Recruiter September/October 2023

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Shining a beacon on the 11 brightest lights in resourcing INCORPORATING Recruitment Matters Business intelligence for recruitment and resourcing professionals Sep/Oct 2023
RWWW.RECRUITER.CO.UK 3 33 E COMMUNITY 33 Social 34 My Brilliant Recruitment Career: Zach Harris 36 Movers & Shakers 37 Recruiter contacts 38 The Last Word: Alan Furley INCORPORATING Recruitment Matters 38 18 26 16 C INTERACTION 16 Viewpoint An anonymous recruitment insider speaks out about toxicity in certain areas of the industry 17 Soundbites D FEATURES 18 THE BIG STORY: 11 Most Influential In-House Recruiters The in-house recruitment function is more than ready to take on future challenges posed by AI – in whatever form that takes 26 TECHNOLOGY REPORT: The appliance of science in assessment Hiring the right person for a role is a science, particularly with the rise in artificial intelligence A NEWS 05 Revamped awards showcase best practice in DEI A new focus on diversity, equality & inclusion in recruitment marks Recruiter’s Investing in Talent Awards for 2O23 06 Helping disadvantaged youth break work barriers Recruiter’s Charity of the Year is social mobility youth charity LTSB 08 Farewell to recruitment pioneer Cartwright The sad news of the sudden death of HR and recruitment tech trailblazer Alastair Cartwright 08 Change at the top of Hays Dirk Hahn takes over from Alistair Cox as CEO at Hays 09 Contracts & Deals B TRENDS 11 Workplace Business Advice: Is background screening in the UK different to the rest of the EMEA region? 12 Insight Non-fungible tokens: The digital wallet for careers 14 Tech & Tools The latest recruitment technology and services
YOU What does a future employer look like? Visit Shape your future, study with GBS.

Our British summer has certainly not lacked for drama: England’s Lionesses very nearly brought football home, the dwindling fortunes of Wilko has brought a gulp in the throat to weekend DIY’ers and the world’s unpredictable wildfires have burned the warnings of climate change into landscapes far and wide, blazing deep impressions on our summer state-of-mind.

At Recruiter, we’re creating some drama – of a much more constructive and positive nature, we assure you – with the announcement of the Recruiter Awards winners on 28 September, the deadline for entries in our newly revamped Investing in Talent Awards and in this very issue, the unveiling of our stellar 11 Most Influential In-House Recruiters 2023, now in the 11th edition. Adding some sizzle to the 11’s 11th edition is the creation of a Hall of Fame within our in-house recruitment community, which will be a continuing feature of this popular professional institution. Congratulations to this year’s 11 and our first tranche of Hall of Famers! Consultancy recruiters and in-housers alike: do not miss – repeat, do not miss – our new approach to our Investing in Talent Awards, attached significantly to a DEI focus. Make our inaugural move a step in the right direction toward total recognition of the many spirits, shades and flavours of our workforce. Recruiters – show us your stuff !

Revamped awards showcase best practice in DEI in recruitment

A NEW, REVITALISED focus on diversity, equality and inclusion (DEI) in recruitment marks Recruiter’s Investing in Talent Awards for 2023.

The awards, which have recognised the best employers in the recruitment industry since 2013, now offer consultancy and in-house recruiters an unrivalled opportunity to showcase their

“Recruiters and in-housers alike: do not miss our new approach to our Investing in Talent Awards”


work in recruiting and retaining valuable talent across the many underrepresented individuals, communities and populations in the workplace today.

“There’s a lot of talk in the corporate headquarters and press articles about how DEI issues are key to business success. However, we rarely learn about the ‘hows’ of recruitment and retention initiatives to bring untapped, valuable talent into our workplaces,” said Recruiter editor DeeDee Doke. “These refocused awards are our opportunity to show the world how it’s done by innovative recruiters, and that their examples of best practices can shine a light on the path for others.

“This is a pioneering movement. Let’s join forces to demonstrate to our candidates, clients and UK Ltd that the answers are here.”

In addition to specific recruitment and retention strategies for underrepresented individuals and groups, the Investing in Talent Awards will also offer recognition to workplaces providing outstanding attention to women’s health issues, industry initiatives across sectors, best workplaces for companies generally and many more categories.

At press time, the full roster of elite judges had yet to be announced.

The deadline to enter is 29 September and the gala awards will be held on 30 January 2024 at the Brewery. Visit to review the categories and enter.

Social mobility charity helps disadvantaged youth break work barriers

FOR ITS CHARITY of the Year, Recruiter is partnering with a social mobility youth charity which helps give disadvantaged young people an entrance into a world of work they might never have thought they could enter.

After leaving college with poor A level grades and few employment prospects, Uzziel Sarpong (pictured above, far left) worked with his uncle as a

plumber’s mate. He didn’t want to be a plumber, but thought manual work might be his only future.

Now, the 22-year-old is a digital analyst and associate at Capco, a global technology and business consultancy focused on the financial sector. It is a surprise even to himself he now works in a skyscraper in London’s Canary Wharf. Sarpong said: “I had travelled past Canary Wharf but never thought I would see inside the tall buildings. It’s quite something.”

Sarpong, who was brought up by his

AS OF 29 AUG 2023

mother, a dinner lady, in the London Borough of Waltham Forest, credits his unexpected success to the intervention of Leadership Through Sport and Business (LTSB), hard work and a positive attitude.

He describes how the charity dedicated to helping bright young people from poorer backgrounds “definitely broke barriers” by introducing him to the corporate world. It was at a boot camp on digital skills in 2019 that he first met investment bankers and financial services executives. The youth employment charity runs industry specific courses (data and technology, business, contact centre, finance and customer adviser, marketing and law) and general skills, such as writing emails and public speaking.

Sarpong said: “One of the brilliant things about LTSB is that it stays in touch [with you], so I still meet a lot of great people. I have a mentor who is a chief technical officer. We are

looking at how to position myself to get promotion.”

Sarpong, an only child, is the first member of his family to work in IT. Now his uncle, the plumber, is keen to switch careers to cybersecurity.

Recruiter is partnering LTSB as it works to address the shameful lack of social mobility in Britian. People in Britain’s top jobs are five times more likely to have attended a private school than the general population, according to research by the Sutton Trust. And 70% of internships are unpaid – locking out young people who cannot afford to work for free.

And of course the pandemic has exacerbated inequalities.

LTSB focuses on bright but disadvantaged young people and aims to give them the “relevant skills, tools and networks to thrive in the professional world”, explained CEO Rob Burton (pictured above).

The goal is to narrow disadvantage gaps and “propel them” into well-paid

apprenticeships at leading companies, including NatWest. The charity only works with employers who pay the National Living Wage.

Launched in 2012, LTSB is currently helping young people in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool and Edinburgh, with additional programmes in four other towns and cities, including Southend and Belfast.

To qualify for the scheme, applicants must be aged 16-24, have attended state schools and been eligible for free school meals. Some courses also require GCSEs. Pastoral care is key to the support provided and continues for at least a year.

It’s clearly an approach that works. To date, more than 1,400 young people from less advantaged backgrounds have attended courses run by LTSB and 71% were placed in employment.

Asked about the sports side of LTSB, Burton said there had been a “Covid-hiatus”, but the charity is reintroducing sport next year, including coaching qualifications, as a “fun way” of developing confidence and team spirit.

The programme costs about £3.5k per young person. Donations will help fund more young people, but the charity is also appealing for companies to reserve some entry level positions – and improve the social diversity of their workforce.

Burton said: “We know recruiters have a host of critical support staff roles in accountancy, business admin, marketing or digital and these are the positions our young people would thrive in.”

Recruiter editor DeeDee Doke said: “Each year, Recruiter chooses a charity to benefit from the generosity of our audience. The underlying criteria is that the charity must focus on getting people into work, reflecting the ethos of our industry. LTSB is an exciting example of an innovative approach to this work, and their social mobility challenge strikes at the heart of a pressing need in the UK.”


Farewell to recruitment pioneer Cartwright

SERVICES WERE HELD on 17 August in Cornwall for HR and recruitment technology pioneer Alastair Cartwright, who died suddenly in July following a swim at his local leisure centre.

Emergency services crews transported Cartwright from Launceston Leisure Centre to Derriford Hospital in Plymouth after he suffered a “medical episode”, but his condition deteriorated later in the day, and he died there, according to news reports.

Most recently the founder of specialist search consultancy 51 Search and ‘fitbit for climate’ Utu Earth, Cartwright was part of the

Guardian Media Group’s senior management launch team for in 2001. He later became co-founder and commercial director of Enhance Media, where he stayed until March 2009. He also founded training and consultancy company Ingenium People, which partnered with The FIRM on training and development for in-house recruiters and HR teams.

In his personal life, Cartwright was head coach for under-16s at the Launceston RFC from August 2018 until May 2023. He is survived by his children Matilda and Edward. Remembrances should be directed to Surfers Against Sewage, c/o GF Gubbin, Funeral Directors, Penlaurel, Launceston, Cornwall, PL15 8NL.

Hahn takes over from Cox at Hays

Global specialist recruitment firm Hays has appointed Dirk Hahn (above) as CEO, succeeding longstanding previous CEO Alistair Cox. Hahn is a long-standing member of the Hays Executive Board and is currently managing director of Hays Germany and CEMEA (Continental Europe, Middle East and Africa), where he oversees around 5,500 employees.

He has held roles at Hays including CEO of Hays’ GSCN (Germanspeaking countries and Nordics), and group head of strategy, as well as other senior positions internationally.

Outgoing CEO Cox commented: “It has been a tremendous privilege to lead Hays for the past 16 years and I am extremely proud of what has been achieved… Having worked with Dirk throughout my tenure, he has been an integral member of the senior leadership team and has a deep understanding of the business, and I am confident he will make every success of the role.”




Following an extensive three-month tender process, comprehensive workforce solutions provider Matrix has announced its successful bid to work with both Lewisham and Southwark Councils in London. Southwark Council has partnered with Matrix to target qualified local candidates for administrative vacancies as part of its Southwark Works employability initiative. And Lewisham Council highlighted Matrix’s supply chain flexibility as a key factor in its decision, emphasising the benefits of retaining long-term incumbent agreements.

Life Science People

Life Science People, a specialist recruitment firm in the life science sector, has secured a £4m investment from Silchester Partners as it continues with its global growth plans. This new investment will see the business continue to grow, with plans to increase headcount to 1,000 recruiters globally. New offices are currently planned in Germany and Switzerland, along with further expansion in the US, where offices are planned in New York and Miami.

Forsyth Barnes

Global executive search partner Forsyth Barnes has successfully found the new CEO for Notts County FC. After a rigorous process, Joe Palmer has been appointed CEO to the club, which has been newly-promoted to the English Football League. Palmer joins from AFC Wimbledon, and has experience operating in League 1 and the Championship of the EFL.


Emerging talent organisation Grayce has been awarded preferred supplier status as part of Public Sector Resourcing’s (PSR) Recruit Train Deploy (RTD) service.

According to a report by online news publisher Bdaily, this will enable the business to provide Grayce’s hire, train, deploy and develop solutions to the public sector, ensuring digital transformation is supported, new skills are brought to the public sector and emerging talent is given the spotlight it deserves.

Expanding on its existing public sector capability, the company will provide these organisations with carefully selected Grayce talent, employed by Grayce, and supported through tailored development pathways encompassing digital, data and business skills, while supported by Grayce’s dedicated delivery team and support structure.

Government organisations will have an option to permanently employ Grayce talent directly following completion of its development programme.

Morson Training

Morson Training, a learning and development division of the STEM specialist Morson Group, has become Network Rail’s partner for training delivery as master vendor for track safety, first aid, working at height, and portable transportable and mobile plant (PTMP) equipment. The four-year deal, with the potential of a further four-year extension, meets the UK’s increasing rail infrastructure demands through the training and upskilling of Network Rail personnel nationwide at all stages of their career – including those on track and office-based colleagues.

Recruitment GB [OR Staffline logo there isn’t one for Recruitment GB]

Recruitment and training group Staffline’s Recruitment GB division has been awarded an extended contract by GXO Logistics, a leading global pure-play contract logistics provider. The contract extension is for the dedicated temporary labour supply to a further 14 distribution centres across the UK for several major High Street brands. This award grows the Staffline share of GXO labour supply business in the UK by an additional 40%.

