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January 2014


Interact Medical Co-founders Steve Young and Marty y Bettles: how our passion for recruitment propelled us to the top of Recruiter’s FAST 50

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BLOGGERS WITH BITE: TESCO’S ROB RYAN Loosen up a little and find better candidates

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New era, new game plan: SThree tweaks its formula for success

Contract staffing models put recruiters in the line of fire for 2014

Recruitment Matters 08/01/2014 11:02

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Congratulations to Interact Medical for kicking off 2014 with oomph — topping our annual Recruiter FAST 50 list of the UK’s 50 fastest-growing recruitment companies, produced in association with the esteemed Boxington Corporate Finance. Healthcare is a sector of the moment, and the savvy and hard-working Marty Bettles and Steve Young and their team have capitalised on it while building a quality business. It’s also reassuring to see some past year high flyers return to the FAST 50 fold for 2014. Well done, and here’s to a high turnover, high profit and fast-moving year! In 2014, with recovery on the horizon, knowing the value of a job needs to be as high a priority for the UK work force as getting a job. And part of better preparing the UK’s youth for the workplace, to achieve employability, must be imparting that job value. Two anecdotes prompt this rant: in the first, a teenager told a friend she’d quit a retail job she’d started this autumn because the employer expected her to work Christmas Eve and Boxing Day, “and that was just too much”. In the second, an acquaintance’s employee, a graduate, announced three days before a long-scheduled off-hours work assignment that he couldn’t work after all because his girlfriend now had tickets for a concert the same night. Are these situations unusual? A well-prepared CV and showing up on time for an interview are great. But long-term employability will depend on deeper commitment than an impressive first impression.

D DeeDee Doke, Editor

Scan here to get your own copy of Recruiter



NEWS SThree’s Elden taps into service and talent


Lessons learnt in 2013 can help business in 2014

28 FAST 50 firms herald a bright future Recruiter’s 2014 FAST 50, compiled by Boxington Corporate Finance and sponsored by ICS, sees a resurgence in the smaller, entrepreneurial recruiter 35 COVER STORY Interact Medical tops the FAST 50 charts. How did they achieve it?

Recruiter asked industry professionals to share their experiences


SThree’s CEO reveals the recruiter’s new approach

Success factors behind the FAST 50 firms Tweet for the next CEO



Beringer Tame’s innovative approach to finding UK fashion brand’s new leader 7

8 Tech & tools 10 Special report: How can the recruitment industry repair its damaged reputation? FPS roundtable debates

ANALYSIS 14 Sector Analysis Pharma and life sciences 17 Global Spotlight on Switzerland 24 Insight Addressing risk in staffing supply chains 10


13 On tumblr this month 19 Interaction

Soapbox: Adrian Thomas Ricky Martin Soundbites 26 The Challenge 19 19 21

Sellick Partnership and I-COM 38 Movers & Shakers Industry moves 42 Bloggers with Bite:

Rob Ryan

WHO’S HIRING? 40 Athona, CCA Recruitment

Group, Redhat Recruitment 41 Recruiter Republic

EDITORIAL Editor: DeeDee Doke T: +44 (0)20 7880 7601 Senior reporter: Colin Cottell T: +44 (0)20 7880 7603 Contributing writers: Sam Burne James, Christopher Goodfellow, Sue Weekes Production editor: Vanessa Townsend T: +44 (0)20 7880 7602 Art editor: Adrian Taylor ADVERTISING Business development manager: Tom Culley T: +44 (0)20 7880 7607 Display sales executive: Jasmine Pengelly T: +44 (0)20 7880 6205 Recruitment advertising: Amalia Zafeiratou +44 (0)20 7880 7608 Fax +44 (0)20 7880 7553 PRODUCTION Deputy production manager: Kieran Tobin T: +44 (0)20 7880 6240 PUBLISHING Publishing director: Anne Sadler T: +44 (0)20 7880 6213 RECRUITER AWARDS Events: Juliette Bond T: +44 (0)20 7324 2771 CIRCULATION and SUBSCRIPTIONS To receive a regular copy of Recruiter, the leading magazine for recruitment and resourcing professionals, telephone +44 (0)20 8950 9117 or email • Recruiter is also available to people who do not meet our terms of control: Annual subscription rate for 12 issues: £29.99 UK £35 Europe and Rest of the World • To purchase reprints or multiple copies of the magazine, contact Ryan Hadden T: +44 (0)20 7880 7618

Total average net circulation between 1 July 2012 & 30 June 2013 – 19,289. Recruiter is also sent to all REC members

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CONTRIBUTIONS Contributions are invited, but when not accepted will be returned only if accompanied by a fully stamped and addressed envelope. Articles should be emailed. No responsibility can be taken for drawings, photographs or literary contributions during delivery, transmission or in the editor’s hands. © 2014 Redactive Media Group. All rights reserved. This publication (and any part thereof) may not be reproduced, transmitted or stored in print or electronic format (including but not limited to any online service, any database or any part of the internet) or in any other format in any media whatsoever, without the prior written permission of Redactive Media Group. Redactive Media Group accepts no liability for the accuracy of the contents or any opinions expressed herein. The publishers cannot accept liability for any loss arising from the late appearance or non-publication of any advertisement for any reason whatsoever. ISSN 1475-7478


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09/01/2014 14:35

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STHREE’S ELDEN TAPS INTO NEW AREAS OF SERVICE AND TALENT A changing clientele base and the need for expertise in previously untapped areas are driving new approaches to client service and internal staffing at international specialist recruiter SThree. Small- and medium-enterprises (SMEs) have long been a stronghold in the multi-sector, multi-brand specialist firm’s client base. But SThree is increasingly working with blue-chip companies in global markets with different service expectations than SMEs “so our behaviours have to change”, chief executive officer Gary Elden told Recruiter. “It’s not just about providing a CV… you’ve got to provide a full service,” he said. SThree’s brands are Computer Futures, operating in IT; Huxley Associates, banking & finance; Progressive, engineering and other sectors; and Real Staffing in pharmaceuticals and life sciences. To service the highly specialist, global markets, Elden said: “We have to bring different types of skills … so you need what you consider ‘farmers’, or people who build and nurture relationships, and then not as proactive or sales-y that we would typically look for. “Especially in the oil & gas market, you’ve got to make sure you’ve got good ops [operations] people who are not sales-y but are more client service-orientated,” he went on to say. Such requirements have also required

Gary Elden: “You’ve got to provide a full service”

SThree to adapt its approach to making some of its own senior-level appointments. Well known for its commitment to promoting from within, the company is now looking to recruit externally for roles in which there is no internal experience. Elden, who became CEO in January last year, began his own SThree career as a trainee. But he said the company’s evolution depended on bringing in “external expertise”. “Getting those people into our organisation — to get them to know our culture, what we stand for and what we believe, it’s difficult, which is why we never really pushed it in the past. But now we’ve done it, we’ve seen some really good wins,” Elden said. Among those recruits are professionals

from the sectors SThree is serving with “10, 20 years’ industry experience” to ensure “the right client approach within this particular market” such as oil & gas and banking, Elden said. External expertise was also brought in to help establish the company’s Japanese operation. His tenure to date has also seen a redevelopment of SThree’s structure which he said, “was broken down regionally, and we felt some of the brands’ specialisation was lost”. SThree has been best known in years past for its IT recruitment, which still makes up 50% of its business. As business has developed in other specialist sectors, IT had “felt neglected a little bit” recently, Elden acknowledged. However, he predicted that the IT arm would “start seeing benefits” this year with increased growth and focus. “What we’ve done in IT is, we’ve looked at the markets that we work, and with IT forever changing, we’ve got a big push to make sure we’re in the right IT sectors,” he said. While some markets have been “overcommoditised”, he said, the company is exploring more niche markets such as data security, change management, business intelligence, data storage and cyber security. “So we’re making sure we keep abreast of changes… and that the sector heads are looking at benefits of changing markets.” DEEDEE DOKE


DIRECTORS OF COMPANIES in the Recruiter FAST 50 2014, the 50 fastest-growing private staffing companies in the UK, compiled by Boxington Corporate Finance and sponsored by ICS, have told Recruiter of the factors behind their success. Alistair Rynish, director of international telecoms recruiter First Point Group, ranked 11th in the list, told Recruiter that the company was reaping the rewards of continuing its strategy of international expansion during the bad times. “A lot of it was down to our pig-headedness to continue to open offices,” said Rynish, who added that the company “certainly felt the recession”. He explained that continuing “blindly” with its international expansion gave First Point a better geographical spread of businesses, so that when one wasn’t doing so well another compensated for this. The company now has seven offices around the world, with contractors in 100 countries, said Rynish. Timothy Rowe, managing director of multi-sector recruiter Cobalt Consulting, ranked 16th and a new entrant in the list, told Recruiter that specialist knowledge of the built environment and banking sectors was a key differentiator. “Our consultants are specialists who come from the industries they recruit from. We know our sector — I am not sure that all recruiters do,” said Rowe. “The only thing that holds us back is our inability to hire more qualified staff for ourselves. We don’t just put bums on seats. We hire people with the right level of experience,” he added. Chris Chown, managing director of multi-sector recruiter Berry Recruitment, another new entrant to FOR MORE NEWS AND the list at 24th, attributed the company’s growth to its culture. “We created an environment that allows COMMENTS GO ONLINE managers and staff to flourish and to be entrepreneurial, and to seize the opportunities when they arise. This allows us to respond to client needs,” he said. • Turn to p28 to see the full list of companies and read how the leading company achieved its success.



05_Recruit_News_JAN14.indd Sec3:5 RECRUITER



10/01/2014 11:02

News Events Online Recruitment Conference: The Year Ahead 2014 30 January, Royal Geographical Society, London

Future staffing contract models seminar 6 February (2pm), Osborne Clark offices, London frances.lewis@

TEAM National Networking Conference 7 February, Whittlebury Hall Hotel, Northants

SourceCon 2014 Atlanta 19-20 February, Atlanta Marriott Buckhead Hotel, US

Work & Family Show 21-22 February, ExCeL London theworkandfamilyshow.

