Recruiter - Oct/Nov 2020

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Business intelligence for recruitment and resourcing professionals

Oct/Nov 2020

INCORPORATING Recruitment Matters


Supporting staff return to the workplace after months on furlough BEST OF BOTH WORLDS

Employment in the future is set to be a blend of office and home working ADVERTISEMENT FEATURE

Gary Wills decided to do something positive with his time off

Itec Systems celebrate their eagerly anticipated new software

PLUS RT O P E R L A I SPEC -ups Start

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05 Well done to the winners






The Recruiter Awards are a great success in their new virtual format Late payments Barometer identifies cash-flow issues for recruiting businesses Struggle to survive CBI head Dame Carolyn Fairbairn warns at the REC 2020 conference that businesses face a ‘Darwinian’ moment Adapt to survive Also at the REC 2020 conference, Australian business expert and futurist Gus Balbontin shares his wit and wisdom about coping with change Contracts & Deals


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10 Workplace Insight


Guy Hayward on comms strategies and remote working, and Alex Arnot advises on diversification Tech & Tools The latest recruitment technology and services





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Maryanne Mathews, the EY Foundation Soundbites



INCORPORATING Recruitment Matters

FEATURES THE BIG STORY: FurLearn How recruitment expert Gary Wills used his time to create an online community offering advice and support to fellow furloughees From crisis to opportunity As companies are forced to shed staff, many from customer-focused roles have found rewarding new roles in the care sector SPECIAL REPORT: Start-ups With the world in upheaval, many brave souls are seizing the day and forming their own companies Reintegrating staff Employees returning to the workplace after furlough will need to be eased back into a very different world Hybrid working Many of us may not return to the office fulltime, but mix and match with working from home


33 E COMMUNITY 39 My brilliant recruitment career: Michelle Stewart

40 Movers & Shakers 41 Recruiter contacts 42 The Last Word: Alan Furley


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Cash flow issues have knock-on effect WE LCO M E



ongratulations to the winners and shortlisted nominees of our Recruiter Awards 2020! And I hope those of you who joined us for the first virtual edition of these awards enjoyed the show on your screens and toasted vigorously in the comfort of your home, home office, office-office, or wherever you watched them from. I know that in preparing my segments of the programme, I missed seeing all of your faces live in front me. However, my husband and I had a small party – can you have any other kind these days? – to celebrate the recording of my presentations, and “Articles in this it was great fun to issue explore the experience the Awards from a distant possibilities of perspective, with developing a friends who wanted to hybrid workforce know all about recruitment and the and how best Awards! to reintegrate” Now we’re eagerly anticipating our Investing in Talent Awards in December, hopefully as a live party. The re-entry period is working its way into the public consciousness, although statistics vary about how many people have made their way back into offices. Articles in this issue explore the possibilities of developing a hybrid workforce and how best to reintegrate yourself and your teams back into the people-empty offices left behind. Whatever you choose, travel safely on your journey.

DeeDee Doke, Editor


MORE THAN 25% of recruiters are experiencing a increase in the number of days that it takes to get paid, compared with 12 months ago, according to the Q3 Recruitment Sector Barometer. The barometer report identified cash flow and the lack of of recruiters are experiencing a availability of staff to process rise in the number of days it takes to get paid payments as issues for some recruitment businesses’ clients. This, in turn, is leading to increased debtor days for recruiters. The report went on to point out that: “Unsurprisingly, the number of firms that are experiencing an increase in debtor days is at a record level and is continuing to rise.” At a time when revenue is particularly hard to generate, this of companies missed their could create cash-flow issues if targets last quarter companies are not careful.” The barometer, which is run by Recruiter columnist Alex Arnot of MyNonExec, also found that more companies – a net 17% – have reported a reduction in average fee rates than an increase. “Re-establishing pre-crisis fee rates will likely take time,” the report concluded. Other results included: a 2.5% improvement in the Arnot Score, the measure of industry optimism, since Q2 a 13% increase in the net percentage of recruitment companies expecting to grow their headcount in the next quarter an 11% improvement in the net percentage of respondents expecting profit for the coming 12 months to be greater than for the previous 12 months a 7% improvement in the time taken from briefing to appointment. While some prospects for the sector were starting to head upward, the barometer report noted however: “It is unsurprising that 85% of companies missed their targets last quarter.”





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38,708 FOLLOWERS AS OF 17 SEPT 2020

CBI head warns of ‘Darwinian’times for business BY DEEDEE DOKE

CBI DIRECTOR-GENERAL DAME Carolyn Fairbairn has termed the Covid pandemic recovery “a Darwinian moment” for UK business, with “winners and losers drawn very sharply”, in the opening keynote address at the Recruitment and Employment Confederation’s REC 2020 conference on 8 September. Fairbairn, who will leave the top role at the UK’s leading business consortium at the end of the year, warned: “We are heading into a period of high unemployment… We will not be able to head off a tsunami of high unemployment.” She characterised today’s challenging business environment with: “I do think this is a Darwinian moment… This is going to be about survival.” During her keynote address, Fairbairn called on the government to build a retraining agenda in “a peopleled recovery” for those who will have lost work as a result of the pandemic and because of changes to business already under way




pre-Covid, which have subsequently speeded up. Partnership between government and business has never been more important, she said, adding that the two sectors now had the opportunity to create “the partnership of the century” in joining forces to revitalise the UK’s economic recovery. She also argued for “ongoing support” for furloughed UK workers past the October deadline, saying that resulting costs should be shouldered by business and the individual workers themselves in addition to the government. Acknowledging that such discussions were taking place with the government, Fairbairn said: “We hope we will see a real step forward shortly.” The CBI director-general was critical of how 20% of furloughed workers overall and 40% of furloughed IT workers had been asked to work during their time away from work, when the government was covering 80% of their salaries to not work. “These are things that will come home to roost,” she warned.

Fairbairn also expressed optimism for the future world of work, citing more flexible attitudes towards different models of working, the breaking down of work silos and greater trust between employer and employee. “We need to bottle” the increased productivity and better work communications “than we have seen in many years”, she said.


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It's about adapting – and it's up to you BY DEEDEE DOKE


“Covid opened people’s eyes about what they’re willing to try.” DANIEL CORNWELL MD, SP E RE SOURC IN G

“My sense is recruitment will change. We’ve grown up a bit.”

S T A R T - U P

THOSE PEOPLE WHO are most adaptable to change are also those who are most likely to survive in difficult circumstances – not necessarily the strongest or the most intelligent, alternative futurist Gus Balbontin told the audience at the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC)’s #REC2020 conference on 8 September. In a presentation full of sharp wisdom that also kept the audience laughing, the former Lonely Planet executive and CTO spoke from Australia about contemporary business culture and the dangers of complacency and attempting to ward off change. “The future doesn’t look for good for you if you do the same thing every day,” he said. “Focus on your ability to adapt, and you can handle anything.” Balbontin’s messages of staying open to new experiences, although universally applicable, have a particular resonance with the world today, at a time when no

clear path forward is visible, for either individuals or businesses. He used the idea of concreting over natural paths of dirt and greenery as a metaphor for trying to prevent change. Some people, he said, “hate change so much” they will pour concrete over paths to try and smooth out bumps. “Moving and shifting into dirt is uncomfortable,” he acknowledged, but stifling change means “eventually your system owns you”. “Get rid of concrete whenever you can,” he added. Melbourne-based Balbontin also suggested that people should look inside themselves, and not elsewhere, for reasons why they are unable to move forward. For instance, when someone cannot get to a destination – such as a meeting – on time, they may offer the excuse that they are “stuck in traffic”. However, that's not accurate, he said. “You are not stuck in traffic. You are the traffic. You are always the problem; you are in it. There’s no other way around it!”



DISTRICT4 BY DEEDEE DOKE It’s been said that many people around the world have used the upheavals of 2020 to make significant changes in their lives – from living arrangements to how they spend their free time and careers. James Johnson, former group CEO of The Hive recruitment company (previously known as Nicoll Curtin) is one who opted to change his career path and launch a new kind of start-up. For three years, he’d been thinking about a different type of recruitment business model. And after taking “a week out just to think” earlier this year, Johnson took the plunge and created District4. District4 is based on creating a community of “expert recruiters”, each with their own specialism, who operate as their own boss and their own limited companies out of one membership stable, Johnson explained to Recruiter. No offices will be required. Support, such as admin, compliance and resourcing will be provided by The Hive, of which Johnson is now a part-time

non-executive director. Significantly, Johnson said, members are likely to make a better return for themselves than they do working for a recruitment company, through an improved commission split between the community and the recruiter who has done the deal. Membership of the ‘member-driven’ collective will be awarded through application, a ‘chemistry’ call, and a meeting with other members, Johnson said. Johnson will not be billing, he said. Instead, as the community’s founder, he will “help shape the community” and troubleshoot support needs. There are five founder members: Rob Aitchison, Jamie Archer, Lengwe Kapotwe, Ian McDiarmid and one to be announced soon. “We’re way ahead of where I thought we would be at this time,” Johnson said. “Our plan is to get 10 founder members by the end of the year.” He added, “Now is the time.” Neil Clark is the new CEO of The Hive, which includes Nicoll Curtin, BeecherMadden and District4.

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CV-Library Job board CV-Library has announced its latest CV Search integration with applicant tracking system Recruitly. The partnership enables Recruitly users to source and access millions of CVs from CV-Library’s database, without needing to leave their applicant tracking system. India’s edu-tech platform Coding Ninjas, which offers courses in technology and reskilling, has partnered with – a recruitment platform for premium talent in new and emerging technologies. The partnership aims to create employment opportunities for aspiring engineers and tech professionals.

ISV.Online ISV.Online, a supplier of skills testing software and training services to recruiters and employers, is teaming up with Thalento, a talent solutions provider headquartered in Belgium, to deliver its Microsoft Office Skills Tests in Dutch and French in addition to English.

Voyager Infinity UK job board CV-Library has been integrated into Voyager Infinity, a recruitment software CRM, to help recruiters source top talent more quickly. The partnership will enable organisations that use both CV-Library and Voyager Infinity to source and access millions of CVs from CV-Library without leaving the Voyager platform.

Robin Recruitment Healthcare Kingdom Services Group has acquired temporary and permanent nursing specialist Robin Recruitment Healthcare. The move will enable Robin Recruitment to expand further into the healthcare sector. Kingdom Services now provides security solutions, cleaning, recruitment, local authority support, systems, hygiene, training (through its Skill Centre), and concierge services (through Capital Concierge) in the UK and overseas.

PeopleStrong Software development agency Titansoft has chosen global HR technology and HR SaaS solutions provider PeopleStrong to power its HR technology. PeopleStrong will implement: Alt Recruit (next-generation system); Alt Worklife (HRMS software, which provides a hire-to-retire solution); and Alt Performance.


Granger Reis Executive search consultancy Granger Reis will support property industry charity LandAid through providing pro-bono services for its board and committees. The consultancy, which specialises in the real



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estate, infrastructure and industrial sectors worldwide, will deliver executive search services for LandAid’s board and committees. The UK-based charity aims to ends UK youth homelessness by 2026.

Sonru Automated video interviewing technology provider Sonru has been acquired by Modern Hire, the all-inone enterprise hiring platform. “Our combined organisation’s strategic vision is to provide our clients with the strongest technology, team and reach in the market,” said Ed Hendrick, Sonru’s founder and CEO. With headquarters in the US, Modern Hire offers a range of services: SaaS interviewing technology; workflow automation; AI capabilities; predictive analytics and hiring assessments. Partnering with 47 Fortune 100 companies, its clients include Amazon, Proctor & Gamble, Walmart and FedEx.

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11/09/2020 19:14



The Workplace BY GUY HAYWARD


techniques… consigning email and the intranet to the scrap heap… is a line of travel that we all should take. Frequent comms sent straight to our phone, created to build and maintain a strong feeling of connection, a sense of fun and a platform for daily comms for everyone: this is the starting point for managing remotely. And there is the importance of 1-2-1s. Make them religiously, every week, as they remain one of the most powerful tools in creating the environment for someone to succeed. Structured time for your people to discuss how they are feeling, what’s on their mind, the challenges they are facing with building their desks. This way we start the week with a sense of purpose and understanding of the line of travel. Technology is making working from home the same experience by having the right tools at hand and the best set-up away from the office. You do not need a tonne of space or even your own study, but it does need to be comfortable with the right table, chair and key pieces of tech. And then there is the challenge of making a new starter feel that they have

“Our comms strategies need to be more structured and thought-out than ever. The sense of feeling connected and part of a team must remain.” indeed joined the right business when their usual first-quarter induction programme is held online, and they sit at home away from their new surroundings and team. How about creating that sense of belonging during remote onboarding? Post a detailed onboarding booklet setting out their first six weeks to the newcomer’s home; have video face-to-face time scheduled for the days they are not in the office; make a timetable for meeting a host of new faces in their first couple of months; pair them up with a buddy; and diarise time for reviewing progress. Our people can be out of sight but never out of mind. ●

IS IT REALLY possible? In the new world of remote management and remote onboarding – to set people up for success and manage performance the same as before? The management of activity and productivity, discussions about sales planning, delivering to our clients, coaching our people, managing careers, staying connected – and there will be others. How effectively can you influence these areas when the traditional methods of popping into a room or discussions over a desk to influence, help and guide are no longer a five-days-a-week reality? All the above are not easy, but as we have all learned, it is the reality that we have to embrace and change how we operate for the better. Our comms strategies need to be more structured and thought-out than ever. The sense of feeling connected and part of a team must remain. Just because you are 30 miles apart and see each other just once or twice a week should not stop visibility. I am surprised just how many people I speak to feel that they are out of mind as well as out of sight. Becoming a digital workplace with an agenda to modernise communication

GUY HAYWARD – redefining the modern workplace CEO, Goodman Masson


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ASK THE EXPERT WE’VE OUTPERFORMED OUR COMPETITORS RECENTLY BUT OUR SECTOR HAS BEEN BADLY HIT BY COVID-19 AND I WANT TO DIVERSIFY. WHAT WOULD YOUR TOP TIPS BE? Congratulations – if you are outperforming the competition, then you are clearly doing a great deal that is right. However, growth is challenging in a shrinking market, and if you don’t have good reason to believe your sector is going to bounce back quickly and for the long term, then diversification sounds like a sensible strategy.