V7 Recruitment

Manchester-based specialist recruitment agency V7 Recruitment has secured a new, flexible £2.8m asset-based lending (ABL) facility from Cynergy Business Finance (CBF). Founded in 2017, V7 Recruitment, which also has an office in Germany, provides bespoke services to a range of industries including aviation, construction, utilities and fire & security. To help achieve growth, the business required additional cashflow support to increase sales and profitability and expand its service offering. The blended approach by CBF allowed the business to secure £300k of cashflow loan support, as well as a £2.5m ABL facility.

More contract news at

THE UK HAS ONE ofthemostmaturepre-employment backgroundscreeningmarketsinEMEA–inpartdueto screeningregulationsincertainindustries,suchas financialservices,requiringnewhirestohavetheir backgroundsverifiedpre-hireand,incertainregulated roles,existingemployeesmustberescreenedperiodically. ButhowdifferentisbackgroundscreeningintheUKto therestoftheEMEAregion?

HireRight’s16thAnnualBenchmarkSurveygathered responsesfromover2,000humanresource,riskand talentacquisitionprofessionalsworldwide.Thisisthe findingsfromthe281respondentsfromtheEMEAregion.

Improving regulatory compliance

UKbusinessesaremuchmorelikelytoattributeimproved regulatorycomplianceandmoreconsistentsafetyand securitytotheirpre-employmentscreeningprogramme thancompaniesfromtherestofEMEA.

Overthree-quarters(77%)ofsurveyrespondentsfrom theUKcitedimprovedregulatorycomplianceasabenefit ofpre-employmentscreening,comparedwithhalf(49%) ofrespondentsfromtherestofEMEAthatsaidthesame.

Three-fifths(62%)ofUKrespondentsbenefitedfrommore consistentsafetyandsecurity,comparedwitharound two-fifths(43%)ofrespondentsfromtherestofEMEA.

Two-fifths(38%)ofrespondentsfromtheUKandthe restofEMEA(40%)saidtheyfeltthatpre-employment screeninghelpedtheircompanytoimproveitsreputation –perhapsbydiscouragingunderqualifiedcandidates fromapplying,orbydiscoveringdiscrepanciesduring backgroundchecksbeforejoboffersaremade.

More speed, less accuracy?

Accuracyofresultsandspeedappeartobemore importantintheUKthantherestofEMEAwhen choosingabackgroundscreeningprovider.

IntheUK,almostthree-quarters(72%)ofrespondents saidthatspeedwasoneofthemostimportantfactorsto considerwhenevaluatingscreeningservicesbeing

offeredbyprospectiveproviders.Incontrast,just three-fifths(60%)ofrespondentsfromtherestofEMEA saidspeedwasimportant–althoughitstillrankedasthe mostcommonconsiderationintheregion.

Hasthechangingemploymentlandscapeintheregion ledtomorecompaniesprioritisingafastapproachto screeningratherthanamorepreciseone?Ifso,thiscould meanthatbusinessesthroughoutEMEAmaybetaking onmoreemploymentrisktosecuretalentquicker.

Who’s checking what?

Businesses from the UK are more likely to conduct employment, criminal, and identity checks, but education checks are slightly more common in the rest of EMEA. Almostall(94%)respondentsfromtheUKsaidthey verifytheircandidates’employmenthistoriesaspartof theircompany’sscreeningprogramme.Additionally, almostthree-quarters(73%)ofUKrespondentssaidthat employmentverificationswereoneoftheareastheyhad uncoveredcandidatediscrepanciesduringthescreening process.IntherestofEMEA,87%ofrespondentsconduct employmentchecksand63%havefounddiscrepancies whilerunningthesechecks.

Educationchecksareconductedbyalmost three-quarters(73%)ofrespondentsfromtherestof EMEA,comparedwith68%intheUK.Discrepanciesin educationcheckswerefoundbyoverathirdof respondentsintheUK(36%)andtherestofEMEA(39%). ●

Peter Cleverton Managing director of EMEA, HireRight
PETER CLEVERTON is managing director of EMEA, HireRight. Download HireRight’s 2023 Global Benchmark Report from
“Accuracy of results and speed appear to be more important in the UK than the rest of EMEA”


NFTs’ potential utility in the workplace and in recruitment is still largely untapped

One of the most popular topics to come out of the blockchain and cryptocurrency sphere tech over the last few years has been surrounding Non-fungible tokens (NFTs).

Companies like Tiffany & Co, Nike, Adidas, Starbucks, Prada and McDonald’s have all jumped into the NFT hype with their own variations on digital blockchain collectables.

Yet the technology behind NFTs has far more practical applications beyond digital collectables that could have an impact on workplaces and jobseekers. NFTs have also been used for digital IDs, digital contracts, access passes for digital financial activities, event tickets and proof of event attendance.

What is an NFT?

So what actually is an NFT? It’s a digital asset that stores a little bit of data and has a unique digital signature that is impossible to duplicate. Mathematically embedded in each NFT is a one-of-a-kind cryptographic signature, like a digital fingerprint. An NFT exists on a blockchain, so there is a permanent and unchangeable record of its data.

Along with that digital fingerprint any other data can be stored within, or linked to, the NFT.

For example, NFTs have already been used to issue badges for event attendees. The Proof of Attendance Protocol (POAP) generates digital badges to showcase participation in

online or in-person events. Since 2019, over 6m POAPs have been issued. These digital badges are connected to specific time periods, events and activities but cannot be traded or sold.

It’s not difficult to see how a similar system could be applied to continuing education credits, participation in professional associations or as records of completion in training courses; and they contain a permanent and immutable record connecting the receiver with the issuer.

While there is a fun element to digital collectibles that may be more appealing to younger audiences, the practical benefits should also be evident: a digital catalog of professional activities, achievements and milestones accumulated over the years can be invaluable for both personal career progression, and as a fantastic resource for recruiters.

● For individuals: They can accumulate a digital portfolio of personal and professional achievements, such as a record of conferences and events attended. These can be displayed, or they can be connected to applications that can automatically provide career advice, develop customised profiles or tailored professional development recommendations based on past activity and experience.

● For recruiters: NFTs are often designed with open-source and transparent features, allowing sophisticated analytics of behaviour

based on blockchain data. The specific digital assets a person accumulates, combined with their online behaviour, opens up opportunities for identifying people with specific skills and interests, and conducting broader labour force research on the relationship between skills and interests. Trends and behaviour and can be analysed in real time based on activity tied to digital wallets.

Potential workplace and career uses of NFTs

One of the most important areas for validating digital information is for professional credentials: qualifications, degrees, career history and experience. Some American universities –including Duke University, Pepperdine University and the University of Georgia – have started issuing degree certificates as NFTs for certain courses. The European Union is currently running pilot tests across 28 countries to connect educational credentials with digital wallets.


There have always been issues with people faking qualifications or credentials, and with the rise of generative AI tools like ChatGPT and Google Bard being used to generate CVs and cover letters, we’re going to need tools to verify the provenance and authenticity of digital information quickly and efficiently. In a digital world where generative AI makes it easy to create fakes almost instantaneously with simple prompts, immutable records stored with cryptographic keys that make them impossible to falsify could prove invaluable, especially for recruiters who need to quickly validate a person’s educational qualifications, professional credentials or history of professional development activity.

The confluence of digital assets and social platforms

The next step in using digital assets would be to embed these in social or career platforms like LinkedIn. X, formerly Twitter, allows Premium

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users to display an NFT as their profile picture. The workplace utility for that is low, but it is likely we’ll soon see more digital assets integrated with social platforms.

As users can currently input their information into predefined fields on LinkedIn or careers websites, it’s not a stretch to imagine embedding NFT versions of credentials within these platforms. This would allow recruiters and employers to quickly verify an individual’s credentials or qualifications using a cryptographic signature generated by the issuer, such as a university or training provider, acting as an automated and instantaneous reference check.

Embedding NFTs in a digital CV or linking to a public digital wallet with qualifications stored as NFTs is technically possible today, but is not yet practical because of technical hurdles, limited awareness and lack of user-friendly technology. ●


There’s still time to learn about how NFTs function while they are an emerging and avant-garde technology. Although the technology has been in development for nearly a decade, we have yet to experience a groundbreaking moment, like the introduction of the ChatGPT, where a user-friendly consumerfacing product quickly captures the attention of the global workforce.

There are a wide range of uses for cryptographically verified digital information, connected to digital wallets and online profiles; generative AI will increase our need to do this effectively and at scale. NFTs and various other functionalities of digital wallets are likely to be part of another wave of digitisation and automation that affects the recruitment industry.


Digital wallets play an increasing role in storing digital assets and data, so it’s important to approach the technology with both curiosity as well as caution and scepticism. There’s no need to spend a lot of money on highly speculative digital collectibles to see how the technology works. And while legitimate blockchain companies are growing, along with clearer regulatory frameworks in both the UK in Europe, there’s still a lot of scams and fraud related to blockchain and cryptocurrency activities, so it’s a highly risky sector of the digital economy.



IN FOCUS: Creating richer job adverts

Watching video is how many consumers like to find out more about a brand.

According to ‘The State of Video Marketing 2023’ report by video company Wyzowl, most businesses (91%) are using video as a marketing tool in 2023, which it said is the highest figure since it began tracking data in 2016. Moreover, it also found that the same proportion (91%) want to see more videos from brands in 2023.

Video and audio are already being used in job advertisements but perhaps not to the degree you might expect. This is likely to change though, especially with members of Gen Z now moving up the career ladder, followed by Generation Alpha in the next few years, both of whom have grown up with social media and a preference for visual and interactive learning.

Recruitment technology providers such as Tribepad and Rezoomo are among those which offer video and audio capabilities, and a growing number of companies such as Biteable can help organisations create social media videos; video is like giving your brand “a megaphone in a bustling marketplace”, says the company.

Neil Armstrong, chief commercial officer of Tribepad, says that video and audio make job ads more engaging and appealing to potential applicants by providing a deeper dive into a company’s culture and values. He adds: “This helps attract people who not only have the right skillset, but also a good cultural fit and are aligned to the working styles and atmosphere of the company.”

And he says there are other compelling reasons for embedding video or audio. Because not

everyone consumes information in the same way, having a variety of different mediums provides more inclusivity for different learning styles. It is also proven that video content can improve the search engine optimisation of job postings, making them more likely to appear in search engine results and therefore be seen by more potential applicants.

For those recruiters and employers who are keen to try out video, Tribepad says there are three must-haves:

●Be clear and concise, ensuring the content clearly communicates the job role, responsibilities, and qualifications, as well as the company culture and values. Tailor your videos as much as possible and think about what is most relevant to the job spec and type of applicant you’re looking for.

●Make sure it looks good. Poor quality can reflect badly on the company and may deter potential


applicants. You should put as much effort into recruitment marketing as other types of marketing. ●Make sure people know what to do next. Ensure that there is a clear call to action for potential applicants. This could be a direct link to the application form, or instructions on how to apply, ideally with details on the process, so people are clear on the number of interviews for example, or how long they should wait for feedback.

Armstrong says it is also important to ensure that the people speaking are diverse in terms of background and job type to, again, ensure inclusivity. “It should go without saying but it’s essential to avoid using stereotypes or biased language,” he says. “And avoid creating long videos or audio pieces that may cause potential applicants to lose interest. People prefer content that is under two minutes long and will


Mapping internal talent

Web and mobile talent acquisition app AtlasJobs is launching a tool to transform how organisations connect with the talent within their organisations. People Map provides a visual representation of how talent is distributed. Using advanced algorithms, People Map suggests matches based on relevant factors such as skillsets, experience and department needs. As well as streamline acquisition, it is also designed to promote retention by facilitating faster and more targeted connections between recruiters, potential candidates and current employees.

Employee profiling tool aims to boost retention

start to lose interest after that.”

Tarmac, a leading sustainable building materials and construction solutions business in the UK, owned by the CRH Group, is among the clients to take advantage of the Tribepad system’s ability to display visual content such as video advertisements.