CIPD Recruitment Conference 4-5 March, Cavendish Conference Centre, London recruitment

Recruiter Awards for Excellence 2014 7 May 2014, Grosvenor House Hotel, London *Table bookings open now*





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Thoughts from, Twitter and beyond…

“Although we have had a couple register with ourselves today… we don’t envisage large numbers” ENCORE PERSONNEL MANAGER EDWARD VIGARS ISN’T BRUSHING UP ON HIS BULGARIAN OR ROMANIAN

SEARCH ON TWITTER FINDS CEO WITH NO C-LEVEL HISTORY Relying on a social media campaign to select a new chief executive officer has led leading UK fashion brand Lyle & Scott to hire a CEO with no experience of the industry or C-level management. Twitter was used as the primary source for candidates, and the selection process relied heavily upon jobseekers proving themselves on social media tools like Pinterest and Vine. The approach dramatically reduced the emphasis placed on CVs and interviews. Patrick Tame, CEO of marketing, e-commerce and executive recruiter Beringer Tame, which carried out the campaign, told Recruiter: “The interview has its place, but it’s deeply flawed. As soon as you start to ask a candidate to show you what you want them to do, it’s far better.” Philip Oldham, who landed the job with a base salary of £250k, previously worked as a manager in the pharmaceutical and manufacturing sectors. The team at Beringer knew the #nextgreatleader campaign risked putting off C-level applicants, but thought this worked to their advantage: “People who were put

Lyle & Scott’s Next Great Leader video showed the type of leader the firm was after

off were exactly the people we didn’t want to enter the process. We didn’t want anyone with a big ego or a sense of entitlement; the people who engaged were the right sort of people,” said James Minter, partner at Beringer. In the end, six out of eight of the people on the short list were sourced via Twitter. Seasoned CEOs, including “some of the best talent from the global fashion industry”, were invited to the final stages, according to Tame: “But the appointment went to a candidate that would not have got the job based on his CV.” Tasks performed during the selection process included creating a Vine video about

themselves and a Pinterest board about the brand, and writing a CV without including education or work experience. However, Tame said the process would not necessarily work for every company or position, and admitted they ran a traditional headhunting process behind the scenes just in case. Tame added: “The UK has long suffered from weak or lethargic leadership at board level and part of the problem is a risk averse executive search market who move a small number of well connected but unimaginative elite between a small number of senior jobs.” CHRISTOPHER GOODFELLOW

MORE SPONSORS GET BEHIND THE AWARDS RECRUITMENT SOFTWARE firm Flo Software Solutions and •accounting solutions firm for contractors Danbro are the latest

sponsors of the Recruiter Awards for Excellence 2014. They join CV-Library, FPS Group and ICS in sponsoring the Recruiter Awards, which take place on Wednesday, 7 May, at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London’s Mayfair. Craig Aston, managing director at Flo Software Solutions, said: “We are delighted to be sponsoring the award for Best Temporary Recruitment Agency, as along with Recruiter we want to work with the best and the brightest in the temporary agency space.” And a spokesperson for Danbro said: “Danbro is delighted to be sponsoring the award for Best Recruitment Agency to Work For (More Than 100 Employees). By sponsoring this prestigious award it’s our way of showing our appreciation to the recruitment sector.” The deadline for entries into a total of 29 categories has been extended to Friday, 17 January. • Contact Tom Culley on 020 7880 7607 or the benefits of becoming a sponsor. WWW.RECRUITER.CO.UK

09/01/2014 14:36


“We [umbrella companies] are kind of the parasites on the parasites” MATTHEW HUDDLESTON, MANAGING DIRECTOR, FPS GROUP


“I haven’t found an HR person who understands what an aggregator is”

“I am a sales person. I am going to be criticised because I disturb someone”



HOW LESSONS LEARNT IN 2013 CAN HELP IN 2014 Recruiter asked some of our readers how they will apply what they learnt last year to their business decisions this year Craig Aston, managing director, Flo Software Solutions “The biggest lesson I learnt in 2013 is that when starting up a business you have to be very flexible in your approach. You will make mistakes, and things will not always go to plan, whether that relates to people, products or the decisions that you make. It is better to look at the progress you have made rather than dwelling on things you cannot change.” David Cohen, senior director of Talent Solutions, LinkedIn, EMEA “Recruiters need to keep pace to ensure that they have access to the best and widest talent pool. Passive candidates have been proven to be more engaged, less prone to attrition, and more likely to make an impact, so recruiting passive candidates should be on every recruiter’s New Year’s resolutions list.” Louise Grant, chief executive officer, jobg8 “A personal lesson this year is that my gut feeling is always right. Whether it be recruiting the right person or making a strategic decision for the business, always listen to what your gut is saying. Last year more than ever I have gone with my instinct; this year I definitely won’t go against it.” Colin Howell, CEO, Crystal Umbrella “The lessons I have learned over the past year are to seize the opportunities as they arise and don’t procrastinate — over deliberation


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leads to lost opportunities. It’s best to take tough decisions early on and reap the rewards. Good information will enable considered debate and decisions. Being an innovator is costly but rewarding.” Gary Jones, managing director UK & Ireland, Kelly Services “One of the standout lessons for me is that ‘being agile’ is really important for our business in the current market. Although as a company we’ve stayed true to our core strategy, we have learnt that focus and flexibility will help us expand our growing specialist recruitment solutions here in the UK and in Ireland.” Benjamin Ross, partner, Dante Recruitment “The past year has been a crash course in starting and running a business. I now treat every candidate like a potential hire for my own firm — do I trust them, do they have what it takes for the role and will they add value? For me, all recruitment boils down to this: if I wouldn’t hire the candidate, then my client shouldn’t either.” Suki Sandhu, founder and CEO, Audeliss “In 2013, I learned that if you love what you do, it doesn’t feel like you’re working. If you take risks, listen to your customers and surround yourself with the best people, you can achieve what others may think is impossible. Last year was an amazing year for Audeliss and OUTstanding but I have a feeling 2014 is going to be even better. Watch this space.”

Catherine Schlieben, director of recruitment, WorldPay “2013 was a year of change for me, moving from an established team and successful direct sourcing process to a new and more challenging environment. So far, the biggest lesson is to have the courage of my convictions that recruitment and talent attraction is not complicated if you follow some basic principles. None of this is new but it’s so important to emphasise to get your recruiters sourcing effectively.” Julie Towers, managing director, recruitment solutions, Penna “2013 brought a timely reminder for all recruiters of the increasing emphasis on leadership qualities and cultural fit, and the need to invest more in assessment techniques. Transferable skills are highly sought after, but if the behaviours and cultural fit aren’t aligned between employer and employee, particularly at senior management level, skills and experience won’t cut it!” Tony Vickers, director, Balance Recruitment and 2013 Recruiter Awards for Excellence Agency Recruiter of the Year “Over the last 12 months, while debate has raged online about who can provide the best service (agency or in-house recruiters), we have focused instead on offering a complementary service to the in-house teams we work with. In 2014 we’ll be focusing just as much time sourcing candidates from more traditional networking methods.”

Contract News APSCo: The trade body has changed MBA programme provider from Henley Business School to Warwick Business School…Elance: The online freelancer marketplace has merged with oDesk, another freelancing platform… Esholdt Executive Search: The Norwegian search firm has become part of the international search network… HireVue: The US-based digital interviewing platform has acquired recruitment software solution CollaboRATE from search and human capital firm ZRG Partners… Mentor IMC: The oil & gas recruiter has been acquired by Frenchowned energy and IT firm Vinci Energies… Shortlister: The virtual interviewing software has received a “significant six-figure investment” from former retail boss Tim Whitworth… Staffing 360 Solutions: Transatlantic recruitment group Initio International will be acquired by the New Yorkbased agency… Staffline: The recruiter’s agriculture brand is working with the British Growers Association and Sainsbury’s on new farming apprenticeships…

US healthcare market consolidates The end of 2013 saw several acquisitions in the US healthcare staffing agency market: Accountable

Healthcare Staffing buying HRN Services, Cross Country Healthcare acquiring Allied Healthcare, Jackson Healthcare taking over Tyler & Company and On Assignment, the former owner of Allied Healthcare, itself acquiring Whitaker Medical




09/01/2014 10:02


Tech & tools

BROADBEAN’S NEW CENTRE FOR SOURCING roadbean is beta-testing a new platform that brings together its range of tools and puts sourcing directly at its heart. The Candidate Sourcing Platform (CSP) will be rolled out over the next 12 months and will continue to be developed during the next 24, if not 36 months. Dan Martin, Broadbean managing director, told Recruiter that there are some tools and technologies it knows it will add to the platform in that time but says that there may be others it doesn’t yet know about that will emerge over the coming months and years. “We’ve defined it as a central place for sourcing but we haven’t defined everything it will ultimately do,” he explained. “It enables other tools to be added and we may work with third-party channels to add value for clients.” The product introduction reflects the fragmentation of the recruitment advertising market thanks to a proliferation of channels, and aims to bring the candidate rather than the job advert to the front of the process. It brings all of a recruiter’s sourcing channels and tools together in one place so they can work much more efficiently and effectively. Crucially, it can automatically carry out searches on a recruiter’s internal database and external channels, including social media, before they even come into the platform. It will take a job requisition created within a candidate relationship management (CRM) or applicant tracking system (ATS) and extract key information from it, then run searches on all the channels to which the recruiter has access. “So before they post the job they will have some indication as to the effectiveness of those channels for that role. Broadbean will do all of this work for them,” said Martin, who adds that these ‘alreadyrun’ searches are all one click away from the recruiter. “More and more people want to have a proactive strategy to sourcing


and the CSP is designed to make it as easy as possible to combine all of those activities into one workflow.” The platform is aimed at Broadbean’s multi-product clients, which are seeking more than advertisement distribution and for whom the workflow tools will be most suited. Broadbean has upgraded many of the tools within the platform including internal and external searching. It features an extraction engine that pulls out the key information from a job description such as job title, salary and location, as well as content that the system identifies as relevant to carry out a search and match. “We also have access to a structured taxonomy, which will enable us to add value to those terms,” he said. “So if we’ve pulled out a particular job title or skill, then the technology understands that there are other words that equate to the same thing that we can use to increase the number of candidates you might find.” This facility will be added to the product over the first few months. The platform also makes use of the thirdparty referral tool Social Referral, which enables a recruiter to see the number of potential matches within the networks of their employees and can then push that job out to them. Reporting and analytics tools built into the system allow recruiters to assess the effectiveness of all of their channels. While clearly there are elements of the system, such as the referral tool, that are well suited to in-house recruiters, Martin believes the workflow benefits are relevant to agencies as well. “They are relatively better at exploiting the data they hold and relatively better at using external channels to proactively source candidates and this is designed to make it even easier for them to do this,” he said. “It’s a huge benefit for an agency with a high volume of candidates that they touch on a daily basis. There’s also still a perception that external channels are always best and this platform allows us to challenge this.”

M ti and Meeting d greeting candidates A new video-interviewing tool, aimed at improving the candidate experience, is being launched from beta-testing. After initial research & development and incubation with the technology accelerator The Sandpit, PowerMeeter received external investment from former SThree chief executive officer Russell Clements to further accelerate development. PowerMeeter managing director Måns Gårdfeldt told Recruiter that since early 2013 it had been working closely with industry professionals and a group of clients to refine the product to ensure it delivers the best user experience ahead of formal launch. “For us the candidate experience has been key as we really want Måns Gårdfeldt to give the opportunity for everyone to share their personality, energy and soft skills in a smooth and professional way,” he said. Recruiters invite candidates to a branded live video interview or create a set of questions and send a link for the individual to record their own. The service has support built in to ensure the process is a pleasant experience for the candidate. “They are generally quite comfortable with video but some need more hand-holding than others,” said Gårdfeldt, adding that clients see this as a way to show candidates that they really care about the person behind the CV. He cites the case of one client who didn’t want to meet a candidate due to a weak CV but after a video interview the individual was given the job because of their fit with the company culture and customer-facing skills. PowerMeeter is working on integration with job boards and applicant tracking systems and continues to tweak the service. “So far we have 100% retention and satisfaction from our clients. That’s a very encouraging sign,” said Gårdfeldt. “Although we’re not fully there yet with everyone’s perception of video-interviewing, I think that says a lot about where we’re heading.” SUE WEEKES

Dan Martin

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HOW CAN THE INDUSTRY REPAIR ITS DAMAGED REPUTATION? RECRUITMENT’S NEGATIVE PERCEPTION MAY NOT BE ENTIRELY JUSTIFIED, BUT IT COULD DO WITH IMPROVING. COLIN COTTELL REPORTS After a year that saw the industry pilloried, criticised and condemned in the media, and by organisations such as the TUC, Recruiter recently brought together a number of recruiters to discuss the industry’s reputation at a roundtable event, sponsored by umbrella company FPS Group. Recruiter editor DeeDee Doke chaired the event. Recruitment: some critics put its practitioners on a par with estate agents, others decry its ‘spray and pray’ approach and how it treats candidates. Still others see it as condoning low pay, and shady employment and taxation practices. It is fair to say that the recruitment industry doesn’t enjoy the greatest reputation. Simon Dear, chief executive officer of Tangent International, acknowledged there was “lots of bad practice in the industry”, although he added that the recruitment was hardly unique in this. “We all know there are some dodgy agencies, as in every industry,” agreed Peter Burgess, managing director of recruiter Retail Human Resources. Jo Sellick, MD of Sellick Partnership, accepted that the industry was much maligned, but argued that this was frequently undeserved. Referring to last year’s furore over zero-hours contracts, he said the industry suffered because of the poor employment practices of its clients. “The fall-out is that we are slagged-off because we supply the agency workers,” he said. Debbie Smith, founder and CEO of Caritas Recruitment, noted that the agency side of the industry risked collateral damage to it reputation. She blamed the media for misrepresenting issues, such as zero-hours contracts, by not highlighting how many workers valued the flexibility such contracts offered. However, she accepted that poor employment practices, such as not allowing zero-hours contact workers