Understand why you have outperformed your competitors Before you consider how you are going to diversify, take the time to understand why you are performing well relative to the competition. Setting up a new part of the business takes time, energy and money and it is easy to lose focus on what has kept the company performing well to date. Secondly, if you can replicate the fundamentals of your current success in your new venture it may give you a competitive advantage in your new sector.

Research your new sector Normally, to maximise your chances of success from diversification you should stick as closely as possible to what you know. However, given that the objective is to reduce your company’s dependency on your primary sector, recruiting for other types of role (e.g. marketing as well as HR) within your existing client base or moving along the supply chain will probably leave you facing the same challenges you have at the moment. If you have yet to identify a target sector, why not brainstorm with staff – do any of them have a background or network in a different sector that may be useful? If none immediately jumps out at you then google which sectors have benefited from Covid-19 and consider how you would penetrate these new markets.

Alex Arnot The SME Coach outcomes, because of cultural incompatibility, loss of key employees, integration obstacles, etc. If you choose to grow the new desk organically, then smart use of LinkedIn and/or CV databases can provide a ready-made client and candidate list, even if that list is cold. While there are far more consultants looking for a new challenge than six months ago, invest the time to find the right person to build the new business. Explore how they would approach the opportunity, what resources they will need, what they feel would be realistic targets after three, six and 12 months, etc. Look for evidence of whether their approach will complement the source of competitive advantage in your original business.

Plan and set targets While Covid-19 and Brexit mean a huge amount of uncertainty, a business plan is still an absolute must. Create cash-flow predictions for every month for the first year for the new division, build a sales funnel to predict revenue, and set triggers for your hiring plan accordingly. If targets are being missed it is critical to understand why, so that remedial action can be taken quickly.

Provide the new venture with the support it needs Penetrating new markets

Clients, candidates and consultants need to understand your commitment to their sector, particularly if you are unknown there. Give your new desk at least equal weighting on the website and LinkedIn, as well as in marketing collateral such as email footers – your existing clients already know what you do. Stay true to what has served you well to date and you will do well. Good luck. ●

If you’re financially robust, acquiring or merging with an underperforming company in a strongly performing sector may provide you with any or all of a ready-made client base, candidate list, sector-focused consultants and even a known brand. Smart use of LinkedIn and PR as well as speaking to Rec2Recs can help identify potential acquisitions. However, acquisitions and mergers are not without risk. Even assuming the payment schedule is well structured and success dependent, and there are no nasty surprises that escaped due diligence, it is common that mergers and acquisitions fall short of the desired

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


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AI-powered recruitment

Reality in the new normal?

The unique selling point of an artificial intelligence-based, predictive recruitment software is its ability to screen, evaluate and rank candidates against a job specification. Skeeled, from the Luxembourg-based company of the same name, does that and embeds it into an all-in-one solution. It includes an applicant tracking system (ATS) and automates transactional tasks, such as the ability to schedule phone interviews and face-to-face interviews, as well as publish offers. It also offers recruitment marketing functionality, and candidates can upload their CVs, post short videos, as well as undertake pre-employment tests that assess personality and skills. Skeeled believes that as companies emerge from the pandemic, they will be looking for more streamlined approaches to recruiting. So the company has partnered with recruitment technology provider VONQ to enable its users to set up job advertising campaigns using its network of 2,000 global channels, and has also integrated the aggregator Indeed’s technology into the platform to automate the publication of job offers.

Virtual reality (VR) is one of those technologies with clear-cut applications for recruitment in areas such as skills and personality assessment, as well as being able to immerse candidates in a potential future working environment. Prior to the Covid-19 outbreak, it had already become far more accessible in terms of technology and cost. In the post-pandemic era, when people are still cautious about face-to-face interviews and meetings, its use is likely to accelerate. Bristol-based tech start-up Virti is pioneering the use of immersive, interactive, 360-degree reality platforms for companies looking to recruit top talent from afar. The platform is cloud-based and allows companies to host bespoke, ‘experiential reality’ video content. Users interact with the content using a VR headset or even a smartphone, and their performance is recorded and assessed via in-built artificial intelligence technology. Virti said typical applications are skills assessment in a remote recruitment process, assessing soft skills and virtual company/office tours.


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

Pitch perfect? What could replace the CV? The latest contender: PitchMe, which describes itself as a skills-based talent marketplace that matches candidates’ soft and professional skills with the right jobs and upskilling opportunities. It also claims to improve diversity and inclusion by eliminating bias from the screening process using its Skillsourcing process, based on a methodology designed by leading behavioural scientists. It uses proprietary big data algorithms to extract information on candidates from, it claims, more than 60 online sources. These are then verified for accuracy to create a SmartMe candidate profile which, PitchMe says, allows candidates’ real skills and experience ‘to do the talking’ and which is then shared with employers anonymously. The platform, which is already in use, boasts impressive metrics, claiming it can match candidates with suitable roles 40% more accurately, 50% faster and 50% more cheaply than traditional platforms or recruitment agencies. And it seems there is no lack of belief in the system: in August it closed a $1.2m seed investment funding round led by New York-headquartered Starta Ventures.


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Checking the right to work Any recruiter worth their salt knows that not checking whether an individual is eligible to work in the UK is potentially a criminal offence, with fines of up to £20k per illegal worker and prison sentences of up to five years. From July to September 2019, however, the Home Office reported that 900 individuals were discovered without the correct permissions to work, leading to employers being fined more than £10m. To reduce the administrative burden of checks, Access Group has developed a Right to Work mobile app, that can also be accessed through the Access Workspace platform. It makes instant checks possible, confirming an applicant’s eligibility to work in the UK and securely storing proof of compliance. It facilitates nationality status checks and validates passports, visas and biometric residency permits and stores a fully auditable case history. It also provides alerts for when documents are due to expire or need to be re-verified. The app has checks relevant for multiple industry sectors.


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Work experience goes virtual Young people did not have to miss out BY MARYANNE MATHEWS

irtual work experience, including an online Dragon’s Den, has provided crucial support for the young people we work with at the EY Foundation, some of whom have been the hardest hit by the Covid-19 lockdown. Faced with office closures and staff working from home, we had to quickly adapt our programme of face-to-face work experience following the pandemic. We help young people from low-income backgrounds into work, and for many, the chance to spend a week with companies such as digital software pioneers Blue Prism and global law firm Linklaters makes a huge difference to their life chances. Just a few weeks after lockdown we ran a series of online skills and career workshops for young people across the UK, and then a new six-week virtual business mentoring programme for our former students. This provided us with the insight to deliver our established work experience programmes remotely over the summer holidays. This included all the benefits of our face-to-face programme, including employability skills training, work experience and business mentoring. To do this successfully there were three main areas to think about: Communications – Making sure our young people knew we were still there for them, that they would still be able to

MARYANNE MATTHEWS is chief executive,The EY Foundation.

participate and be supported by us. We contacted them all individually at the start of lockdown to let them know what we were planning. Content – Our delivery team set about reviewing how our traditional face-to-face programmes could be adapted to an online format and respond to the concerns that had been identified. To ensure we reflected the needs of young people, we worked with employer partners and our Youth Advisory Board, a group of young people from across the country who advise the Foundation. Tech – We quickly made sure all our young people had the technology they needed to join us remotely, which we did by providing each of them with their own laptop and webcam during the programme, which were delivered to their homes. We have had great feedback, with young people saying that in many ways virtual work experience made them more confident with real-life remote working tools, and taught them how to work as a team, even when not in the same location. The virtual work experience is paid and contributes to a qualification from the Chartered Management Institute. This delivery model also widens opportunities as it increases accessibility for employers who do not live nearby to support young people and pass on their experience. For this reason, elements of the virtual process may be retained beyond Covid-19. To further develop this approach, we are working with the Learning & Work Institute to assess the impact of moving to digital delivery, with initial findings expected in mid-September 2020. Employers gain a tremendous amount from working with us, from increasing the motivation and skills of their staff through coaching young people, to accessing a diverse pool of exciting young talent and future business leaders. Employers or charities who would like to get involved, please get in touch. We work in 17 locations across the UK and our summer virtual work experience Smart Futures programme ran across London, Birmingham, Manchester, Newcastle, Leeds and Luton, with more than 200 young people participating this year. ●







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WEBCHAT IT'S A MATTER OR PRIORITIES As a former employee of Pertemps with well over 10 years service, I was interested to read your online article regarding Pertemps sponsoring the St Leger horse racing event. Before lockdown began, Pertemps began to amalgamate branches in towns and cities in areas where there was more than one. The official line internally was that it was to save on costs to preserve jobs. Yet this led to many staff departures, due to them having duplicate positions in several places. This lead me personally to worry about my own position, but I was told not to worry as people leaving was a “happy accident” and would avoid the need for redundancy. Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown, Pertemps have made redundancies across the whole network, putting many long-serving staff, (some with more than 10-20 years of service) out of work. In fact, well in excess of 50 people have been made redundant across the network, with some branches closing altogether and some being reduced to one ‘360’ consultant. Then, only weeks later Pertemps are proud to report a huge investment in horse racing. I am shocked, disappointed, upset, angered (but not actually surprised) by the fact that such a huge company with supposed ‘family values’ at its core has told many long-serving and loyal people with dependants and families: “I’m sorry we can’t afford your salary any more, good luck for the future”, has then gone on to self-promote the fact that they have shamelessly sponsored a horse race. The many people like myself who have served the cause and been dedicated to Pertemps for many years that were told “welcome to the family” upon joining (some more than 20 years ago) are actually less important than four days of horse racing. It’s capitalism at its absolute worst. Pertemps ex-employee

Is working from home here to stay, or will we return to an office environment? JOANNE FINNERTY D I REC TOR AT JOA N N E F IN N ERT Y RECRUI T MEN T

There’s a definite wish to bond with colleagues. This has led to a virtual workspace, with video calls, instant messaging and social media becoming the place for workforce banter and team building. For those working from home, team Zoom lunches are increasingly popular to keep teams bonded and socially updated.


We’re sticking with the WFH for now. Being in our office but having one-way systems and limited numbers wouldn’t be the same. However, we’re introducing a ‘working together’ day each fortnight, with the hope we that should be able to move into our swanky new pad in January ‘21 with plenty of space.


Many of our clients have adapted their workspaces. I anticipate more permanent changes, including staggered break times and one-way systems.


The working-from-home technology has performed far better than many expected. However, a video call is no substitute for interacting in person – whether that be over lunch, coffee or in the corridor. It can also be difficult to gauge morale. I doubt many firms will switch to fully home-based operating models. Completing a deal, hiring or sharing ideas are still best done in person.


That colleague whom you once enjoyed those: “Did you see Eastenders last night” chats with across the open plan office, or “You smell nice, Donna, what perfume’s that” during a lunchtime stroll to Pret have now been relegated to team video conversations, usually beginning with: “Is your mic on?” Liz from marketing who once ‘dressed to impress’ is now appearing on Zoom calls wearing onesies. That lad who was always late finds the commute from bedroom to kitchen table much easier.


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In the spring millions of people found themselves in the distressing position of being suddenly furloughed and facing uncertain prospects. One recruitment expert in this situation decided to create an inspirational online community to offer practical advice and support, writes Roisin Woolnough

IN MID-APRIL GARY WILLS discovered he was joining a large and rapidly growing club: the furloughed. By the end of April, nearly 4m people had been furloughed in the UK and a month later that number surpassed 8m. Wills, who has worked in recruitment for 20 years, was not happy. But rather than sitting around twiddling his thumbs or worrying about might happen next, he decided to do something positive with his time. And so he set up FurLearn (furlearn. com), an online community for people who have been furloughed or been made redundant and are job searching. “The purpose of FurLearn is to reach and support as many people as possible,” says Wills. “Being furloughed is a very insecure situation – you don’t know if you will be called back or made redundant, so people are really suffering right now. I’ve been in recruitment for so long, I’ve lots of connections and a good knowledge of how I can help people land jobs.” The idea for FurLearn came to Wills when he was on the treadmill in his


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The place to manage IR35

With new legislation coming in April, this includes compliance requirements and process for managing candidates whether they are inside, or outside, IR35. With Engage, determining, sharing and managing the IR35 status for thousands of candidates up and down the supply chain becomes effortless because Engage connects end hirers, agencies, umbrella companies and candidates on one platform. IR35 is in fact a great sales opportunity to lead and to reassure your clients you are a great partner with the knowledge and the tools to comply with the new legislation; ensuring that the right deductions are being made in the supply chain and proving it in a live audit platform. We created Engage because we believe there is a better way to do recruitment. Total transparency and automation allows you to take IR35 in your stride and stay focused on ďŹ nding the best talent and building great relationships with your clients. Visit our website or email us to to ďŹ nd it out more. Find the best talent. Automate the rest. REC.OctNov20_018.indd 2

09/09/2020 14:38


garage, completing the last leg of a charity run. The next day he rang a friend who works in marketing, Jade Johannsen, to run the idea past her. She thought it was brilliant and wanted to come on board. Soon after, they co-founded FurLearn, which now has 1,650 members, including about 350 furloughed agency and in-house recruiters. “The concept was simple, but I knew that if done the right way we could reach a lot of people who potentially really needed something positive and inspiring to help them through seriously uncertain and dark times,” says Johannsen. “From the very first Zoom sessions, I knew we were on to something special. It was encouraging to hear all the feedback from listeners about how useful and uplifting they found it.”

