houlihan adds: “There’s a very clear case for improved social mobility and a lot of awareness and appetite for that.” What has changed, he says, is “the increased conviction that we need to identify vehicles and interventions that can actually make a difference”. Skills bootcamps seem to offer such a solution. A Generation UK report issued in September makes a compelling case, arguing that their effect has been broad, deep and durable. In the four years since Generation launched the scheme, more than 2,350 learners have been enrolled at over 100

bootcamps leading to 1,200 job placements. Candidates completing bootcamps are twice as likely to find work and can expect to secure an average starting salary of £24k. Ninety per cent are still in employment one year on and Generation estimates each learner can expect to earn an additional £20k in income over five years. Skills bootcamps are now an established part of the skills infrastructure and something recruiters ignore at their peril, Houlihan argues. They could even present the industry with an opportunity to develop a commercial or value-add offering around helping employers identify entry-level talent. The Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) offers a slightly more qualified perspective. “The bootcamp scheme is not perfect with its bureaucracy and the limits on sectors,” REC deputy CEO Kate Shoesmith tells Recruiter. “But it is useful in offering short-term flexible training in some industries experiencing shortages.” She does agree, however, that labour and skills shortages are real and getting worse. “We need more recruiters involved in such government projects because they are labour market experts in their respective sectors and localities, and the go-to people for local employers, providers and authorities to help fill skills gaps and vacancies.” ●


Skills bootcamps can help boost both upwards social mobility and the economy, according to analysis from Generation UK. The employment charity has already helped over 1,200 people into well paid, permanent work. It estimates a £6k return to the government over five years for each bootcamp learner trained.

Experts have warned that social mobility in the UK is headed in the wrong direction. A September report from the Institute for Fiscal Studies found that children from poor households were finding it harder to move into higher income brackets than 40 years ago and inheritances were becoming more important in determining life chances.



02/11/2023 16:03


Signing up to signing on The importance of speedy hiring procedures BY NAVEEN TULI

n today’s candidate market, companies can no longer afford to drag their feet when it comes to hiring. With top talent often entertaining multiple job opportunities, lengthy time-to-hire rates and prolonged interview processes can result in highly skilled candidates accepting alternative offers if a hiring business is too slow to make a decision. So, what advice should search professionals offer to their clients to help streamline hiring approaches?


Reducing and co-ordinating stakeholders It can be tempting for businesses to involve more and more stakeholders in hiring decisions. However, multiple decision-makers and unnecessary layers of sign-off invariably lead to much slower decisions. When too many participants have a say in the progress of a candidate, one person’s doubts can spread and put the decision-making process on hold. Prompting clients to distil their interview processes down to two or three key stakeholders per interview is vital for ensuring that internal processes remain streamlined. Allocating specific competencies for stakeholders to focus on can also speed-up hiring processes and keep candidates engaged. For example, advising internal recruitment teams to

assign each interviewer with a specific remit to analyse talent on – such as skills, personality type or cultural fit – can help to prevent the same interview being repeated throughout the hiring process.

Prioritising in-person meetings Although a combination of in-person and online interviews is now a normal part of recruitment procedure, in-person meetings are often far more successful at helping interviewers acquire a better sense of a potential employee. Instead of recommending multiple online assessments, remind clients that one in-person meeting can iron out issues and allow interviewers to proceed with greater confidence, keeping time-to-hire rates low and maintaining needed momentum to uphold candidate engagement. In-person meetings are also often more effective at making talent feel wanted. For high-level hires in particular, candidates still want to feel that their potential new employer is willing to woo them. In a market where talent may be fielding multiple offers, clients that have made the extra effort to pursue a candidate often find themselves ahead.

Reinforcing the value of external support

NAVEEN TULI is managing partner, EMEA & APAC, in-house counsel group at Major, Lindsey & Africa


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Considering the invaluable expertise search firms can offer when it comes to efficiently sourcing, screening and evaluating candidates for specialised roles, it is important to remind companies that professional external recruiters can assist from the get-go. Companies tend to use their internal talent teams to tackle the job first, even if they aren’t fully equipped to vet for highly specialised roles. By the time search firms are called in to support, considerable hiring delays could have already taken place. To avoid this, search professionals should stress the need for transparent and consistent exchanges of information between themselves and HR teams, positioning themselves as partners to their clients rather than extra resource in the later stages of the hiring process. Speed is of the essence in securing the best talent. Reinforcing this can be the difference between a client netting the best candidate, or seeing ideal hires slip through their fingers. ●


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WEBCHAT HORROR STORIES AS RECRUITERS TARGETED BY SCAMMERS Social media and TV programmes are reporting more and more incidents of digital and online scams, with recruitment firms not immune from this fraud. As reported on recruiter. (‘Scammers targeting recruiters on the rise as impersonation fraud hits recruitment’, 31 October 2023), the fraud is big and global, with “over 100 recruiters being spoofed and literally dozens of reports a week” (according to JobsAware). Keith Rosser, director of screening and group risk at Reed, and winner of the Impact Award at this year’s Recruiter Awards, offered recruiters advice to try and prevent the scammers tarnishing their organisations. “This is tricky,” he said. “Recruiters must ensure their cyber security, governance and privacy arrangements are up to date and thorough. They should ensure, in particular, online security is a priority of the boardroom. “However, all of these things won’t necessarily completely prevent spoofing, especially recruiters with a well-known brand,” he cautioned. “The only way to eventually stop this issue is to band together to raise sufficient awareness to eventually force the fraudsters elsewhere.” • Have you or your firm been hit by scammers? Let us know at recruiter.

“What role or roles do you see AI playing in your business next year and beyond?” MILES GREENSLADE MA N AG I N G D I REC TOR , A DJACEN CY

“AI will continue to play a part in the recruitment process, but won’t remove the ‘human’ element of assessing a candidate’s cultural fit, which often is the deciding factor of employment. What we are seeing is the positive use of AI to help candidates match themselves to the most relevant roles for them, saving time and allowing them to put their energy into only the most relevant opportunities. Currently 70-80% of a recruiter’s judgement is based on finding the cultural fit of a candidate for the company and the candidate’s potential colleagues – something that AI currently is unable to assess.”


“AI would take a minimal role within my recruitment business, and if utilised, with great caution. We’re dealing with real people and there are some things a computer just can’t do. What makes a great recruiter is the ability to understand, question, think outside the box and consult in finding the perfect fit. You notice AI more when it goes wrong. I’ve had many incorrect approaches because of poorly managed automation that discredits the individual and puts you on the naughty/blocked list. Great recruitment is an art… and in a candidate-led market we need great artists.”


“The speed in which AI is evolving means our brands – Huntress, Birchrose Associates and Merrifield Consultants – will see the value in applying these tools to their candidate-sourcing process. We want to enhance the way we work, not change it. The application process for candidates will be seamless and user-friendly. We will provide consultants with tools to identify new clients and support existing ones more effectively. Market intelligence, reporting and data will remain a focus for our support teams. These tools align with our business goals: a priority in targeting the right people and doing so more efficiently.” WWW.RECRUITER.CO.UK 19

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02/11/2023 16:12


WINNERS AGENCY RECRUITMENT LEADER OF THE YEAR Sponsored by Sonovate David Green, CEO – Remedium

StʆN ï/ɥ§/ §ÃS¼/§ɥ OF THE YEAR Sponsored by Totaljobs Rebecca Lester, P & D Business Partner - Recruitment Mollie’s Motels


Joan-Eric Miguel, International and Early Careers - HCA Healthcare UK


Jamie Fraser, CEO - InterEx Group

HIGHLY COMMENDED Cherie Davies, Director MC Technical Recruitment


Atkins Graduate and Apprentice Programme - Atkins in partnership with Amberjack


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/¯¼ɥ t%S% ¼/ɥ §/ɥ Bluestones Medical

/¯¼ɥ hS/t¼ɥ¯/§ÛS / r ¯¼ɥ/FF/ ¼SÛ/ɥ EMPLOYER BRAND %/Û/h ¤r/t¼ɥ t%ɥ CANDIDATE EXPERIENCE Sponsored by FCSA #BeYourself Cabin Crew Recruitment Campaign - Virgin Atlantic in partnership with Amberjack