10_12_Recruit_Digest_JAN14.indd Sec3:10

to work elsewhere while not offering them any work, meant some workers were being exploited by employers, with damaging repercussions for the image of agencies. “It’s about making sure it’s fair,” she said. Sue Cooper, MD of Morgan Hunt, said supplying staff that put patients at risk was one of the industry’s “biggest reputational risks” adding that “when it goes wrong it goes disastrously wrong”. Sellick suggested that part of the industry’s problem was that it was too easy to enter. “That’s where the risk comes for me,” he said. Burgess agreed: “It attracts the wrong people.” Keith Rosser, chair of SAFERjobs, questioned whether more regulation was the answer. “I think the recruitment industry has got quite good systems, practices and policies in place,” he said. Dear suggested there was already “a fair amount of legislation in place that keeps recruitment agencies on the

Clockwise from top left: Matt Huddleston, the roundtable panel in full swing, Keith Rosser, Jo Sellick and Sue Cooper ALL PHOTOS: SAM KESTEVEN

straight and narrow”, citing the Agency Workers Regulations (AWR). Cooper added that the problem with legislation such as AWR was that it was “a blunt instrument that was designed to protect low-paid workers, but ends up affecting everybody”. Dear suggested that much legislation was misjudged, and that this encouraged companies to look at “how they get round it”. Better targeting of legislation to protect vulnerable workers rather than catchall legislation that affected contractors on £1k a day would be supported by the industry said Dear, adding: “We would be saying ‘fantastic’ and getting behind it.” Smith suggested that badly thought through and constantly changing regulation, though well-intentioned, wasn’t

helping the industry to promote high standards, and this was continuing to put the reputation of the industry at risk. She cited the Disclosure and Barring Service, which allows agency workers to carry their DBS (formerly CRB) certificate with them rather than be required to be obtain a new certificate every time they move to a new agency as example of regulation that wasn’t working on the ground. In this instance, she explained it was because agencies didn’t want to pay for a certificate if other agencies benefitted.


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of firms from the London Boardroom Barometer said better surface transport infrastructure was critical to making London more competitive


Matthew Huddleston, MD of FPS Group, said that regulation had a tendency to became a burden on the those companies that already “had best practice”, while “very little” action was taken against those that “have never complied”. “Unless legislation is enforced it is of very little use,” Huddleston added. Huddleston said that new offshore intermediary legislation that becomes law later this year, aimed at stopping workers in the UK from paying less tax and National Insurance (NI) by working through offshore-based intermediaries, was having the effect of tarring all offshore intermediary companies with the same brush. He said this even affected his own company, whose main office is on the Isle of Man, even though its UKbased workers already pay UK tax and NI. If legislation, and particularly poorly targeted legislation, is not the key to higher raising standards and a better reputation for the recruitment sector, Burgess suggested that recruiters themselves could do a lot more to improve their image. Peter Flaherty, chairman of Recruitment Investment Group (RIG), said that much of the good work done by recruitment agencies wasn’t recognised. “We do far more than the NHS on compliance, for example.” Rosser added: “It’s perceptions, because clients still perceive us as doing less.” Russell Dalgleish, nonexecutive director, MBN Recruitment Solutions, said that agency recruiters’ image problem began with the word ‘recruiter’ itself. “Recruiter is a catch-all word that means we are missing out on the opportunity to explain what we do, and this has a negative effect on clients,” Dalgleish explained. While proud to be a recruiter, Dalgleish said he preferred the word ‘consultant’. This made it easier for his staff to position themselves as part of clients’ industries rather than the recruitment industry, he said. Cooper suggested there was a generational element towards how people viewed recruitment, referring to



1. GNB Partnership,

Recruitment consultant – oil & gas

2. Sharna Associates,

Resourcer – financial services/IT

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Start your own recruitment business

Above, top: Simon Dear. Above, below: Debbie Smith

how two of three Olympians recently hired by her company left “because their parents didn’t see it as a proper career for an Olympian”. However, on the positive side, in contrast to when she started in recruitment when “it was impossible to explain what a recruiter was, now you have people who want to be recruitment consultants and see it as a career”. Recruitment agencies and umbrella companies undoubtedly have work to do to improve their much tarnished reputation. However, Burgess offered a welcome perspective

that wasn’t all doom and gloom. Recalling his early years in recruitment, Burgess said: “The idea of John Lewis or Marks & Spencer working with the recruitment industry was unthinkable 20 years ago. It was thought of as flesh eating and things like that. “Now it is a matter of routine,” he said. “Now they love and respect the industry.” As the recruitment industry begins another year when it is once again certain to be in the news for all the wrong reasons, that is something worth remembering.

ROUNDTABLE PARTICIPANTS Peter Burgess, managing director, Retail Human Resources Sue Cooper, MD, Morgan Hunt Russell Dalgleish, non-executive director, MBN Recruitment Solutions Simon Dear, chief executive officer, Tangent International Peter Flaherty, chairman, Recruitment Investment Group (RIG) Matthew Huddleston, MD, FPS Group, the roundtable sponsor Gary Jones, MD and country manager, Kelly Services UK & Ireland Keith Rosser, chair, SAFERjobs Jo Sellick, MD, Sellick Partnership Debbie Smith, founder and CEO, Caritas Recruitment

4. Darwin Recruitment,

Principal recruitment consultant, Essex

5. Permanent Personnel, Recruitment divisional manager





1. Government acts to close employment intermediaries loophole

2. Recruitment bodies

hit back at Miliband’s comments on the Swedish Derogation

3. Expert advice on

health enquiries in recruitment

4. NHS in-house search aims to make life uncomfortable for agencies

5. Seven-year sentence for unlicensed Norwich gangmaster


09/01/2014 10:06


On tumblr this month


s to a son

co u n


y St n Pa

: #09 rea m

In case you’re still recovering from the end of year festivities, here are a few not-too-Chrismassy but sort of Christmas-related items from the Recruiter magazine tumblr feed, where we highlight the lighter side of recruitment.

Is your current provider slowing you down? Spirit Executive In the true spirit of Christmas, executive search recruiter Spirit Executive held its first charity golf day at the Forest of Arden Hotel and Country Club, in aid of the Birmingham Children’s Hospital. The day raised an impressive £4,418, which is on its way to help children in the cancer wards. Who says the spirit of Christmas is no longer around? Oh, and on a golfing theme, the overall winner was Carl Hinett from Gleeson Recruitment Group, who’s looking particularly pleased with himself. Well done, Carl!

Our umbrella service leaves others standing. It’s super-fast to set up online and easy to use, so you can get on with your job and rely on us to do ours. In fact, there’s lots of different ways we can save you time. So it’s no wonder 85% of recruiters asked preferred PayStream, and here’s why: • Online joining in just 10 minutes • Email updates throughout the joining process • Dedicated account managers to answer contractor queries • Advance payments where we are a Preferred Supplier • Text alerts to contractors when their pay is cleared • Easy to claim expenses using our app and expenses portal

Maximus IT The Recruiter tumblr love affair with baking continues… Maximus IT raised £400 in an afternoon for Great Ormond Street Hospital with its own Bake Off, which as ever looked delicious. They even brought in guest judges Frances Quinn, the 2013 winner of the BBC’s Great British Bake Off and Channel 4 chef Eric Lanlard.

Less time chasing your provider and more time placing candidates. That’s another reason to count on PayStream.

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Go to for more including recruiters in Santa costumes, Christmas jumpers and, of course, lots more cakes. Don’t forget to send us your lighter news with pictures to recruiter.


13_Recruiter_Tumbler_news_JAN14.indd Sec3:13




09/01/2014 10:07

Sector Analysis


Views from the market Steve Smith Key accounts team manager, Barrington James

THE GLOBAL NATURE OF THE PHARMA AND LIFE SCIENCES INDUSTRY THROWS UP UNIQUE TALENT CHALLENGES “It’s great that we can scan the globe for talent; the downside is that all our competitors are doing exactly the same, chasing the same pool of talent,” says Noel Brown, head of talent acquisition EMEA at Life Technologies, a global biotechnology company.

Source: Gold Group, ‘Pharmaceutical Salary & Market Conditions Survey Report 2013’

This sentiment is echoed by Joe Voelcker, head of talent acquisition at GSK, responsible for its global acquisition team, who says the search for talent on a global scale has not been helped by an increase in “specificality”. Whereas in the past GSK might require someone with a background in a specific discipline, now the prospective hire also needs an MBA in that subject. “It means there is an increasingly narrow talent pool,” says Voelcker. So much so that there might be as few as a dozen people who meet the bill, he adds. The geographical location of the UK pharmaceutical sector, with most firms located in the South-East of England, provides its own particular challenges, says Martin Anderson, director of niche pharmaceutical recruiter Carrot Pharma. Combined with the overhang effects of negative equity in the housing market, this means many candidates are reluctant to relocate from other regions of the UK for work, he says. Rather than expect talent to come to them, Anderson says that some communications consultancies in the sector have set up offices in existing talent hubs, such as Oxfordshire and Manchester/Cheshire. Steve Smith, key accounts manager at niche pharmaceutical recruiter Barrington James, agrees that in the last couple of years the UK market has been “very cautious”, with many in the industry


reluctant “to take a leap of faith when they are in secure employment”. “There is always someone out there for a job,” he adds. “It’s whether you can find people who are prepared to move, that’s the issue.” However, Smith says the UK market has begun to improve as the market adapts to the loss of 1,200 skilled research jobs at Astra Zeneca’s Charnwood site in 2011, and as more companies outsource their research to contract research organisations (CROs). This has driven the temporary and contract market, says Smith. As Brown points out, however, the pharma and life sciences industry “is a very international marketplace”. And increasingly he says the search for talent is being played out beyond its traditional power bases of Europe and the US. Countries in the Middle East in particular are beginning to grow their industries, leaving companies looking to break into the market and looking for talent at a disadvantage. “People in emerging markets understand that knowledge is power. We are an American company that is trying to move into these markets, and if we don’t have that knowledge we need to buy it in.” Voelcker concurs that emerging markets are growing rapidly. However, he says that trying to outbid the competition by paying higher salaries is not the answer. “If you only focus on salary then someone else is always going to pay more.” And neither is the traditional response of flying in expats on expensive assignments with “most companies dramatically scaling back on global moves”, he adds. Voelcker says the answer lies in developing a local talent pipeline within those markets of leaders who can build the business. In such a tight and competitive market, Voelcker says that standing out from the competition is key. Brown says that as the industry develops in regions such as Africa, getting the message about what the sector does to eliminate disease can be a powerful hook. “In these countries the argument over healthcare and solving some of the infectious diseases can be an important part of it,” he says.

“In the last six months the market’s begun to loosen up, as people are educated that with the growth of contract research organisations (CROs) there is a future. It’s about educating them to make the right career choice. For people at a global level it’s easy for a company to get a visa. For junior positions, it is difficult especially to come to the UK.”