“The video content helps us promote not only our job opportunities but also share with prospective employees who we are as an employer,” says Luke Janiec, national resourcing manager –recruiting talent for Tarmac and CRH Europe. “On the other hand, this functionality allows potential applicants to get to know our brand, culture and organisational insights better and see if we are exactly what they're looking for. The Tribepad video advertisement feature allows me and my team to be more creative with our recruitment tactics and it’s part of our strategy now.” ●

AudienceDNA is an employee profiling tool that aims to help resourcing and HR professionals to improve staff engagement and retention, based on personality. Developed by events and engagement agency Live Group, it identifies employee personality profiles – whether they are champions, socialites, professors, explorers or another of the 16 most popular types – and use this insight to shape employee events and experiences, communication strategies and learning programmes. Employees are asked to answer a handful of simple questions and the resulting data is analysed by Live Group to determine the audience’s personality make-up. It is then married with the team’s insight and intelligence to help curate tailored engagement strategies.

Using AI to verify tech talent

AI Verify from Techscreen enables recruiters to ask a series of questions on a variety of technical skills while an artificial intelligence (AI) tool analyses the candidate’s response and evaluates their performance. The tool has recently been deployed in beta and its goal is to give recruiters the confidence to properly assess skills they may be less familiar with and send on the most qualified candidates. The company hopes it will level the playing field for global IT recruiters. AI Verify will be featured in part two of Recruiter’s exploration of next-generation assessment tools in the next issue.


Toxicity in recruitment

The culture of bullying, especially in big agencies, needs to stop

The bullying and generally the toxic cultures in recruitment agencies aren’t being discussed enough – partly because of the stigma around speaking up.

Ironically, some of the biggest bullies appear to be the ‘heads of’ who appear very charismatic on LinkedIn by regularly posting about good leadership and the pseudo-good they’ve been doing along with giving some brownie points all round. Most targets appear to be women and people of other ethnicities. Some have experienced microaggression in addition to passive-aggressiveness or having their culture disrespected. People are expected to ‘act British’ (and more specifically South English) and women are not allowed to be assertive.

Sales are put on a pedestal while less respect is paid to people in non-billing roles, which by the way have been most affected by redundancies. In weekly sales incentives presentations, top senior leaders talk only about sales and ignore the compliance part. This leads to the message that compliance isn’t important and the consultants ignoring compliance (and placing non-compliant candidates behind leaders’ backs). Some compliance team members get labelled 'difficult' when trying to safeguard the company from disasters or simply trying to do their jobs properly.

Organisations seem to have revolving doors, relying on fresh, less experienced/inexperienced blood to keep the salaries low. With the constant coming of newbies/less experienced staff and going of the more experienced ones, this means the more experienced ones are constantly overly busy from having to train people while doing their day-to-day [work]. It feels like a constant state of understaffing. Non-billers say they are not even on the living wage. Redundancies happen every year just to hire for the same positions months later – unless enough inconvenient people leave voluntarily. Most of the long-serving staff appear to be the toxic ones. Makes sense why so many of the alumni leave with depression, anxiety and PTSD-related symptoms. Even manager-level alumni claim that their offboarding has been humiliating. A lot of abruptly letting people go. After not having a salary raise for a long time and being paid under the market value, some have been made to compete with each other to keep their job. A presentation headlined ‘[Initials] Pillars of Retention’ was seen in the group CEO’s office while redundancy was ongoing. People going through redundancy had been told not to mention that they were being let go. Handovers were rushed with some as if the top management couldn’t wait to get rid of them. In every redundancy meeting, the people being made redundant were asked to confirm why they were going through redundancy, as if they were being gaslit and someone was trying to convince them that the official reason they had been given was the real reason.

The lack of communication and accountability is the issue. Senior management claim to have ‘open door’ policies and are always open to feedback on how they can improve. However, this doesn’t seem to be the case. If something hasn’t happened to them, it’s not real, it hasn’t happened at all. Mainly people who are other than British White Males have been treated this way. People have been reduced to tears.

This culture needs to stop, especially among the big agencies. At the very least, mandatory training and coaching should be offered on trauma awareness, clear communication, listening, empathy, etc. A lot of this is down to lack of empathy. ●



On the Labour party’s pledges on skills and immigration, fresh and future-thinking policies are required to overcome labour shortages, which are leaving 2m job vacancy postings unfilled in the UK. This must include reform of the Apprenticeship Levy, which has become a driver of lower apprenticeship starts and completions for young people. It is devastating to our economy to have 960,000 people – out of the 1m temporary workers on assignment every day – excluded from accessing the levy.

Scrapping the 20% migrant worker wage discount on the salaries businesses are required to pay for jobs on the shortage lists could help workers better compete internationally. But it is notable that this also scraps the discount to discourage employers from getting cheaper overseas labour.

We need to upskill and make work more accessible to homegrown talent if we are to overcome labour shortages. But we must keep the UK open to skills from around the world because this is critical to investment in the UK and our economic growth. Policymakers would be better placed if they collaborated more closely with industry to determine their skills needs and how best to fulfil demand.

“I’d like to see real clarity around the proposed due diligence that the supply chain will be required to undertake when choosing to work with an umbrella company. This should be accompanied with a proportionate penalty for them failing to do so. Such regulations will enable the supply chain to help clean up the market, creating a more level playing field for compliant umbrellas and recruiters, while also delivering a better experience for contractors. This should be complimented with proper enforcement activity to weed out any non-compliance, making these regulations a deterrent to bad actors.”

“Carrington Umbrella hopes that the consultation will not take a sledgehammer to crack a nut. We welcome the scrutiny of the unscrupulous but trust that the consultation will recognise much of the good work that umbrella companies provide. We want a result that ensures workers’ employment rights are at the forefront of both umbrella and agency services. We want enforcement of current legislation to be stepped up. There needs to be a level playing field to ensure workers are provided with freedom of choice to select an umbrella that is compliant and can demonstrate transparency in every aspect of its service.”



“The government’s consultation on umbrella company legislation is long overdue and will be strongly welcomed by the vast majority of those in the sector. It is important that any new measures introduced by the government achieve two main aims: increase compliance in the umbrella sector; avoid adding unnecessary complexity for businesses accessing temporary labour. Of the options being explored, the transfer of debt provision would ensure an easier route for HMRC to recover any tax debts. This, along with mandatory due diligence requirements for those in the supply chain, would be a positive next step in the ongoing battle to drive out non-compliance in the umbrella sector.”

“What results would you like to see from the government consultation ended 29 August 2023 on umbrella companies?”

elcome to the 11 Most Influential In-house Recruiters report.

It’s hard to believe the 11 Most Influential In-House Recruiters’ showcase is in its 11th edition, having notched up a decade since its launch in 2013.

Today, with economic uncertainty surrounding the world, many organisations are bracing themselves for a new set of challenges. Meanwhile, 2023 also marks artificial intelligence’s (AI’s) arrival into sharp focus for so many sectors, including recruitment. Microsoft’s Thom Staight, who features in our 11, says AI tools represent the biggest platform shift since the “the explosion of cloud technology” and it’s happening far more rapidly. It’s clear

Yasar Ahmad

from our showcase that it’s not just technology companies who know they need to prepare for it.

AI is perhaps making it harder for even the most far-sighted futurologists. What we know from our line-up here, though, is that the in-house recruitment function stands ready and able to take on the future in whatever shape or form it takes.

Method: Information and data were gathered from a range of sources in the public domain. Having arrived at our selection, the individuals identified were asked what they saw as their main achievements during the past year and main objectives going forward. Wherever possible, metrics such as volume of hire were collected.

Global vice president mobility, talent and rewards, HelloFresh

If the UK recruitment industry is looking for a true, modern-day influencer, then look no further than Yasar Ahmed. With a website that provides links to a blog, the Talent Surgery videocast on YouTube, a podcast, as well as the usual social channels like LinkedIn and Twitter, Ahmad boasts a highly impressive digital footprint. He’s also founder/co-founder of groups such as The Talent Community network and Muslims and Tech Community, both with more than 1,400 members. And then there’s the day job at recipe box company HelloFresh. The primary objectives over the past year there have been to build an automated and resilient talent pipeline, optimise employee mobility for internal movement and reskilling, and enhance the rewards structure to become “hyper-personalised”. Digital-first recruitment strategies have also been implemented, remote work opportunities expanded, and flexible, performancebased rewards adopted. “The change management process has been smooth; over the past year, we achieved our targets within six months and are already working on 2024 plans,” says Ahmad. “Moving forward, our aim is to continue to automate and make things more real-time. This applies to everything we do.” Increasing diversity & inclusivity within the workforce is another critical priority.

As always a degree of subjectivity will be in a list of this nature, but consistent with other years we aim to apply a set of criteria that qualifies a person for inclusion based on: the size, scale, scope and challenge of the position and effectiveness in the role; ability to be strategic and add value, and position the resourcing function central to the business; the degree of innovation or change brought to the current and/or previous organisation; perceived influence both internally and externally; and the extent to which the individual is considered an industry visionary, trailblazer or thought leader. Industry or company-specific challenges are also taken into consideration where appropriate.

Toby Culshaw continues to fight the cause at the leading edge of talent intelligence (TI). He admits it’s been a challenging year at economic, industry, company and team-level but throughout it all the demand for TI has remained. Indeed, it’s been proven to be a vital tool to navigate disruptive change and it’s therefore no surprise that his Talent Intelligence Collective has continued to grow to nearly 2,000 members. The newsletter now reaches 5,000 recipients a month while the workshops and regular podcast are similarly well received with more in-person events likely. Meanwhile, readers of his book, Talent Intelligence: Use Business and People Data to Drive Organizational Performance, are using it as a tool to help set up their own TI teams. He sees TI further evolving and merging with other intelligence and analytics fields, and is keen to formalise the skills within the field by developing a recognised and validated training programme. “Generative AI is looking to disrupt both TA as an industry and companies more broadly so we must confront how it will affect volume of hires, the size and shape of and the types of skills required.” He’s also mindful of the obvious implications for the hiring process of increased automation, which will compound the changes already taking place.

Toby Culshaw Global head of talent intelligence, Worldwide Amazon Stores

Carly George Head of talent acquisition, AXA

Since moving from KPMG in April 2022, Carly George has focused on people, strategy and vision, "to lead positive change to build a diverse, equitable and inclusive workforce". The team’s engagement score had taken a hit, she said; it was important for her to understand why by listening and understanding how to address the challenges faced. Testimony to her and her team’s efforts is an increase in the employee Net Promotor Score (eNPS) of 52 points. TA strategy was aligned to the business and broader people goals, and the right partners and technology identified that enabled them to deliver the vision. In a tight labour market with increasing business demand, TA had to re-think how it recruits, she said, “everything from our marketing to our assessment methodology”. A multi-generational workforce is also a critical component of hiring plans. The hard work is paying off with AXA becoming the first UK insurance company to achieve the Age-Aware Accredited Employer status from 55/Redefined that supports businesses on age inclusivity. “In a rapidly changing business and economic environment, TA must change the dial,” she says.

Simon Hallett Resourcing director, Deloitte

Simon Hallett, who’s been in role at Deloitte since 2021, joining from the London Stock Exchange Group, says resourcing is increasingly becoming “an ongoing cycle of proactive transformation” and that’s what excites him about his role. A new firm-wide resourcing strategy has been created to meet the changing needs of the growing firm, which has helped it make more than 8,500 new hires and internal moves in the last financial year. And as Deloitte moved to a hybrid working model, the company has evolved its processes with its outsourced recruitment partner and new in-house senior hiring team to ensure it stayed ahead of hiring demand. This led to significant benefits in a number of areas, including diversity of hires, quality, cost and efficiency. Hallett says Deloitte is taking an even more strategic and data-driven approach to resourcing and is well on its way to evolving its own approach to strategic workforce planning. Added to all this, he and his team have done sterling work in areas that will benefit the wider world. This included producing a set of Neurodiversity Learning Guides, which have achieved 4,500-plus views and 1,800 downloads externally as well as extending neurodiversity and disability training for recruiters. It also designed a career support programme for Business in the Community to help refugees secure employment in the UK.