Sponsored by CV-Library Talent Acquisition & Onboarding Team - Direct Line Group


Talent Attraction and Acquisition Team – EY


Sponsored by Red Blaze Events Charlton Morris

Harper Fox Partners


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%SÛ/§¯S¼âɪɥ/¦Ã hS¼âɥ t%ɥSt hïSÛS¼âɥ ʏ%/ʧSʐɥ¯/§ÛS /ɥ EXCELLENCE Sponsored by EY Harper Fox Partners


Peregrine (Modular People Solutions)

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02/11/2023 13:01

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r ¯¼ɥ¯Ã¯¼ St h/ɥ RECRUITMENT AGENCY SR2 - Socially Responsible Recruitment


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Sponsored by 6CATS International Harper Fox Partners Select Offshore




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RECRUITMENT AGENCY Fɥ¼N/ɥâ/ §ɥʆɥr/%SÃrɥ r ¯¼ɥ/FF/ ¼SÛ/ɥ RECRUITMENT ʏȫȦʆȯȯɥ/r¤h â//¯ʐ MARKETING CAMPAIGN First Point Group


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RECRUITMENT St%Gâɥ¯Ã¤¤hS/§ɥ OF THE YEAR The Clear Company

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02/11/2023 13:01


Bonnett builds the Foundation into



PageGroup’s Joanna Bonnett, founder of the Green Jobs Foundation charity, is breaking down barriers within the business community by moving away from silos and egos to work together and transform green employment 22 RECRUITER

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02/11/2023 16:13



oining mega recruitment firm PageGroup as group treasurer, Joanna Bonnett spent her first two years working on “very large transformational projects” within the finance arena. If transforming the organisation’s bank accounts

and payment gateways globally weren’t sufficiently sky-high achievements, Bonnett subsequently led the company, and also is a leading UK force, into the blooming of a new world: green jobs. “Because a treasurer is a very externally-focused role, I was able to see on the horizon that a lot of other industries – perhaps not the professional services industry but a lot of others – were starting to talk about sustainability,” she says. Recognising sustainability’s rising significance to business, Bonnett says she “championed” the cause with PageGroup’s main and executive boards, saying: “I think we need to look into this. This is really important. We are a people business. We have a large demographic of millennials within our employee. They really care about this. Not only is it the right thing to do from an environmental or a social perspective, but actually, this makes really good business sense to us.

“So I then started proposing to the main board what PageGroup should do, what would sustainability at Page mean?” On other projects at PageGroup, Bonnett said she usually provided a recommendation and another team or individual then took the work on through execution. “On this occasion, it was ‘No, you are the right person’,” she says she was told, “and that ‘the fire in your belly means this is your project to run. And so, can you take this on, in addition to group treasury?’, and so that’s exactly what I did. I’ve not looked back; I have thrown myself in sustainability. “And this is very much in my personal space as well.” Now, the Australian native has a key role outside the day job to play in the UK’s sustainability drive.

“This is about ensuring we have an independent voice surrounding green jobs”


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As well as fulfilling her separate, full-time role at PageGroup as head of sustainability and group treasury, Bonnett is the founder of the Green Jobs Foundation charity, which seeks to support the UK’s transition to future green skills and jobs. “This is about making sure that we as a society have an independent voice surrounding green jobs – you know, what do they look like? Are we able to see independently that the jobs are going in the right areas, the right regions, the right local authorities, perhaps? Are they good jobs? And are they going to help us meet our net-zero targets? It’s very, very exciting,” she said. The Foundation has just released its first ‘State of the Nation Report’, which details the progress made in the creation of green jobs in the UK. Key findings include: • 280,589 green jobs were advertised in the UK in 2022, amounting to 3% of all jobs advertised, 35% more green jobs advertised in 2022 than existed in 2020 and a 43% increase in green jobs advertised in 2022 compared to 2021 • Green jobs have a salary uplift across all levels of employment and skills, indicating green jobs represent a significant opportunity to get more of the population earning above the real living wage threshold (see box-outs). Over the last year, Bonnett has been dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s of getting the Foundation into gear and running. “I’d say that’s the unsexy part of starting a new foundation,” she says wryly. “Making sure we’ve got the right documentation in place, the right governance structure in place, you know, going through the Charity Commission’s application process. “It’s also about making sure we’ve got those right collaboration partners.” Asked what prompted her to


“I went: Just a second, no one is looking a green jobs from an entire system’s perspective” start and build a foundation, Bonnett attributes the germ of the idea to her four-year participation in the Association of Corporate Treasurers (ACT), of which she is currently chair. “It was very clear to me that there wasn’t the right

sort of governance process in place with the green jobs agenda,” she says. The ACT leads treasury professional qualifications globally, “but I could see very clearly we didn’t have the same sort of resources in the green agenda”. But what ignited the spark was her return to university studies. “I went to Cambridge University to study one of their nine-month courses, a post-graduate certificate in sustainable business. That course challenged my thinking!”

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she says. She embarked upon independent research, planning to look “at what recruiters and PageGroup could do and the recruitment industry: what would the impact of climate change be on their financials – you know, the revenue within the industry”. Her tutor challenged her thinking further once she had completed that piece of work. “I give him full credit,” she says. “He said, ‘I don’t know what you’re grappling with, but you’re grappling with something much bigger. I need you to go away and read up a couple more books’. He goes, ‘I don’t know the answer but I know you know it, but you don’t realise you’re looking for it’.” Bonnett read the books her tutor had recommended, and “it was like a lightning bolt that hit me! I went: Just a second, no one is looking at green jobs from an entire system’s perspective, thinking from the very beginning to the very end. I thought, surely, it can’t be just me thinking about this? “The answer was, there was a collection of people doing amazing things but in their silos and usually, the silos prevented the ego or the ego prevented them leaving their silo. And that’s where it became very clear there was no one with that independent voice attached to the green jobs.” So Bonnett once again stepped up to a mission. “It became very clear to me that it was something I needed to do. I don’t think it is about me; this is much, much bigger. And this is why I’m pulling people together now to say, right, we’re doing this together. We can solve these big, big challenges not only for the employment industry, but also for business and so that’s my mission. “I’ve got an amazing team helping me at the moment; it’s an A team of volunteers.” What first step should recruiters take to contribute to a sustainable agenda? “This is about working


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Green Jobs Nationwide Scotland showed a large salary uplift of 29% for green jobs advertised in 2022 compared to the average advertised salary for Scotland that year. “This is partly due to the large amounts of managerial roles related to offshore facilities,” the report said. All UK regions aside from London showed large salary uplifts for green jobs of between 6% (Northern Ireland) and 29% (Scotland). London was “the anomaly”, the report said, “showing a green job salary uplift of just 2%”. However, sustainability consultant, manager and carbon analyst were three green jobs particularly in demand in London in 2022. Large salary uplifts for advertised green jobs were seen in the North: 25% in the NorthEast and 20% in the North-West. However, the report also pointed out that these large salary uplifts in the North are partly explained “by salaries generally being low in these areas”. Source: ‘Green jobs: State of the Nation report’

with your ‘superpower’, whether you’re a professional services company, say, a law firm. With law firms, I suspect that their core skills affect what their profession is. Their ‘superpower’ is their regulatory knowledge, their ability to represent people that perhaps can’t afford their services. “So,” she continues, “for us [PageGroup] as a recruitment company, it’s the reason we set our target for changing 1m lives by 2030. And that’s because we know our superpower is about giving people jobs, getting people jobs, and very specifically looking at the underrepresented groups, whatever they may be, and getting them into employment where perhaps they would not previously have had that privilege or the advantage to get that first step on the ladder. “That’s where we as PageGroup can transform lives. And that’s


02/11/2023 16:17


exactly what we have been doing.” At PageGroup, the sustainable agenda also includes working on their environmental footprint, “making sure that all of our offices are low carbon – and this is in a variety of different forms”, Bonnett says. “The easiest way to describe it is making sure that we are engaging with renewable energy in each of the locations now, which involves negotiating with landlords because we don’t own the building. So, it’s actually a lot harder to do than perhaps on the face of it. “We talk to our employees about the right way of travelling, so this is commuting as well as within the actual business. We look at our laptops and our IT equipment to make sure all of our environmental electronic footprint is also reduced as much as possible.” Bonnett is also working with “the entire recruitment industry” in ensuring the right structures are in place within regulation “that will come through in a couple of years’ time”, affecting clients and their workforces “within the climate change space”. More immediately, in early 2024, Bonnett hopes to announce the foundation’s panel of trustees and founding partners, a collection of