A real community – only online Initially, Wills and Johannsen based the LinkedIn group on six core pillars but have since trimmed the list to four: personal branding, mental health, health & fitness, and fun. FurLearn offers a mix of things. It’s a support network, with Wills, Johannsen and several other volunteers giving free advice and support. It hosts regular online events, largely in the form of

Gary Wills and Jade Johannsen combined their expertise

Positivity certainly can be infectious Feedback from FurLearn member Yvette Kempson, business analyst from Nottingham “FurLearn has been the shot of positivity I needed in the morning and throughout my day. They have had a phenomenal array of guest speakers and supporters, offering free help and advice for updating your CV, attending interviews, maintaining a good positive head space during what has been a really uncertain and stressful time, not only for me, but friends and family around me. The positivity of the group is simply infectious.”

webinars given by motivational and specialist speakers. These have included career and interview coaches, a sleep guru, a marathon runner who has clocked more than 1,000 marathons (both before becoming paralysed and after regaining movement), money-saving experts, a BBC MasterChef finalist, a polar explorer, and a former fighter pilot who has also been a prisoner of war. The most recent webinars featured the world champion boxer Billy Schwer talking about how to ‘Create your own future the World Champion way’. Wills

and Bobby Banerjee, a learning and development specialist who is part of the FurLearn team, also recently ran a CV development and LinkedIn masterclass. The webinars regularly draw in 100-150 people, with all speakers giving their time and expertise free as an act of goodwill. Wills says FurLearn helps people in many ways. It gives them practical advice and support at a time when they really need it. It motivates and inspires them, giving them a focus to look beyond their current situation. And perhaps most importantly, it boosts members’ emotional, mental and physical wellbeing, partly through the content and support, but also because members are part of a community going through the same or similar experiences. Every day, Wills posts up a video to the group, with other team members posting comments as well. “It’s a community,” says Wills. “It has given people other people to talk to. They gather fresh ideas and realise they’re not in it on their own. That makes a huge difference to people during the worry and stress of job searching.” Given the ongoing uncertainty in terms of Covid-19, the jobs market and the economic outlook, Wills believes it is so important that furloughed people and jobseekers focus on positives and take proactive steps to enhance their employment options. He is worried about what will happen when furlough comes to an end, particularly as there are already significant numbers of candidates applying for limited numbers of jobs. “Although more people are landing jobs now, my concern is there will be a lot of people at the end of October who will be released from furlough. Some companies won’t be able to bring all that talent back to business.”

Speaking from experience When Wills was furloughed back in April, he spent 24 hours feeling angry and sorry for himself, before a friend pointed out how many others were in the same position. That conversation


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& CONTRACTOR EXPENSES What does this mean for expenses? Traditionally, umbrella companies have structured the contract and payslip based on National Minimum Wage (NMW) + a discretionary bonus. The pay is structured in this was to limit umbrella companies exposure to non-payment and to ensure that they meet NMW requirements. This has also enabled some umbrella companies to allow qualifying employees to claim tax relief on main site travel and subsistence costs. In 2016, there was a legislation change which meant that only umbrella employees who aren’t under the supervision, direction or control of the end client were allowed to claim tax relief on these types of expenses. The introduction of the Optional Remuneration Arrangements (“OpRA”) legislation in 2017 resulted in a further restriction on availability of tax relief on these expense claims, as they could no longer form part of a WEPEV] WEGVMƼGI WGLIQI 9QFVIPPE GSQTERMIW TE]MRK 21; TPYW E HMWGVIXMSREV] FSRYW [IVI RSX WEGVMƼGMRK salary in exchange for tax free expenses, so were not caught by this rule change. These rules and contractual structures have worked for the majority of umbrella companies, until the recent pandemic and the introduction of Furlough. Based on the above contractual agreement, only the NMW part would be allowed in the calculation of payment under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (“CJRS”). Many umbrella companies have recently tested the discretionary nature of their pay and concluded it is not discretionary at all, and therefore able to be included in the calculation of the CJRS grant payment.

That is a question that most people have ignored and is a very important one! (YI XS GPEVMƼGEXMSR SJ XLI HMWGVIXMSREV] IPIQIRX SJ XLI pay (i.e. it is not discretionary), the payment of tax free reimbursement of travel and subsistence costs is no longer available to umbrella companies who have based their CJRS grant claim on 80% of the full salary as they would breach the OpRA rules. If they were to argue that the NMW + Discretionary Bonus construct is correct, then they would FI ƽSYXMRK XLI VYPIW SJ '.67 ERH PMOIP] LEZI XS VITE] XLMW as the government look to crack down on non-compliant furlough claims. Essentially, you can’t make a different argument about the discretionary pay element when considering expenses and the CJRS scheme. As a recruitment agency, you need to make sure your WYTTP] GLEMR MW GSQTPMERX ERH ƼRERGMEPP] VSFYWX %R] of your current umbrella companies who have made payments to furloughed employees based on 80% of the full earnings and who continue to reimburse tax free travel and subsistence expenses, risk HMRC investigation and ƼRERGMEP PSWW ERH EVI EPWS I\TSWMRK ]SY ERH ]SYV FYWMRIWW to risk under the Criminal Finance Act. 8LI EHHMXMSREP FIRIƼX XS XLI [SVOIV [LIR QEOMRK this change is simply that their entire payment (less IQTPS]QIRX GSWXW [MPP FI GPEWWMƼIH EW E WEPEV] ERH therefore remove the common dissatisfaction of contractually only being entitled to NMW. This will also help contractors when applying for credit, such as mortgages & loans. With the changes to IR35 coming in 2021, where the responsibility for determining a contractor’s IR35 status shifts from the contractor to the end hirer, we will see even more contractors moving from working within a PSC to an umbrella solution. This will undoubtly see a rise in the use of non-compliant umbrella solutions. We’re recommending all recruitment agencies to stay vigilant when it comes to managing your PSL, and the solutions your contractors use. For advice on compliance, industry changes and all things contracting, reach out to our experts today.

SPEAK TO THE EXPERTS 01925 694 521 |

REC.OctNov20_020.indd 20

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prompted him to look at his situation differently and to refocus on maintaining his wellbeing. “You have to remember that this is a pandemic decision. And people have to remember that if they lose their job, it’s not they who have been made redundant, it’s the role.” Wills encourages people to write down as many positives about themselves as possible. He does this because he knows all about the importance of positive thinking, after suffering mental health problems at the beginning of the year. “Last year a number of things went wrong for me – we had a major family situation with my dad, my nan passed away, and a friend had terminal cancer. I got to January and hit all my targets, but then

in February I had a breakdown and took four weeks off work.” He returned to work refreshed, but soon after, lockdown happened, and he was furloughed. “I didn’t want to go back to that mentality. I wanted to stay positive, and I wanted to make sure I made a positive contribution with my time off, helping people going through a challenging time.” Also, at the same time, a close relative was admitted to hospital critically ill with Covid-19, so Wills knew he had to take action to stay positive. His wife agreed, encouraging him to turn the garage into a gym. A friend then challenged him to run for 30 minutes a day. Accepting both challenges, he then set himself his own – to run the

“We are trying to get people motivated and to feel that they have achieved something.”

distance from NHS Nightingale Hospital Birmingham to NHS Nightingale Hospital London on his treadmill. And he did it. He ran 108 miles in his garage over 10 days, raising £6,750 for the NHS. It was on the last leg of that run that two milestones occurred: his manager rang to say Wills’ furlough had been extended to the end of July and that the idea for FurLearn was born.

Staying active For Wills, keeping active, both physically and mentally, during lockdown and furlough has been a top priority. Early on, he set himself a regime of leaving the house every morning and doing 8,000-10,000 steps, either walking or running. “I looked at it almost like a commute, even though I wasn’t working. It meant I had some achievement early on in the day – it’s immensely important to look after yourself.” Although he is furloughed until the end of October, Wills has handed in his notice to his employers. “The time is right to move on. Leaving an employer in the grips of a pandemic and a recession is probably not the best time, but it feels right for me.” It certainly will not be the last the recruitment industry has heard of Wills. He has already set up a new company, his own recruitment business called Talent Today. Not that he is going to let FurLearn go – he wants to grow it into something bigger, reaching a wider audience. He is partnering up with Google Digital Garage and he will speak at Birmingham Tech Week in October. Planning for an autumn FurLearn Covid-19 Challenge is also under way. For this, the FurLearn team and community will be either walking, cycling or running 19 miles, with a target of raising £19k for charity. For up-to-date information, visit But the real target is more than a monetary figure, Wills points out: “We are trying to get people motivated and to feel that they have achieved something.” ●


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Itec Systems is celebrating the launch of its eagerly anticipated product, itris 9 With an increasing demand for security and flexibility, itris 9’s unique hybrid cloud technology gives recruiters confidence in accessing their data securely from any location through its advanced user interface. After being rebuilt from scratch with a focus on user experience, their new product allows its users to unlock their true potential by maximising their efficiency and productivity. Off the shelf, itris 9 provides a range of functionality including DaXtra parsing, state of the art dashboards and powerful process automation as standard. This gives recruiters worldwide the optimum tools they need to be successful, putting them ahead of the competition.

Paul Sangster – Associate Director of Sales and Marketing “We are extremely excited to present our new product to the market which we have worked meticulously on for the last few years. Our unrivalled experience together with industry-leading technology has enabled us to develop the perfect platform for recruiters. Having worked in this industry for over 10 years, I have seen a huge 22 RECRUITER

amount of change to the recruitment software market. There has been a gap in the technology space for some time now, with many users frustrated with the lack of innovation and support from suppliers. We recognise the importance of the services we offer alongside itris 9 and invest heavily in our workforce and resources, so we can offer exceptional support and guidance to our customers.”

Chris Brind – Managing Director “We are the first supplier to rebuild their software from the ground up and this is reflected in its attention to detail, speed and performance. Our staff have worked extremely hard and I am confident that we can deliver what I believe to be the future in recruitment software. Our vision has always been to create software which is valued by its users and recognised for being innovative within the recruitment industry. One of the benefits of being a traditional software house is that we have full control over our products and future roadmap. We have some big plans for itris 9 and will be announcing a tonne of new features over the coming months.”

Jim Denning – CEO, LHi Group “We are always looking to invest in the best tools and platforms to benefit our sales consultants and support our fast-growing global business. We implemented itris 9 earlier this year to further support our consultant processes and improve our customer management. Not only is it aesthetically pleasing but also user friendly and intuitive as it reflects the recruitment lifecycle in a more continuous way. Additions such as the Kanban board for job activity, has made it easier for consultants to track job flow and the new CV Marketing Hub makes the process of CV marketing much more simplified, saving time and energy for consultants. The new and improved dashboard is a great way of focusing consultants to look at the most pressing activities (that will generate revenue in the near future) and of course, being cloud based has been a real asset to us in the increasingly remote world.” itris 9 clearly stands out in what has become a very crowded market and undoubtedly offers a product the recruitment industry has been waiting for. ●


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The care sector has found a wealth of applicants with a background in customer services from other sectors hard-hit by the pandemic – a win for the recruits and the clients, writes Colin Cottell ritain’s care workers have been in the forefront of the country’s battle with coronavirus. Often regarded as the poor relations of the NHS, when the virus took hold, the failure to provide adequate testing for staff and care home residents, as well as a shortage of PPE equipment and with many paid just the National Minimum Wage, it was hardly the most attractive message to send out to potential recruits.





But even as care workers were being lost to the virus, a large provider of care for elderly people was noticing a significant increase in the number of applications. Earlier in the summer, Karen Dakin, head of people at Home Instead, told Recruiter: “Since the lockdown began we have had 16,000 applications, compared with the normal figure of about 13,500.” That number has since grown to 35,038 applications for the company’s care-giver roles, resulting in 1,876 hires.


16/09/2020 16:10


Y T I N U T R O P P O N OA Established in 2005, Home Instead’s 9,000 care givers provide help for more than 14,000 elderly residents in their homes, as well as specialist end-of-life and respite care. Dakin says one of the main reasons why Home Instead has attracted more people to apply is the company’s concerted campaign to attract applicants from other sectors, notably retail, hospitality, leisure and tourism that have been hit hard by the pandemic. She explains: “We’ve contacted the HR departments of more than 62 companies to tell them about Home Instead and the job opportunities for their employees.” Among these are Manchester Airport, airlines such as Virgin, easyJet and BA, and TUI and P&O Ferries. Others include retailers, such as Laura Ashley, that have gone into administration, and restaurant chain Frankie & Benny’s, which is closing outlets.

In terms of measurable impact, Dakin says: “We have seen an upsurge in applications from companies such as BA, Alton Towers and several football clubs.” She adds that as soon as the government announced the lockdown measures in March, the company’s marketing team and recruitment team swung into action, not only getting in touch with other companies, but working with various partners, with the aim of “highlighting the opportunities for people to come in and join us and make such a difference to people’s lives”.