Sarah Langton

Global head of talent acquisition, Clifford Chance

Boasting an impressive 25-year+ track record in talent acquisition, with 16 of them at one of the world’s largest law firms, Sarah Langton knows more than most how critical people are to client delivery in a professional services firm. The company is in the process of implementing a global people strategy and changing how it delivers TA to the business. This included implementing a new application tracking system and CRM, rolling out a new employee value proposition and careers website and a new operating model, all while continuing to deliver top talent to the firm and a first-in-class candidate experience. And it’s done so against the backdrop of an exceptionally competitive market – early legal talent represents a particularly competitive and intense area. In June this year, the firm opened a new office in Houston, Texas and Langton was part of the team involved in the recruiting of the founding partners and their teams. The global TA network continues to advance the adoption of technology and globalise its internal operations while ensuring the firm remains an employer of choice in all markets. She is also the current chair of the Resourcing Leaders 100 (RL100) network, where she brought her considerable expertise in building communities and mentoring. “It has been eye-opening to see how much work goes into making and sustaining a network so that it is cohesive, connected and collaborative,” she says.


Sharon Kardam, talent acquisition transformation consultant

Sharon Kardam is fast becoming the go-to person for TA transformation. She recently worked with the BBC on its transformation programme, describing the Corporation as “unrelenting” in wanting to move to a proactive, future-focused TA function despite also needing to be cost-efficient. “It was a particularly rewarding assignment as they had high ambitions on increasing diversity and an authenticity and passion that you don’t always see,” says Kardam who is relishing delivering strategic, value-driven, sustainable TA transformations for a wide variety of organisations since she took up her first interim role more than two decades ago. She adds that the benefit of not having the responsibility that comes with an in-house TA role means she’s able to be “laser-sharp” in her focus for clients. In April this year, she took up the role of TA transformation consultant at HSBC, which is embarking “on a truly holistic global TA transformation programme”. She is leading the transformation of the TA operating model globally. In the bigger picture, she says TA professionals must remember that the economic climate is tough for many people. Wherever she finds herself, her personal passion is to continue to drive the diversity agenda. “I’d like to see our industry do more to break stereotypes that perhaps get lesser focus – like people who don’t necessarily want a permanent role – maybe they just want to do good work no matter the employment relationship.”

Lisa Scales

Talent acquisition director, Royal Mail group

After more than five years as head of resourcing at the National Crime Agency, Joao Rodrigues is charged with making the Greater London Authority (GLA) an attractive employer of choice and building an agile and capable workforce to meet the needs of the Mayor and Assembly – one which reflects the London it serves. With an impressive public sector pedigree, having also occupied senior roles at the Department of Rural Affairs and the Cabinet Office, at the GLA, his job is to oversee the strategic resourcing and talent team and align the talent agenda and organisational requirements around resourcing and wider people initiatives. The GLA talent strategy is being incorporated into the overall people strategy at a time of large-scale transformation, with the HR function moving from a transactional service to a strategic one, comprising centres of excellence. It also comes at a time when cities around the world are facing a raft of complex challenges, not least being on the frontline of battling climate change. London has already shown itself to be a leader in areas like tackling air quality, and attracting talented staff is key to continuing this delivery. “Our vision is to be a trusted, forward-looking and capable organisation, truly diverse and inclusive, and always ready to rise to London’s ever-changing opportunities, needs and challenges,” he says.

Having taken up the role of talent acquisition director at Royal Mail in April, this most consummate of in-house resourcing professionals is looking to replicate what she achieved at her previous company, Nestlé, where her legacy includes a high-performing TA team with a great reputation for supporting the business. The pensive and pragmatic Scales is clear how she will achieve it: “Getting everyone looking the same way with clear objectives and goals.” It’s no mean feat, given she has a team of 150-plus people that supports an organisation of 130,000 employees. “Getting to know them and for them to know me as a leader is key for future engagement and success,” she says. “I am passionate about TA teams not being seen as transactional but real enablers of the talent challenges the business asks us to solve.” Specific projects include transforming the frontline contingent workforce of 18,000 people and making better use of shift pattern technology and insourcing the executive search capabilities to secure right senior leadership for the future. “We also have Christmas peak to deliver where the whole business comes together in one huge effort to get our busiest time of the year delivered successfully – quite literally,” she says. In the sector as a whole, if TA is to succeed, she says it must proactively bridge skill gaps, support the economically inactive, embrace flexible working, stay updated on technology and foster inclusive practices.


Thom Staight GM head of global talent acquisition EMEA, Microsoft

The world of business and society is relying on tech giants like Microsoft to help them realise the potential of AI and navigate the daunting world of generative AI. Recruiting over the last 12 months in the tech sector has been extremely volatile with many TA teams reduced and reshaped. Few understand tech recruiting like Thom Staight, who has been at the company since 2017 and before that was regional director at Michael Page Digital. He says they must now respond to the huge – and rapid – platform shift to generative AI tools, the biggest shift since “the explosion of cloud technology”, he says. “As customers get to experience different use cases for AI, the demand for products accelerates. And the demand for people with the right skills is already outstripping the supply of qualified talent in the market.” He says this also brings great opportunity for TA: “TA plays a role not only in competing for the best talent, but also working across HR and business to build people strategies that consider skills in a broader way; what do we hire externally versus build internally?; how do we map adjacent skills to expand addressable talent?; how do we evolve our EVPs and our ways of working to adapt to what skills supply exists versus what we

Caitriona Staunton Director of people operations, Improbable

Caitriona Staunton joined British metaverse technology company Improbable as head of talent in 2017 but her own considerable talent has been put to use in a wider people role since 2021 when she became director of people operations, leading teams across TA, operations, payroll, global mobility and benefits. As its name suggests, companies don’t come much more innovative than Improbable and she knows better than many what motivates talent in the sector. The company strives to create an unbeatable employee experience “anchored around flexibility and autonomy”. This year, new types of leave have been added, working-from-home allowances formalised and the work-from-anywhere approach expanded to eight new countries. It’s also launching an on-demand pay option, giving employees access to accrued earnings whenever they need it. AI tools have been brought in to bring efficiencies to the talent lifecycle and a new careers site launched. These also helped to raise the bar in diversity and quality of hires. The TA team will continue to explore how to optimise workflows but she adds: “We’ll need to keep ourselves accountable to the responsible use of AI, ensuring that it only impacts bias and fairness in a positive way.”

The highly experienced Adrian Thomas is leading a call for the increased recognition of the role of talent acquisition within organisations against a backdrop of the raft of challenges confronted by the function in recent years. These include both candidate shortages and gluts, recruiter salaries doubling one year and halving the next, plus the need to accommodate a whole new approach in remote and hybrid working. He has built up an impressive rollcall of consultancy and advisory freelance roles since leaving the UK Civil Service in 2019 at organisations such as Transport for London, the Ministry of Defence, Serco and So when he speaks, the industry listens. He says the role of the TA leader has undergone more change in recent years than any other role within the HR job family. “A role once responsible for placing job adverts and administering applications has grown into a strategic organisational partner with responsibilities that reach into organisation design and location, internal movement and retention, employer branding, marketing, sourcing, data analytics, selection, onboarding, supplier/partner management and more,” he says. Going forward, he foresees another war for top talent and urges the sector to stay on top of technologies, embrace data and analytics, and use all the tools available to foster diversity and inclusivity. But the march of AI means they must also learn how to strike the right balance between automation and the human touch to ensure personalised candidate experiences.

Adrian Thomas Talent acquisition director and resourcing industry leader

Hall of Fame

This year we have introduced the In-house Recruitment Hall of Fame to recognise the efforts of some of the industry’s most resilient and talented leaders who have appeared in our sh owcase over the last decade.

A regular in the 11 over the years, Matthew Jeffery continues to focus on empowering and inspiring his team who are pioneering change and innovation across talent acquisition, from promoting apprenticeships as a far more attractive career proposition for young people to providing industry thought leadership. His drive to embed talent acquisition at board level means the industry will have much to thank him for in the years to come.

Paul Maxin Founding director, Max Intalent

Paul Maxin appeared in the first ever 11 when he was global resourcing director at Unilever and then again as head of talent and resourcing at The Financial Conduct Authority. He launched his own talent and talent acquisition strategy and external advisory company, Max Intalent, in 2016 and currently has a particular focus on sustainable talent and a net zero approach to reimagining how we attract, acquire, skill and deploy talent. He advocates making carbon strategies known in job descriptions, sharing sustainability goals in campaigns, as well as reducing carbon footprints and increasing carbon offsetting in the recruitment process.

Cath Possamai and her team are fully engaged in supporting Amazon’s continued growth across Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Anyone who’s followed Possamai’s career and appearances in the 11 know that she’s a woman who makes things happen. The company has done well to attract volume of women into ‘operations’ roles and she is now seeking to build on this by doubling down on helping more people with disabilities into roles at Amazon – across all of its areas of business.

head of resourcing, Balfour Beatty

Key positions at companies such as Sodexo, Capita, Carillion, Nationwide and, most recently Balfour Beatty, have made Jon Hull another regular in the 11 over the years. His grip on all the critical issues faced by TA has always marked him out. At Balfour Beatty, he drove a number of different approaches to diversity and inclusion, which included a pioneering partnership with a social enterprise (Renaisi) to help skilled refugees into employment. He’s currently, interested in interim or permanent roles that involve leadership, change and where there is a commercial imperative for talent to be at the top of the agenda.

Jon Hull Former Cath Possamai EMEA talent acquisition director, Amazon Stores Matthew Jeffery Director UKI talent attraction & acquisition (TA2) leader, EY

to grow your business

costs into variable costs to







Let’s Grow!

Ma ers Recruitment

REC urges rethink on holiday pay

The REC is urging the UK government to rethink rules on holiday pay for workers who don’t have fixed hours or salaries.

As part of its post-Brexit review of retained EU law, the government recently opened a consulta on on reforms to the Working Time Regula ons, Holiday Pay, and Transfer of Undertakings (Protec on of Employment) Regula ons.

Before Brexit, rulings by the European Court of Jus ce informed UK government guidance that holiday pay should be paid at the me when annual leave is taken. Employers were told not to include an amount for holiday pay in the hourly rate.

However, the REC is urging the government to rethink this rule and to allow rolled-up, but separately itemised, holiday pay, as long as this is a genuine supplement to normal pay. Allowing rolled-up holiday pay for people who work irregular hours would make it simpler to provide holiday pay for workers on short-term assignments and ensure they recover this money.

The REC accepts this should happen only if there are safeguards to ensure that individuals take adequate breaks so that their wellbeing is not affected. However, it argues that rolled-up holiday pay is be er than taking paid holiday leave for those who do not have a regular pa ern of working and for their employers.

‘We need modernised and effec ve employment regula on that works for all workers, including those with irregular working pa erns,’ said Lorraine Laryea, the REC’s Chief Standards O cer (pictured le ).

‘Legisla ng for rolled-up holiday pay will address the prac cal di cul es connected with workers taking annual leave when on short-term assignments. It will help to create the level playing field that is required by employers of agency workers to ensure they can comply with employment provisions.’

THE VIEW AND THE INTELLIGENCE Seize opportuni es from change p2 BIG TALKING POINT Why recruitment needs technology p4 LEGAL UPDATE Rules on recrui ng strike cover restored p6 Q&A Voices from the REC Board p7 Issue 105 SEPTEMBER OCTOBER 2023 @RECPress
Making great work happen
Modernising regula ons

the view...

The opportuni es presented by change offer many reasons to be cheerful, says Neil Carberry, REC Chief Execu ve

Ihope you all had a chance to take a well-earned break over the summer. 2023 has been another even ul year, so a pause for re ec on (and ice cream) is welcome.

So far, this year has been defined by a more challenging market, but not in the way we would expect from past slowdowns. Clients are under pressure, but hiring overall is at a good level, while candidate shortages have abated, but not by much. Certainly, the perm market has slowed, but there are s ll more vacancies than before the pandemic and demand for temps has remained strong.

However, with clients facing challenging markets –plus public-sector spending constraints – reshaping how employers work is top of the agenda. UK boards are looking to new technology, new businesses and new skills.