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businesses from different business sectors. As the report reveals, City and Guilds have been “a huge backer” and PwC in these early days. “We are getting a collection of different businesses from different business sectors,” she says. More broadly, she says: “It’s about breaking down those barriers within the business community to say, ok, this is bigger than company one or company two or three. Let’s work together, let’s move our silos away and our egos, and then let’s transform.” ●

Top 20 Green Jobs Share By Local Authority And Region Copeland – North-West – 6.8% Barrow-in-Furness – North-West – 5.9% Sedgemoor – South-West – 5.1% Gosport – South-East – 4.7% Aberdeen City – Scotland – 4.5% Warrington – North-West – 4.5% Hartlepool – North-East – 4.4% Argyll and Bute – Scotland – 4.4% Perth and Kinross – Scotland – 4.2% Lancaster – North-West – 4.1% Eden – North-West – 4.1% Plymouth – South-West – 4.0% Stroud – South-West – 3.7% Swindon – South-West – 3.7% Tewkesbury – South-West – 3.7% South Oxfordshire – South-East – 3.7% Highland – Scotland – 3.6% Warwick – West Midlands – 3.6% Comhairle nan Eilean Siar – Isle of Lewis, Scotland – 3.6% North Dorset – South-West – 3.4% Source: ‘Green jobs: State of the Nation report’


02/11/2023 16:19


More work on diversity needed p3 B I G TALKI N G POI N T

Poli cal promises – what to watch p4 Issue 106 RecruitmentNOVEMBER҃ Ma ers DECEMBER 2023


Know the data processing rules p6 Q& A

Lessons from experience p7

Modernising regulaঞons

Rewrite law to refl ect work trends E

mployment law needs to be rewri en to reflect the varied ways people work and to clarify the rights and responsibili es of agencies and agency workers – however, we must not throw the baby out with the bathwater. This is what the REC’s updated Manifesto for Growth will tell poli cal par es as we head towards the next general elec on. Given the importance of a healthy labour market to economic growth, we hope the REC’s manifesto will be eagerly an cipated by the main poli cal par es. They are already making announcements about how they intend to manage a modern workforce. Labour has published a New Deal for Workers and the Lib Dems have a Fair Deal, which calls on businesses to commit to promote skills, equality, good governance and support for local communi es. Agencies and agency workers are currently unclear about how flexible working is affected by the Working Time Regula ons and Health and

@RECPress RM_November-December 2023_final-VTv2NEW.indd 1

Safety Regula ons – especially since neither recognises agency workers. This complicates issues such as calcula ng holiday pay and managing health and safety at work. “This confusion cannot con nue when it impacts the rights of workers and hampers agencies’ efforts to meet their clients’ demands for a flexible workforce,” said Shazia Ejaz, the REC’s Director of Campaigns and Research. “We must nurture our world-class temporary workforce. We need laws that are relevant for all kinds of work. Every business wants less bureaucracy and more clarity – and agencies are no different.” There needs to be genuine twoway flexibility for both employer and employee, she added. “That’s why it is important that all par es sign up to crea ng a Single Enforcement Body (SEB) that will give workers clarity about their rights.” The REC will also push poli cal par es to introduce regula on

Making great work happen

for umbrella companies and joint employment models to prevent them avoiding compliance by disguising remunera on and dodging employment law. However, the REC does not believe that poli cal par es should overhaul all the rules in the next 12 months. It supports the view of Margaret Beels, Director of Labour Market Enforcement, that increasing awareness of employment status and associated protec ons, and clarifying some of the key terms in employment ma ers, may increase individual confidence without fundamentally reforming employment status. “The post-pandemic employment world does not look or feel like 2019,” said Ejaz. “Forcing employee, worker or genuinely self-employed people into one status box is unworkable and reflects an old-world view of work.” The REC Manifesto for Growth will be published on the REC’s website in November. 01/11/2023 17:42

Leading the industry

the view... Prepare for change ahead, but be op mis c about opportuni es, says

Neil Carberry,

REC Chief Execu ve


t was a pleasure to see so many REC members at the Recruitment Agency Expo in October. A er a year that has been more challenging for all of us – especially businesses which are perm-led – it was good to discuss business with such a wide range of people from across our profession. As always, I was impressed by the resilience and op mism I encountered. We have had a slower year, but the complexity of the labour market and persistent shortages in some sectors means there are s ll opportuni es. The October labour market data showed this, with vacancies s ll well ahead of pre-pandemic levels, even though unemployment was rising. Helping candidates and clients navigate complexity like this is our thing! Another source of opportunity in 2024 is likely to be the belief clients have in their own businesses. Our JobsOutlook survey has shown a posi ve trend in this confidence over the autumn – it’s very possible that lower infla on in the first half of next year will unlock some of that leading to increasing demand for recruiters. All this said, recruitment business owners do need to exercise sensible cau on and retain their perspec ve on the wider picture. In temp, with interest rates high, poor client payment prac ce can really damage your business – so prac sing the best client risk assessment ma ers. And ge ng unsure clients to buy will be the skill that underpins your business in both temp and perm – inves ng in those business development skills really ma ers. It was great to see over 700 REC members at our sessions with Greg Savage on this in September. And then there’s the big poli cal change that this autumn’s by-elec ons suggest we will see, probably in late 2024. A Labour Government – tradi onally more suspicious and prone to placing new costs on our sector – will require careful naviga on. But the role of the REC on all these issues is to be by your side, protec ng and enhancing the contribu on your business makes. And that’s just where we’ll be and what we’ll do. If you want to keep up to speed with all things recruitment then follow me on Twi er @RECNeil 2


AI could help us fl ex to overcome labour shortages Shazia Ejaz, Director of Campaigns at the REC


hat our Overcoming Shortages campaign was highly commended by judges at the Memcom Awards 2023 in September shows the value that peers place on our leadership on addressing labour and skills shortages. A er all, many of the membership bodies at the awards ceremony are searching for ways to help their members a ract and retain workers in the ghtest jobs market for a genera on. Our 2022 Overcoming Shortages report set out how government and business must act to create a sustainable labour market. Its publica on was a lever for our campaign. It informs the conversa ons we have with poli cians, journalists and affected organisa ons from freight companies to the NHS. It influenced our submission to the Chancellor before his Autumn Statement this year and frames our conversa ons with other business stakeholders. Shortages are to a certain extent entrenched – as shown by the nearly three million job pos ngs in the country, according to our data. But more change is on the way and the labour market, employers and candidates must flex. Change happens fast these days. Since Overcoming Shortages was published there has been a surge in the use of, and interest in, ar ficial intelligence (AI). It is commonly accepted that AI applied well can improve resilience, reten on and profitability. The Prime Minister has said that he wants the UK to be the best country in the world to start, grow and invest in tech businesses. Perhaps this was behind MPs’ sugges ons at the Conserva ve Party Conference that technology could solve labour and skills shortages. It may not cure an NHS winter crisis or find seasonal workers in the short term, but technology will help us to hire, train and retain great workers. Possible inspira on may come from Canada, where labour and skills shortages have hit accommoda on and food services since 2021. Canadian businesses have been working with educa onal ins tutes and inves ng in technology and automa on to alleviate the impacts.