Martin Anderson Director, Carrot Pharma “It’s not doom and gloom. There seems to be enough areas where firms are setting up new offices. It’s an industry that is in a state of flux. A number of companies have set up in Ireland because of lower corporation tax, so there has been some loss of talent to Dublin.”

Noel Brown Head of talent acquisition EMEA, Life Technologies “It is a very international marketplace. English is the language of the laboratory and people move around all the time.”

Joe Voelcker Head of talent acquisition, GSK “It is more about talent. Talent is great but there is huge competition.”






Pharma professionals responding to a May-July 2013 survey provided their current salary and location. The map shows the average salary across the UK


Four in five recipients reported a ‘good’ to ‘strong’ jobs market with less than 15% feeling market was ‘poor’ to ‘weak’

61% of professionals expected to get a new job within the next five years, although most recipients reported high satisfaction and security within their current role

14% 2%

£47,500 £42,391



£43,333 £46,666 £47,916 £115,285

£79,000 £34,615




14_Recruit_SectorAnalysis_Jan14.indd 14



■ Weak, almost no jobs available ■ Strong, lots of jobs available ■ OK, some jobs available ■ Poor ■ Don’t know

Only one in five people did not expect to find a new job within the next five years No 20%

Don’t know 19% 52% Yes 61%


09/01/2014 10:08

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09/01/2014 11:50

Market Indicators

Global Spotlight on Switzerland

THE COUNTRY THAT IS HOME TO THE HEADQUARTERS OF MANY MULTINATIONALS CAN SURPRISE RECRUITERS WITH ITS HIGH DEGREE OF REGIONALISM “If we are attracting someone for a finance director role, it would probably be easier to attract someone from outside the country than from Basel,” says Sarah Peck, talent acquisition consultant at international power management company Eaton Corporation. Given that is only 200km between Morges on the shores of Lake Lausanne in the South-West of Switzerland, where Eaton is based, and Basel on Switzerland’s Northern border, such a statement might appear surprising. However, in Switzerland, recruiters who underestimate ties of region, culture and language do so at their peril. “It’s about people being rooted in their own area,” explains Peck of a country that is divided into a German-speaking part, a Frenchspeaking region and an Italian-speaking area, and sub-divided into 26 cantons. “It’s hard to relocate someone from the German-speaking part to the French-speaking part, and vice versa.” This problem is accentuated by workers’ reluctance to commute, she adds. A fourth language, Romansh, which is spoken by 0.9% of Switzerland’s 8m population, only adds to the challenge faced by recruiters. For one recruitment firm, Nicoll Curtin, the divisions along language lines are so marked that it has created a matrix splitting the market up into the different language areas, says the manager of its Zurich office, Tom O’Loughlin. Laurence Briola, head of Nestlé’s competence centre, based in Geneva, says the effect of the country’s language divisions is to dissipate Switzerland’s talent pool. “When we recruit for Nestlé Switzerland and the Swiss market, we want somebody who speaks both French and German, and potentially English as well, so they can speak with the headquarters. It makes the pool of talent tiny,” she says. Customer-facing roles, in particular, bring the issue

Key indicators Switzerland’s population in 2012 was 7.99m (source: World Bank) and its unemployment rate in October 2013 was 3.1% (source: official government figure) Women mainly work part-time. In 2012, 58% of women worked parttime (2007: 57.1%). In contrast, only 14.3% of men work part-time, although this percentage has also increased since 2007 (+2.3 percentage points) Foreigners account for 23% of the permanent residents. In 2012, 68.9% of foreign nationals in work were EU or EFTA nationals. Almost half came from Germany (26.6%) or Italy 22.3%. Of foreign workers who have moved to Switzerland in the past 10 years, 81.9% have secondary- or tertiary-level qualifications

to the fore, she says. “We cannot have a sales person dealing with a chain of supermarkets in the German-speaking part of Switzerland who doesn’t speak Swiss-German.” Some hiring managers don’t always help themselves either, says O’Loughlin. They effectively narrow the pool of candidates by specifying in adverts “we would like somebody between the ages of x and y, and speaking a certain language”. However, Paul Myers, talent acquisition manager of NonStop Recruitment, which has an office in Zug, says that life has become somewhat easier since the beginning of 2013 for companies looking for Swiss-based talent. “Big pharma names such as Bausch + Lomb, Actavis, Crucell and Merck Serono have closed down HQs, making a higher number of candidates available on the market,” he says. Even though candidates may no longer hold all the cards, many companies, unable to find the talent within Switzerland’s borders, continue to look abroad. “A third of our candidates never worked in Switzerland, and at least 50% are foreigners,” says Peter Zürcher, branch director at Adecco HR. Briola recognises the need for an international company such as Nestlé, with its global HQ in Switzerland, to seek out international talent, and particularly English-speaking talent. “We are faced by two different realities,” she says. “On the one hand [for global HQ positions] the job market is the world, and there is no issue getting good candidates; notwithstanding it can take time and is costly.” On the other hand, for positions beyond HQs, where language and cultural issues intrude, “it is a very different story”, she says.

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Source: Statistical Yearbook of Switzerland 2013

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09/01/2014 11:51




Learning the skills of ‘can do’

Employability depends on a ‘can do’ attitude, argues Adrian Thomas, a non-executive director of Mind Fit ‘Over 80 applications for every graduate vacancy’, stated headlines from 12 months ago. It’s not just the graduate market that is concerned about the number of applications people make. With alarming regularity we hear of someone who has been unemployed for years who has made hundreds of applications and been rejected for every single one. Employability is mentioned in research dating back to 1998: “Employability is the capability to move self-sufficiently within the labour market to realise potential through sustainable employment,” according to Hillage and Pollard. Robinson (2000) similarly suggested that it was a set of skills necessary for getting, keeping and doing well in a job, while more recently the definition seems to have widened to include adaptability (Harvey, Fugate, Kinicki and Ashforth, 2004) that ultimately enables individuals to compete in the job market. And the CBI defined it in 2010 as: “A set of attributes, skills and knowledge that all labour market participants should possess to ensure they have the capability of being effective in the workplace — to the benefit of themselves, their employer and the wider economy.” While the research points to employability being about becoming more adaptable within the job market, all the measures of the concept relate directly to being employed. The biggest measure is from the census taken six months after graduation by the Higher Education Statistics Agency. This statistic, by which employability following university study seems to be classified, simply asks if the student is unemployed — or falls into another classifications of being either in the job market or legitimately not seeking employment, such as long-term travel. It is hardly surprising, then, to find a raft of approaches to dealing with employability. Recently the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development


New Year’s resolutions — the importance of planning!

If you are like me, you will have enjoyed a really good end-ofyear celebration and discussed your New Year’s resolutions with friends and family. This is one of the best parts about welcoming in the year ahead — particularly when people come up with resolutions we all know are never going to happen. That said, why do most people never make their New Year’s resolutions happen? And also why do most of us limit these ambitions to just our personal lives? Well, the first part is easy to answer. A lot of these resolutions are never realised because of poor planning. How many people actually wake up on 1 January with a road map to how they are going to achieve what they said they want? How many people set a date for when it will be achieved by, what they think the journey will look like to get there, and dedicate time and resource in to making it happen? If you haven’t set a professional/business resolution for 2014 it is not too late. Don’t use the excuse that January is now in full swing, so you will wait until next year. Think about this now. Everything I do in my company is about setting a goal, breaking it down in to bite-sized chunks and then taking each challenge one step at a time. Notice I said the word ‘challenge’ — this is intentional! Aiming for goals should be exciting and something you will be proud of. Don’t see the journey to your goals as problems, issues or hurdles. If you’re not an eternal optimist like me, looking at them as problems could de-motivate and hold you back. The principles are simple: choose what you are setting out to achieve, pick a date by when you want it accomplished and then select the tools you need to


19_Interaction.indd 19

(CIPD) published research (September 2013: ‘Real-life leaders: closing the knowing-doing gap’) that argued that knowledge-based training was less effective than previously thought. The missing element seems to be the ‘doing’. Rothwell and Arnold (2007) argued that employability is “the ability to keep the job one has or to get the job desired” — nothing in this definition about writing a CV or learning about different interview techniques. Rather, it talks about focus and dynamic action ‘to keep’ and ‘to get’. In his book, Mind Fit for Success, published in 2012, Graham Williams argues that people can be in only one of three states: ‘can do’, ‘can’t do’, or ‘won’t do’. However, high performance isn’t necessarily about being the next CEO. It is about being the best you can be in whatever you are doing. It applies as much when applying for a job as when doing it. This approach involves the following characteristics: • Awareness The ‘mind fit’ process increases awareness of what you do, how you do it and the impact it has, so you can change your behaviour if you choose. • Control To improve performance, ‘mind fit’ people concentrate on what is in their control or influence. • Focus To change and improve, ‘mind fit’ people focus on what is important in the moment as well as develop the ability to be distracted less often. • Feedback ‘Mind fit’ people seek immediate feedback from themselves and whatever source is available. Virtually every careers service within British universities has recently rebranded itself to include employability. Meanwhile, employers are increasingly running prequels to training or development courses to get their people into a ‘can do’ mindset, so they engage rather than just sit through knowledge-based training.

help you get there. Once you have the timeframes you can go about setting bite-sized chunks on a daily, weekly and monthly basis, which you can measure progression against. Most importantly, write it down. Keeping this logged in your head is an easy way to cheat and for you to be unsuccessful. Put it in black and white, and you will really know if you are on your way to achieving your goals. This is the exact principle I applied when setting up Hyper Recruitment Solutions (HRS). I wrote a detailed time-specific business plan (my business goals). I identified a route to get financial investment (The Apprentice) and a business partner to help me make it happen (Lord Alan Sugar). Once I had planned this I set out on my journey in a time-specific fashion to make it all happen. It is no coincidence that I set up my company in this way. It was planned as a long-term goal broken down in to manageable segments. Each individual road on this journey in itself was a big task, but I love taking on challenges, and by constantly reminding myself of the end goal (setting up HRS) I kept focused throughout. This may have taken a few years but I expected this, as this is what my planning told me. So next time you go about discussing your New Year’s resolutions, take the time to consider if it is something you actually do want to achieve, and if so plan for it. We always hear that the key to any meeting/pitch/interview is preparation, preparation, preparation. So prepare to plan, and good luck. Share your successes with me on twitter via @rickymartin247 and #recruitmentexcellence RICKY MARTIN is managing director and founder of Hyper Recruitment

Solutions. Find out more at or @Hyperec_HRS on Twitter




10/01/2014 10:17

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09/01/2014 11:53




“Does the future of recruitment call for specialists or 360 recruiters?” Stephen Blackmore

Andrew Mountney

Deenu Patel

Head of sales – Europe, DaXtra

Founding partner, Aspen In-house

Managing director, ID Medical

I believe that the requirement for both 360 and specialist will remain, but the difference between the type of service that they can offer will be decreased due to the technology that both parties will have available to them. The main strength that specialised agencies have is a more focused database of relevant candidates. However, improvements to existing search technology will give 360 recruiters the ability to find those candidates, active and passive, with specialist skills. The question here is whether those in a 360 capacity then have the experience to understand if the skills found will lend themselves to the active requirement.

Arguably what the industry needs and what it wants are rather different. In 2013, we saw a clear focus on employers wanting recruiters to be all things to all people. Operational and delivery-focused, anything on top a benefit! The only specialism of high demand was sourcing/ research. That trend is continuing and I think will; sourcing (getting candidates in process, not just identifying them) is a high demand area, but not paid the premium it might. There are other areas such as screening, interviewing, meeting scheduling as specialisms, but these are commoditised usually in larger businesses and represent opportunities for outsourcing, automation and cash savings.