One of the themes of our #RECLive conference in July was the opportunity this offers our industry. Contribu ng to this debate as employment specialists puts us in a powerful posi on. At the conference, BBC Economics Correspondent Andy Verity set out the scale of what is happening and our client panel was clear that firms need a new approach. They asked for our help.

Our guest keynote speaker, restaurateur Nisha Katona, together with our dream team of recruitment leaders set this in context. At a moment like this, offering the right services could make a big difference to your business’s success. Focus on easing clients’ new pain points, establishing the professional skills your people need and inves ng wisely in technology. These are at the heart of the challenge for recruiters.

Our work this summer provided two sources of inspira on – our digital guide, which encapsulates all that was best about #RECLive, and our new report ‘Techenabled humanity’, which explores the tech transforma on we face. I hope these help your business to navigate a successful autumn. I’m always op mis c – but I believe we will all benefit when in a on starts to fall. So get out there and make a difference! I hope to see you soon at one of our sector and regional mee ngs, the fantas c Savage masterclasses, or the REC Awards night in November!

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

Poli cians a rm recruiters’ role in promo ng growth

Ok, so we didn’t get a whopper of a policy announcement from the Enterprise, Markets & Social Business Minister at our #RECLive23 conference, but at least we learnt that our campaign work on overcoming labour shortages is ge ng through to those in government.

This was evident when Conserva ve MP Kevin Hollinrake spoke about the need to maintain the UK’s exible labour market, people being the biggest asset to business, the need to make the workplace more a rac ve and the need to reform the awed appren ceship levy and go for economic growth – all things we’ve called for. He praised the Na onal Minimum Wage and stated, reassuringly, that employers are best placed to inform the government’s skills agenda. We were also pleased that a er so much (friendly and frank) dialogue with the government in the past 12 months, the minister talked candidly about how he values the views and work of the recruitment sector.

But the wider message from the government is clear: it has spent so much suppor ng jobs during the pandemic there is not much money le . That is why we desperately need economic growth. As we move towards an elec on amid economic challenges, the government is looking for inexpensive, as well as quick, wins to overcome labour shortages and get the economy growing.

Shadow Financial Secretary James Murray used his me at #RECLive23 to re-emphasise Labour’s support for the industrial strategy and giving businesses autonomy to drive the economy. This is promising, because we have long advocated a joined-up governmental workforce strategy (with industry input). Murray was keen to talk about childcare alongside infrastructure such as rail and road. It is great that poli cal par es are listening to those of us who have campaigned for childcare reform to ease labour shortages. Moving forward, Labour is keen on businesspolicy collabora on moving into 2024. We will be at the forefront of this – with input from our members.

Recruitment Ma ers September-October 2023 2 Leading the industry
Shazia Ejaz, Director of Campaigns at the REC CAMPAIGNS

the intelligence...

Our recent data dig into ac ve job vacancies suggests that businesses’ inability to fill roles prevented them from taking up opportuni es this summer. Vacancies at these levels cannot be filled quickly.

Our research compared vacancies in occupa ons that see high demand in the summer months in April-June 2022 with roles available in AprilJune 2023. In construc on, all 27 occupa ons we analysed had more vacancies this year. Vacancies for steel erectors, oorers and wall lers and painters and decorators grew by more than 100%. Adverts in that sector grew in every part of the UK, with 83% more in the South East, 81% more in Yorkshire and Humber and 70% more in the North West.

We were therefore pleased to see that the government has added five new roles to its o cial Shortage Occupa on List (SOL), a er commi ng to doing so in its Spring Budget.

Looking at four of the occupa ons that were put on the SOL list in July, there was a 36% growth in vacancies for bricklayers and 107% growth in demand for masons, roofers, roof lers and slaters. Demand for carpenters and joiners went up by 37% and demand for plasterers rose by 23%.

These shortages made it inevitable and vital that some construc on roles were added to SOL. Con nuing labour shortages will mean that housing projects are stalled or delayed at a me when stock is already low, par cularly in ci es such as London. Unfilled vacancies may also have delayed crucial work such as the refurbishment of schools during the summer holidays.

Disappoin ngly, no hospitality roles were added to SOL, despite shortages in that sector. This is frustra ng for all the hospitality businesses that could not take full advantage of the an cipated strong demand this summer.

For example, 10 out of 13 occupa ons in hospitality that we analysed showed more vacancies, this year than in the same period last year. There was a 61% increase in demand for bar staff, a 37% increase in job adverts for cooks and a 47% increase in vacancies in baking, freezing and other ways to make food and drink.

The greatest demand for hospitality staff was in North East (72%) and in Yorkshire and the Humber (59%), but demand for staff was

down in London (-9.5%) and in Wales (-8.7%). It is likely that a lack of staff forced venues to reduce their opening hours, trading days or services, despite high demand. This will have reduced their chances of maximising sales and of offse ng the impacts of high in a on.

One interes ng trend we iden fied was that the demand for agricultural and gardening work this summer was higher than in summer 2022 in every region apart from Northern Ireland. There was also far greater demand for travel agency managers, air travel assistants and leisure and theme park a endants this summer compared with the same period last year.

See our July 2023 Labour Market Tracker for the full data.

3 September-October 2023 Recruitment Ma ers
Recent data on ac ve job vacancies suggests that businesses an cipated bumper business this summer, but struggled to find sta to maximise revenues
Hamant Verma, Communica ons Manager at the REC
the industry
and joiners went up by 37% and demand for plasterers rose by 23%.
Demand for carpenters

big talking point

Get with the programme

The recruitment industry has changed enormously in the past few years – prompted by rapidly evolving external circumstances (such as the pandemic and subsequent labour shortages) and powered by equally rapidly developing technology. Using technology to improve recruitment services is nothing new, but the pace of change and the capabili es of the tech now available means that recruitment without technology is becoming unthinkable. What’s more the tech of tomorrow will make further change inevitable.

“We are huge op mists about the future of our industry. But we s ll need to adapt as firms,” writes Neil Carberry, CEO of the REC, in his introduc on to the REC’s report ‘Tech-enabled humanity’, produced in partnership with consultancy MH&A. “[The report] is structured to help you think about your capacity for tech change, plan what you can do, and consider the longer term direc on of travel. It’s the beginning of a journey, not the des na on.”

The pursuit of more powerful tech is not, of course, a move away from the human skills that are fundamental to a strong recruitment business and which fuel rela onships between recruiters, candidates and clients. When used well,

however, tech is an enabler that helps recruiters to use their interpersonal skills be er, more e ciently and with more people.

Importantly, research by the Centre for Economic Performance (CEP) shows that good use of technology not only boosts firms’ profits and e ciency, but has an even more posi ve effect on their resilience. And technology is no longer the preserve of firms with the largest budgets – sophis cated applicant tracking systems, social media pla orms and online jobs boards, customer rela onship management so ware and data analy cs tools are widely available for modest prices. As with any tool, the key element is not what you have, but how you use it.

Opportuni es

Most importantly, the REC argues, tech can improve the candidate experience. However, many recruiters are not yet using it op mally. Too o en, the report says, the candidate experience ‘trails behind the client experience – a er all it’s the client who ul mately pays the bills’. This problem can be compounded in sectors that deal with a high volume of candidates, where firms may be tempted to focus their use of tech on improving e ciency, rather than enhancing their rela onships with candidates.

This is a mistake. The REC points out that its research on skills shortages has highlighted that no amount of client demand can compensate for a lack of candidates. Recruitment firms that priori se e ciency above candidate experiences will not only fail to build long-term rela onships with candidates, but are also likely to receive nega ve feedback on social media pla orms.

Technology is a double-edged sword. Used well, it can assist all stages of the recruitment process to enhance the candidate experience, from how they get to know the recruiter to applica ons and onboarding, through to ge ng paid and sharing their posi ve experiences. One example is that of a fast-food chain that publishes short videos of

4 Technology
Recruitment Ma ers September-October 2023
Tech is no longer op onal in the recruitment industry, it is essen al – and recruiters need to keep up to seize the opportuni es it presents. The REC’s new report
‘Tech-enabled humanity’ is a call to ac on

happy employees on social media. Another is of a recruitment firm using global posi oning system (GPS) to track candidates’ journeys to work so they can update clients and candidates if there are delays.


However, not all tech is suitable for all recruitment companies, and it can be hard for firms to keep up with the latest systems – and even harder to work out what would add value to their opera ons. Tech vendors can help, but they have an interest in making a sale. Whether you are looking to track sales leads and automate admin processes, invest in a vendor management system (VMS), use social media more effec vely or improve your accoun ng setup, start from your business need, not from the impressive technology available.

Technology also shi s jobs markets. Every new wave of technology leaves some jobs high and dry on the shore. The original Luddites smashed kni ng frames that put them out of business in the 19th century. Tech developments in the 21st century – and, in par cular, ar ficial intelligence (AI) – will have the same effect, although it is unclear where the axe will fall hardest.

Goldman Sachs believes that AIdriven automa on is already affec ng two-thirds of occupa ons to varying degrees. It predicts that 44% of tasks in legal professions could be automated, while only 6% in construc on and 4% in maintenance are likely to be affected.

This affects recruiters on mul ple fronts. The REC report says that sales

and business opera ons will gain opportuni es to boost produc vity, but almost half of administra on ac vi es will be automated. Recruiters in some sectors will see rapid changes in the job profiles required by their clients, while some en re sectors could be threatened. Recruitment firms must therefore assess their own needs for AI systems and what this means for their staff and skills needs, while also keeping an eye on how such systems will affect their clients and candidates.

It seems clear that while recruitment firms can benefit from AI, the wider changes it will cause in demand for staff in many markets will require them to be resilient and adaptable. Some may need


to pivot to remain relevant and others will need to think widely about the skills their clients will need in future and where these candidates will come from.

Next steps

The future of recruitment is enabled by technology, but human interac ons will remain integral to the profession. Firms should explore the ways they could use technology be er, but they must consider the op ons carefully. The REC report offers guidance on selec ng the so ware that suits your needs and aligns with your strategy as well as ideas for maximising use of the technology you already have. It also highlights the issues around data protec on and ethics.

If you adopt new technology, it is important also to consider whether it is scaleable and to get everyone in the team onboard – and fully trained to use it. Don’t ignore the significant improvements you can achieve with widely available technology. AI is likely to prove transforma ve in future, but using the so ware you already have effec vely and thinking hard about the basics now will put you in the best posi on to move forward swi ly when the tech develops further.

In the mean me, Carberry writes: “We look forward to taking that journey by your side. As Andy Warhol said, ‘They always say me changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself’.”

AI: Jobs with 50% or more of their tasks automated are at risk, while those with 10-49% automa on will see AI complement human e orts.

Goldman Sachs

Over 70% of firms say that new technology has increased their business’s resilience.

63% of new technology adopters report that it did not a ect their workforce size.

16% say new technology reduced their need for workers.

13% say new technology increased their need for workers.

45% report that they reorganised sta or reallocated employees to new tasks a er adop ng new technology.

Centre for Economic Performance report on technology adop on

5 September-October 2023 Recruitment Ma ers

legal update

Repeal of Regula on 7 of the Conduct Regula ons

The government’s decision not to appeal against the High Court’s judgement that it must revoke its repeal of regula on 7 ends one of the most conten ous legal ba les in this long period of industrial ac on in the UK. The REC welcomes this decision

The supply of agency workers during industrial ac on to replace striking workers was prohibited by the Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Businesses Regula ons 1976 under powers granted by the Employment Agencies Act 1973. But on 22 July 2022, Regula on 7 of the Conduct Regula ons 2003 was repealed in England, making it lawful for agency workers to be supplied to replace striking workers.

The government’s reasoning was that the repeal was necessary to tackle the ‘unreasonable’ and ‘dispropor onate’ impact of the strikes on the public, as well as the ‘unreasonable costs to businesses at a me when everyone is struggling with the rising cost of living and doing business’.

With the repeal of Regula on 7 in mind, employment businesses s ll had to ensure they were complying with the remainder of the Conduct Regula ons 2003. For example,

Regula on 20 provides that an employment business must not supply a worker if it would be detrimental to the interests of the worker or to the hirer if the assignment proceeds. They had to consider the health and safety of workers where they are having to cross poten ally vola le picket lines to get to work. It was also very important to ensure that the worker was willing to work on such an assignment. Obtaining confirma on of this is required under Regula on 19.