Recruitment Ma ers November-December 2023

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01/11/2023 16:38

Leading the industry

the intelligence... The lesson of the 2020s is that organisaঞons that champion EDI a ract be er workers who can o@er new perspecঞves – and their customers respond favourably to it Mukul Tiwari, REC Research Manager You would hope that by now all employers understand that equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) is vital for talent acquisi on, as well as for organisa ons that wish to innovate, reflect consumer demographics, support their compe veness, raise employee sa sfac on and boost financial performance. The recruitment process presents a terrific opportunity for companies to benefit from EDI. Implemen ng equitable and inclusive prac ces when sourcing, screening, interviewing and selec ng candidates will significantly improve diversity hiring outcomes. But a recent REC/Savanta survey shows that some organisa ons are lagging on EDI. They need to catch up quickly if they are to succeed and thrive. Inclusive job ads are a first step to welcome candidates from all backgrounds. Our survey found that most UK employers encourage diversity in recruitment through inclusive job adver sement text (55%) and sta ng their interest in diverse candidates (29%). However, using the job adver sement to state interest in diversity is rela vely less popular in private and small-scale organisa ons (0-49 employees) – around 67% of employers either do not do this or have no informa on about its use in the organisa on. Name-blind CV reviews help to prevent unconscious bias based on gender, ethnicity or age, while diverse interview panels bring in different perspec ves when assessing applicants. REC research shows that only one in five (19%) of respondents have a policy of name-

19 %

REC research shows that only one in five (19%) of respondents have a policy of nameblind CV submission and 20% use diverse interviewing panels.

blind CV submission and 20% use diverse interviewing panels. When asked about future pracces, 11% said they intend to adopt a diverse interviewing policy, but only a further 1% plan to remove names from CVs. Overall, 80% of employers do not use name-blind CV screening or have no informaon about it. Similarly, 56% of the employers we surveyed do not use diverse interview panels. The data indicates that employers are beginning to emphasise EDI in their recruitment processes, but there is s ll a long way to go. Our sta s cs were derived from a sample of 167 individuals who either work in the HR department or are part of management/senior management teams. The survey was conducted in June 2023. An inclusive recruitment process expands access to talent. A er all, the best person for the job may

come from an underrepresented background, but an organisa on will get the chance to hire them only if they are encouraged to apply and are evaluated fairly. Diverse teams also boost innova on and can reflect an organisaon’s customer base more authencally. Employees who feel valued are also more engaged, produc ve and likely to stay. Organisa ons will have to embed EDI principles throughout their recruitment process – from sourcing to selec on – if they wish to build a truly diverse workforce. Biases exist, but a considered strategy and commitment to equitable prac ces can lead to posi ve outcomes. Recruitment presents opportuni es for a company to live its EDI values, not just proclaim them. We hope to see more progress on EDI in our next survey of employers in 2024. November-December 2023 Recruitment Ma ers

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01/11/2023 16:38


big talking point

Threats and promises

An elecঞon is coming – and producঞvity and the workforce are key issues for every party. What should recruiters watch for?


hange is in the air. There is a UK general elec on looming in 2024 and it is likely that last month’s party conferences were the last before UK voters go to the polls. All the main par es were keen to announce what they would do in power and economic growth is the ho est topic. Of course everyone wants more of it – but how will they achieve it, and what will this mean for the labour market, workers’ rights (and, therefore, recruiters)? At the Conserva ve Party Conference, the REC’s CEO Neil Carberry discussed green skills with the Rt Hon Chris Skidmore and Employment Minister Guy Opperman and par cipated in events on labour market par cipa on, youth unemployment and the wider skills agenda. These will con nue to be important issues for any future government. So what are recruiters keeping an eye out for? “Talent scarcity is s ll a challenge, so the developments I’ll be watching for will revolve around economic policies, labour and employment regula ons, educa on and training ini a ves, immigra on policies, healthcare and benefits, tech and AI advancements, and post-Brexit response strategies,” says Sandeep Bhandal, VP Marke ng, Insight and Social Impact, The Adecco Group. 4

Where do the parঞes di@er?

Economic growth and produc vity have been a rallying cry and a source of disappointment for the Government. Prime Ministers Boris Johnson, Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak each tried various policies to increase these – with limited success. Now Labour has entered the fray. Regional transport stole the news at the Conserva ve Party Conference, with the scrapping of the proposed high-speed train (HS2) link from Birmingham to Manchester. Employers and commuters in Northern English ci es have long complained that poor rail services reduce the region’s produc vity and growth, so promised investment in local services across the country are unlikely to thrill those hoping for radical change. Another key theme was balancing business’s need for a flexible workforce with greater workers’ rights. The Labour Party wants to ban zero-hours contracts, clamp down on self-employment claims and end qualifying periods for basic rights. The Labour Conference passed a mo on sta ng that Labour in power would immediately implement its ‘New Deal for Working People’ in full, introduce ‘widespread’ rollout of sectoral collec ve bargaining and a ‘fully resourced’ Single Enforcement Body and simplify union recogni on.

The Government promised to increase the Na onal Living Wage to at least £11 an hour next year. It has not yet created a Single Enforcement Body, but it recently passed a Predictable Working Act giving workers rights to request a predictable working pa ern, although this is unlikely to come into force un l next September.

Welfare to work and labour shortages

All par es are striving to tempt, enable or, failing that, force people back into work, with varying combina ons of carrots and s cks. Mel Stride, the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, told the Conserva ve Conference that “we are trialling a far more demanding approach with [Universal Credit] claimants at par cular risk of becoming long-term unemployed. This includes far more frequent work-focused requirements, with firm sanc ons for those who fail to fulfil their commitments, and more support for those who need it.” This is accompanied by “reforming our sickness and disability benefit assessments… to take account of the modern workplace”. Other sessions focused on retaining older workers in the workforce by promo ng employer-sponsored financial MOTs for 45-55-year-old employees to help them assess whether they can afford to re re or not.

Recruitment Ma ers November-December 2023

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01/11/2023 16:39

Industrial strategy

Labour promised to tackle ‘worklessness’ to reduce the welfare bill. Liz Kendall, Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, highlighted people who leave work because they can’t afford childcare. She talked of ‘tailoring’ employment support to individual and local needs and extending the role of Job Centres to help people progress their careers, reforming Universal Credit and championing equal access for disabled people. The Lib Dems argued that they would empower people to enter the job market by ensuring that flexible working is open to all, with employers required to state this in job adverts. They also talked of nego a ng ‘low-cost, fast-tracked work visas’ for key economic sectors. “Monitoring any adjustments the par es may make in labour laws, immigra on regula ons, and employment policies is vital,” Bhandal comments. “These can all impact recruitment prac ces, especially if there are changes in work visas, employment rights, or discrimina on laws. For example, the current asylum seeker entry programme means it can take up to three years for asylum seekers to receive a decision. Yet, as of November 2022, there were over 230,000 refugees in the UK, many of whom could help solve our labour dispari es and fill both low and high skilled occupa ons.”

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The Government wants the UK to be the next Silicon Valley. However, in a recent survey by MakeUK and accountancy firm RSM, business leaders complained that our tax and regulatory regimes make UK industry uncompe ve and said the lack of an industrial strategy is a weakness. Labour has published an industrial strategy with four central missions: delivering clean power by 2030; caring for the future; harnessing data for the public good; and building a resilient economy. Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves spoke of “securonomics” – securing the UK economy by rebuilding domes c industry. The Lib Dems have promised to develop an industrial strategy that will incen vise businesses to invest in clean technologies to grow the economy, create jobs and tackle the climate emergency. They also plan to bring down trade barriers and forge stronger rela onships with trading partners.

Skills and levelling up

The Ins tute of Government highlighted a er the Conserva ve Party Conference that “the levelling up agenda no longer looks like a Government priority”. The Government wants to reform A-levels, but this is unlikely to happen before the elec on. Labour is focusing on this area, with Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer (below) talking about smashing the “class ceiling”. Shadow Deputy Prime Minister Angela Rayner highlighted levelling up and the party’s New Deal for Working People to deliver this. Both Labour and the Lib Dems plan to reform the Appren cehip Levy.

Statistics 6.1 million

There were people on Universal Credit in July 2023. ONS

Two-thirds of business leaders believe an industrial strategy would lead to investment in skills, research and development, and decarbonisaঞon. Make UK and RSM

44% of businesses believe

the current tax and regulaঞon system is unfavourable to compeঞঞveness. Make UK and RSM

Labour wants a “growth and skills” levy to fund specialist colleges that equip workers for local industries, par cularly in renewables, nuclear, engineering, compu ng and modern toolmaking. Meanwhile, the Lib Dems’ ‘Fairer Society’ paper talks of a Skills and Training Levy and a Training Tax Credit to incen vise private sector training. “As we approach the elec on, I’d expect to see Labour making the Levy reform a key issue – they’re likely to want to spotlight perceived shortcomings in the government’s levelling up ambi ons, par cularly concerning access to opportuni es for all,” Bhandal says. “We’d like to see a modular approach to reforming the levy, emphasising easy qualifica on updates, specialised training and support for temporary and part- me workers, in addi on to a focus on green skills and other re-skilling ini a ves. There’s no doubt in my mind it would lead to a more purposeful, mo vated and future-proof workforce.” The future is uncertain, but change is coming no ma er who is in power. Recruiters should be watching carefully – as is the REC campaigns team. November-December 2023 Recruitment Ma ers


01/11/2023 17:43

Employment law

legal update

Understand your data processing responsibili es By Rachel Davies, REC Solicitor Different types of data require different kinds of processing. Recruiters need to know the rules


any recruitment businesses know that they can process data only if they have a lawful basis for doing so, but fewer are aware of their legal obliga ons over processing and retaining different kinds of data, such as special category or criminal offence data. Special category data is defined in Ar cle 9 UK GDPR (the Regula ons) as data that reveals a person’s racial or ethnic origin, health data, gene c data, certain biometric data, informa on about sex life or sexual orienta on, poli cal opinions, religious beliefs, philosophical beliefs, and trade union membership. Because of the sensi vity of this data, it has been given extra protec on. You must establish whether it is necessary to process it and confirm there is no less intrusive alterna ve. You should iden fy the appropriate lawful basis for processing in accordance with Ar cle 6 of the Regula ons which provides six bases: consent; contractual obliga on; legal obliga on; vital interest; public task; and legi mate interest.