Making a difference Home Indeed was integral to the thinking behind the Department of Health & Social Care’s ‘Care for others. Make a difference’ campaign that was relaunched in April, Dakin explains, and had strong links with the Keep Britain



16/09/2020 16:10


Recruitment Leader of the Year

Ryan Adams: Founder, Signify Technology

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Working Campaign led by recruitment consultancy chain REED that aims to redeploy workers from struggling sectors. It also advertised on a specialist hospitality portal called Harri, and worked with a digital community platform for the over-50s called Restless. Even though most of those who work in retail, travel and hospitality will not have previously worked in the care sector, Dakin says they are ideal for Home Indeed. “I guess where the idea came from to look for people from these sectors is that Home Instead is a values-based organisation, and we are always recruiting those who put others first. As long as someone is willing to learn, we will give them the training, as long as they match our values. “People from these sectors work in a customer-focused environment already and what shines through is they are helpful, they are kind, they are considerate, and their approach to customer services actually matches what we are all about, which is a personal sense of care. “You go into those industries because you want to make a difference, and that is exactly the difference that can be made with our elderly clients who need that support.”


know to invite them to a team quiz on a Saturday night to keep them connected.” Some staff induction is now done via Leigh Lawley, having run a pub Zoom and other technologies, although in Droitwich and worked in the other elements of training – such as in pub trade for more than 10 social distancing – must be completed years, is typical of the type of face to face. employee who joined Home Dakin accepts that some candidates Instead from industries hit hard by Covid-19. from other industries may be She explains: “I still wanted concerned about the dangers to their to do something that involves own health and wellbeing from being around people. And working in the care sector during the I thought, obviously with Covid-19 pandemic. However, she says everything going on at the that what helps them through their moment this sector was one anxieties “is that people really want to of the places that needed care and make a difference”. the most help. And I could Nevertheless, she says the company actually make a difference and has taken a number of measures to feel as if I’m doing something provide new employees with the worthwhile.” reassurance they need, including Lawley says her background training courses on infection control, in the pub industry means she is and following the guidelines on PPE. well-suited to the care sector. The company also communicates “When I was in the pub with its staff daily and sends out obviously I was dealing and practical tools, and has invested in an speaking with different kinds of people all the time, so I employee assistance programme, think that’s really helped me which offers virtual counselling in this sector getting to know sessions. There is also a strong focus on people and making them feel wellbeing, with podcasts, advice on comfortable with me being mindfulness and signposting staff to around them. helpful resources. For those joining the “I like to have made company from other sectors, Dakin says someone’s day that little bit a buddy system with a colleague easier – that’s one of the best provides an extra layer of reassurance. things, but generally just talking Although most of those joining Home Boosted by virtual interviews to people and getting to know While a strategy of targeting people Indeed from other industries have not them. Some of those I’ve met from sectors that have been decimated worked in the care sector before, and have some great stories about by the coronavirus but where there is a perhaps never expected to, Dakin is things they’ve done in the past. similar customer service ethos has hopeful that many will remain and not It’s a really rewarding job. I think proved a success, Dakin says it has been drift back to their old jobs when the I’ll probably stay in the care given added impetus by changes to the economy recovers. sector for a good while.” company’s recruitment and She says: “I believe that once our care onboarding process. givers develop really close relationships The company has taken advantage of with our clients, they find it hard to a new rapid recruitment and induction process launched by leave. For example, we have student nurses who work for us Skills for Care, which supports the care sector in England in – they’re at university but they continue to look after clients finding the skilled workforce it needs. This means that some at weekends.” of the interview process can now be done virtually. Job There will be others who will want to stay because they are interviews have also been tweaked, allowing the company to making a difference. Dakin cites a former carpenter who offer candidates better support after they begin work. says: “I can’t go back to that – this is what I was meant to do Dakin explains: “At every interview we ask the candidate in life.” ‘What is important to you?’ So if someone replies ‘Interaction She adds: “So it might be mix of these people, and also and teamwork’ we make a note of that, so we know to keep people who might want to do part-time, weekend hours if people more in contact with that individual, because we they have clients who they have a close relationship with, so know they don’t like working in isolation, or alone, so we we really hope they will all decide to stay with us.” ●




16/09/2020 16:11


Next steps for supporঞng the economy p2 B I G TALKI N G POI N T

How to take acঞon on race at work p4 Issue 88 Recruitment October/ Ma ers November 2020


Managing workplace risk assessments p6 TR AI N I N G AN D E VE N TS

What you missed at REC 2020 p8

REC calls on government

Recruitment industry will help fuel recovery T

he Chancellor Rishi Sunak is due to deliver his budget statement in the autumn. The task ahead of him could not be bigger – to introduce policies that will bring the economy back from the biggest economic shock in our history. The REC has been highlighঞng to government what needs to happen to boost jobs in both the Comprehensive Spending Review and the Budget. We’re working to ensure government embraces the role the recruitment industry can play in schemes announced in the Summer Statement to help the recently unemployed get back to work. This autumn, here are some of the measures we are calling for the government to deliver on. Sঞmulate business and hiring A sঞmulus package, which includes reducing taxes on business acঞvity such as Employer Naঞonal Insurance Contribuঞons (NICs) and business rates, as well as a reformed apprenঞceship levy, would help firms get back

@RECPress RM_October 2020 1

on track. Reducing employers' NICs will help lower the cost of employing people. “Employers NICs are the single largest non-wage labour cost that employers face,” says Louise Hewe , Managing Director of Hewe Recruitment.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has a big task ahead of him

Secure a good trade deal Covid-19 has added to Brexit uncertainty. At the ঞme of wriঞng businesses are sঞll none the wiser about how they will be able to conঞnue doing business with the EU come January. The government needs to act fast and: • Minimise barriers to trading with the single market • Ensure the mutual recogniঞon of people’s qualificaঞons • Secure the flow of data between the UK and the EU • Guarantee UK professionals’

Making great work happen

ability to travel and do business in the EU with ease. Simon Conington, CEO of BPS World and REC council member, says: “So much of the recruitment industry depends on mobility and trade agreements. The government needs to agree the terms with the EU urgently so we can prepare.” A flexible immigraঞon system Equally important is the new immigraঞon system due to come into force on New Year’s Day, but ঞme is short for business to implement the new rules. The new system must be clear and easy to use, parঞcularly with Right to Work checks. Long term, we need to ensure that the system is flexible and does not result in damaging skills shortages in the economy. Keep digital Right to Work checks When the pandemic struck, the requirement of Right to Work checks to be done in person was a huge problem. The REC successfully campaigned for checks to be made digital. This new way of working been a success and we’re calling on government to build on what has been done. Susie Ankre , Director at Susie Ankre , Director at Plum Personnel, says: “Digital checks provided an essenঞal lifeline for us to get people out to work, especially in the NHS. I truly hope the rules will not be reversed.” 17/09/2020 12:49

Leading the industry

the view... As Covid-19 is changing the world of work, clients will look to us as experts, says Neil Carberry, REC Chief Execuঞve


s the heat of the summer has cooled off, we’ve started to get a clearer picture of the economic damage caused by Covid-19. As well as the ini al shock of the GDP slowdown and collapse in hours worked, we’ve seen redundancies rise as firms reshape themselves for the economy we now have. The ending of lockdown has seen the economy bounce back gradually and, with it, the recruitment and staffing market. Temporary hiring was hit less hard than permanent peak-to-trough, and is likely to recover more quickly too, given the level of uncertainty. But job ads rising back above one million (see the REC Jobs Recovery Tracker) and reports from members across the country of a slow and steady path back allow a moment of guarded op mism. We should also take in how much about work has changed – some of it temporary, some permanent. Clients’ needs are not what they were and the problems they will look to the industry to help them solve are different too.

“We should also take in how much about work has changed”

Almost an office revolu on Months of office closures have captured imagina ons in our city centres. Already some big London names like Schroders have announced they’ll be offering staff the op on of working from home permanently. Others, like PwC, have commi ed to a mixed model. Calling me on the tradi onal office ignores many reasons people value it – for the work-life separa on, the culture,

and actual human interac on. Companies, too, get big, and long-term benefits from co-working. Innova on and staff development are easier in places where people work together. So the future will be one of greater flexibility and distributed working facilitated by technology, with retained co-working for some of the week for most workers. We were already heading towards this – Covid-19 moved us along quicker. But it will change the labour market. How much of a commute is acceptable where a candidate only has to go to the office two days a week? And will this culture travel from city centres to other offices, which have opened sooner? Hiring well online will ma er more More of our work will stay online – with video playing an important part. This is a huge opportunity for us to get closer to clients and to advise them on how to hire well online. The use of tests and other online selec on tools is also likely to rocket. At the REC, we’re working with FutureLearn on a new course on hiring well, and inclusively, online. We can be the experts on all of this. Employer brand online will be more important than ever – and many of the cultural and social cues firms use to sell themselves won’t be there in the online process. Likewise, the Zoom interview requires proper handling to be effec ve – online mee ngs are, as we have all discovered, more structured by nature. Candidates and clients alike will need our support. Knowing the best tech to use and how to use it well is an opportunity to set ourselves apart as a professional service. Done properly, be er use of technology could mean more me for a consultant to focus on the human part of the job – crea ng a great client and candidate experience. Here’s where I want to hear from you. This is uncharted territory for many of us. Get in touch and tell us what’s working for your business and what challenges you are facing. As ever, your REC is here to help.

If you want to keep up to speed with all things recruitment then follow me on Twi er @RECNeil 2

Recruitment Ma ers October/November 2020

RM_October 2020 2

17/09/2020 12:50

Leading the industry

the intelligence...


staff remained on furlough as of late July, as many companies were temporarily closed or ran at reduced capacity.

The end of furlough, what now? By Thalia Ioannidou, Research Manager A er months of state-subsidised wage support, the government's Coronavirus Job Reten on Scheme will come to an end on 31 October. When it does, unemployment is likely to rise. But there are reasons to feel hopeful. Employers are looking to hire more staff soon and recruiters can play a role in determining what happens next. As of late July, a record 9.5 million staff remained on furlough as many companies were temporarily closed or ran at reduced capacity. Approximately 1.2 million employers had taken part in the scheme. By that point, the scheme had cost £31.7 billion. The scheme is credited for protec ng the jobs of a large propor on of the workforce who would have otherwise been laid off. So, the end of the furlough scheme marks a crucial point for millions of households and businesses. Redundancies on the rise The country’s largest firms had already announced more than 205,000 redundancies ahead of the scheme winding down in August, while almost a quarter of small UK businesses had cut jobs. In the following weeks more firms announced redundancies. The heaviest job losses were reported by airline companies, non-food retailers, automo ve manufacturers, and holiday operators. Predic ons about the outlook for the economy and employment are gloomy. The Na onal Ins tute of Economic Research warned that ending the scheme in


million acঞve job posঞngs across the UK in the week of 3-9 August

October will cost approximately 1.2 million jobs. Similarly, the Office for Budget Responsibility cau oned that the unemployment rate at its peak could range from just under 10% to above 13%. But there are encouraging signs. While it is clear the economy will take a while to recover fully, it is posi ve to see a slow rise in business confidence and job pos ng ac vity in certain sectors, loca ons and occupa ons. Our latest Jobs Recovery Tracker reveals that the number of job pos ngs in the UK has gradually increased since May. By early August, this rose to a new post-lockdown high of 1.10 million ac ve job pos ngs across the UK in the week of 3-9 August. That's up from 1.04 million in the previous week. There were also 126,000 new job pos ngs, the highest since the crisis began.

employers being inundated with CVs and having to si through hundreds of applica ons for a single vacancy. Although a greater pick of candidates can help find the right fit of a role, such an over-subscribed process also presents a challenge to employer brand. They require specialist help to manage this. As the jobs market specialists, recruiters are best placed to filter through the increasing number of applica ons; ensure a fair and inclusive process; access specialist skills and secure the perfect match to their client’s needs. Crucially, recruiters also support jobseekers by helping to iden fy opportuni es, both permanent and temporary, and ensure people get back into work quickly. In the weeks and months ahead, recruiters will play a key role as we strive to keep Britain working.