In my opinion, 360 degree recruitment is not the most efficient or personal service, being it is a fragmented and less personal approach. ID Medical operates a 180-degree format, whereby every consultant is a complete expert in their own field and can commit their time every day delivering a truly premier level service to their personally known customer. Within each of our divisions (Doctors, Nurses, AHP/HSS and Clerical) we have dedicated client and candidate teams covering the multitude of medical specialties and roles. In our industry we simply cannot afford to generalise our clients’ and candidates’ needs. A personalised and evolutional recruitment solution that constantly adapts to those needs is essential.



21_Interaction.indd 21


To discover how Interact Medical topped the FAST 50 chart and see which other companies made the list, turn to p28…




10/01/2014 11:01

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06/11/2013 11:46

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09/01/2014 11:54


Addressing staffing supply chain issues DEVELOPMENTS GOING INTO 2014 WILL CHANGE UK STAFFING CONTRACT MODELS, SAYS FRANCES LEWIS Until recently, UK hirers (and legislators) understood little about staffing supply chains. Most assumed that temporary staff were directly employed and paid by the agencies supplying them, the result being that legal risks surrounding the use of temporary workers were often overlooked or based on incorrect assumptions. Things have changed dramatically in the last 24 months. In the run-up to the Agency Workers Regulations (AWR) many hirers started to look more closely at their staffing suppliers. For some it soon became clear that staffing suppliers were far more complex than they had realised involving MSPs (managed services providers), umbrellas, staffing companies and others. Osborne Clarke’s ‘September 2012 Staffing Supply Chain Survey’ revealed that 49% of staffing suppliers had an average of two or more intermediaries, with 17% involving three or more. Just as the lid has been lifted, political concern about exploitation and tax avoidance has led to an increase in press focus (and legislation) worldwide relating to temporary staff supply chains. Fuelling hirers’ concerns have been reports by national media of wide-scale ‘off-payroll’ arrangements at organisations like the BBC and central government, an offshore employment intermediary engaging supply teachers, use of tax avoidance schemes by celebrities, the insolvency of payment intermediary Legal-E, introduction of the General Anti-Avoidance Rule (GAAR) and proposals for legislation on the use of offshore employment intermediaries. Likely to add to this are announcements made in the 2013 Autumn Statement regarding changes to legislation targeting tax avoidance via offshore employment intermediaries and facilitation of false self-employment via onshore intermediaries. Hirers (and investors) will no longer want staffing companies to be associated with schemes which present a risk for them and the workers. It is also possible that the government will amend tax and National Insurance Contributions (NIC) legislation in a way which means that personal service company arrangements become unviable in the UK unless there is a genuine statement of work approach, as is increasingly the case in the US and Germany. Unlike the familiar ‘time and materials’ approach to contracting, statement of work is

a deliverables-based contract under which a consultant agrees to deliver a pre-scoped project for an agreed fee. Project fees can be broken down into monthly or other regular stage payments with the balance of the fee payable upon completion of the project. This increased concern about compliance is not limited to hirers in the UK. As hirers have globalised they have relied on recruiters to find ways of supplying and paying temporary staff at the lowest cost and risk to them overseas. And legal/tax risk for hirers is usually greater overseas (even the US) than in the UK, a situation that can lead to global hirers often unnecessarily assuming that the risks in the UK are as great as elsewhere. So the ability to come up with lawful solutions, and deliver compliance and reassurance, has become more of a value proposition for recruiters involved in global deals than pure UK deals. Not surprisingly there are signs that hirers (and investors in staffing companies) now rank independently verifiable compliant practices as key. It is, therefore, important for recruiters to cast aside out-of-date assumptions about what is and what is not acceptable to hirers, and look afresh at their supply. The latest legal and tax compliance issues in a long staffing supply chain can be very complex. They typically involve a broad range of tax, social security, employment, regulatory and contract law issues such that the answer to “what is compliant” is, invariably, “it depends”. What may be ‘compliant’ for one type of supply or hirer may not be for another. Current staffing contract models therefore need to be looked at as part of a strategic review: can they still provide ‘best practice’ risk protection for hirers? Such a review will help identify what hirers want from their supplier partners, what is affordable, and what needs to be improved. And, of course, the strategic review also needs to consider what risk the recruitment business is prepared to take: when is a deal a bad deal for the recruitment business, critically damaging shareholder value? At the end of the day there is no such thing as 100% compliance. But an understanding of the issues can make the difference between a sales team securing a profitable deal for the recruitment business and one that carries the costs of a high risk — and often non-profit making — or aborted negotiation.

Power Points Hiring organisations and legislators are increasingly concerned about negative PR, commercial and tax risks associated with some staffing supply chains. More statement of work arrangements are likely. This is not limited to the UK: global hirers now expect staffing suppliers to deliver compliant staffing solutions. Offering low-risk staffing solutions has become a key selection criteria for hirers. Traditional staffing supply models need to be reviewed and updated to provide hirers with the reassurance and risk mitigation they require. Recruiters are starting to use informed risk reduction strategy as a way of differentiating themselves from competitors and increasing shareholder value. For the best results the strategic review of the current staffing contract models should be as joined up as possible, involving key decision makers from across the recruitment business.

FRANCES LEWIS is a consultant at leading law firm Osborne Clarke. For more information contact or

Share your insight and blue-sky thinking. Contact the editor:




24_Recruit_Insight_JAn14.indd Sec3:32


09/01/2014 10:14

UK RECRUITMENT TRENDS 2013 UK Recruitment Trends 2013 is a detailed analysis of the past 12 months, reviewing vacancies, applications and salary trends from across 48 industry sectors. Request your copy of the report today to ďŹ nd out when, and in which sectors the economic recovery started to take effect and how this has impacted salaries.


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09/01/2014 11:54

The Challenge

Smart way to attract mobile jobseekers Anna Gibbons, corp comms manager


THE CHALLENGE Early last year, a report from networking giant Cisco forecast that the number of mobile devices would exceed the number of people on the planet by the end of 2013. Whether that prediction has come to fruition or not, roughly 7bn mobile devices is a staggering amount by anyone’s admission. And the potential for businesses to gain from their use is mindboggling too. As well as being able to buy almost anything from home or out and about, smartphones and mobile devices are fast becoming the preferred options for jobseekers finding — and applying for — their next role. This means that firms and recruitment consultancies should have a mobile-optimised version of their desktop site to make this an easy experience for the visitor. And yet research carried out last year by the Association of Professional Services Companies (APSCo) revealed that less than one in 10 — just 8.7% — of its members’ websites were mobile-friendly. Anna Gibbons, corporate communications manager at recruiter Sellick Partnership and chair of APSCo’s Marketing Forum, said her company’s research into

what candidates really wanted from a mobile recruitment site highlighted the necessity of a mobile-optimised version. “There was definitely a demand for it,” she told Recruiter.

THE SOLUTION Having worked with digital design and online recruitment agency I-COM for several years on Sellick Partnership’s SEO [search engine optimisation], Gibbons approached Kate Sherratt, head of client services at I-COM. I-COM analysed Sellick Partnership’s online traffic, as well as what devices jobseekers were using, and discovered there was an increase in mobile use month-on-month. “It was clear that it was more and more important to give a good mobile experience to the jobseekers,” Sherratt told Recruiter. The three options were for a mobile-responsive site (a design in which the website content responds to resolution limitations of the device type), a mobile app (downloadable from an app store) or a mobile-optimised site (where the user experience is as simple as a visitor to the desktop site). I-COM analysed how visitors were using the site to decide which option was preferable for Sellick. “The way people were browsing

Lessons learned “The most challenging aspect was putting yourself in the shoes of the candidate. It was a learning curve — understanding the different steps candidates go through” Anna Gibbons

for jobs all pointed towards a separate mobile [optimised] site,” Sherratt explained. “The user needed a significantly different experience. For recruitment companies, an app isn’t really an option, as they won’t get searched for,” she added. Working with I-COM on the design and look of the site, Gibbons said they looked at other recruitment mobile sites to see what was on offer. “In the end we pared it back to the essentials — a job search. Our main objective was to put the jobseeker at the forefront of the design,” based on Sellick Partnership’s research that the jobseeker wanted ‘simple and convenient’. She explained: “In our research with over 350 of our candidates to find what they really wanted from a mobile recruitment site, not surprisingly the key factor was convenience, with 56% of participants relishing the fact you can use your phone whenever and wherever you are. Other considerations were

Kate Sherratt, head of client services

simplicity of design with simple navigation, and integration of social network presence and sharing features.” There has been an increase in visitors to the main site in the last six months since the mobile site was introduced. “On average, there’s been a 118% increase in the number of people accessing our site from mobiles,” Gibbons said, with in excess of a 172% increase in the number of visitors from tablet devices. “The quality of candidates is better as well, because the search is more targeted due to the link to SEO,” she added. Sherratt explained that when a candidate sets up an account, their details are all in there “or someone new can apply with their LinkedIn details”. She added: “The application is then sent to the relevant consultant via an auto-notification.” Although candidates can apply for a job from their mobile without a CV at the moment, future developments between the two companies include enabling jobseekers to save their CV on a server in the Cloud via an uploading service. Sherratt advised other businesses looking to appeal to mobile jobseekers to do thorough research beforehand. “Think about your current desktop site and see what works on that,” she said. And Gibbons again emphasised the importance to recruiters: “Investing in a mobileoptimised website should not be an afterthought for any recruiter operating in today’s market.”

Would you like to be involved in The Challenge? Contact Vanessa Townsend at




26_Recruit_Challenge_JAN14.indd Sec2:34


09/01/2014 10:14

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Call 0800 731 3178 to speak to one of our team or visit for more information.


Making Life Easy for Recruitment Agencies! “Mr Speaker, having sound public finances also means making sure that we collect the taxes that are due.” So said George Osborne, Chancellor of the Exchequer, in his much-anticipated Autumn Statement. He backed up his claim by once again targeting the recruitment industry - and umbrella companies in particular. In October, legislation addressing the use of offshore umbrellas to bypass taxes was announced. The Statement followed this warning with the removal of a possible clause in workers’ contracts deeming them legally selfemployed, allowing the umbrella and engager to split their basic employment rights, such as minimum wage and statutory payments.

This, combined with full back-office packages expressly tailored for start-ups and established agencies respectively, makes Easypay the premier solution for recruitment agencies’ back-office needs.

These actions herald a new era for our sector, signalling the government’s intention to address the behaviour and reputation of profiteering recruiters. Agencies use of umbrellas has been widespread in recent years, proving the cheapest option for agency work however, it is predicted that with this news, the trend will once again shift to agency-funded payroll – but this may present its own set of problems for smaller agencies who lack payroll experience and immediate cash flow.

In 2014, as temporary workforce usage continues to rise with the long awaited and predicted upturn in the economy, increased demand for agency workers is anticipated. A funded agency PAYE payroll, married with a 100% funding and credit insured solution is the perfect partnership to protect against the new wave of legislative changes aimed at our sector, making for a very happy new year.

As a leading provider of funding and back-office support to recruitment agencies for over a decade, Easypay Services Limited has been consummating and streamlining its offerings for years and has devised a solution to the payroll expectations that 2014 will undoubtedly bring. With the 100% funding and credit insured debt Easypay offer, agencies can rely on cash flow contingencies, whilst additional payroll demands are handled by experts.


REC.01.14.035.indd 27

Easypay Services Limited Managing Director, Amanda Hobson, assures: “Our mission is to make recruiters’ lives easy! With a background in recruitment, we understand first-hand the daily challenges recruiters face, thus allow our clients the freedom to focus on growth, secure in the knowledge that all the cash flow angst and time-consuming back-office tedium is being expertly managed.”