Return on effort directly impacts profitability By Wilson Reed, Product Markeঞng Manager, Bullhorn


Work smarter, not harder – recruitment leaders need to help people produce more with less effort. Crea ng a playbook that accurately depicts what success looks like for team members is a great way for recruitment leaders to build a repeatable and scalable process for their business. This involves inspec ng the data to unlock the secret of what makes your top performer successful. How many jobs are they working? How many CVs did they submit? How many interviews are they facilita ng? Find your perfect ra o of ac vity to money – and share this with the rest of the team to replicate. Great leaders are in short supply. To ensure that your leaders are as effec ve as possible, and use their me efficiently, ensure they never have to waste me gathering unnecessary data. Instead, they should focus on providing real- me impac ul

Recruitment Ma ers November-December 2023

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The correct basis will depend on the type of data and the purpose for processing it. To process special category data, you should apply one of the 10 addi onal condi ons in Ar cle 9(2) of the Regula ons. The provisions that would typically apply to recruiters are either explicit consent or exercising the obliga ons or rights of the controller, or the data subject, in the field of employment or social security law. Recruiters who rely on the la er will also need to ensure they have an appropriate policy document in accordance with Schedule 1 of the Data Protec on Act 2018. It must contain a brief descrip on of the data being processed, details of the condi ons for processing, a brief explana on of the procedures in place and a brief descrip on of the reten on and erasure policy. Recruiters may also need to conduct a data protec on impact assessment (DPIA). Criminal offence data has special protec on, although it is not in the special category. During the recruitment process,

a work seeker may declare an unspent criminal convic on which, provided it is unspent, is not afforded the same protec on as spent convic ons under the Rehabilita on of Offenders Act 1974. Data rela ng to unspent convic ons can poten ally be shared with a client, but there must be a lawful basis for processing it. Businesses will also need to determine a lawful basis for processing data about criminal convic ons as in the case of special category data – most probably for exercising the obliga ons or rights of the controller or the data subject in the field of employment law. They would then need to adopt an appropriate policy document and may need to conduct a DPIA. Recruitment businesses should therefore not adopt a blanket approach to processing data.

and meaningful coaching to help their team members achieve growth. Everyone should understand what is required of them and how to achieve it. They should be accountable for their contribu on to the company’s objec ves. You must create ver cal transparency to ensure accountability from everyone in your organisa on. This means that, regardless of their posi on, everyone has clear expecta ons and the tools they require. Should an issue arise, you must know that you did everything you could to encourage success. Ask yourself whether your team is currently opera ng at its maximum poten al? Are your leaders effec ve and efficient? Are all team members accountable for their performance? If not, it’s me to consider making a change to maximise return on effort in your business.

01/11/2023 16:42



What I know

Life lessons from founding and leading recruitment businesses

Kim Barnes-Evans is Founder and Managing Director of The Agency Core values stay the same.

crea ve these days when recrui ng for our clients and I have been in u lise social media recruitment since 1988. Since then I have and referrals. Look a er people; set up new offices listen to people, be for large recruitment consulta ve and companies and also manage everyone’s established two successful recruitment expecta ons. Having a good reputa on, a businesses of my good brand and strong own. For me it’s about communica on with finding the right everyone is key. candidates for our clients and building long term rela onships Get the right with both. I’ve seen people round you. many changes in I’m a believer that legisla on, social you must surround media and technology yourself with the and I’ve worked right people. My through various market team are all members condi ons including of the REC and I recessions and the invest in ge ng the pandemic. We all need best external support to adapt, but we must for my business also remain true to where required. ourselves, our cra , I’m extremely and our core values. proud of what we do because every day we make a real Labour shortages difference to peoples’ are today’s main lives. I feel blessed challenge. every day! We have to be more

RM_November-December 2023_final-VTv2NEW.indd 7

Clive Hutchings is Execu ve

Director & Founder at STR Group You’ve recently joined the REC Board. Why?

I’ve spent 30 years in the recruitment industry and have helped to found a business that has grown to 150 people in the UK, US and Europe. Half our business is now outside the UK. I’ve always been a member of the REC – it promotes recruitment businesses, across all sectors and has the ear of the government. I want to spread knowledge of good recruitment and help others do what we do. I’m currently on an extended period of leave and will return refreshed with a slightly adjusted role, so I will have more me to dedicate to the Board.

What drives you?

I’m challengeorientated. I get sa sfac on from achieving things I set

out to do. I’m also really interested in people. I’ve just finished a solo camping trek along the West Highland Way, which was amazing. I met lots of people and learnt so much about myself; what makes me happy, red or anxious. I’ve now signed up to do a mountain leader course. I’ve also built a woodshed, laid the founda ons for a garden office, and con nued to rebuild my home – all out of my comfort zone. I’ve made lots of mistakes and learnt a great deal.

What will you bring to the Board?

I understand the stresses that recruiters face daily and how hard it is for owner managers to jump from a small to a medium-sized business. I can also share knowledge of star ng a business from scratch and growing it overseas.

November-December 2023 Recruitment Ma ers


01/11/2023 17:23

Progress and change

Reflecঞons on my ঞme as Chair of the REC Sarah Thewlis REC Chair 2020-2023


stood as a candidate for Chair in September 2020. It seems strange to think back to that me. We had just finished the first na onal lockdown, we were in the middle of local lockdowns, and the prospect of an effec ve Covid vaccine was s ll some way off. It was an unprecedented me. There have been more unprecedented mes since. As Chair, I wanted to make the following things happen: • ensure we supported the regions and the four na ons; • make progress on diversity and inclusion; • con nue building up a posi ve reputa on for the industry; • make REC membership the jewel in the crown and the first choice for recruiters. I also wanted to make sure that the new governance arrangements, with a smaller Board and professional and lay members, would be effec ve and provide leadership and scru ny to the execu ve. Despite Covid and the lockdowns, we have made progress in all these areas. I had hoped to spend some me visi ng regions and the four na ons, but sadly this was not possible to the extent I had hoped. I enjoyed being part of the members’ events that I did get to. All the contact that I have had has been posi ve, and the two awards evenings we held were brilliant: the energy and excitement and the opportuni es showcased in those events are hard to describe, but they demonstrated recruitment at its op mis c best. We have made steady progress on diversity and inclusion and it’s good to see the plans moving forward. As part of this, there is an event planned for members on

Recruitment Ma ers


The official magazine of The Recruitment & Employment Confedera on 20 Queen Elizabeth St, London SE1 2LS Tel: 020 7009 2100