In September 2022, several trade unions applied for a judicial review of the decision to repeal Regula on 7. It was argued that the repeal of Regula on 7 was unlawful on several grounds. These include a failure to consult unions, as required by sec on 12 of the Employment Agencies Act 1973, and that the repeal violated Ar cle 11 of the European Conven on on Human Rights, which provides the freedom of assembly and associa on and states: ‘Everyone has the right

Recruitment is a sales-driven environment, with the front of office receiving significant a en on and resources. But back-office processes are crucial as a recruitment business grows.

Today, compliance, document tracking and background checks are handled by compliance teams, o en using outdated manual tools such as Excel and email. Using fit-for-purpose technology will deliver significant improvements in compliance and efficiency – and save money.

to freedom of peaceful assembly and to freedom of associa on with others, including the right to form and to join trade unions for the protec on of his interests.’

Unions also argued that the repeal is a viola on of the EUUK Trade and Coopera on Agreement, which commits the UK to upholding interna onally recognised labour standards.

In the outcome of the recent judicial review, the High Court judge made an order confirming that the repeal of Regula on 7 was unlawful and from 10 August the prohibi on contained in Regula on 7 applied. This means it is unlawful, again, for employment businesses to supply agency workers to clients to carry out the work of their own workers taking industrial ac on.

Automa on (and AI) will op mise the back-office team, leaving compliance managers to focus on strategic issues. Modern recruitment so ware enables you to collect, analyse, transfer and onboard data, providing insights into individual performance and overall trends. By iden fying weak spots and bo lenecks you create me and space to accelerate candidate placements.

Using the right technology and processes will allow staff to focus on what they are best at. This puts the business in a much stronger financial posi on. Modernising your back-office system will enhance your ability to maximise revenues and increase your business’s appeal to poten al buyers. By inves ng in recruitment onboarding technology, businesses can mi gate the risk of administra ve errors. Data-driven insights help drive intelligent decision-making and future strategies. Technological advancements in automa on and AI can streamline opera ons and boost efficiency to reduce costs and allow compliance teams to concentrate on more effec ve work.

Ul mately, good use of technology improves employee sa sfac on and delivers a compe ve edge for sustained success and business growth. Employment law 6 Recruitment Ma ers September-October 2023
Recruiters should use tech to improve compliance and upscale their business

Suppor ng roles: giving back to the profession

Smaller recruiters in the healthcare sector face huge challenges.

I started off in the NHS and our core market is sourcing nurses. We now also work with doctors and are looking to move into homecare. I know there are lots of entrepreneurs out there with bright ideas and they can benefit this sector, but it’s hard for them to get started. I succeeded and my business is growing, but I benefited from contacts in the NHS.

Be resilient. Compe on is fierce so you will face rejec on. To get candidates to buy into you, you must differen ate yourself with your personality. You need to have empathy to appreciate the stresses

of candidates’ lives and you need to be driven because it’s a relentless job. However, you also have to be kind.

What I know Q&A

This sector needs representa on. I wanted to join the REC Board because the healthcare recruitment sector needs a voice. I want to change things to make systems fairer for smaller recruitment firms. I am passionate about this. We pay to be part of the Framework, which enables us to supply many of the largest NHS Trusts and sets the rates we pay, however, we are not protected equally. NHS employers can poach our candidates and it’s not a level playing field. If this doesn’t change many firms will go out of business or leave the sector.

You become Chair of the REC in October. When did you first get involved?

We joined in 1990. We started as a husband-and-wife team recrui ng for the hospitality sector and we wanted to do it properly. We were typical REC members – most of the 3,500 members employ fewer than 10 people.

We have grown to 54 people, but the REC s ll represents the best of the best in recruitment.

The previous CEO invited me to stand for the REC Council (later the Board) and I’ve been a director for six years.

What have you gained from being REC members?

It’s supported us through every new challenge over the years. I’m passionate about workforce ethics

and corporate culture and these are more important than ever. REC members make a huge contribu on to people’s lives and careers and it’s a fabulous industry.

Why do you want to be Chair?

I wanted to give back to the industry that has been so good to us and helped us to secure roles for so many people over 33 years – our own workforce and all the candidates we’ve placed in jobs and temporary work in that me.

The recruitment and employment of people has never before been so much at the front and centre of work. Having the opportunity to lead the Board, serve our members, the execu ve and all our REC stakeholders will be a privilege and an honour in my term as Chair.

Voices from the Board 7 September-October 2023 Recruitment Ma ers
Hannah Ahmed is MD of HG Group and a member of the REC’s Board Michelle Mellor is Co-Founder of Cummins Mellor and incoming Chair of the REC

Report fuels calls for a UK workforce plan

Akey report by labour experts on employment support services, such as Jobcentres, has reinforced the REC’s belief that the UK needs a workforce plan from the government. A plan based on advice from business and recruiters could lead to urgently needed reforms of employment support, skills, immigra on and labour market ac va on.

The analysis by the Ins tute for Employment Studies (IES) shows that the UK job support system isn’t mee ng the mark, with short-term, underused and underfunded support services causing a massive loss to the economy.

Since November 2022, the IES’s Commission on the Future of Employment Support has been working on proposals to reform employment support and services. In early 2024, it will present its recommenda ons to make employment support work be er for individuals, employers and the economy. REC Chief Execu ve Neil Carberry is one of the 10 commissioners.

The Commission’s interim report, published in July, reflects the long-held frustra ons of recruiters and hirers. The REC believes that training is vital to overcome the UK’s skills and labour shortages. In its ‘Overcoming Shortages’ report in 2022, the REC called for businesses to increase investment in staff training and development. It argued that giving employees opportuni es to grow and progress in their careers would boost produc vity and revenue. The REC also called on government to create a tax credit scheme for employers who invest in training and, specifically, a ‘green tax credit’ for businesses inves ng in green skills and green jobs.

The reasons for this are clear in the Commission’s work. In its November 2022 report, the Commission iden fied a fall in work-related training in the past 15 years – only around 25% of surveyed employees and self-employed people aged 16-64 reported that they had received training in the previous three months in 2019, compared with around 30% in 2005. Training was o en geared towards induc on and health and safety. On average, employees in England and Wales received just 3.6 days of training in 2019.

In its July 2023 interim report, the Commission highlighted poor alignment between employment and skills support. This is disappoin ng given the challenges that firms are facing with skills and labour shortages. Respondents said that outcomes such as training and skills development, work experience and volunteering were disincen vised by employment support services because of their overemphasis on ‘rapid job entry’.

The REC has long been concerned about a lack of joined-up thinking to overcome labour shortages. It has called for a commission based in the Cabinet Office to create a cohesive, long-term plan for how the UK will put people planning at the heart of its growth strategy. The government needs to play a unifying role to help deliver this.

The interim report voiced employers’ frustra on that employment support services offer li le to employers beyond vacancy gathering and adver sing. Some said that employment support services took a ‘goods-led’ approach, with a narrow focus on vacancy collec on and job applica ons, that did not speak to employers in their own language

or understand how they worked. Employers complained of an ‘any job’ mindset at Jobcentre Plus, adding that this could be fuelling staff turnover, discouraging people from accessing support, disempowering jobseekers and aliena ng employers. The Federa on of Small Businesses said it can lead to high volumes of inappropriate applica ons and to people being forced to take jobs that they do not want and then leave.

There were mixed views on whether new Local Skills Improvement Plans (LSIPs) would improve poor alignment between employment and skills support. The REC argues LSIPs must involve SMEs, recruiters and other labour market experts to reduce the mismatch between local jobs and the skills, educa on, training opportuni es and infrastructure available to local people. It says that mayors, working alongside local business leaders, the public sector and labour market experts, should develop plans to meet emerging needs and get ahead of demand for future skills.

More posi vely, organisa ons that delivered the Kickstart Scheme felt that its focus on subsidising employment for disadvantaged young people had enabled them to work with employers to support inclusive recruitment prac ces. They believed there was a missed opportunity to build on that and engage with those employers a er funding for the scheme ended.
8 The official magazine of The Recruitment & Employment Confedera on Dorset House, 1st Floor, 27-45 Stamford Street, London SE1 9NT Tel: 020 7009 2100 Membership Department: Membership: 020 7009 2100, Customer Services: 020 7009 2100 Publishers: Redac ve Publishing Ltd, 9 Dallington Street, London EC1V 0LN Tel: 020 7880 6200. www.redac Editorial: Editor Ruth Pricke . Produc on Editor: Vanessa Townsend Produc on: Produc on Execu ve: Rachel Young rachel.young@redac Tel: 020 7880 6209 Prin ng: Printed by Precision Colour Prin ng © 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. Ma ers Recruitment Recruitment Ma ers September-October 2023
Employment policy


RideTandem sees one million passenger journeys as the company ramps up for the busiest time of year

The milestone comes as the company’s shuttle bus services helped people earn more than £50m in wages at inaccessible jobs. Here we look at how employee transport can alleviate the pressures on recruiters during peak periods by opening up new talent pools.

Navigating the labour shortage

The back half of the year is traditionally busy for temporary workers – needed for Black Friday, Christmas retail and the January sales.

As the labour market grapples with historically tight conditions, soaring job vacancies and minimal unemployment rates1, peak recruitment is ramping up.

A recent joint survey by KPMG and the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) found demand for temporary staff is increasing. This, coupled with the ongoing UK labour shortage, means companies are struggling to find enough talent as the busiest time of the year approaches.

An independent review by DEFRA into labour shortages in the food supply chain, highlighted a lack of transport and the cost of commuting as one of the reasons that businesses were struggling to recruit.


RideTandem is proud to sponsor the ‘Best Temporary Recruitment Agency Award’ at this year’s Recruiter Awards on 28 September 2023.

Peak recruitment: The struggle to find talent

A reliable workforce is vital for businesses and competition is fierce. Recruiters are often fishing from the same talent pools to find enough workers to fill vacancies.

By partnering with RideTandem, organisations can stay ahead of the competition. With a finite number of people available, offering dedicated transport gives recruiters more flexibility and the ability to reach more people.

Services can also be cost-neutral, ensuring employees get a reliable, affordable commute without impacting budgets. A shuttle bus can be a lifeline, not just for employees struggling to find work, but for businesses in hard-to-reach locations or without public transport for all shift patterns.

Sustainable commuting for all

As the corporate world prepares to report Scope 3 emissions from January 2024, RideTandem’s services are a way of mitigating an organisation’s carbon footprint.

Addressing employee well-being is equally important. With the UK’s unproductive workforces costing businesses £143bn every year, alleviating stress associated with commutes is a game-changer. A shuttle bus service gives employees a comfortable, reliable commute –boosting morale, punctuality, and productivity.


● 1 million passenger journeys

● 8,000 metric tonnes of CO2 emissions avoided

● £50 million+ in wages for people in inaccessible jobs

Launching a shuttle bus service

1 Discover: RideTandem works with businesses to understand their needs, creating routes with convenient for commuters.

2 Partner: Working with a 2,000-strong network of private hire, minibus and coach providers, RideTandem finds the perfect Transport Operator.

3 Launch: Timetables, on-site onboarding days and promotional literature help ensure workers are ready to get tickets and use the service.

Beyond launch: Support and adaptability

The fully-managed service means customer queries are dealt with 24/7.

RideTandem’s dashboard allows businesses to see who has booked on each service and where those vehicles are. Employers can see attendance data even before shifts begin – allowing them to quickly backfill vacancies.

Passengers use the rider app to book and pay for their tickets. They’re given a QR code, which is scanned when they board the bus. They can track the bus as it’s on its way to their stop – minimising wait times and making commuting convenient.


Recruiters have always prided themselves on being able to predict how a candidate will perform in a role. Undoubtedly, some have a gut instinct for such things, and experience also plays a key part. Added to this, they have been aided for decades by psychometric testing that has proven itself to be a robust assessment tool. And, more recently, the rise of data analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) has enhanced such testing. Assessment has become more predictive and provides far more insight into how a person will not just perform in a

new job but also integrate with the team and fit into the culture of the organisation.