Recruiters make a difference As more people become available for work there are reports of

Weekly ac ve job pos ngs in the UK 1,100,000 1,080,000 1,060,000 1,040,000 1,020,000 1,000,000 980,000 960,000 940,000 920,000 900,000 11-17

18-24 May



8-14 June



29/5 6-12 June/July

13-19 July


27/2 July/Aug

3-9 August

October/November 2020 Recruitment Ma ers

RM_October 2020 3


17/09/2020 11:27

Race in the workplace

big talking point

Commiমng to change Having a successful diversity and inclusion strategy depends on honesty. As recruiters, are we really doing all we can to move from paying lip service to changing the face of business?


qual opportunity and fairness are not nice-to-haves for be er mes – they are essen al to business and economic success. The focus on the pandemic should enhance our efforts, not detract from these aims.” These are the words of REC Chief Execu ve Neil Carberry, as the recruitment organisa on signed up to the Race at Work Charter – a Business in the Community ini a ve, which provides a prac cal framework for employers to tackle barriers faced by black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) colleagues in the workplace. But to ensure these are more than words, the REC is taking the me to revisit its D&I strategy, to ensure it’s fully embedded in everything it does, from its policy to its training and events. It wants to celebrate those recruiters already making a difference, empower those who want to, and educate those yet to rise to the challenge. And while race is the latest lightning rod showing just how sorely progress on D&I is needed, REC’s Stakeholder Engagement Manager Ornella Nsio stresses that no strand of diversity should have to compete at the expense of another in terms of focus and results. “A truly inclusive workplace benefits everyone.” 4

Recruitment Ma ers October/November 2020

RM_October 2020 4

Start with understanding But race is a tricky area to address. Suki Sandhu, founder and CEO of execu ve search firm Audeliss, highlights three major issues: • the people who need to have the conversa on – the white majority – don’t feel adequately equipped to do so and live in fear of saying the wrong thing • their companies lack data on their racial make-up so they don’t fully understand where the problems lie • there’s a disconnect between (mainly) white leadership and the experiences of employees of different races “Ac on on gender has been taken because many male leaders want to create a be er world for their daughters. But when it comes to race, there is o en zero understanding of the problem, or its poten al solu on. This is why engaging and listening to the experiences of those from different backgrounds is so crucial – as is self-educa on on the issues of race.” Sandhu cri cises recruiters for not doing “nearly enough” to live up to their responsibility for driving change – and Audeliss is an example of the ac ve role they can play in making a difference. By focusing on diversity in execu ve search,

The most recent BAME2020 Ambassador appointees, clockwise from top le[: Emily Chow - Markeࢼng and Operaࢼons Assistant – LiveWire Sport Toks Ayorinde - Senior Account Execuࢼve - John Doe Honica Sharma - Junior Print Media Execuࢼve – The Specialist Works Dakota Branch-Smith - PR and Studio Assistant Jason Jung - Account Execuࢼve – LiveWire Sport Hephzibah Kwakye-Saka Senior Campaigns Manager, Riot Communicaࢼons Xenis Hughes - Senior Account Execuࢼve – Right Formula Shahin Rasঞ - Account Director – Fuse Vic Khagram - Influencer Strategist – BCW

17/09/2020 12:50

Sandhu is trying to make a more profound impact by going in at the top. To counter the pushback that senior diverse talent simply doesn’t exist, and inspire the next generaঞon of diverse talent, Audeliss – with INvolve – produces Role Model Lists, celebraঞ ng the achievements of top BAME, LGBT and female talent. And in response to the Black Lives Ma er movement this summer, the agency published an open le er in The Sunday Times, through which more than 300 fi rms have signed up and commi ed to measuring and reporঞ ng their long-term and sustainable acঞ ons on racial diversity. Be the change Amanda Fone, founder at communicaঞons and markeঞng recruitment specialist F1

RM_October 2020 5

recruitment, agrees that recruitment leaders should be seen as acঞvists on D&I. And when it comes to race she urges the industry to take a good, hard look at itself: “It’s too white. It’s just not represenঞng the communiঞes we serve. We need to get a grip on that.” It has bred a lack of trust, she conঞnues, with BAME candidates concerned about tokenism. Fone didn’t feel her company could tackle the issue of trust quickly enough as part of its daily business. Instead, over the past four years it has invested 40% of its profits into BAME2020, an iniঞaঞve it set up with Adrian Walco , co-founder of Brands with Values, targeঞng 20% of the total young talent that enters the sector each year to come from BAME backgrounds, and for this talent to stay in the sector unঞl 20% of leadership roles are represented by BAME talent. “We’ve built up a community of more than 2,000 followers with a thriving ambassador and adviser network, 60% of which are nonwhite. They’ve taught us so much,” she says. But the real challenge hasn’t been finding the talent, but keeping the talent in the sector – and this year BAME2020 has launched a further iniঞaঞve, No Turning Back, focused on workplace culture and helping clients to audit and measure their progress on inclusivity. “Talent only stays in organisaঞons where inclusive values are ‘lived’ on a daily basis.” Although more than 20% of F1’s candidate base is from a BAME community, rising to 35% for freelance and project work, Fone won’t put people on a shortlist unless the client can demonstrate their workplace is inclusive. Open doors Trust is also a reason to partner those with a proven track record in supporঞng local communiঞes, says Dr John Blackmore, CEO of Acঞon

West London (AWL). The charity has 22 years’ experience in finding work for long-term unemployed and economically inacঞve people. Among the projects it’s currently involved in is Moving On Up – helping to get young black men, who are at least twice as likely to be unemployed, into work. And through such projects, it has forged strong links with local families (a high proporঞon of whom are from BAME backgrounds) and local colleges and universiঞes (with a strong supply of young talent that doesn’t always get access to good job opportuniঞes). But as access to funding and grants dries up, AWL is looking to make the charity more sustainable by launching a social enterprise recruitment agency – Acঞon Talent – focused on diversity and social mobility. Although Covid-19 has hindered the agency’s launch, those at the top of business have liked the idea of using a social enterprise as part of their recruitment services to the benefit of their local community, while demonstraঞng their commitment to diversity. “But it’s tough geমng through to the decision makers – those actually doing the hiring,” says Dr Blackmore. He’s looking for recruitment agencies to partner, and also argues that many recruiters would benefit from the exposure and the experience of working with a social enterprise. He too, believes that it is be er understanding that will break down barriers – and recruiters’ ability to consult and advise their clients. The more collecঞve the acঞon, the bigger the impact. As Suki Sandhu says: “The biggest risk to us as an industry when it comes to D&I is to repeat the mistakes and inacঞon of the past and not take this opportunity to work closely with clients to create legiঞmate and lasঞng change. It took 10 years to reach 30% target for women in FTSE board, how long will it take for race to be represented fairly too?” October/November 2020 Recruitment Ma ers


17/09/2020 13:52

Health and safety

legal update

Back to the office: ge ng risk assessments right By Jane O’Shea, Solicitor at REC


er many months of working from home, some businesses are asking employees to return to the office. What do employers need to think about when conduc ng a Covid-19 risk assessment? Obligaঞon All employers have a legal duty to ensure the health, safety and welfare of their employees, workers and visitors to their premises. They must do what they reasonably can to achieve this. Conduc ng a thorough Covid-19 risk assessment before asking employees to return to the office will form part of that duty. What is in a risk assessment? The purpose of the risk assessment is to iden fy sensible measures to control the risk of transmission of Covid-19.


Recruitment Ma ers October/November 2020

RM_October 2020 6

As a legal minimum a Covid-19 risk assessment must: • iden fy the ac vi es or hazards that may cause transmission of Covid-19 • iden fy the people that are at risk of exposure and the level of the risk • outline the ac ons that must be taken to remove the risk or, where that cannot be achieved, to control the risks to employees The hazards and the measures introduced to control them will, of course, be different for every business. But common prac cal measures will include: • addi onal hand washing facili es • new ways to maintain social distancing such as a oneway system • more frequent and thorough cleaning procedures • using screens and other protec ve equipment in the office Once the risk assessment is complete, record the findings (this is a legal obliga on if you employ five or more people) and review the controls that you have put in place on an ongoing basis. If it is necessary to make further changes then the risk assessment should be updated and shared with employees. Remember that failing to complete a risk assessment

that factors in Covid-19, or failing to put adequate measures in place to manage the risks of Covid-19, could amount to a breach of health and safety law. Consult with employees Some people are understandably anxious about returning to the office, especially if that means using public transport. Consul ng with employees directly, or via elected health and safety representa ves, will help reassure them that their needs are being taken seriously. It’s important to keep everyone informed by sharing the results of the assessment and the details of changes you are bringing in to protect staff and minimise risks. Make sure that throughout the process, you always take on board any sugges ons or concerns raised by members of the team. It's important that the assessment takes the necessary addi onal precau ons for employees who are par cularly vulnerable to Covid-19. This could mean considering alterna ve working arrangements for those workers, such as con nued home working. If that is not possible for their current role, offering a temporary alterna ve role that can be done from home could be a solu on. As always, your REC is here to help if you have any ques ons.

17/09/2020 12:50

Inspira on

What we know

Behind the scenes with recruiters making a difference How RX Plus Recruitment helped two locum doctors respond to the call of duty

Having qualified as medical doctors in August 2019, Dr. Reynolds and Dr. Khesri (names anonymised) decided to take a year out to go travelling. When their plans were cut short by the pandemic, they both applied to the NHS return-to-work programme. When nobody got back to them, they approached the new Nigh ngale hospitals. Again, there was no response, despite the NHS urgently needing doctors. “We were banging our heads on the wall, it was so infuria ng. We were being told of an impending crisis and all doctors were needed back in the NHS but nobody would get back to us.”

Recruiters get people into work quickly during a crisis

That’s when they saw a job ad for General Medical Doctors to work on a temporary basis with RX Plus recruitment. They applied on a Thursday in April and Adam, a member of staff at RX Plus recruitment, got back to them the same day. They started work the following Monday at the Royal Gwent Hospital in Newport.

Recruiters are more than matchers and dispatchers

“Adam, our recruiter, has been absolutely fantas c. Apart from ge ng us into jobs so quickly during the crisis, he helped us navigate a lot of the admin we’ve never had to do before as doctors, such as mesheets. It made the whole experience much easier and meant we could focus on trea ng pa ents. Now that our contracts are coming to an end, we both want to transfer to hospitals in London. Adam has helped us with this too, including obtaining reference le ers for us. This means we can con nue working without much disrup on.”

RM_October 2020 7

How NuStaff restored the confidence of a worker trying to find work in the lockdown Having spent years driving long-distance for a logis cs company, Nigel Green le his job at the beginning of March to spend more me with his family. With lots of experience, including some in management, he was fairly confident he’d find a good job fairly quickly. But with the economy suddenly in lockdown, Nigel struggled to find a new role over the next two months, despite sending in applica ons and CVs everywhere.

Candidates value a quick response and the support recruiters offer

“I then applied for this great job with NuStaff, which combined my skills as a Class 1 HGV driver and also my opera ons and management experience. The very next day one of the team phoned me up to discuss the role. They helped me prepare my applica on and I was delighted to get an interview. They really helped me build up my confidence for the first interview. I had resigned myself to the fact I may have to return to long-haul driving away from home. I have a second interview soon.”

Recruiters are the first port of call

“To anyone in my posi on who is looking for work during this crisis I’d say you’ve got to persevere. There are jobs out there. Speak to a recruiter because they know where those jobs are and what it takes to be successful in the interview.”

October/November 2020 Recruitment Ma ers


17/09/2020 12:50

Training and events

Informing brave decisions

The REC’s all-digital annual conference aimed to support the industry with the knowledge and shared experiences required for these cri cal mes REC2020, the REC’s first fully digital conference, was held on 8 September – and with more than 1,000 people signed up, it was also one of its biggest ever. “It’s no surprise when so much is changing all around us and we’re all looking for how to navigate the path ahead,” said the day’s host – REC Chief Execu ve Neil Carberry. The day’s goal was to help recruiters “refocus, reframe and regain” as they meet the current challenges, respond to the opportuni es and pave the way for great work to happen. A endees logged in to hear from Dame Carolyn Fairbairn in one of her last major speeches as the Director-General of the CBI. She offered a view from businesses across the country as she set out how recruiters could be most help to “build back be er”. Calling recruiters “guardians of values and behaviours”, she insisted that progress must be maintained on inclusion, and that the good work agenda has to stay alive – even when talent is in plen ful supply. According to Lewis Iwu, CEO of Purpose Union, there is a “genera onal change happening… that’s raised the bar of what employees expect from businesses” on issues like inclusion and climate change. Fairbairn urged recruiters to focus on the young people whose prospects had been damaged by the pandemic: “Don’t let rogue algorithms work against our young people,” she said, emphasising the con nued importance of the human touch at a me when new technology is transforming recruitment. In a later keynote panel Rob McCargow, Director of AI, at PwC delved

Recruitment Ma ers


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

Recruitment Ma ers October/November 2020

RM_October 2020 8

further in to how to get AI right. “It’s going to require a genera onal shi , but the prize is worth figh ng for,” he said. Fairbairn also highlighted the opportunity for the industry to establish itself as the “central heartbeat for strategic change” for clients and ul mately the economy, as long as recruiters made the me to understand employers and work in partnership with them. With those three challenges, she helped set the mood for the day. Panel discussions from business leaders including Bev White, CEO of Harvey Nash and James Reed, Chair of the Reed Group, focused on leadership and what the “new normal” for work might look like. The day also delved into the prac cali es, with breakout sessions on recruitment technology, employer brand strategy, workplace culture and how to adapt your business to industry change. Recorded case studies and bitesize

learning offered extra insight – from lessons from previous recessions to what’s new in marke ng candidates. But the event also finished on a more personal note, with Gus Balbon n, former Execu ve Director of Lonely Planet, talking a endees through how they – and not just their businesses – can adapt to change. “The future doesn’t look very good for you if you do the same thing every day,” he said. “But focus on your ability to adapt and you can handle anything.”

If you missed the REC’s annual conference, find all the biggest takeaways and lessons from leading recruitment businesses and employers in one place. Access the free digital guide here:

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

17/09/2020 12:50

Sometimes things aren’t always quite what they seem

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09/09/2020 14:52




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09/09/2020 14:47

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Special Report




16/09/2020 16:11

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09/09/2020 14:40

Start-ups - the time is now




HOW ZODEQ CAN HELP RECRUITMENT START-UPS TO SUCCESS All recruitment businesses face challenges when first starting out. It can seem like a mammoth task to juggle the required recruitment-related responsibilities alongside the tasks that go hand in hand with starting up on your own. Much of your valued time can be swallowed up by admin, rather than doing what you love: building your client base, sourcing candidates and servicing clients. Choosing the right finance can be one of these challenges. In fact, 82% of small businesses fail due to cash-flow issues. We at Zodeq can help you with this, taking you through the options available and helping you to secure the funding for your dream business. Zodeq is an award-winning provider of finance and back-office support services that help both new and growing businesses to maintain healthy cash flow, operate efficiently and ultimately achieve their long-term goals of success.