For further information, please visit or email or call 01943 883277




09/01/2014 12:45

Recruiter FAST 50 2014

FAST 50 firms show the way It seems the economy is turning a corner and with that, businesses in the UK are feeling more optimistic, allowing continued investment to stimulate growth and value creation. How this will impact directly on the recruitment industry is uncertain, however it would suggest that staff recruitment, particularly across the flexible workforce, will push forward as companies invest in their pool of labour to support growth initiatives. With high expectations moving into 2014, after an improved 2013 for many in the recruitment industry, this highly anticipated report showcases the 50 recruitment companies that have excelled in this last year. Compliance, more than ever, is at the forefront of a recruitment agencyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s mind with increasing legislation, notably around offshore employment intermediaries and auto-enrolment. Our industry continues to see an ever-changing regulatory landscape, which requires careful planning and implementation, given the significant volume of individuals that we engage with. Our experience suggests that most recruitment agencies are well advanced when it comes to managing the risks and costs of new legislation â&#x20AC;&#x201D; the position and challenge often being shared with their key partners to ensure that a workable and compliant solution is achieved, in an efficient yet fully compliant way. It is inevitable that we will continue to see further tightening of legislation as this industry continues to evolve, despite its maturity. ICS has been working with agencies since 2002 and has witnessed the struggles and triumphs within the industry. Providing accounting and payroll services to contractors and freelancers across many different industries, compliance is at the forefront of what we do. We work in partnership with recruitment agencies to ensure that together we deliver truly compliant solutions. We are very proud to sponsor the Recruiter FAST 50, as we are to enhance our relationships with recruitment agencies moving into 2014. Congratulations to all those listed in the FAST 50 and we wish you all a very prosperous 2014, with continued success and growth. John Lyon Managing director, ICS COMPILED BY




36_41_Recruit_fast50_Jan14.indd 36

Sponsored by


10/01/2014 11:01

Recruiter FAST 50 2014 Sponsored by

Heralding a bright future WELL OVER HALF OF THE FASTEST-GROWING RECRUITMENT COMPANIES ARE NEW ENTRANTS IN THIS YEAR’S RECRUITER FAST 50, SPONSORED BY ICS AND COMPILED BY BOXINGTON CORPORATE FINANCE. COLIN COTTELL SEES A RESURGENCE OF THE ENTREPRENEURIAL, SMALLER RECRUITMENT BUSINESS f proof were needed of the dynamism and entrepreneurialism of the recruitment sector, this year’s FAST 50 rankings show these characteristic traits are alive and well. As the UK and many parts of the world economy continued its slow emergence from the economic crash of 2008-09, these predominantly small, entrepreneurial and forward-thinking recruitment firms were forging ahead of their competitors. With no less than 31 of this year’s FAST 50 being new entrants compared to 27 last year, this influx of new blood contributed to an impressive annual growth rate of 34%. Although growth was slightly down from 39% last year, this was a significant rise on the 26% achieved two years ago. Recruiter’s FAST 50, produced in association with mergers & acquisitions advisers Boxington Corporate Finance, ranks the fastest-growing private recruitment businesses in the UK (see Methodology box, right). Tim Evans, Boxington’s managing director, says this year’s FAST 50 “is another reminder of the entrepreneurial spirit within the recruitment industry, and a signal that small entrepreneurial recruitment agencies can stand up to the pressures from larger established players”.


Recruitment strength While last year’s (2013’s) FAST 50 reflected a tendency of clients to play safe during the depths of the recession by working with established players, this year illustrates how this reliance has weakened. Evans says that part of the explanation was the strength of the recruitment industry as a whole, which grew by 4.3% in the year ending 30 April 2012 to £25.7bn driven by greater use of temporary labour, according to the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC). “Last year it looked like the larger established players won the day, which


36_41_Recruit_fast50_Jan14.indd 37





3 18 27

31 12 6

ID Medical Fircroft Engineering Services Global Medics

Healthcare Oil & gas Healthcare

Three of this year’s FAST 50 show their staying power by appearing in the FAST 50 for the fourth consecutive year, demonstrating that special ability to combine consistency and strong top line growth. “These are standout performers that have done well to manage consistent growth over four consecutive years,” says Mark Kingston, senior executive at Boxington.

in very difficult markets they will do,” says Evans. “But in a growing market” he continues, “there is everything to play for between the smaller specialist players and larger established players.” Mark Kingston, senior executive at Boxington Corporate Finance, says the makeup of the list illustrates how the balance of power between the two groups

has shifted. “This year we are seeing a resurgence of entrepreneurial smaller businesses who seem to be coming through, and who are winning the battle against these larger more established recruitment businesses,” he says. Kingston says that while many would argue that it is more difficult to sustain FAST 50 growth rates when you are a £500m

METHODOLOGY The Recruiter FAST 50 prepared by Boxington Corporate Finance lists the fastest-growing private recruitment businesses in the UK according to compound annual sales growth rate as measured over each entrant’s most recent three-year financial reporting period.

CRITERIA FOR INCLUSION: The FAST 50 assesses temporary and/or permanent recruitment companies which are registered in the UK as private, independent and unquoted companies. This category includes private companies that are co-owned by private equity. All companies considered for inclusion must achieve annual sales of £5m or above in each of their last three financial years. EXCLUSIONS: Companies that have filed abbreviated accounts at Companies House without disclosing audited sales are excluded from the FAST 50 due to the absence of independently validated sales. Unaudited management accounts are not accepted as proof of sales. Companies that serve the recruitment sector through the provision of IT, payroll, administrative or other services also do not quality. DATA COLLECTION METHODS: Qualifying companies are automatically identified through several research methods including the analysis of sector information from Companies House, financial databases, press coverage and other research. Entry submissions are not therefore required, although any firm which believes that it may not be automatically assessed in next year’s FAST 50 2015 is invited to contact Boxington Corporate Finance. Please email fast50@




09/01/2014 10:17

Recruiter Fast 50 2014







1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50

1 9 14 27 37 50 34 26 31 6 16 18 40 41 23 17 43 48 20 -

Interact Medical Oliver James Associates ID Medical Fusion People Amoria Bond Arrows Group Global Carlton Resource Solutions Serocor Holdings First Point Group Castlerock Recruitment First Recruitment Group Assist Recruitment People Source Tangent International ITHR Group Cobalt Consulting Brightwork Fircroft Engineering Services Omega Resource Group JAM Recruitment Eurostaff Group e-resourcing Change Recruitment Berry Recruitment Aspire Global Network Quanta Consultancy Services Global Medics Air Energi Newcross Nursing Group Systems Accountants AAA Group Industrious Outsource UK Faststream Premier Group Strategic Resources Contract Scotland PPF Templine Dutton International Gap Personnel Resource Solutions Group 1st Step Solutions Nurse Plus & Carer Plus Redrock Consulting Corepeople Recruitment Orion Tulloch Recruitment Mentor IMC Computappoint

Healthcare Finance Healthcare Multi-sector IT, banking, oil & gas IT, healthcare Multi-sector Technical, IT, engineering Telecoms Healthcare Technical Industrial IT IT, telecoms IT Multi-sector Multi-sector Oil & gas Technical, oil & gas IT, engineering, defence Technology IT, telecoms Multi-sector Multi-sector Marketing, media Multi-sector Healthcare Oil & gas Healthcare IT Multi-sector Industrial IT, technical, engineering Maritime, oil & gas IT, media, engineering Oil & gas Construction, engineering Industrial, driving Logistics, industrial Multi-sector Industrial IT, change Mechanical and electrical engineering, construction Healthcare IT, telecoms Multi-sector Oil & gas Engineering, industrial Oil & gas IT



36_41_Recruit_fast50_Jan14.indd 38


10/01/2014 11:01

Recruiter Fast 50 2014 Sponsored by

About Boxington: Boxington Corporate Finance is a sell-side M&A house specialising in international human capital and recruitment and advising private and private equity owners of businesses with operating profits of £2m-£20m.





65.59% 62.86% 62.44% 57.82% 55.00% 53.62% 53.06% 49.11% 43.80% 42.13% 41.10% 38.33% 36.36% 36.19% 35.37% 34.49% 34.25% 33.85% 33.41% 32.87% 31.80% 31.79% 31.60% 30.90% 30.60% 30.41% 30.08% 29.57% 28.85% 28.68% 28.58% 28.52% 28.00% 27.19% 26.93% 26.01% 24.93% 24.78% 24.00% 23.73% 23.46% 23.00% 21.12% 20.71% 20.46% 20.17% 20.08% 19.87% 19.25% 18.77%

2012 2012 2012 2012 2012 2013 2012 2013 2013 2012 2012 2012 2013 2013 2013 2012 2012 2012 2012 2012 2012 2013 2012 2012 2012 2012 2012 2012 2013 2012 2012 2012 2012 2013 2012 2012 2012 2012 2012 2012 2012 2012 2012 2012 2012 2012 2012 2012 2012 2012

37.9 46.7 62.5 102.6 20.3 29.1 22.4 168.7 41.7 18.0 101.5 21.3 10.9 47.2 43.5 10.8 31.8 725.4 29.1 14.7 30.4 11.8 16.7 37.9 13.0 22.6 40.1 171.9 31.9 21.7 13.3 28.0 31.7 26.3 11.6 34.9 13.2 89.3 36.6 33.0 72.1 164.0 19.8 18.9 24.7 18.8 355.2 25.0 44.0 21.2


36_41_Recruit_fast50_Jan14.indd 39




09/01/2014 10:17

Recruiter FAST 50 2014


turnover company, on the other hand it is also arguable that “larger companies have a bigger platform to play from”.

Returning companies Another feature of the 2014 FAST 50 is the number of staffing companies that have returned to the table after an absence in recent years. “This is a reminder that growth in recruitment is not regular and does ebb and flow,” says Evans. Among these FAST 50 returners are First Point Group (9th), Eurostaff (21st), Outsourcing UK (33rd) and Mentor (49th). If small fast-growing entrepreneurial recruitment agencies are the defining characteristic of this year’s FAST 50, having the right growth strategy is also a key driver of FAST 50 success. One factor, a focus on international and emerging markets, in some cases to make up for relatively stagnant growth in the UK domestic market, revealed in previous recent FAST 50s, continues be a significant growth driver. “International sales remain an important source of growth for many FAST 50 companies,” says Kingston. Companies such as telecoms recruiter First Point Group, technical recruiter Arrows Group, and oil & gas recruiters Fircroft Engineering Services and Air Energi have all benefitted from this strategy.

Sector choice Another factor driving growth is the sector in which firms operate. While in the 2013 FAST 50 12% of recruiters were in the finance sector, this year finance recruiters are notable by their absence. The only exception is last year’s top-ranked firm Oliver James Associates, who drop just one place to second. “This suggests that the much-heralded return of the financial recruitment market may have been overstated,” says Evans. In contrast healthcare, which has doubled its FAST 50 representation from three to six companies in the past year, including two of the top three performing firms, “is the standout sector”, says Evans. This is due to increased use of temporary agency staff in the NHS, as well as a reduction in the number of suppliers as the NHS increasingly




36_41_Recruit_fast50_Jan14.indd 40

FINANCE: 2% OF FAST 50 2014 COMPANIES FAST 50 2014 Rank Company 2

Oliver James Associates

The continued weakness of the finance sector in the aftermath of the financial crisis is reflected by the sector only having one representative this year compared with six 12 months ago. “Our view is that many recruiters in the sector will come back strongly again as banks return to health,” says Tim Evans, managing director of Boxington Corporate Finance.