Robert Newry, CEO and co-founder of Arctic Shores, which draws on a wide body of neuroscience research for its task-based assessments, says employers should expect three things from testing today: an assessment that is predictive of success in the role; an assessment that uncovers human skills and workplace intelligence; and an assessment that gives a strong candidate experience. Candidates, meanwhile, need to be engaged by the testing, be able to recognise its

> Hiring the right person

relevance and receive timely feedback on what the employer has learnt about them. “There is a misconception that candidates want it to be short,” says Newry. “This is a response to traditional assessments being boring rather than they can’t be bothered to do them if they are long.”

Gareth Jones, chief product officer at assessment specialist Thomas, underlines the importance of feedback. He emphasises that the

The Appliance Of


in assessment

for a role is a science, with testing assessment increasing and evolving, particularly with the rise in AI

value of the testing must extend beyond the employer to avoid a lost opportunity for candidates. “By having access to these reports and understanding how to interpret them, candidates can better evaluate if the position they are seeking to be hired for is a good fit for them or not,” he says. And Jones believes employers often miss another opportunity in using the testing by not applying people science to how an individual will more broadly interact and collaborate in the workplace. “What employers are not doing today is using assessments to better equip these new joiners to successfully integrate into, collaborate with and build trusted relationships with their new teammates,” he says. “This is the new workplace superpower and employers are now waking up to the fact that there is so much more to the application of people science than they previously imagined.”

Thomas is turning the traditional view of assessments on its head by helping individuals know themselves, know their colleagues and to apply these insights to build trusted relationships that enhance team performance and increase business success. The company calls it “team interaction optimisation (TIO)”.

Thomas client Metal Supermarkets, a leading supplier of small quantity metal in the UK, uses Thomas assessments to get a

better idea of who they’re hiring ahead of time. “They also encourage managers to use assessment results to better understand how to best to communicate and manage an employee in the future,” says Jones. “They’ve found that implementing assessments as part of the recruitment process has helped them reduce turnover and save money.”

It’s no surprise that Thomas is using its own assessments to support recruitment, onboarding, management and development of its teams, and says it is finding great benefit in sharing profiles across the entire business. “The new functionality gives individuals brief, accessible insights into their colleagues’ behavioural profile and communication style,” says Jones. “They can then compare their own profile to that of a colleague, seeing easily how each differs in communication and working style. It also provides brief, actionable advice into how best to work and communicate with colleagues. Many at Thomas now use this comparison view before meetings to better understand their colleagues to ensure they get the most out of every interaction, improving collaboration and productivity.”

Arctic Shores is similarly trying to change the thinking behind assessment by removing the question-based interface and asking candidates to complete a number of three- to six-minute tasks because it contends that this reveals true behaviours and abilities. “There are no questions in the tasks and no right or wrong answers, so the candidate has to approach them in whatever way feels natural to them. As a result, we get an authentic data set of

“There are no questions and no right or wrong answers”

what their preferences are based on the actual activity,” explains Newry.

The company also believes that by removing questions, it is removing the filter through which some people overinflate their capabilities while others underrate them. “Across the tasks we are able to get a picture of 26 different personality traits and eight cognitive ones. Each task is different and is based on decades worth of neuroscientific research,” he says.

The company is also using the term ‘CV-less hiring’ to put forward a potential-centric as opposed to experience-centric approach to assessment. The programme was developed in consultation with Advanced Software (which uses the approach itself) and is already being piloted by Siemens and Molson

Coors. “The point is that it is a mindset change. We are not saying that experience is not important. Rather, we are saying that soft skills, or human skills, as we prefer to call them, should be placed at the forefront of the job description –and therefore the job advertisement – not simply ‘years of experience’ in a specific task,” says Newry.

Also seeking to evolve methods of assessment is the global executive search firm Kingsley Gate. It notes that among the biggest change to assessment in the past five years has been the clear distinction that exists between onboarding guided by assessment, assessment in the selection process and assessment for ongoing development.

The company spotted an opportunity to strengthen job

resilience by building an online tool that can assess the qualifications, experience and personal decision-making styles of executives. It took a research-led, data-driven approach (based on data collected from 6,000 candidates), which enabled the company to observe different decision-making environments and frameworks across a range of businesses.

“Based on our findings, we were then able to develop an online assessment tool, which can map potential leaders to the best-suited business environment and culture, based on their decision-making skills and experience,” explains Tom Connolly, chief HR officer, Kingsley Gate.

The tool, called HELIA, uses


Brakes is the UK’s leading wholesale foodservice company and is part of the global brand Sysco. It is partnering with Arctic Shores to streamline its recruitment process, find high-quality candidates and expand its talent pools. It worked with managers to highlight the benefits of the new system, as well as addressing candidate resistance to psychometric assessments in certain business areas.

“Before rolling out to the business, we made sure it was the right solution by trialling it in one area of the business first to prove its efficacy. And it did just that,” said head of resourcing at Sysco, Vicki Sengonca. “The assessment improved candidate quality, reduced attrition rates and saved our team’s time, leading to a more efficient and

effective hiring process.”

The new approach was applied to various roles, including call centre, product supply, and field sales positions. So far, it has been used in eight individual volume roles and has assessed more than 1,000 candidates. “It’s a powerful tool that has shown us objective criteria to measure candidates’ true potential, as well as saving us from reading thousands of CVs,” says Sengonca.

“Before using Arctic Shores, the process wasn’t as objective as we would have liked; a lot of hiring was done on gut feel rather than objective criteria, and we knew this needed to change.

The team is really passionate about giving every person the opportunity to work for Sysco – regardless of past experience.

“In this sense, we had high expectations that doing the right thing would lead to the right results. Ultimately, we chose Arctic Shores with the expectation that we were partnering with an assessment provider that was predictive of success in the role, uncovered potential and gave a great candidate experience – that’s exactly what we got.”

Brakes measured the success of the new approach by looking at two clear metrics: interview statistics and candidate experience data. Historically, it has not experienced the best interview turnout. Since using the Arctic Shores assessment, it is achieving 90% attendance by candidates invited to interview. “This means we engage with the right candidates, allowing our hiring managers to

select from a bigger talent pool. We have a candidate satisfaction score of 83%, meaning not only are we engaging with the right candidates – they are enjoying the process,” says Sengonca.

In the future it will evaluate performance data and attrition rates.

“What’s really exciting about the new approach to hiring is the buzz it’s created in the business,” she adds. “At first, there was some concern about losing the traditional method of relying on CVs, but that was soon overcome as the number of suitable candidates grew. Now we are getting requests from business areas to use Arctic Shores and will be piloting its use with our transactional finance team and also our recruitment for our finance apprentices.”


decision-making as the primary lens for identifying, evaluating and selecting outstanding executive leaders.

“We can assess career resilience and recommend the best long-term match for the organisation with future potential performance in mind,” adds Connolly. “This includes their alignment with an organisation’s decision-making environment and culture, as well as their ability to challenge the status quo. It’s a well-known fact that losing an executive is both

costly and disruptive. In the past, recruiters didn’t necessarily prioritise job resilience and it was considered a normal part of the recruitment lifecycle for there to be employee churn.”

Leaders are defined by the decisions they take and the search firm’s recent research with FT Longitude shows that effective decision-making can also radically alter a company’s direction. Given this, it is surprising that a quarter of senior executives said that their decision-making experience,

capability or potential was not explicitly discussed before starting their current role. “And we think that this is just the tip of the iceberg,” says Kingsley Gate chief operating officer Francesca d’Arcangeli.

“It’s therefore essential that their decision-making approach and style are assessed at the earliest stage of the interview process. In this way, we can help identify executives who can lead businesses through transformation.”

The developments spearheaded here demonstrate how testing and assessment is evolving and developing a broader relevance for the entire employee lifecycle. But there is more to come and we are only at the dawn of how new tools like AI might impact assessment in the long-term (see the NovemberDecember 2023 issue of Recruiter to explore its positive and negative impact). In the meantime, the next-generation tools becoming available are using science in a way that helps employers tackle a range of issues from engagement through to building high-performance teams.

“Employers are starting to realise how critical people science can be in creating a culture of highly engaged, connected and collaborative employees,” says Jones. “While focus on previous experience and hard, technical skills is important, there is plenty of validated research showing that psychological factors have some of the strongest relationships with overall success at work.” ●

“We can assess career resilience and recommend the best long-term match for the organisation”


26.10.2023 | THE BREWERY, LONDON


Blackbridge Communications

-Rolls Royce

Dawson Walker Communications

- GKN Aerospace

Stafford Long

-Secret Intelligence Service (MI6)

TMP Worldwide - Herts Care Careers

Tonic Agency - Newton


Blackbridge Communications - Heathrow

Blackbridge Communications

-Resources for Autism


-Southern Health and Social Care Trust

LEAP Create - Thales

Stafford Long

-Secret Intelligence Service (MI6)


Activision Blizzard

Dawson Walker Communications

- GKN Aerospace

Pink Squid - Veolia

Symphony Talent - SKY

ThirtyThree - Royal Mail

TMP Worldwide - Herts Care Careers

Tonic Agency - Currys

Tonic Agency - Met Police


Blackbridge Communications

-Lloyds Banking Group

Havas People - NEXT

Penna Plc - Aldi

Pink Squid - KPMG

ThirtyThree - Allen & Overy


Blackbridge Communications

–Rolls Royce

Makelove Agency - Megafon


Activision Blizzard

Havas People - NEXT

Stafford Long

-Secret Intelligence Service (MI6)

Symphony Talent - DSM


(BELOW £50,000)

Creed Communications - N Family Club

Genius Group - JCB

ThirtyThree - Hollywood Bowl Group

TMP Worldwide - Home Office


(ABOVE £50,000)

Radancy – Barclays

Radancy – Virgin Money

Story Agency – Police Uplift Programme

That Little Agency – Miele X

ThirtyThree – ASOS

ThirtyThree – McDonald’s


Eli Onboarding - Cognizant

Genius Group - Poundland

Havas People - AXA Inclusivity Training

Havas People - AXA Move

LEAP Create - Thales

Stafford Long - DNV

Wiser - Trainline


Blackbridge Communications

-Lloyds Banking Group

Blackbridge Communications

-Resources for Autism

Great State - The Royal Navy

Havas People - Mars

The Maverick Group - The Adecco Group

Westpac Group


Morson Group - Andy’s Man Club

That Little Agency

-Royal Horticultural Society

Tonic Agency - Newton

WeLove9am - SCS Railways JV


Blackbridge Communications

-Baker McKenzie

Genius Group - Sage

Not Going To Uni and Content Marketing Pod

–Royal Air Force


Atomic - Grab

Blackbridge Communications

-Lloyds Banking Group

Genius Group - Sage

Morson Group - Pathfinders

Not Going To Uni and Content Marketing Pod

–Royal Air Force

ThirtyThree - Accenture

Recognising excellence in Recruitment Marketing and Talent Management






makelove Agency - Megafon

Stafford Long - DNV

Symphony Talent - SKY


AMS - Santander - Isabelle

AMS - Santander - Ollie

CA3 - Audley Group

VIDEO (£5,001 - £15,000)

Atomic – Grab

LIQUONA – Surrey Fire & Rescue Service

WeLove9am - Knauf

VIDEO (£15,001 +)

Blackbridge Communications


Great State - The Royal Navy

Pink Squid - Capgemini

ThirtyThree - B&Q

ThirtyThree - Royal Mail

TMP Worldwide - Herts Care Careers

Wiser - McCain


Genius Group - Sage

Havas People - AXA Inclusivity Training

Havas People - AXA Move

LEAP Create - Thales

MJCC – Pepco

Stafford Long - DNV


Blackbridge Communications

-HCA Healthcare UK


-Southern Health and Social Care Trust

We are The Loves - Q5

WeLove9am - Coventry Building Society


BrandPointZero - IQ Student


Radancy - Primark

SMRS - Pandora

Stafford Long - Tesco Technology

TMP Worldwide - Lancashire and South

Cumbria NHS Trust

TMP Worldwide - Home Office

Tonic Agency - Marston’s


Blackbridge Communications

-HCA Healthcare UK

Creed Communications - Evri

That Little Agency - NFU Mutual

TMP Worldwide – Civil Service

TMP Worldwide - Heathrow

SMRS - Yodel

Stafford Long - Tesco Technology

Wiser - McCain





Pink Squid - Capgemini

Pink Squid - Veolia

Robert Walters

ThirtyThree - Royal Mail

Tonic Agency - GSK

Zero Gravity - HSBC


Blackbridge Communications

–Rolls Royce

Creed Communications

–Jaguar Land Rover

Tonic Agency - Newton


Activision Blizzard


Morson Group


Robert Walters


eArcu – Which?