Paul Cooney Managing Director Zodeq

THE POST-PANDEMIC UPHEAVAL MAY PROVE TO BE THE RIGHT TIME TO TAKE THE PLUNGE There’s a new twist this year to our annual focus on Start-Ups: the Covid-19 pandemic. Certainly, the virus has left terrible human and business destruction in its wake, none of which is to be taken lightly. However, for some it is the catalyst for a new beginning, a fresh start – at the helm of your own business. If you had been mulling over the idea of starting up your own recruitment business, perhaps one with a highly specialist niche, you will find both encouragement and hard truths from the industry entrepreneurs interviewed for this Special Report. Much has been said about the pandemic offering the benefit of a reset for individuals and businesses alike and the chance to develop a new future vision. Well, read on: the time is now.

DeeDee Doke Editor Recruiter/

EDITORIAL +44 (0)20 7880 7606: Editor DeeDee Doke Contributing writer Sue Weekes Production editor Vanessa Townsend Art editor Sarah Auld Picture editor Akin Falope ADVERTISING +44 (0)20 7880 6231: Senior sales executive Joanna Holmes PRODUCTION +44 (0)20 7880 6209: Senior production executive Rachel Young PUBLISHING +44 (0)20 7880 8547: Publishing director Aaron Nicholls

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Special Report Report Special ADVERTISEMENT FEATURE


your clients are 30 days, you’re going to find yourself with a bit of a problem. There are two main ways to help you manage your cashflow:

Mark from WeDo talks about his experience running a business, the challenges it brings, and how new business owners can overcome them

That’s easier said than done, right? When you’re just starting out, a healthy bank balance can seem a million miles away. Start by looking for investors to help bankroll your business. In fact, if you run or are thinking about starting up a recruitment agency, we can help with the start-up capital you need to keep that balance in the black.

tarting your own business can be one of the most exciting and most terrifying experiences. While there are plenty of benefits to running a business, there are also various hurdles most business owners will face. I’ve been there, I’ve done it, so I’m here to spare you the stress. Here are my answers to two challenges most business owners will face.

Find someone to help you run things

Use freelancers and partner agencies

Having a business partner can help take away a lot of the pressure when you’re running a business. It also gives you the opportunity to find someone who shares your vision and values but has a different, complementary skillset.


Sometimes you need someone with experience in a particular field, but don’t pay too much mind to qualifications and number of years’ experience. You want to build a team of people who are good at what they do, but also who share your businesses’ values.

When you’re starting out, employing staff is a huge commitment. If the role you’re looking to fill doesn’t require full-time work or could benefit from expertise in a completely different area, look at outsourcing. Whether you contract freelancers or work with another business or agency, things like admin, finance, marketing and design can all be outsourced.


The first challenge you may face is building a team. There are business models that suit working alone, but for most business types, there’s just too much work for one person. Here are my top tips for building a team that’ll help your business thrive:


Look for mindset over merit

MANAGING YOUR CASHFLOW If you’re starting your business without capital, cashflow can very quickly become a problem. When the payment terms for your suppliers are on receipt but your terms with


Make sure you have plenty of money in the bank


Look into invoice financing

Another way to keep your cash flowing is to work with an invoice financing business. Simply put, they’ll keep your cash flowing and get repaid when your clients pay. At WeDo, we’re experts in invoice finance, so if you rely on paying various suppliers or contractors, give us a buzz. Give WeDo a buzz on 0330 900 5000 or email

MARCH 2018

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HOW LOCKD WN UNLO KED CREATIVITY There has been no shortage of would-be entrepreneurs deciding that the upheavals in the wake of the pandemic are as good a time as any to take the plunge and set up on their own. Sue Weekes explores the challenges they are facing

espite the desperately uncertain economic climate, there were a record-breaking number of new business formations in June. Analysis of Companies House data by the Centre for Entrepreneurs (CFE) shows that while formations dropped year-on-year in March, April and May, they rose by 47% in June. In London and the West Midlands this was even higher, with 60% increases.


CFE reports that, overall, start-up figures between March and June are only down by 3% – and London actually came out of lockdown with 6% more new businesses than the same period last year. Matt Smith, director of policy and research at CFE, said that the figures demonstrate that entrepreneurs’ confidence has returned. “Many new ideas developed during lockdown are now being implemented,” he added.



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While the UK’s start-up spirit is apparently in good shape, such businesses must be mindful that they are launching in the deepest recession since records began. According to a research report by trade credit insurer Atradius, insolvencies in the UK are forecast to jump to 27% this year, above the global average rise of 26%. Moreover, the UK is expected to experience the largest gross domestic product contraction in northern Europe in the wake of the lockdown and ongoing uncertainty around Brexit.

Seizing the day Taking the decision to start a new business is dependent on many things, not least the risk appetite of the person behind it. Feedback from those organisations providing services to recruitment start-ups suggests that there is no shortage of recruiters

London came out of lockdown with

6% more new businesses than in the same period last year


prepared to make the leap, with many perhaps keen to take charge of their destiny following redundancy as a result of the global pandemic. Wendy McDougall, ‘chief fish, CEO and founder’, of recruitment software firm Firefish Software, says the company has helped three times as many new start-ups get up and running in the past five months compared with this time last year. “The driving force of this is largely through recruiters being made redundant or deciding that life has been flipped on its head anyway, so it seems like a great time to take the plunge,” she says. These sentiments are echoed by Paul O’Rourke, operations director, New Millennia Payroll Services, part of The New Millennia Group, who was surprised by the amount of interest. “We’ve taken on some fantastic recruitment start-ups during lockdown, which I’m assuming is because a lot of good recruiters on furlough have had a lot more time to consider setting up for themselves,” he says. Firefish recently conducted a survey of more than 100 SME recruitment owners and start-ups and, unsurprisingly, their main concern was the

those setting up a new business, such as being based at home and having a web-based shop window rather than having to worry about establishing costly bricks-and-mortar premises.

“We have helped three times as many new start-ups get up and running in the past five months, compared with this time last year” WENDY MCDOUGALL is CEO and founder of Firefish software

uncertainty in the marketplace. McDougall reports, however, more than 27% of these respondents were also predicting the biggest sales growth in the next 12 months. “This is demonstrating how agile, adaptable and innovative this segment of the marketplace can be while the largest agencies are still trying to work out how to get everyone back into the office,” says McDougall. Indeed, agility and the ability to innovate quickly are likely to be key differentiators over the coming months and are qualities found in many entrepreneurs which, as McDougall points out, should be exploited. And while the economic conditions are challenging, Covid-19 has also been the catalyst for new ways of working that favour

The importance of technology The impact of the global pandemic is also accelerating the adoption of technologies such as video-interviewing, which will make everyday remote working much more practical and, ultimately, help to level the playing field and lower overheads for smaller recruitment companies. “Everyone has recognised that technology has enabled our recruitment world to progress, even if we are not in an office,” says McDougall. “So, for the start-up market it’s recognised that they must have a good shopfront website promoting their services. The next most important thing is candidate automation – ensuring a good workflow from web application straight through to placement. “Using an integrated website and recruitment CRM platform ensures that your time is spent with those candidates who are flagged as ones you can assist and make money from quickly.” Kim De’ath, sales and marketing manager of 3R, which provides a range of start-up services, says its comprehensive service, which comes with minimal upfront costs and offers branding, website, CRM, finance, back-office and legal support, has proven popular with recruiters keen to hit the ground running.


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EMERGING AND GROWTH AREAS TO EXPLORE Start-ups outside of recruitment can be an indicator of growth sectors and therefore future in-demand job roles. In its analysis of Companies House data, the Centre for Entrepreneurs (CFE) brought evidence of an “emerging Covid economy” to the surface, and identified other sectors where jobs might be created. For example, there have been major increases in the areas of:


+243% and retail



Manufacture of cleaning preparations


of medical goods

Manufacture of workwear

Wholesale of pharmaceuticals


+85% Specialised cleaning services





“Most I have spoken with recently just want to get on with making perm and contract placements,” she says. “They recognise the market is tough, but they want to make money for themselves and build a business for their future.” When it comes to the most in-demand services of the moment, O’Rourke reports that no-risk funding and no-minimum fee contracts, attractive at the best of times, are even more so now. He advises start-ups to ensure they keep overheads to the bare minimum and warns against signing long-term agreements that could put them financially under pressure. And he adds: “Above all, if you have the experience and want to set up by yourself, then do it with three to six months’ salary saved behind you.” De’ath similarly advises aspiring entrepreneurs not to rush and to speak to other start-up recruiters and service providers. “Find the right suppliers and partners. We provide a consultative service, as starting a recruitment business isn’t for everyone,” she says. “We’ve seen the most success from experienced, niche, 360 recruiters, setting up in teams of two or more, with drive and determination.” Would-be start-ups should find that good service provider companies are sensitive to their needs because of the uncertain market conditions. Look for one that offers flexible services and who is also prepared to provide education and support,

Research on biotechnology

CFE also found that some consumer businesses have increased significantly, including 13,904 new internet retail businesses (+110%), as well as growth in sports retail (+89%), games and toys retail (+89%), computer retail (+99%), bakeries (+58%), and clothing retail (+53%). “With many businesses set to close, and unemployment rising, it is entrepreneurs who will drive Britain’s much-needed economic recovery and create new jobs,” said Oliver Pawle, chairman of CFE. “These figures provide reassurance that there is a ready supply of new ideas and growing sectors across the UK.”

including in terms of what grants and government help might be available and how appropriate this might be. Firefish launched a special promotion, called #getbackinthefight, at the start of lockdown to help redundant recruiters. It worked with industry service partners to combine specific help and coaching to support the first year of running a recruitment agency.

A matter of optimism Launching a business is not easy even in good times, but in these darkest of days it is still possible to identify areas of opportunity. De’ath said 3R has observed optimism in the industry, and start-ups in tech, IT, engineering, manufacturing and education have continued to grow. New opportunities have also been created by the pandemic (see box, left). It is also important to remember that prior to the health crisis, all the talk was about the jobs and sectors that would be created in the fourth Industrial Revolution thanks to transformative technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning. Alongside this, start-ups should take confidence from their own unique selling points. McDougall says: “The main advice we give to start-ups is this: differentiate yourself on the market, go deep in your niche and always try to work to your strengths as a small, agile, specialist agency.” “Don’t be intimidated by the big guys – there are lots of reasons clients will choose you over them.”


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HOW ZODEQ CAN HELP YOU TO START YOUR OWN RECRUITMENT BUSINESS Is now the perfect time to set up your own recruitment business? Zodeq believes it is


and finance for your start-up. The many different options out there can make it seem like a minefield. But choosing the right avenue can make a significant difference. The good news is that there are companies out there that specialise in providing funding to start-ups, and even firms that provide funding specifically for start-up recruitment businesses. Zodeq is one of these companies. Zodeq offers the perfect solutions for starting and running your own recruitment business with minimal risk, and with all time-consuming back office tasks taken care of. Even better, you don’t need your

of this year, we can clearly see the recruitment market picking up, so now is the perfect time to get involved. For those looking to set up their own business, the good news is that help is out there for those more difficult admin tasks and the financial preparation that is key to ensuring your business succeeds in the long term.

FINDING FUNDING FOR YOUR RECRUITMENT BUSINESS One of the more difficult challenges that new recruitment businesses face is often finding the best funding

own capital in order to do this; Zodeq provides all the finance you may need to get you up and running. This leaves you free to dedicate your time and resources to doing what you love; building your client base, sourcing candidates and servicing clients. We will support you through your start-up’s early years in which the transition to business owner is the hardest and then on into the future, as your business grows.

INVOICE FINANCE AND FACTORING Many start-ups fail to consider the variety of finance options

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hether you are in the early stages of starting a recruitment business, or even just thinking about it, it can be an arduous task to juggle recruitment-related responsibilities alongside the tasks that go hand-in-hand with starting up on your own. Much of your valued time can be swallowed up by admin, rather than doing what you love. For those who have never gone it alone before, there can be much to learn and it is almost guaranteed that you will come across tasks that you have previously never even considered when working for someone else. Add this to the ever-increasing amount of legislation that is involved with the recruitment sector and your dream of the day-to-day running of your own recruitment business can soon seem unattainable. Whilst this may sound daunting, starting your own business can also be a fantastic opportunity for those that are tired of working for someone else and want more flexibility and autonomy. With the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) recently revealing a sharp rise in weekly job postings from May to August

Weekly active job postings in the UK



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Start-ups - the time is now ADVERTISEMENT FEATURE

FUTURE CHALLENGES FOR RECRUITERS The uncertainty of the next few years may be challenging for recruitment companies, particularly for start-ups, with changes to IR35 and the commencement of Brexit on January 1st 2021. Zodeq is here to help you through these challenges, to secure you with funding and support you and your business through to the future. To find out more about the financing and support options open to recruitment start-ups please visit or contact us on 01244 617 087

available to them to support their business in the long run. Bank loans and overdrafts are an obvious solution but many assume that alternatives to these are only for those who have been refused a bank loan or have already exhausted their overdraft. This is certainly not the case. Invoice finance and invoice discounting can be attractive options, particularly for recruitment firms for whom consistently positive cashflow is essential. Both finance options allow you to release a percentage of money (depending on provider) from an invoice as soon as it is raised, with the remaining

percentage provided after a client has paid in full. The main difference between the two options is, with invoice finance (or factoring), the provider will chase the payment of invoices for you, relieving you of the burden but also meaning customers will be aware of the type of finance you use. With invoice discounting, however, your choice of finance is completely confidential but leaves you responsible for chasing your own payments. Zodeq can offer you both types of finance, allowing you to choose the most appropriate for your business.