HEALTHCARE: 12% OF FAST 50 2014 FIRMS FAST 50 2014 Rank Company 1 3 10 27 29 44

Interact Medical ID Medical Castlerock Recruitment Global Medics Newcross Nursing Group Nurse Plus & Carer Plus

Healthcare is the standout sector, doubling its representation on the FAST 50 to six, with firms recording an average growth rate of nearly 42%

INDUSTRIAL, LOGISTICS AND CONSTRUCTION: 14% OF FAST 50 2014 COMPANIES FAST 50 2014 Rank Company 12 32 37 38 39 41 48

Assist Recruitment Industrious Contract Scotland PPF Templine Gap Personnel Tulloch Recruitment

A fiercely competitive sector, where margins are under constant pressure and success is hard earned

IT: 18% OF FAST 50 2014 FIRMS FAST 50 2014 Rank Company 13 14 15 21 22 30 42 45 50

People Source Consulting Tangent International ITHR Group Eurostaff Group e-resourcing Systems Accountants Resource Solutions Group Redrock Consulting Computappoint

A tough sector buoyed by demand for contract staff that is not going to go away


10/01/2014 11:01

Recruiter FAST 50 2014 Sponsored by

MULTI-SECTOR: 36% OF FAST 50 FIRMS FAST 50 2014 Rank Company 4 5 6 7 16 17 20 23 24 25 26 31 33 34 35 40 43 46

Fusion People Amoria Bond Arrows Group Global Carlton Resource Solutions Cobalt Consulting Brightwork JAM Recruitment Change Recruitment Berry Recruitment Aspire Global Network Quanta Consultancy Services AAA Group Outsource UK Faststream Premier Group Dutton International 1st Step Solutions Corepeople Recruitment

Multi-sector recruiters have done well in this year’s FAST 50, increasing their representation from last year’s 26% to 36% this year

OIL & GAS, TECHNICAL AND ENGINEERING: 18% OF FAST 50 2014 FIRMS FAST 50 2014 Rank Company 8 9 11 18 19 28 36 47 49

Serocor Holdings First Point Group First Recruitment Group Fircroft Engineering Services Omega Resource Group Air Energi Strategic Resources Orion Mentor IMC

Ongoing worldwide skills shortages and exposure to rapidly growing new markets contributed to an impressive showing by firms in these sectors moved to framework agreements, explains Kingston. The success of multi-sector recruiters in the FAST 50 2014, which account for 36% of the total compared with 26% last year can be attributed to those companies benefitting from broad exposure to multiple sectors as the economy began to show signs of recovery, says Evans. Kingston notes that while in previous


36_41_Recruit_fast50_Jan14.indd 41

years, growth through mergers & acquisitions have contributed to both the performance of individual companies and thus to the rankings as a whole, M&A activity plays almost no role in this year’s table. “The lack of M&A activity shows that having come through a difficult few years, private owners are focusing on capitalising on the organic growth activities rather than engaging in M&A to grow,” he says.

While the growth figures of companies in this year’s FAST 50, covering their 2012 and in some cases 2013 accounts, were achieved before this year’s sustained growth in the UK economy, Kingston says the table illustrates how recruitment continues to be a leading indicator of the general economy. “Recruitment firms will always be in the forefront of a recovery as FAST 50 firms have shown,” he says. Looking beyond the top-ranked firm, new entrant Interact Medical, Kingston says that three firms in particular stand out: Fircroft Engineering Services, ID Medical and Global Medics all appear in the FAST 50 for the fourth consecutive year. “These are standout performers that have done very well to manage consistent growth,” he says.

Strongest outlook Looking ahead to next year’s FAST 50 and beyond, Evans says he expects to see a number of newer firms that didn’t quite make this year’s rankings enter the 2015 FAST 50. Evans says that good examples of firms “who are building a momentum for growth” are oil & gas recruiter Spencer Ogden, and specialist risk and compliance recruiter Grovelands Resourcing. Kingston says that given this year’s recovery in the UK economy, there are strong reasons for optimism for the sector generally. “This is the strongest outlook from a macroeconomic point of view since the FAST 50 began in 2008-09,” he says. “We are more positive than ever before, and barring unforeseen holes in the road, we would expect average growth rates to increase and for new players to continue to emerge.”

About Boxington: Boxington Corporate Finance is a sell-side M&A house specialising in international human capital and recruitment and advising private and private equity owners of businesses with operating profits of £2m-£20m.




09/01/2014 10:18

REC.01.14.032.indd 2

09/01/2014 11:55

Recruiter FAST 50 2014 Profile

Interact Medical


The performance of Interact Medical, the top-ranked company in this year’s FAST 50, the 50 fastest-growing privately owned staffing companies in the UK, compiled by Boxington Corporate Finance, is proof that loving what you do and staying close to the business pays off.

KEY FACTS 2007 Interact Medical founded, Office in Milton Keynes 90 staff

“We have never lost what it is like to be a recruiter. We have never stepped away and forgotten how to recruit and how important it is,” says Steve Young, co-founder and director of the medical recruitment company. Founded as recently as 2007, the company has seen its turnover rocket from £13.8m in 2010 to £37.9m in 2012, taking it to top spot in Recruiter’s 2014 FAST 50. With a compound annual sales growth of 65.6% over the last three years, it’s a stellar performance for a company that has never previously featured in the FAST 50. So much so that on meeting Young and his fellow director and co-founder Marty Bettles at their state-of-the-art offices overlooking Milton Keynes, the latter admits that he has barely had time to take in the news. “Since we started the business we haven’t really sat down to reflect on anything because the growth has


2011 £22m turnover Gross margin

£3.4m 2012 £37.9m turnover Gross margin

£5.3m 2013* £40m turnover Gross margin


been pretty quick, and we are trying to keep our eyes forward to what is happening,” says Bettles. However, as the conversation develops, the two reveal more about how the company became the UK’s fastest-growing private recruitment company. Young and Bettles first worked together at Quality Locums back in 1999, after Bettles invited Young to join the business. “I had a few friends, including Steve, who I thought would take to the role really well,” he says. The two men have worked together ever since, indeed their CVs are virtual carbon copies. After two years cutting their teeth at Quality Locums, then one of the UK’s largest medical recruiters, the two left as part of a mass exodus to DRC Locums. However, after four or five years the two men found their excitement, energy and motivation levels had dropped off. “We decided we could do it ourselves,” says Bettles, and thus Interact Medical was born, building on the relationships the two men had built up previously with doctors and clients. As with all good partnerships, the two men complement one another, with Bettles focused more on the sales staff, while Young’s role is more operational. Despite their leadership roles, both men remain



L-r: Steve Young and Marty Bettles


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10/01/2014 10:59

Recruiter Fast 50 2014 Profile

recruitment consultants at heart, with a desire to remain close to the shop floor of the business, the rows of neatly laid out consultant’s desk that buzz with activity during a tour of the office. Bettles recounts how, on the second day after moving into their new premises, they abandoned their original idea of having their own offices. “We thought this just feels wrong. You are frozen out of the sales floor.” And ever since, Bettles and Young have sat and worked among their 90 staff. “If people came here and didn’t know us they would think we were part of the rest of the team,” adds Bettles. To the extent, he adds, that Young finds it difficult “to step away” from personally dealing with some doctors with whom he has built a relationship over many years. Not only do the two evidently live for the buzz of the sales floor — “It’s exciting when you cross the sales floor, the phones are ringing and it’s a great atmosphere,” says Bettles — but there are also practical reasons why they don’t wish to be shut off from their staff. “It is important that staff can come over and talk to us about little or big things. It allows us to give staff motivation and guidance,” explains Young. This affinity with life as a recruitment consultant is reflected in other ways too. As Bettles explains, their own experiences as recruitment consultants earlier in their careers in being allowed to manage their own departments is something that they have replicated in Interact Medical. “We give people a lot of responsibility and trust so that they can run their own team within the company as if it was their own business,” he says. If getting things right internally has been a big factor in the company’s success, understanding its market — medical locum recruitment into the NHS — has been equally important. “This business is all about relationships,” says Bettles. “I don’t think you can go in with the ‘double glazing’-type, hard-core sales approach. I don’t think that is welcome in the NHS.” No surprise, then, that there is no place at Interact Medical for setting staff hard and fast key performance indicators (KPIs) based on the number of phone calls. “It is more important to do 10-15 good detailed calls rather than have a target of 80 calls. You have to play it very carefully,” says Bettles. With the emphasis on building relationships, staff are encouraged to meet their locums and to take them out for meals. “This give the locums confidence that they know the person they are dealing with and helps the consultant understand their locums,” Bettles explains. It is an approach that he believes has paid off, with “a large proportion” of locums remaining with the company since it opened its doors nearly seven years ago. Even as a director, Young hasn’t lost sight of the importance of maintaining his own relationships with long-standing clients. “You spend so many years working with particular clients, it is important that they know that even if you built the company you are still available to them to deal with detailed problems, and




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CV: MARTY BETTLES 2006–present Interact Medical, director and cofounder

2002-06 DRC Locums, sales manager

1999-2002 Quality Locums, team leader

CV: STEVE YOUNG 2006– present Interact Medical, director and cofounder

2002-06 DRC Locums, divisional manager

1999-2002 Quality Locums, team leader


“GOOD SOLID PROFESSIONAL RECRUITMENT THAT IS SAFE AND EFFICIENT, PRICE SENSITIVE AND BASED ON PROFESSIONAL RELATIONSHIPS AND UNDERSTANDING OUR CLIENTS” that you can go and see them if required. That is vital for the company and its reputation.” For Bettles, the focus on building relationships begins and ends with recruiting high-calibre staff, who “are in it for the long haul and understand the importance of relationships and providing continuity of service to clients and doctors”. Bettles is proud of the company’s annual staff turnover, which runs at between 5% and 8% a year, and 25% of staff having worked for the company for over four years. With Milton Keynes building a reputation as the capital of medical recruitment, with companies such as ID Medical and DRC Locums having offices in the town, Bettles says the company is ideally located to tap into local recruiting talent.


10/01/2014 10:59

Recruiter FAST 50 2014 Profile

Bettles acknowledges that some of the company’s growth been due to the NHS’s increasing reliance on agency staff, as well as its desire to work with trusted proven suppliers. These factors have combined to create the company’s current “sweet spot” within the market, he says, resulting in it continuing to win places on NHS framework agreements. At the same time, the company’s technology platform through which NHS trusts can accept or reject CVs from multiple sources, while helping them manage their costs, has proved popular, he says. The company has also responded to the NHS’s focus on strict compliance standards, with 17 of its 90 staff working in its compliance department.


43-45_Recruit_fast50_Profile_Jan14 .indd 45

Interact Medical is undoubtedly enjoying a golden period in its relatively short history, and Bettles and Young have formed a formidable partnership. Although, the two founders expect the rate of growth to slow slightly in 2013, with projected turnover in the region of £40m, you sense that the only limit to the firm’s ambitions is the drive and enthusiasm of Bettles and Young themselves. However, there are no signs that this is waning: “I have a massive passion for recruitment as whole,” says Young. “It’s the people. I find it hugely rewarding working with the sales floor, and listening to the recruiters, and I still find it fun.” Such sentiments suggest that Interact Medical’s rise to the FAST 50 top spot is unlikely to be a one-off.




09/01/2014 10:23

Movers & Shakers

Sponsored by Recruit Ventures

AESC: Peter Felix, chief •executive officer of the

Association of Executive Search Consultants, will retire in December 2014.

ALIUM PARTNERS: The interim management provider has appointed Mike Smart to launch an aviation and infrastructure division. BOYDEN: Partners Ron •Robertson and Ken Werker led

more than 80 staff in a team move to the search firm from rivals Odgers Berndtson across four Canadian cities.