Recruitment Ma ers November-December 2023

RM_November-December 2023_final-VT.indd 8

28 November (you can view more details on the website). The area where we have made most progress is the industry’s posi ve reputa on. During the pandemic, it was fantas c to see how recruiters were suppor ng logis cs, the NHS, social care, the vaccine rollout, educa on and IT – the list goes on. There were so many examples of how members were able to make a difference by pivo ng business to support the na onal community. The REC has increasingly become a go-to voice on key people issues, and our impact has grown significantly. Our Recruitment and Recovery report in 2021, for example, opened a wide range of new discussions – not just with governments and the media, but also with the wider business community. Research shows that our industry is es mated to have added directly £43bn in gross value added across the Bri sh economy1. The recruitment sector’s contribu on to the UK economy is also set to eclipse £51.3bn by 2025. Someone finds a permanent role through a recruitment agency every 21 seconds. So, it’s necessary and good that our voice is heard and heeded. Poli cal and governmental change over the next 12 months is likely, but I know that the REC will con nue to make its presence felt. Corporate membership con nues to thrive, with over 90% of members renewing each year. It’s good to see that people value what the REC does. We s ll have some development work to do with individual membership but, again, there are plans in place. Although there is s ll work to do, the

new governance structure is se ling well. The Board is where healthy and robust discussions take place. I am very grateful to my fellow members past and present for their ac ve contribu on to this. My successor Michelle Mellor has been part of that governance journey and I know that she will do a great job as the new Chair. Her commitment to the recruitment industry and its role is impressive. I have witnessed first hand her passion, though ulness and integrity. I leave the Board in great hands. Having been a CEO myself, I know that the rela onship between the Chair and Chief Execu ve is crucial to any governance structure. I want to thank Neil Carberry for his competence, professionalism and humour. It has been a delight to work with him and a privilege to be supported by him. The same is true of his senior leadership team, whose strength and capability has constantly been growing. The new governance structure has given them the opportunity to show their skills and at the same me enable the Board to provide appropriate input and scru ny. The past three years have been different from what I expected. We have had to face unexpected challenges — Covid, the cost of living and the fall-out from the war in Ukraine. But I have found my me in office very rewarding. I have had a unique chance to serve an industry that makes such a difference to the economy and to individuals. It has been a privilege, and I thank you for giving me such an opportunity. 1

REC report: Recruitment and Recovery 2021

Membership Department: Membership: 020 7009 2100, Customer Services: 020 7009 2100 Publishers: Redac ve Publishing Ltd, 9 Dallington St, London EC1V 0LN Tel: 020 7880 6200. www.redac Editorial: Editor Ruth Pricke . Produc on Editor: Vanessa Townsend Producঞon: Produc on Execu ve: Rachel Young rachel.young@redac Tel: 020 7880 6209 Prinঞng: Printed by Precision Colour Prin ng © 2023 Recruitment Ma ers. Although every effort is made to ensure accuracy, neither REC, Redac ve Publishing Ltd nor the authors can accept liability for errors or omissions. Views expressed in the magazine are not necessarily those of the REC or Redac ve Publishing Ltd. No responsibility can be accepted for unsolicited manuscripts or transparencies. No reproduc on in whole or part without wri en permission.

01/11/2023 16:49


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02/11/2023 13:03


S I M PLI F Y I N G TH E PROC E S S In a world of changing payments and regulations, the professional employer organisation is here to help By Sue Weekes


NOV/DEC 2023

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02/11/2023 16:23


he word ‘nuanced’ could have been created for the contracting and freelance workforce in the UK, especially when it comes to payment with differing rules, exemptions and requirements to contend with. And a nuance is one short hop from a grey area, which in the temporary work market, can easily turn into a lack of transparency. Turning to an intermediary to take care of matters, such as an umbrella company, has hence been a natural step for contractors and the agencies and employers who manage and pay them. But, in a sector that continues to be unregulated, the bad as well as the good stories are well documented. Enter the professional employer organisation (PEO), which aims to bring more transparency for all parties involved. Like an umbrella, a PEO is an employment intermediary, which provides recruitment agencies, contractors and small to medium-sized businesses with an outsourced HR and payroll solution. The PEO, which first became popular in the US, takes on responsibility for all the typical employer services like tax, National Insurance Contributions (NICs), compliance and all other legislative and administrative requirements. This includes contracts of employment and in some cases, if



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“We understand the growing demand in the temporary labour market for a range of payroll options, and that is why we have taken the decision to work with the FCSA to be accredited for both our umbrella and PEO models of pay” Steve McDermott, business development manager at New Red Planet

operating a worker model, contracts for service. Where it differs from an umbrella set-up is that it provides the contractor with a simplified picture of how their pay is presented. Under a typical umbrella model, the employee would see deductions such as Employer NICs, Apprenticeship Levy and the margin amount retained by the umbrella for its services on a reconciliation statement, which if not properly made clear – as is required by the Freelancer and

Contractor Services Association (FCSA) – can cause confusion. Under the PEO model, these deductions are charged to the hiring company separately. Hence the contractor sees just their gross pay rate rather than the increased amount or “the uplifted rate”, usually called “the assignment rate”, which is charged by the umbrella to cover these extra costs. In some cases, but not all, the agency may advertise the uplifted rate to the contractor who then doesn’t always understand why the received rate is lower. “Under the PEO model, the contractor should know exactly what rate they will be getting as it’s not advertised at a higher rate,” explains Deborah Murphy, head of operations of the FCSA. “If operated correctly, it can be a clearer model, but that being said, if the umbrella model is operated correctly and transparently that, too, shouldn’t cause confusion.” Julia Kermode, CEO of payroll compliance service provider, PayePass Solutions, explains that recent off-payroll changes have

HMRC GUIDANCE HMRC provides guidance on the supply of staff and VAT on the site. These two links in particular may be useful for recruitment agencies considering using an umbrella or professional employer organisation (PEO). HMRC’s policy on supplies of staff is set out in VAT Notice 700/34 (see information on joint employment in section 3.2.) In the medical sector, a relief applies for some of these employment businesses and you can find out more about this in VAT Notice 701/57 (Section 6).


02/11/2023 16:24


caused confusion for contractors who are now being engaged via umbrellas, particularly in relation to assignment rate versus gross pay rate. She agrees the PEO model simplifies these financial arrangements. “Umbrellas can be confusing by comparison as their payslips are accompanied by a breakdown of the assignment rate (the uplifted umbrella rate), which shows all employment costs and overheads in addition to the worker’s gross pay. “The PEO model brings extra clarity to the pay rate for temps and contractors. It is very logical as it charges overheads to the recruitment company on top of workers' gross pay. “The main advantage of a PEO is that temps and contractors should always know how much their gross pay rate is. This clarity is important because it should mean that there are no surprises when it comes to payday.” The FCSA-accredited Orbital Payroll Group felt that during the Covid-19 period there was a backlash to the way furlough was operated on umbrella PAYE – for example, the contractual nature of workers only being entitled to the National Minimum Wage (NMW). “This highlighted the need for a fully outsourced PAYE alternative that could give a bit more rounded


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service than the traditional bureau service,” says Jonathan Myatt, director, Orbital Payroll Group. He adds: “The advantages are a simple PAYE structure and a free service for workers. It also gives recruiters a different PAYE option to umbrella PAYE, but it does need employment costs factoring in, whereas with umbrella PAYE the employment costs are rolled up into the rate.” Those registered and paid by Orbital through any of its models also have an added level of reassurance as the company uses the Payslip Buddy, which checks and verifies the payslip to make sure all deductions are correct and ethical. The check looks for tax fraud and any illegal practices like NMW violations, as well as practices that might not be illegal but are seen as unethical for financial gain. Myatt says all workers get a report emailed to them every week plus the opportunity to use their Payslip Buddy login to view historic reports. New Red Planet (NRP), which is also FCSA-accredited, says it has seen demand for the PEO model continue to grow over the past couple of years. “This is especially the case in public sectors, such as education and social care, where contractors and the supply chain in general prefer the simplicity provided by the PEO model to the worker,” said

“The main advantage of a PEO is that temps and contractors should always know how much their gross pay rate is” Julia Kermode, CEO of payroll compliance service provider, PayePass Solutions

Steve McDermott, business development manager at NRP. “We understand the growing demand in the temporary labour market for a range of payroll options, and that is why we have taken the decision over the past couple of years to work with the FCSA to be accredited for both our umbrella and PEO models of pay.” He explains that crucial to the ethos of NRP is having an understanding and acting upon the needs and demands of all parties – agencies, contractors and end clients – so it works to ensure it understands the nuances within the different sectors. Many of NRP’s PEO clients operate in the public sector where there is an increasing desire for workers to be paid through a standard PAYE model, explains McDermott. “Rather than this forcing an agency to run in-house PAYE, the PEO model allows the agency to continue their main focus on recruitment while working with a payroll partner to provide the employment and payroll solution that is perfect for their supply chain.” NRP managing director Phil Whelan, was a teacher and headteacher for 15 years prior to taking the helm. He maintains regular contact with his public sector colleagues to ensure the company maintains an understanding of current legislation and requirements within education and beyond. “Having worked with schools, agencies and workers on both sides of the fence gives a unique insight into what is desired and required in the public sector environment. PEO gives teachers, and many other such contractors, agencies and end clients, the payroll choice and solution that meets the demands of the whole supply chain.” The FCSA only accredits those companies operating a single employment PEO as opposed to a joint one. In a joint offering, two or more organisations – for example, the recruitment agency and the