WHAT CHALLENGES MAY YOU FACE? Every business from start-ups to large corporations will face challenges, but ensuring you are aware of any potential ones and how you plan to overcome them will determine how well your business succeeds. A few challenges you are likely to face are:

Credit control – Credit control and credit management can be difficult for any business, particularly start-up businesses that are unlikely to have previously faced the challenges that credit management can pose. In fact, 82% of small businesses

fail due to cashflow problems. Poor payment practices have plagued the recruitment industry in particular, for years. Understanding how to overcome common practices, such as late payments and extended payment terms is key to ensuring your cashflow remains positive and you don’t receive bad debt.

HMRC regulations – Ensuring compliance with the ever-increasing raft of HMRC regulations can be intimidating for any start-up business, particularly in those early years when focusing on your work is essential to building a strong service and reputation. WWW.RECRUITER.CO.UK 43


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A QUESTION OF EXPERIENCE Mike Beesley tells Sue Weekes what he looks for in a start-up recruiter, which industries are experiencing growth and why the post-Covid era will be one of great opportunity for the right people 44 RECRUITER


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As well as finding the next great recruiters, what do you hope to achieve with TIMESTWO?

ike Beesley stepped down from his role as CEO of national recruitment company Sanderson earlier this year to co-found TIMESTWO Investments, which aims to find the next big names in the sector and help people build recruitment businesses with purpose. Working with Keith Dawe, his business partner of 40 years, the company has already invested in four enterprises.


We began in a start-up and are essentially a start-up again now, and we know it can involve a leap of bravery. We want to create a safe environment for people to move from the world of employment to the world of running their own business. Unless you’re very young and you’ve a brand new piece of tech and someone says: “That’s brilliant – let’s run with it,” most people will have done a number of years in an employed role and accrued not only experience but a number of responsibilities that have financial implications. These can become a deterrent for living and fulfilling one’s dream. What you don’t want is an entrepreneur who is then worrying about whether they’re going to be able to pay the electricity bill or put food on the table. Ours is not what I would call a traditional model, where you give people cash and they spend it. We back the start-up financially but also provide all of the support, so from day one the individual can focus on

business development and not have to worry about things like setting up a bank account, getting a VAT number, building a website and all the things that become a distraction. We give them the funding, emotional support and infrastructure backing and then they receive all the ongoing mentoring and support. We believe this will encourage those who wouldn’t ordinarily make that leap of faith.

What type of people are you looking to back? As a consequence of this model and approach, we look for a slightly different person –someone with maybe eight to 12 years’ experience under their belt, knows their market, is an authority in that space and can genuinely provide value to the end-customer. That’s the basis we’ve traditionally run businesses on. I’ve always found it vaguely amusing that in the

“We look for a slightly different person. Someone who maybe has eight to 12 years’ experience under their belt, knows their market” recruitment space everyone is called a ‘consultant’. In the medical world, you’re called a consultant because you’ve acquired a vast amount of knowledge, experience and authority. In the same way, we look for people who are



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Payroll/IR35 If you want to advertise contact: 020 7880 6231 46 RECRUITER


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Start-ups - the time is now

it to market it’s going to wither and die on the vine. Now, marketing in any business covers internal comms to everything you project externally about the organisation, together with the customer interaction piece, so digital and traditional marketing skills are another area we’d be keen to look at.

What key characteristics and personality traits are important to lead a start-up? experienced, provide value and already have a terrific reputation in the marketplace. Because of what was happening at the back end of last year around IR35 and with Covid-19, our timing probably wasn’t brilliant. But equally, I believe customers will crave even more of that sort of knowledge-based solution rather than a pile-it-high, sell-it-cheap approach. They will be looking for people who genuinely know what they’re talking about. As we come out of this awful market, I think the opportunities will be enormous because the end customer will want a different solution to the one previously provided.

What type of industries are you looking it and what drives your thinking in this respect? You have to look at a host of things: legislation and what the governmental drivers are, as well as what’s going on globally from a political and societal point of view. For example, one of our start-ups, Surya

Recruitment – Surya is Sanskrit for sun – is solely targeting the renewables sector. If you look at the political statements of the UK government and the European Union, one of the areas where investment is going is into the green energy and renewable space. OK, we have to exercise some caution, but if you also look at what’s happening from a societal point of view, we’re going to move away from the fossil fuel era and into a whole different way of thinking and behaving. So, the battery and car development space and, indeed all forms of transport, is also very interesting.

“I’ve always said that one of the first people you should hire into any new business is someone with strong marketing skills”

You also have to look at the government policy around housebuilding and infrastructure projects such as HS2, and dovetailing back to energy, the two nuclear power stations being built in Somerset, and say that it’s likely to be a growth market. Of course, anything that is tech-based or cyber-based is experiencing growth. But it’s also important not to write off any of the traditional industries. From a business point of view, we’ve done very well out of the banking in the finance sector, and they’re not going anywhere. Overall though, if it’s different, we’re going to be interested in it. For example, look at digital marketing. I’ve always said that one of the first people you should hire into any new business is someone with strong marketing skills. You can be the best techie or innovators with the best product on the planet, but if you can’t take

Other than the obvious demonstrable entrepreneurial skills and behaviours as well as a strong work ethic, we want to work with people who have a genuine passion for what they do. I don’t want to work with someone who is only interested in getting rich and moving on. Clearly, there has to be sound commercial thinking underpinning it all, but we also need to see a strong, identifiable moral compass. They must also regard recruitment as a profession, not as something you do on the way to something else. We also look at how committed and authentic individuals are around policy. I learnt a good lesson many years ago in the days when corporate social responsibility (CSR) was first emerging, and you needed a CSR strategy when filling out tender documents. I went to an APSCO event where the speaker read out the CSR strategy statements from the websites of each of the


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companies in the room. Fortunately, I recognised mine, but no one else did. If you have these policies you need to take them seriously, and not just pay lip service, for example, in areas like diversity and inclusion.

proper profession – and things have become a lot better. But, equally, at the same time as trying to achieve that goal, the industry has grown exponentially. I’m ever the optimist, though.

Do you think recruitment is becoming more of a career profession than previously?

With the coronavirus pandemic responsible for many redundancies, is there a danger the wrong kind of people will decide to start their own businesses?

I came to Bristol as a student and, in theory, I should have gone into the IT industry, but it was in a recession, I needed a job and went into recruitment. I took it very seriously, and it’s been my career ever since. I still work with the business partner I met 40 years ago. It’s been our chosen career all of that time, and we try to engender this type of thinking with the people we employ. Unfortunately, there are still too many models out there that are exclusively driven by revenue and KPIs [key performance indicators], which can often crash and burn people. The behaviour of suppliers is more than 90% down to what the customer will accept. The reality is if they continue to accept it, the supplier will only behave that way. The customer may want great service but if one of their KPIs is who gets the CV there first, it is not going to make for a quality-led service. People will cut corners to get the CV there first, even if that includes not speaking to the candidate – which is an appalling practice but still goes on, sadly. I’m ever hopeful that people will genuinely see the recruitment industry as a


CAREER SNAPSHOT 1977-1980: Studied business studies at Bristol Polytechnic 1980: Began working at a small Bristol-based IT specialist recruitment business with partner Keith Dawe; They went on to buy and develop the business before founding other brands. 1995-2005: Chairman, Resource Solutions Group 2008: Led the creation of a unifying non-trading corporate brand called Resource Solutions Group (now rebranded as Sanderson) for the numerous companies operating under the same board 2015: Launched the HR World thought leadership platform 2020: Steps down as CEO of Sanderson to launch TIMESTWO Investments

Yes and no. You could argue that if the entire market and economy is flying, there are going to be more dubious start-ups. What you get is people saying: “This is really easy,” and they don’t end up provisioning for difficult times. They take all the profits out, they’ll probably invoice discount, have overdrafts, borrow and spend and then the moment the market gets difficult, there’s no cash left in the business and they risk going under. I would say that boom markets are more likely to generate poor business ethics and poor business behaviours and practices than this current market.

What are some of the life lessons you would pass on to those wanting to set up on their own? Develop your listening skills. Recruiters don’t tend to make great listeners. What they want to do is tell you about themselves and their candidate. The reality is that if you can demonstrate that

“Recruitment is a simple process if done properly. Ultimately, one of the differentiators is your ability to build fantastic relationships with your customers and keep them” you really are prepared to listen to the person who has a problem, you’re more likely to be a success. Also, culturally, to run your own business, remember that there’s a big grey area about when we are at work and when we are not at work. For me, it’s not a hardship to get that right. Recruitment is a simple process if done properly. Ultimately, one of the differentiators is your ability to build fantastic relationships with your customers and keep them. The cost of sales of winning a piece of business is enormous, so why on earth would you throw it away? Whatever you do, enjoy it and if you don’t enjoy it, don’t do it. Finally, be kind. No one ever benefits from people not being kind.


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11 December 2020 | 12.15pm | The Brewery, London L@RecruiterAwards | #investingintalent | #talesfromthefront

BOOK WITH CONFIDENCE As the COVID-19 situation is changing daily, we want you to feel totally confident about booking a seat or table at Recruiter Investing in Talent Awards. If we need to reschedule the event, we will simply roll over your booking to the new date and if we are unable to run the event within the following 12 months, you will be entitled to a full refund.


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HOW BEST TO REINTEGRATE YOUR STAFF It will take time to adjust to a post-furlough environment, writes Will Akerman pproximately 9.6m workers across the UK have experienced some form of furlough, but with the job retention scheme winding down, it’s time for organisations to start considering how they can best support employees returning to the workplace. While the return to work is a welcome step forward for both employers and and their staff, the complex and sensitive nature of the furlough scheme means that the reintroduction of workers needs to be handled with considerable care. Organisations that invest in their returning staff ’s wellbeing and sense of belonging will help to boost morale and encourage a productive workplace.


Wellbeing It’s important not to underestimate the significance of being placed on furlough and how this may have had an impact on people’s mindsets. The fact is that staff returning to work will have spent a great deal of time outside


of their regular working patterns. This can have implications for mental health and may leave employees feeling out of touch with their organisations and colleagues; they might also resent having been put on furlough in the first place. The point is that workplaces need to accommodate complex emotions and grant staff a period of readjustment. One way in which this can be achieved is through increasing wellbeing support. Organisations should check in with returning staff regularly, answering any questions or concerns they may have. As part of this, it’s a good idea for decision-makers to communicate the state of the business and its recovery plans. This will go a long way to assure employees that they are valued members of the team and will start to rebuild a culture of inclusion within a supportive environment, which is pivotal for wellbeing.

In fact, according to our recent research into belonging, being valued is the second most important reward for UK office staff, coming in after salary, with 47% of people stating that having a sense of worth is vital in the workplace. It’s also essential to give staff direction. Having been away from the workplace for so long, it’s understandable that employees may be



17/09/2020 15:17


out of the swing of things when they first return. To combat this, work with staff to redefine what success looks like in their role and what their core objectives are. This will give them the best chance to hit the ground running.

Reconsider your employee value proposition A business’s employee value proposition (EVP) is crucial for attracting talent and retaining staff. It should run through all aspects of an organisation’s internal and external communications. However, things will have changed when furloughed employees return to work. With this in mind, employers must consider what their new EVPs will look like and communicate this clearly and openly throughout all of their correspondence with furloughed staff. This will make their transition back into the company as smooth as possible when the time comes.

Sense of belonging


of UK workers feel more motivated in a workplace where they feel as if they belong

For most organisations, the post-pandemic workplace will look and behave very differently to the one furloughed staff left behind. There will be both physical and operational changes that people will need to adapt to – different policies, structures, systems, technologies and so on. Therefore, it’s worth re-onboarding staff as if they are new starters, allowing them time to become used to the ‘new normal’ and helping to foster a new sense of belonging; this is absolutely critical if staff are to feel motivated and loyal. With 57% of UK workers feeling more motivated in a workplace where they feel as though they belong, it is easy to see how valuable this can be to employers. In addition, almost half of workers feel more engaged with the business, are more likely to work hard and are more loyal towards a company when they feel valued. Interestingly, 80% of those who do not feel a sense of community within their workplace are considering leaving their jobs within the next 12 months.



What’s more, this is already happening, with almost one in 10 workers citing ‘not fitting in’ as the reason for leaving their previous job. So, how can a sense of belonging be fostered? Technology is one solution. MyKindaFuture’s Connectr, an online engagement platform, is being used by countless businesses to maintain and enhance their relationships with furloughed employees. It can also be leveraged when workers have returned, easing them back to work, offering wellbeing tips, sharing revised policies, news and company updates, as well as helpful advice. The important thing is to sustain a dialogue with staff to boost their sense of belonging. In this vein, plan ahead for the possibility of returning staff needing to transition to new roles and responsibilities. This may require new training and professional development, which should be communicated to the people involved as soon as possible. If done in the right way, knowing that they are being invested in will make staff will feel valued.