BROMAK: The built environment recruiter has promoted Rachel Scott to senior consultant in charge of white collar and management roles.

ETON BRIDGE PARTNERS: The exec and interims recruiter has taken on Paul McNamara as a partner in its HR practice.

EUROCIETT: The REC’s director

of policy and professional services Tom Hadley was among eight members of the board of the European Confederation of Private Employment Services re-elected at December’s general assembly.


has launched the firm in a joint venture with HR GO. KORN FERRY: The global •executive search firm has

appointed Doug Charles as president of the Americas, promoting incumbent Bob Damon to executive chair for the region.

• KPMG: Former London 2012 head of diversity & inclusion Stephen Frost has been hired to lead the professional services firm’s own diversity and inclusion efforts.

• MORGAN HUNT: The professional recruiter has taken on Dan Taylor to lead its technical division.

OUTSAUCE UK: Charles Hughes has joined the engineering and IT recruiter as non-executive chairman.

SCHLIEBEN CHECKS IN AT WORLDPAY MOVE Former ITV recruitment head Catherine Schlieben has moved to payment-processing provider WorldPay as global director of recruitment. She told Recruiter that she followed former ITV HR director Andy Doyle, who originally recruited her for ITV and switched to become WorldPay’s chief HR officer this summer. Schlieben says this is the first time recruitment has been represented on WorldPay’s HR leadership team.


Brunsden as learning and development manager.

Gray as an independent nonexecutive director, and promoted Simon Nolan to the head of the consumer practice of Page Executive.

SEROCOR: Simon Lawton has been appointed non-exec director at the recruitment group.

RANDSTAD: The recruitment •giant’s chief finance officer

Robert Jan van de Kraats has taken on a non-executive role at industrial firm OCI and become part of a new Netherlands government commission on corporate governance. In North America, the firm has promoted Rebecca Callahan, Robert M Dickey and Traci Fiatte to brand president positions, and Jason Roberts has been appointed vice president of operations at subsidiary firm Randstad Sourceright. RED HAT: The enterprise •software firm has appointed

Robert Allen as manager for talent acquisition delivery. Beth Carruthers is •theREMPLOY: new CEO of Remploy, the provider of employment services for people with disabilities. SEC RECRUITMENT: The •pharmaceuticals, IT and analytics

recruiter has taken on Carly

• •

SPENCER OGDEN: Chris McPherson joins the global energy recruiter from rival Air Energi to lead its new Cape Town office.

STEP AHEAD: The recruitment and apprenticeship provider has promoted Jackie Bedford to the role of CEO and Andy Yiannakou to group MD.

Justin Hughes is the •newSTHREE: Asia-Pacific and MENA regional CEO at the professional recruiter, while Steven Quinn takes on the same role for the Americas. Both are internal promotions to the newly-created positions.


Your next move? A selection of vacancies from

Stroud Consulting Recruitment consultant Up to £30k + commission + bonus + executive coaching and other bens York

Seriously Connected Start your own recruitment business in 2014 as a self-employed recruitment consultant Expected p.a. £40k-60k Nationwide

Vital Human Resources Recruitment consultant £20k-27k + bens + bonus Manchester

For more jobs, people moves and career advice go to • • • internationalrecruiterjobs. com

do you want to





totally risk free?

McGirl has succeeded founder Virginia Nordback as CEO of the recruitment agency recommendation site. TRENKWALDER: Austria-based •Trenkwalder, a staffing firm

covering 19 European nations, has promoted Károly Pataki to CEO.

Your business - YOUR BRAND Contact David Simons on

07900 263043

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




38_Recruiter_movers_JAN14.indd Sec3:46


09/01/2014 10:19


on the move

New features available through your smartphone See the latest job listings View all the jobs from the website Search or browse to find the right opportunities Create and update your live email job alerts View jobs directly from your email alerts Save and apply for jobs Save jobs to your profile Email jobs to yourself or friends Apply for the right jobs first using your saved CV Keep track of all your jobseeking activity

Âť Go to 40


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05/12/2013 16:06


View the latest jobs at

View the latest jobs at

To place your advertisement E: or T: 020 7880 7608

To place your advertisement E: or T: 020 7880 7608

Driven to do more? We are looking for ambitious Senior Consultants to join our expanding medical, health, nursing and education divisions. We are very proud of our recent successes, achieving many exclusive client contracts and EHLQJUHFRJQLVHGDVH[SHUWVLQUHFUXLWLQJTXDOLÇ&#x152;HG professional and skilled people. If you are passionate and motivated with a proven WUDFNUHFRUGLQ\RXUÇ&#x152;HOGDQGZDQWWRMRLQWKHKRPH of a leading specialist recruitment agency in Brentwood, Essex, then we want to hear from you. :HKDYHDÇ&#x152;UVWUDWHVXSSRUWQHWZRUNZDUPGHVNV with existing networks of candidates and clients, and can provide you with exciting opportunities to JURZQHZ$WKRQDEUDQGV:HDOVRRÇ&#x2039;HUFRPSHWLWLYH pay with OTE circa ÂŁ80k p.a.

Interested in joining us? Please apply by sending a covering letter and up-to-date CV to

Our insight goes deeper

Regional Manager - Edinburgh

Happy New Year?

Scotland - ÂŁsal d.o.e

Scotland is a key market for CCA and to forge closer, stronger and more productive relationships with our clients we need an innovative recruitment manager to build, grow and deliver impressive financial results from our new office in Edinburgh. We are looking for a talented and ambitious but experienced people manager in the recruitment industry who can lead, motivate and drive a successful recruitment office.

Recruitment Consultants - London, Manchester, Edinburgh Due to our continued expansion we are looking for experienced recruiters at all levels to join our organisation. We are a dominant force within our market and give our consultants the authority and accountability for their own performance. Our reward package is one of the strongest in the market and with the growth plans we have fantastic career opportunities

To apply for either position please email your CV to or call 0161 871 8500 for a confidential conversation . Since 1999 CCA has been the leading recruiter of customer focussed management professionals across industry London | Manchester| Edinburgh

RecJan.indd 36

Consultant - Media & Entertainment ÂŁneg Redhat work with exciting clients in Media and Entertainment, and provide services across temporary, contract, permanent and executive search. We have opportunities in several key areas for bright, enthusiastic individuals to join us, including a fantastic new venture! In our business we believe relationships matter and teamwork is key. You must be a natural problem-solver who can Âżgure things out for themselves, and care enough when things go wrong to Âżnd a solution. In return we provide extensive training, a rewarding culture, a generous bonus scheme & trips at home and abroad. If you have Recruitment or Resourcer experience and are a Âżrst class communicator, weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d love to hear from you. For a conÂżdential chat please call Andrew on 0207 307 5720 or email

09/01/2014 14:14


Talk to next generation REC2REC experts This year, we will once again be helping 100â&#x20AC;&#x2122;s of Recruitment professionals, from Trainee to Director level, to create their next career opportunity. We are next generation Rec2Rec experts and while we have more than 500 live vacancies UHJLVWHUHGZLWKXVZKDWPDNHVXVUHDOO\GLĆŞHUHQWDQGHĆŞHFWLYHLVRXUDELOLW\WRFUHDWHDQGH[SORUHWRWDOO\EHVSRNH opportunities for each candidate we represent. Our New Yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Resolution is to help even more recruitment professionals to understand their goals, matching them with companies that share their values and creating an opportunity that has been crafted just for them, all the while advising DQGFRDFKLQJWKHPWRDFKLHYHWKHYHU\EHVWSRVVLEOHRĆŞHU6RVWRSZDLWLQJIRUWKHSHUIHFWMREWRDUULYHDW\RXUGRRUWDNH control and talk to the experts. Check out our new website for more information on how we work, testimonials from REAL candidates and view many of WKHOLYHYDFDQFLHVZHPDQDJH:HDUHDOZD\VKDSS\WRKDYHDQLQLWLDOH[SORUDWRU\ DQGFRQĆŹGHQWLDO FKDW


For opportunities in East of England & Home Counties

01223 792191

For opportunities in London, London City & Greater London

0203 301 0789

+ OVER 500 LIVE RECRUITMENT JOBS + CREATE JOB ALERTS + DOWNLOAD FREE GUIDES + NO NEED FOR CV - APPLY WITH LINKEDIN + READ OUR BLOGS You can also follow us on Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn to receive our updates, vacancies, free guides and blog posts

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09/01/2014 12:19

Bloggers with Bite

HEAR YE, HEAR YE! GET YOUR DREAM CANDIDATE HERE! Using more informal methods could garner you a great recruit


o, I don’t wander the streets of London shaking a bell, advertising my vacancies. I, like you, am far more technologically savvy in how I attract candidates. My candidates can apply via our website and are guided there by the little beacons of light I set free over numerous social media platforms. A candidate can follow me on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or even YouTube. They can find out so much information about us as a business before they even decide to apply, it’s unreal. And finally, we are lucky enough for them to choose us as a business they would love to work for. But how many fellow recruiters recognise this? It’s a fact that is often overlooked. I always feel special when a candidate applies for a role — something about our business has attracted them. Through all of our innovative techniques, we have inspired someone to make an application. Einstein — a far more intelligent person than me — once said: “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” So if we can be enterprising in the way we attract candidates, why do we insist on interviewing them in such an un-innovative way? More often than not, this involves using an interview paper with 20 or so competency-based questions, in a soulless room that is convenient for us. Why don’t we just stop asking all the little fish that we have caught to climb trees? We give candidates the option on how they would like to apply. So why not ask them how they would like to be interviewed? If we are truly innovative, then we should carry this quality through the entire journey. j y I’m not saying that a competencyompetencybased interview should d be scrapped, because we need to measure all candidates, ates, internal or external, against gainst our business leadership ip skills. However, we can change ange the way we measure this, basing it on the candidate’s ability bility to display themselves at their strongest. I think offering the candidates the choice — of





50_Recruit_bloggers_jan14.indd Sec2:50

Rob Ryan is recruitment manager for Tesco Nutri Centre, Tesco Telecoms, Tesco Mobile and Phone Shop

being interviewed face-to-face, by a panel, in an assessment centre or even in their own home — will affect how each individual performs. Watching a candidate come alive in an environment where they are comfortable will enable us as recruiters to really delve into those competency-based questions and get to know the candidate better. Yes, we need to be challenging — but the environment doesn’t need to be. If we can break down these barriers we put in place for the candidate, and make them more comfortable, then I guarantee that they will perform better at interview. Allow them to be interviewed in the place that they want, in the style that they know they will excel in. Then, as recruiters, we can test their responsiveness and resilience through the challenging questions that we put to them. Let’s loosen the formality, let go a little. You never know — you may just get what you never knew you wanted.

Allow candidates to be interviewed in the place that they want, in the style they know they will excel in What do you think? Tell us at

In February: meet Jill Duthie, RBS’s head of sourcing, UK & Europe WWW.RECRUITER.CO.UK

09/01/2014 14:37



elebrate with clients, colleagues and peers


xpand your business opportunities – standing out from your competitors


ead your company to success in 2014 and beyond



mbrace networking opportunities with the industry’s finest


ask in the rewards of your hard work and achievements


ecruitment’s largest awards – welcoming over 1,000 guests


warding best practice with recognition across 29 categories


reat your team to a fantastic evening of celebration


njoy, let your hair down and join the party!




Supported by:



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+44 (0) 20 7880 7625


+44 (0) 20 7880 6205






08/01/2014 11:44

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08/01/2014 11:45

Recruiter magazine January 2014  
Recruiter magazine January 2014  

Recruiter magazine January 2014 edition