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hiring company – partner with the PEO and both share responsibility and control of the worker. In 2021, FCSA took the decision to remove the joint employment model from its Accreditation Codes in the interests of promoting transparency and fairness within the contracting industry. The chief concern, said Murphy, head of operations with FCSA, was the potential for circumventing VAT. “Whilst we appreciate that there are some instances where VAT exemptions may apply, such as the medical sector around the supply of registered nurses etc, there were just too many unknowns, which in turn created a larger risk.” She concedes it is perfectly possible to operate a PEO without the central aim being to circumvent VAT but discussions with HMRC confirmed that while the joint employment model is in line with regulations, it is subject to case-by-case evaluation. “It introduces uncertainty and we don’t like uncertainty as it could leave employers in a precarious position, unsure if their employment structure would withstand scrutiny by HMRC. The entire temporary workforce suffers from a lack of transparency,” she says. “And the other question you have to ask is, OK, there might be benefits to cash flow for the companies but what are the benefits for the contractor?” Kermode adds that joint employment can be difficult to do compliantly, and that recruiters need to be aware that it is a very different way of working.

I M AG E S | X X X X X X X

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An HMRC spokesperson told Recruiter that the VAT treatment of joint employment arrangements depends on each case. “HMRC will challenge any arrangements set up to deliberately avoid paying the right amount of tax.” Whether the PEO model proves itself as a simplified and more transparent model for contractors will become clearer over the coming years, but it provides contractors and agencies with an alternative to the traditional umbrella. As Myatt says, it provides the workers with a welcome “what you see is what you get” straight PAYE rate, removing the confusion of an uplifted umbrella PAYE rate. And, as Whelan says, the hope is that the benefits are felt by all parties, as well as the economy: “At NRP, we firmly believe that giving contractors and agencies the payroll choices they desire, will lead to a more settled and efficient contracting world.” ●

ADVICE TO RECRUITMENT AGENCIES As Julia Kermode of PayePass says, the PEO model can appear “quite mysterious” because it isn’t being widely used yet, and underlines the issue that might exist if it operates on a joint employment basis. “Recruiters need to be aware of this because it involves certain legal responsibilities which they may have previously outsourced.” The FCSA’s Deborah Murphy advises recruitment agencies to do their due diligence on the PEO just as they would a standard umbrella offering. “Check that the company is the company they’re meant to be, ensure you get references and expect a high level of transparency and open communication from them. Also, be aware of what the risks are: for example, what happens if the PEO can’t meet its obligations?

And what happens in the case of an employment tribunal – is the agency responsible? And what about insurances?” Meanwhile, Jonathan Myatt of Orbital Payroll Services has this advice: “When factoring in total costs for engaging a PEO worker, be sure to know the amount of maximum hours that someone could work as this will give a clear idea on the employment costs involved. If you work on a minimum amount of hours to save costs then this could be a shock if someone does more than you initially priced on. It’s also worth factoring in extra costs for things like workers enrolling into a pension scheme after 12 weeks, which will incur an extra cost. What should recruiters be alert to when dealing with them?”


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On Thursday 26 October we celebrated the industrys most outstanding & successful recruitment campaigns at The Brewery, London.

CONGRATULATIONS ¯t t¶ ΄̑̏̑̒΄ÎNkk* ¢



TMP Worldwide – Herts Care Careers

Blackbridge Communications - Rolls-Royce




Havas People - NEXT

Blackbridge Communications Lloyds Banking Group

TMP Worldwide – Herts Care Careers



HIGHLY COMMENDED Activision Blizzard

TMP Worldwide - Home Office

Morson Group - Andy’s Man Club




LEAP Create - Thales UK


ThirtyThree – Allen & Overy

That Little Agency - Miele X

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Not Going To Uni & Content Marketing Pod - Royal Air Force

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ThirtyThree - Accenture

Havas People - AXA Inclusivity Training

Tonic Agency - Newton



Symphony Talent - Sky

HCA Healthcare UK - supported by Blackbridge Communications



Activision Blizzard



Radancy - Primark

Talk’n’Job by Apply Z GmbH - NHS University Hospital Southampton

AMS - Santander (Isabelle)

Sponsored by Totaljobs

VIDEO (£5,001 TO £15,000)


LIQUONA - Surrey Fire & Rescue Service

Sponsored by WeLove9am

Sponsored by Totaljobs

Stafford Long - Tesco

AGENCY OF THE YEAR Sponsored by CV-Library

Blackbridge Communications

VIDEO (£15,001+) Pink Squid – Capgemini HIGHLY COMMENDED ThirtyThree and B&Q

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Pink Squid - Veolia

GRAND PRIX Pink Squid - Capgemini

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WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN UP TO? GET IN TOUCH! You’ve been going to the ball, making noise, linking up locally and supporting communities since the last issue of Recruiter…


THE CITY RECRUITER ECRUITER HELPS UNITY SUPPORT LOCAL FAMILIES Manchester-based recruitment firm The City Recruiter has partnered with Unity Community, a North-West charity dedicated to supporting local families in need. The partnership seeks to raise awareness of families living below the breadline and encourage more people to volunteer their time and generosity to the cause. To kick things off, the team at The City Recruiter has launched a monthly food donation day, where staff bring in items that are then given to the charity.

Jobs and careers site has partnered with Global’s Make Some Noise, the charity of Global, home to popular radio brands including Heart, Capital, LBC and Classic FM. As part of the collaboration with Make Some Noise, is contributing £175k in matched funds, meaning every contribution made through the Big Give platform until the end of October will be matched up to a guaranteed £175k.

MET RECRUITMENT MAKES A LOCAL DIFFERENCE Dudley-based MET Recruitment took over the e Black Country Living Museum to celebrate the firm’s 15-year anniversary. Founder Robin Tong used the evening’s celebrations to reinforce the firm’s commitment to the local area, with the MET Charitable Trust set to meet its targett of raising £5k for a host of charities, including Darlaston Town Football Club’s Food Bank. All employees have also been given a day’s paid ‘volunteer leave’ that they can use to make a difference to a community group or a cause close to their heart.

CA CANDIDATE SOURCE SCORES FOR GIRLS FOOTBALL TEAM FO CORE RECRUITER’S KELLY IS THE BELLE OF THE BALL IN HER PPE Kelly Cartwright, owner of specialist construction recruitment firm Core Recruiter, wowed guests at the National Federation of Builders’ Top 100 Influential Women in Construction Awards, wearing a gown fashioned entirely from PPE to highlight the importance of authenticity and vulnerability in the sector. Her neon-orange dress was specially made for the event by dressmaker Hannah Wilde and paired with her steel toe-capped boots to complete the look. “You can only be comfortable when you wear something that truly resonates with who you are, so I’ve often joked about going to an event in my PPE!” Cartwright said. 34 RECRUITER

Alle Allenton United Under-12s girls football tea team has netted more than £6,250 of ssponsorship from recruitment ad advertisement agency Candidate Sou Source, who has been offering training to members of TEAM (the UK’s network of independent recruiters) in return for a £30 donation. The funding has be been used to buy goals, new footballs, a ssubs bench, equipment and away stri strips, as the ambitious team look to claim top spot in Division 2 of the De Derbyshire Girls and Ladies League.

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“Leave your ego at home, recognise you’re not always right and not every decision you make is the correct one” MY BRILLIANT UITMENT RECRUITMENT CAREER What was your earliest rliest dream job? Until I was about seven, en, I was fully committed to becoming ing the Pink Power Ranger. However, ver, when that dream faded, I switched hed to the idea of joining the Royal Navy vy to be a chef! f Travelling the world and cooking g at the e same time seemed like ke the ideal job ob ever. Neither job happened pened though!

What was your firstt job in recruitment and how ow did you come into it? I started my career ass a tech recruiter in 2011, joining a start-up rt-up agency as employee number two. wo. I was working in property and met a recruiter setting up a new operation in NI - I asked k d them outright for a job and took a pay cut to do it.

Who is your role model – in life or in recruitment? Wow, there’s a lot and ever changing, but Rosaleen Blair, founder of Alexander Mann Solutions, would be in my top five. A female ee entrepreneur t ep e eu w who o built up AMS and sold old it for £315m – legend.