A final word As organisations begin to think about re-onboarding their furloughed workers, it’s important that they invest time in getting it right – it will not happen overnight. Employees on furlough are likely to have been through a difficult period, which has the potential to affect their morale, sense of belonging and productivity. The good news is that with the right preparation, this can absolutely be rebuilt in staff. Ultimately, it is the organisations that communicate with purpose and invest in their returning staff that will benefit from re-cultivating a happy and high-performing workplace. ● WILL AKERMAN is founder and MD at MyKindaFuture

For more information about supporting furloughed employees retuning to the workplace, visit


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hen it comes to locating the future workforce, the ultimate solution is likely to be neither black nor white – but perhaps a striking grey. Working from home, or WFH, has proved in many cases to be a successful arrangement since the Covid-19 pandemic hit, and a number of banks, for instance, have announced they do not intend to bring their workforces back to the office until 2021 – and probably not all employees even then. On the other hand, the prime minister is urging employees to return to their offices, to shore up the economies of their business neighbourhoods. To use a now-clichéd phrase, ‘the new normal’ may well be represented in the workplace by a hybrid of the two options, with different variations. For example, according to a company statement from workplace design and space planning specialists Steelcase:




“The businesses that can support a new hybrid way of working will reap the benefits of an engaged and dynamic workforce, continuing to foster collaboration and innovation.” Insurance giant Zurich UK found in a ‘lockdown learnings’ survey across its 4,500-strong workforce that many staff want what they consider to be the best of both worlds. The study revealed that two out of three employees – 59% – want to work from home for more than half the week. “When we move back to the pre-Covid world of the office… a


The home office genie is out of the bottle and we must adapt, writes DeeDee Doke


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third only want to come into the office one day a week”, according to a Zurich company statement. David Storey, a partner in EY’s UK Workforce Advisory Practice, predicted to Recruiter that organisations generally are going “to take a big leap forward in terms of the kinds of work models that are going to be introduced”. However, Storey went on to say he believes there has been so much focus on the locations of where people work that other aspects are being left out of the conversation, such as scheduling.

He pointed out that work responsibilities could ultimately be allocated differently because of the preferred work schedule of a particular employee. Another consideration, Storey said, is data. “Data is going to be important. And I think companies are going to have to tread quite carefully to… collect data on a personalised level for the right reasons. “It’s not simply a ‘big brother’, checking up on [people],” he said. “Productivity needs to be taken into account.” Also, office space will be an issue. If the office is going to be used for collaboration,


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of IT decision makers polled globally are increasing investment on a hybrid of remote and in-office technology resources, according to the global Xerox Future of Work Survey earlier this year.

engagement, learning and innovation, Storey said: “Rather than highly active or highly intensive work, how do I make sure that everyone can use the space and will not be limited?” He suggested: “Data will be collected on how full the office is and on me as a remote worker in terms of my habits – well, that might allow a system to get smarter over time and make recommendations to me.” For instance, such a system may be able to give workers advance notice of when there may be space available or


when other colleagues might be present for collaboration. “That’s one example of how data could seamlessly optimise individual experience of how to best leverage the office, as well as the organisational experience of optimising limited resources,” Storey pointed out. “Collaboration,” he said, “is absolutely essential” for a hybrid model or variant to work properly. “And, if you knew what you were looking for, you could look at levels of collaboration between teams as a metric and intervene if necessary to make sure there are right levels of interaction,” he added. In weighing up the options for enabling a new model operation, Storey

of global business leaders expect an increase in remote work, say workplace design and space planning specialists Steelcase. “Remote working is no longer a temporary solution, and organisations must work with employees to ensure their home spaces are up to scratch.”

urged businesses owner to have “a good starting point for any new form of bybrid work. It’s got to be something that will be right for you as a business and your customers, and not just something that applies to the preferences of employees.” And inclusion must not be forgotten – in this case specifically “those who are working remotely when others are working at the office”, Storey said. Another thorny issue is the question of whether today’s managers are equipped to work with a workforce on all these different levels at one time. “We do need to think about how we support and develop the right kinds of attributes, and also about the evolution of management, and systems and data to allow managers to become more competitive,” Storey said. The door to widespread remote and flexible working has been opened, and it is unlikely to shut again soon. “It's likely that businesses and teams will probably take a few wrong turns before they excise all of the bugs out of an individualised system that works for that group of people at that time.”●


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“I love to see how people have grown in their personal and business life, and if I have had any impact on that, even better” MY BRILLIANT RECRUITMENT CAREER What was your earliest dream job? Solicitor

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

What do you love the most about your current role?

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

People. I love to see how people have grown in their personal and business life, and if I have had any impact on that, even better.

Growing our Portsmouth branch to £1m net profit and seeing my managers grow from junior roles to running the branch.

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

Who is your role model – in life or in recruitment? Tony Berry, our chairman. Tony always makes you feel as if you are important and part of his family. He has got to where he has by being open and fair.


55 my brill career_RECRUITER OCTOBER NOVEMBER_Recruiter 55

I was temping at an agency, and due to go to university as a mature student. I had never considered this avenue but loved the buzz of the office and the opportunity to be in charge of building your own desk, just like having your own business. An opportunity became available and the night before my interview, coincidently, I went to see a spiritualist! He asked me why I was considering choosing a career that wouldn’t make me any money. When my branch manager asked why he should give me the opportunity to run their biggest account, I answered: “The spiritualist said it was the right thing to do. If he can’t see into the future, who can?” The rest is history.

MICHELLE STEWART Managing director at Wild Recruitment, part of the Berry Recruitment Group

MICHELLE STEWART He is well-loved by all within the group and has an amazing legacy. This is how I would like to be remembered at the end of my career.

A marketing candidate had been made redundant and he was pipped at the post on a role he really wanted. He had a family to support and was losing confidence and motivation. However, the client had retracted the offer from the other candidate so I called my

person to tell him they wanted him to start instead. He was on his way to begin work serving in Starbucks just so that he could support his family. He cried, I cried…

What would you regard as your signature tune? I Will Survive.

What has been your sanity go-to during the lockdown? Having family time, and learning how my 15-year-old son was dealing with lockdown whilst in his final year at school. His maturity and dedication was an inspiration to me and put everything into perspective.

What have you learned about recruitment during lockdown? How vital agencies are in playing a part in keeping the economy going.


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AIRSWIFT Airswift, the global workforce solutions provider for the energy, process and infrastructure sectors, has taken on Maxime Degaldi in the newly created role of China country manager. The announcement follows Airswift’s recent joint venture with Vietnam-based, international business development specialists Source of Asia.

ALEXANDER MANN SOLUTIONS Global talent acquisition and management specialist Alexander Mann Solutions has announced three new appointments. Jo-Ann Feely has been appointed global managing director, innovation – a newly created executive role. Mike Brown is the new global MD, operations and Ruth Smyth also joins the executive committee as MD, people and culture.

ARCTIC SHORES Behaviour-based assessment provider Arctic Shores has appointed industry veteran Adam Hale as the company’s new chair. Hale was


previously CEO of HR tech scale-up Fairsail.

ARYAKA Multi-cloud WAN company has appointed Michelle Mitchell as chief human resources officer, leading Aryaka’s HR strategy and operations.

Recruitment industry veteran Peter Searle has been appointed chairman of Manchester-headquartered technology company Hiring Hub. Led by founder and CEO Simon Swan, Hiring Hub connects employers to a network of vetted, independent, specialist recruitment agencies. Searle was the CEO of Adecco UK & Ireland for more than 10 years and is the executive chairman of energy recruitment firm Airswift. He also is a non-executive director of recruitment tech company Broadstone. Searle joins former N Brown boss Angela Luger and Ian Brookes, ex-MD of IT recruiter Lorien, on Hiring Hub’s board. A company said in a statement it wishes to take advantage of the sector’s Covid-accelerated transition to cloud-based recruitment platforms.

AUTOTECH RECRUIT Laurence Abbott has joined the niche technical automotive recruiter as its new marketing and technology director.

BEDFORD CONSULTING GROUP Naomi Titleman Colla, founder of talent strategy consultancy Collaborativity, has joined the strategic advisory board of Canada-based Bedford Consulting Group.

DOUBLEVERIFY (DV) Software platform for digital media measurement, data and analytics DoubleVerify (DV) has appointed David

Wayne as director, senior HR business partner for EMEA and APAC. He was previously vice-president, people operations for video platform LoopMe.

FIDE CAREERS Fide Careers, a Leeds-based accountancy and finance recruitment company with a focus on mental health and wellbeing, has appointed Mohammed Taj and Hayley Richardson as non-executive directors.

Freetrade has appointed Amy Gilman as head of people. She will help scale up Freetrade’s people function as it expands into Europe. She joins Freetrade from technology, digital and change recruiter La Fosse Associates.

FREETRADE Commission-free investment platform

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HORTON INTERNATIONAL UK Executive search consultancy Horton International UK has announced the appointment of Mark Johnson as senior partner of its Oxford-based Global Healthcare arm.



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MET MARKETING Leeds-based digital and marketing recruitment consultancy MET Marketing has appointed James Nelson to head up the agency division across Yorkshire and the North-West.

PAGEGROUP Olly Harris is set to join in September as regional managing director of Page Outsourcing. Harris joins after a 20-year career at Robert Walters Group, where he rose to become CEO of its Resource Solutions business.

PEDERSEN & PARTNERS International executive search firm Pedersen & Partners has appointed Paul Inman to head its new global shared services practice group.

RAYNER PERSONNEL Property recruitment specialist Rayner Personnel B2B has recruited eight associates. Jo Green’s appointment as group operations director strengthens the management team; Tony Cassidy; Becky Sweeney; Rula Talib; Alice Dalby; Edmund Khoury; Alex Bryan; and Jade Boyles-White will work closely with Rayner Personnel as individual businesses.

RECRUIT 2 YOU East-Midlands-based multi-sector recruitment agency Recruit 2 You has expanded its team. Nathan James Green and Georgina Templeton join as recruitment consultants; industry newcomers Brooke Dennis and Jess Skevington

also joined the firm.

RESOURCE SOLUTIONS Robert Walters Group’s recruitment outsourcing specialists Resource Solutions has appointed Pete Donaldson as head of sales for the EMEA region. Duncan Ward, meanwhile, as been made operations director for financial services clients and SMEs across the EMEA and US regions.

RYALTO GROUP Jon Bennett has been appointed CEO of healthcare tech services company Ryalto Group. Current CEO Dennis Bacon now becomes chair of the board. Bennett joins Ryalto from a 20-year career in workforce/people services and technology, starting with global leader Hays before taking on the role of chief operating officer at Capita.

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

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SCOTT GROUP Pallet and industrial supplies business has appointed Gill Gorman to the newly created position of group HR director. She will lead the business HR teams and be responsible for driving Scott Group’s people strategy.

TRUEBLUE US blue-collar recruiter TrueBlue has announced the appointment of Chris Kreidler to the company’s board of directors.

Contributions are invited, but when not accepted will be returned only if accompanied by a fully stamped and addressed envelope. Articles should be emailed. No responsibility can be taken for drawings, photographs or literary contributions during delivery, transmission or in the editor’s hands. © 2020 Redactive Media Group. All rights reserved. This publication (and any part thereof) may not be reproduced, transmitted or stored in print or electronic format (including but not limited to any online service, any database or any part of the internet) or in any other format in any media whatsoever, without the prior written permission of Redactive Media Group. Redactive Media Group accepts no liability for the accuracy of the contents or any opinions expressed herein. The publishers cannot accept liability for any loss arising from the late appearance or non-publication of any advertisement for any reason whatsoever. ISSN 1475-7478

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17/09/2020 13:20


“We now know that having much stronger relationships with our customer has to be a platform for change”

Alan Furley Is this a coming of age moment for the recruitment industry?

f 2020 has been good for anything, it’s been for exposing where the cracks are in certain systems. Whether they are societal, political or in our own businesses, there is no way of ‘unseeing’ where our biggest problems lie. In terms of how the recruitment industry is dealing with this, I’m sure that each organisation’s problems are specific to their own unique make-up, but it does feel as if universally we are being made to look in the mirror and ask ourselves some tough questions. And this honesty could be just what we need. Perhaps this is a coming of age moment – being forced to take responsibility for those decisions we have made that perhaps were not as well thought-through as we… well, thought! There is a developing view about which companies have already grasped this nettle over the past few years. They have been able to



counterbalance the harsh realities of the post-lockdown redundancy onslaught, adapted and, if needed, diversified quickly in line with the opportunities available. For us at ISL there is no question that it has been a hard road that has shown us our own areas for improvement. There are many times I have talked in this column about how our people are our biggest asset, and that attracting the best talent should be a top priority for recruitment firms. But it has dawned on us that this, in places, may actually have been at the cost of not focusing enough on our clients. How often in recruitment do we discuss the importance of good relationships? The phrase has become a cure-all in team meetings – developing those firm and important ‘grown-up’ bonds with clients means that, when it

comes to solving their problems, you are in the driving seat. Hearing people really talk to you and being a shoulder to cry on when times are tough is a critical aspect of our job, but I’m sorry to say that it is something I believe we have not done enough of – and it has cost us dearly. We now know that having much stronger relationships with our customer has to be a platform for change in the future. The hard part of this is that one of the positive things the mirror showed up was that we are sector experts. Our people do have the knowledge, and we are able to provide the right support and consultation when the relationships are there. But the reality for myself and partner Henry is that we did not take on enough responsibility for setting the bar high enough to see relationships flourish and deepen across the board so

we could apply our expert knowledge more effectively. We have realised we were guilty of saying the words without the action – we were complacent. And so our entire focus is about solving these issues, changing our internal focus, encouraging growth through change. Of course, it’s not on us alone. We still have some great people in the business who will help. But as leaders we set the tone, and this is an area we need to lead on. Is this the right model to adopt? Only time will tell, as the future remains radically uncertain. But they do say ‘Don’t let a crisis go to waste’. So, the fact we’ve been honest and identified these issues means we are not too regretful and can get on with building a better, stronger business for the future – like proper grown-ups. ●

Alan Furley is a director at ISL Recruitment



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