Eli Onboarding - Cognizant

Stafford Long

–Secret Intelligence Service (MI6)

Talk’n’Job by Apply Z GmbH

- NHS - University Hospital Southampton



Franklin Fitch took part in a volunteering day at Ace of Clubs in Brixton, which is a family-like community providing support for homeless, vulnerable and otherwise marginalised people in the local area. Some of the team volunteered their time preparing lunch and getting the centre ready for opening at 12pm. They helped by washing dishes, preparing and serving meals, cleaning up, and assisting in the laundry. Following the volunteering day, Franklin Fitch has also set up a clothing drive for staff to donate items to the centre to help people at the Ace of Clubs.




Staff from recruitment agency Spencer Clarke Group continue to donate hundreds of food items each month, along with volunteering time to Fylde Foodbank in Lytham St Annes, South of Blackpool. Georgia Parkinson (pictured) said: “I can’t begin to describe how humbling this experience was and I will be making a conscious effort to volunteer more of my time in the future to help those in need.”


Two Worcestershire-based recruiters are set to take on a gruelling charity kayak challenge – the 777 challenge – which will see them paddling the length of the River Severn over seven days and raising £7k for children’s charity New Hope. James Cronin and Mike Pincott from GMP Recruitment will kayak along the whole 220 miles of the River Severn, raising money for the charity, which provides specialist day care for children with disabilities and complex healthcare needs. As both James and Mike are kayak novices, we wish them the best of luck!

Mike Pincott (back) and James Cronin (front) practising their strokes

REC CH recr a gr cha – wh pad Rive and cha Cro GM alon of th mon prov c and nee Mike Mik Jam pra



Halesowen-based recruitment agency

Daniel-Scott Recruitment has raised £610 for Acorns Children’s Hospice midway through its year of fundraising for the hospice, which provides specialist palliative care for children and young people with life-limiting and life-threatening conditions across the West Midlands. As well as fundraising, the Daniel-Scott team of three also volunteered their time to marshal the Acorns Bubble Rush event at Walsall Arboretum on 23 July.

You’ve been busy since the last issue of Recruiter, helping out in the community, raising money and splashing about on the water…
ON water… F kli Fit h t k t i l t i d tA E BRIXTO
Director Lucy Cashmore (above left), and consultants Daniel Cashmore and Becky Kells volunteering at the Acorns Bubble Rush event


What was your earliest dream job? Ialwayswantedto beafootballer. Iwas goodatfootballbutwasnevergoingto makeitfar.ThenwhenIwas18,Igot intosales.I’vetriedlotsofsales rolesandrecruitmentisthe least salesjobthatI’vedone.It’sa ‘peoplesearching’role,really.

What was your first job in recruitment and how did you come into it? Iwasapproachedon LinkedInbyaninternal recruiteratmylast employer.Iworkedasa holidayrep,andeveryoneI workedwithwentinto recruitment.Butthen I liked the ideaofworkinginanichemarketand understandingthatmarket.Itall happenedveryquicklyfromthere.

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

AclichéIknow,butit’smydad.He’sa carpenter,soaverydifferentcareer pathfromme.He’salovelypersonand Igotmymoralsfromhim.He’sa romanticbuthasagreatworkethic.

What do you love most about your current role?

It’sbeenexcitingsettingupthe company.Ilovenetworkingandthe processofgrowingyourmarket.It’snot justtalkingtocandidates–Ispeakto somanydifferentinterestingpeople.

What do you consider is the most brilliant moment of your career?

Tuesday4April2023,whenIsetthe companyupandsawthewebsitego


asa as ryoneI oneI nto en liked nichemarketand live.Alot of workandalotof

live.Alotofworkandalot oflearning hasgoneintothat.NowIcanjustput myheaddownandgetonwithit.

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

I’ve got two. The first one happened last Christmas. A candidate interviewed for a company, and it went really well. For the second interview, she turned up with a Santa hat on. The interviewer rang me to say she didn’t get the job. The other, I was on the call when the candidate turned up with hair dye in her hair – tin foil and everything. I couldn’t believe it, but she smashed it and got the job after about 20 minutes. They didn’t even mention her hair!

What would you regard as your signature tune?

Mymusictasteishugelyvaried.Ilisten toeverything,soit’shardtopickone.

Myfavouritemusicisstuff likeFrank SinatraandOtisRedding.

What was your sanity go-to during Covid-19 and various lockdowns? Call of Duty: Warzone came out. I spent days on it but just didn’t get any better. Also, I watched The Last Dance series on Michael Jordan, so I played a lot of basketball that summer.

What did you learn about yourself during the pandemic?

ThatI’mveryhappyinmyown company.I’maverysociable person,soIwassurprisedwhenI realisedthatIlovedbeingonmy own.Idon’thavethefearof missingoutlikeIusedto!

ne.It’sa ole,really. ockdowns? out. I spent get any the y own able d whenI g onmy of ! ● list

Zach Harris spoke with journalist Roisin Woolnough

“It’s been exciting setting up the company. I love networking and the process of growing your market”
ZACH HARRIS Head of recruitment, 32 Stripes
t h a


The Portsmouth-based recruiter has announced five new appointments to its team. Katelyn Buenfeld joins as an internal recruiter, supporting with the business’ continued growth strategy. Julian Lewis will work with Astute’s Power team as a recruitment partner, focusing on permanent engineering, procurement and construction recruitment. Based in South Africa, experienced energy recruiter Stephanie toe Water has joined as part of the renewable sector’s customer success team. Emily Dennett is Astute’s second

recruitment coach, having previously been a recruitment team lead within the public sector. Piotr Stroinski joins as recruitment partner following two years of recruiting in the architecture sector.


Part of global executive search group Odgers Berndtson, Berwick has appointed Simon Betts as principal consultant. Betts will strengthen the industrial practice nationally with a specific focus on the South-West and West Midlands regions.

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

TechNET,the recruitment agencyoperating underthe umbrellaof AscentGroup,has appointed Emily Riddington as thenewestboard memberandfirst femaledirector.

Riddington beganworking withTechNET nearlyadecade ago,joiningasa

newcomertotherecruitmentsector.Duringher timewiththecompany,shehasestablishedherself asatopbiller,demonstratingherleadershipskills bysuccessfullymanagingherownteamof360(allround)consultantsandachievingeightpromotions. Shehasalsoplayedacrucialroleinbuilding TechNETCxO,therecruiter’sexecutivesearch brand,fromthegroundup,showcasingher exceptionalunderstandingofseniorhiresandher abilitytoleadaspecialistteam.


The employment and regulatory specialist law firm has appointed Lucy Bloom as employment partner. Bloom is an experienced employment lawyer and joins from Osborne & Wise, where she was a partner.



Industry veteran Derek Mackenzie has been appointed CEO of UK and Europe at the recruitment practice of The IN Group. He previously headed up the Technology and Transformation practice, growing the team from six to

The public sector technology delivery expert has appointed Wayne Searle to the newly-created role of chief people officer. Before joining Made Tech, Searle led an HR team across EMEA and globally for mergers & acquisitions at Vertiv, a source of critical support equipment and services for commercial IT infrastructure power and cooling solutions.


The specialist manufacturing and aviation recruitment agency has appointed Adam Milburn to its board as part of an expansion strategy in the South-West. Milburn joins

75 staff across verticals including data, cyber and infrastructure.

Victoria Rapson and Chris Leonard as director as Mego expands into Bristol.


The front and mid-office platform for the staffing industry has appointed Karen Weebers as its new CEO to continue its growth strategy and realise further development and growth.


The Bristol-headquartered recruitment firm has promoted accounts and payroll manager Daniela Kent to associate director of administration and finance. Kent has been an integral part of the mustard team for 13 years.


Hannah Ahmed has been appointed as a new board member to the trade body for the recruitment industry. Ahmed founded and is managing director of HG Group, which finds talent for the nursing, critical care, midwifery/ neonatal and mental health sectors. She has worked for the NHS as a trust liaison co-ordinator.

Finite920 Recruitment

Solutions in New Zealand, Derbyshire will focus on contracting work within the technology sector as part of Acorn by Synergie’s newest division.



+44 (0)20 7880 7603

Editor DeeDee Doke

Contributing writers

Rachel Masker, Sue Weekes, Roisin Woolnough

Production editors

Patrick Appleton, Vanessa Townsend


Rachael Jones has been appointed chief marketing officer by the global end-to-end talent solution company to lead and drive the brand’s growth strategy across the UK, Europe and the US.

Senior designer Will Williams

Picture editor Akin Falope


+44 (0)20 7880 7661 +44 (0)20 7880 6231



+44 (0)20 7880 6209

Senior production executive

Rachel Young


+44 (0)20 7880 8547

Publishing director

Aaron Nicholls


+44 (0)20 7324 2771




The newly-launched specialist recruiter of high-calibre permanent and contracting talent has appointed Tom Derbyshire as its first principal consultant. Previously general manager at

The social impact firm that helps firms solve their digital skills shortages has appointed James McLaughlin as UK vice-president. McLaughlin, formerly director of business development at tech-for-good firm Board Intelligence, brings with him more than 10 years’ experience in sales and business development in the B2B technology space. He will be responsible for heading up WithYouWithMe’s UK operation from its London HQ and delivering on its strategic objectives for growth and business development.

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Iwas recently struck by two conversations around AI at work. The first was with a friend who works in public sector communication. She was having to write an education programme for elderly people to help them achieve better independence in assisted living.

As a project type they had not worked on before, it had been hard to get into the mindset of the audience and translate some of the finer calls to action.

My first response was: “Why don’t you ChatGPT it?” This took them aback. “No!” was the reply. The reason being they felt they would be ‘cheating’ the audience, or maybe even themselves, if they relied on AI.

The second conversation was with fellow business owners with a rough outline of: “There are going to be two types of businesses in the future – those that have fully adopted AI, and those that have not.”

Alan Furley

The AI talent conundrum

This may sound like a pretty obvious statement. After all, read the headlines, and it appears as if business is hurtling toward a Brave New World, but dig a little deeper in many organisations and tech uptake feels much slower.

The two things together prompted questions: Whose role actually is it to push AI in the workplace? And how does this affect the employee (and candidate) mindset longer term?

As recruiters, we are too aware of the fact there are not enough people around with the right skills at present. Employers are furiously trying to sell themselves as progressive, tech-savvy and purpose-led, in an effort to ensure they are getting the people who can do the job today – and tomorrow.

This creates a seller’s market. People with the desired credentials can dictate terms at interview stage. But what about the

employee already in position who wants to create a more AI-focused workplace where none exists – possibly for future employability?

How do you navigate this for future markets – and particularly if you look at the difference between private and public sectors?

Of course, AI application remains in a state of flux itself. In companies that have not previously required significant tech expertise, decisions are needed on how employees and the wider business can benefit from specific software.

But for the employee who is way ahead of their own organisation in the use of AI, and not getting what they need from their employer in terms of developing the use of generative tech – what choice do they have apart from to look elsewhere?

So those who are not pushing AI actively at leadership level risk losing talent very quickly in the coming years. How can they

effectively listen to their people who may be developing solutions that can be easily deployed to competitors when someone leaves?

Of course, recruitment still has a long way to go also to create level playing fields in the race to AI, too. A recent study found that job applicants perceive algorithmic decision-making in AI-driven recruitment less fair than methods with full human involvement.

It is this kind of insight that leads me back to the beginning, and asking: “How do I know who is really pushing AI at ISL Talent – and are we providing the right environment for them to flourish for the benefit of all?”

A question not even ChatGPT can answer – yet. ●

“Those who are not pushing AI actively at leadership level risk losing talent very quickly in the coming years”


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