What do you love most about your current role? The variety of people e I meet. I’m now a founder of an HRTech company,, and it’s worlds apart from my agency days. Our entire tire focus is bringing inclusivity lusivity into the recruitment process. cess.


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JEMMA SIMPSON Founder at Diverse

JEMMA SIMPSON What would be the most brilliant moment of your career?

What would you regard as your signature tune?

There’s a few: supporting trans people into workplaces where they feel safe… living and working in Thailand for an executive search firm… growing my own business from the kitchen table to ead g HRTech R ec firm. Hard to choose! leading

Tears for Fears: Everybody wants to rule the world.

Laug or cry, what did Laugh you your most memorable candidate make you ca want to do and why? wa Some have made me want Som to pa pack it all in; others have invigo invigorated my love for recruitment. But there’s one recrui cand candidate who made me chan change my focus from Biggest Biller tto Biggest Social Impact. Seeing them struggle to get work du due to their autism sparked my journey for better recruitment practices and D&I. recruitm

The last few years have been a bit of a rollercoaster. What have you learnt about yourself during these somewhat turbulent times? Covid-19 changed my career, as I began my own business at the kitchen table. I quickly learned that I’m a lot more resilient than I thought.

What personal qualities do you think are needed to lead through change and uncertainty? Leave your ego at home, recognise you’re not always right and not every decision you make is right. Bring all stakeholders into the conversation – you can’t do everything on your own. ● Jemma Simpson spoke with Roisin Woolnough.


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Mark TaylorWeir has been appointed as vice president executive search at global life sciences specialist Talentmark. Taylor-Weir joins Talentmark from international workforce solutions specialist NES Fircroft, where he focused on retained search for C-Suite, board and senior hires in the UK and Europe as well as covering the US, China, India and Africa. Before that he was a partner at InterExec, specialists in bespoke career development for highflying senior executives.

ACORN BY SYNERGIE The multi-sector recruiter has appointed Carla Powell as its new regional logistics manager for the North. Powell has more than 15 years’ recruitment experience and previously worked for Major Recruitment.

mechanical and civil engineers and EC&I technicians.


Chris Cooper has joined the multi-sector recruiter as manager at its Birmingham branch. Cooper has 20 years’ experience in the industry and aims to grow the branch that currently has five staff.


Insurer Aioi Nissay Dowa Europe (AND-E) UK has appointed Gemma Robinson as people and culture director. Robinson is an HR leader with more than two decades experience and has been promoted from her previous role at AND-E as head of people and engagement.

ASTUTE TECHNICAL RECRUITMENT Shaniece Gathii has been appointed talent specialist by the technical recruitment specialist. Gathii will recruit in the renewable energy sector and focus on hiring contract managers, 36 RECRUITER


BALTIMORE CONSULTING The Bristol-based recruitment firm has appointed Ailidh Van Wyk to associate director of client engagement for education. Van Wyk will be responsible for driving sales and delivering service to both new and existing clients within the education division.

The industrial recruitment specialist has appointed Colin Roope as associate partner in its manufacturing and engineering practice. Roope will focus on the automotive, aerospace, cleantech and renewables markets, as well as building on the firm’s presence across core manufacturing and engineering sectors in the South of England.

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

CALIBRE ONE The global executive search firm has appointed Harry Greenspun as partner in the US. He will lead Calibre One’s new health and wellbeing practice group while expanding the company’s presence in the Washington D.C. area.

DANIEL OWEN The built environment recruiter has appointed Sarah-Jane Bradish to its

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board of directors as national sales director. Bradish has more than 20 years’ experience in the recruitment industry and will play an integral part in the firm’s growth plans.

EASTWARD PARTNERS The executive search specialist has appointed Adam Szepkouski chief operating officer. Szepkouski will spearhead the firm’s human capital and strategic operational focus, ensuring the scalability of Eastward, which specialises in private equity and professional services sectors.

GERALD EVE The property consultancy has appointed Archie Hirson as head of recruitment. Hirson was previously director and head of talent acquisition at commercial property services firm Colliers.

GREENBEAN The recruitment solutions firm has appointed Dean Durrant as associate director of client solutions. Durrant has more than two decades’ experience in recruitment and talent management across a varied clientele, from start-up businesses and SMEs to prominent global enterprises.

ISG Daniel Cordwell has joined the iSource Group (iSG) as

delivery consultant and promoted Chris Wright and Chris Moseley to delivery team leads.

NICHOLAS ASSOCIATES GROUP Daniel Ryan has joined the recruitment group as an IT service delivery manager. Based at the company head offices in Sheffield, Ryan has over 18 years’ experience and previously worked in the legal sector, managing global second line IT teams based in the UK, the US and APAC regions. In his new role, Ryan will cover a large range of responsibilities to ensure the efficient delivery of IT services to all divisions and branches within the group.

REALM RECRUIT Two consultants have joined the Altrincham-based recruitment consultancy. Jenny Vickerstaff is appointed senior consultant specialising in the recruitment of legal support staff across the North-West. Laura McColl Wilson joins as an associate consultant, specialising in the recruitment of commercial insurance lawyers across the North West, Yorkshire and the West Midlands.

SAPPHIRE Kris Simpson has joined one of the leading service providers for umbrella, CIS, limited companies and accountancy firms for SMEs. Simpson will lead Sapphire’s new international payroll solutions division, which has been specifically tailored for UK-based recruitment agencies.

Redactive Publishing Ltd Fora, 9 Dallington Street, London EC1V 0LN 020 7880 6200

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

Contributing writers Rachel Masker, Vivienne Russell, Sue Weekes, Roisin Woolnough Production editors Patrick Appleton, Vanessa Townsend

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

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

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



+44 (0)20 7880 6215

CIRCULATION and SUBSCRIPTIONS Recruiter is the leading magazine for recruitment and resourcing professionals. To ensure each issue of Recruiter magazine is delivered to your desk or door, subscribe now at https://subs. Annual subscription rate for 12 issues: £35 UK; £45 Europe and £50 Rest of the world • Recruiter is also available to people who meet our terms of control: • To purchase reprints or multiple copies, or any other enquiries, please contact or +44 (0)1580 883844 CONTRIBUTIONS Contributions are invited, but when not accepted will be returned only if accompanied by a fully stamped and addressed envelope. Articles should be emailed. No responsibility can be taken for drawings, photographs or literary contributions during delivery, transmission or in the editor’s hands. © 2023 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 July 2019 & June 2020 – 16,076. is also sent to all REC members

Recycle your magazine’s plastic wrap – check your local LDPE facilities to find out how.

Scan here to get your own copy of

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02/11/2023 16:40


Paul Chamberlain Ever thought about the unusual insights thrown out by LinkedIn posts? started doing these LinkedIn Learnings posts as I was becoming intrigued by the week by the breadth and depth of LinkedIn posts on what I thought was a professional/business platform. It was meant as a bit of fun but it seems to have gained some traction. The posts are deliberately cryptic but I do have contacts on LinkedIn who DM me to ask if the comments are about them. And some people now are positively asking me to include comments about them! I also understand that there is an avid readership outside my own connections – with people saying that they can’t wait for Friday evenings – when the posts usually land – as they set them up for the weekend!



“I know the recruitment industry inside out,” says the person who hasn’t spent a day working in it So here is a special edition of LinkedIn Learnings for Recruiter readers: ● A rich supply of recent pickings – definitely an up-turn in fortunes. ● The look on the child’s face when he had to watch his parents dancing at a school event – priceless. It reminded me of an 8Os horror film. Watch out mum and dad! ● Should we be interested in a dog’s birthday?

● The life coach really is alive – there’s motion footage. ● I hate camping. Sharp sticks in eyes are more comfortable. ● Can your life be in a mess without alcohol? ● “I know the recruitment industry inside out,” says the person who hasn’t spent a day working in it. ● Don’t forget: one famous legal case makes you a legend. ● Do you need a pop-up stand in your own office

to remind you which company you work for? ● All eyebrows look the same these days. ● Dogs really do resemble their owners. ● It appears more recruiters than the average like to spend their time in very cold water. Why? ● Let’s be careful out there. One of these days you’ll get caught out. #Linkedinlearnings ● These represent personal views of Paul Chamberlain and not those of his firm.

Paul Chamberlain is partner and head of employment at JMW Solicitors

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