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Issue 28 August 2015

RECRUITMENT MATTERS The View and The Intelligence A fairer immigration system and the strength of word of mouth jobseeking p2-3

TREC2015 Guest blogger Andy Headworth reports back from the REC’s successful talent conference p4

Legal update and the IRP The rules on charging fees under the Conduct Regs and inside the IRP p6-7

NOAKES: NEW REC CHAIR The REC Council has elected a familiar face as chairman this year – vice-chair Simon Noakes, director of Bespoke Recruitment (Construction) Bespoke Recruitment (Construction) director Simon Noakes has been elected chair of the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) Council. He replaces outgoing chairman Neil Smith. Noakes has worked in the recruitment industry for 18 years, including 14 years as the director of Bespoke Recruitment (Construction). He has

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been a member of the REC Council since 2008 and has been joint vice-chair since 2012. Noakes says he is optimistic about the REC’s future. “The REC has an impressive track record and as chair I’m looking forward to helping the organisation achieve even more,” he says. “As the professional body for the industry, the REC has a vital role to play in professionalising recruitment and representing our members’ interests. I’m delighted to take up this role because it means I can help shape an industry that I am passionate about.”

Events and training Just a selection of all those who have been awarded a Certificate in Recruitment Practice – a Certfie p8

REC chief executive Kevin Green says he’s happy to have a familiar face in the chair’s seat: “We have set ourselves ambitious targets for the next few years. We want to position the REC and our members at the heart of labour market debates, and we will continue to drive up standards in our industry. As chair of our council, Simon will play a central part in helping us achieve those goals.” The REC’s annual general meeting in June also saw six new directors join the council. Simon Conington, Karen Davison-Renouf, Janette Withey and Steven Street all join as corporate directors, while Amanda Franks and Marshall Evans are new individual directors. Jeannette Barrowcliffe, finance director, Meridian Business Support Ltd was elected vice-chair of the council. For more information about the AGM and to download the 2014 Impact Report, visit 15/07/2015 17:26

Leading the Industry

THE VIEW UK businesses deserve a fair immigration system, says Kevin Green, REC chief executive

The UK faces a skills crisis. Our data shows that almost all businesses have limited capacity and say that it’s getting harder to find the talent they need. Organisations across the economy are affected – from engineering and IT to education and medical care. This is holding back the recovery by impeding business growth. Despite the need for talent, the Coalition government introduced a cap on the amount of skilled migrants from outside Europe that could be sponsored by UK organisations to work in this country. Last month, the cap was reached for the first time and all applications for roles that are not on the government’s shortage occupation list, and paying less than £46k, were rejected. At a time when vacancies are at record levels, we are turning skilled people away. Not only that, our government is considering measures that will make it even harder for businesses to bring in talent from abroad. The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) is currently conducting a review for the government into the visa system and is considering: • Increasing salary thresholds for certain occupations, both for highly specialist experts and new entrants


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Recruiters can help working-class applicants fill skilled roles, says Tom Hadley, director of policy and professional services at the REC

• Raising the minimum salary level that migrants would have to be paid in order to be considered for sponsorship • The possibility of limiting the length of time occupations can be classed as having ‘shortages’ • The introduction of a ‘skills levy’, which would apply to businesses recruiting from outside Europe to fund apprenticeships in the UK. It is absolutely right that the government looks to improve opportunities for the next generation of UK residents, but this is a long-term process. Business growth is being constrained right now so a fair and sensible immigration system is needed to provide an interim solution to the UK’s skills needs. The REC is calling on the government to: • Reinstate the two-year post-study work visa for all STEM graduates • Expand and regularly revisit the Shortage Occupation List to reflect current skills shortages • Implement a streamlined and low-fee Tier 2 visa application process for SMEs. The government must fix the immigration system and enable UK businesses to recruit the people they need. This will accelerate economic growth and create more jobs for British workers. You can follow Kevin on Twitter @kevingreenrec

THE POLITICS OF RECRUITMENT The Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission recently published a report showing that working-class applicants struggle to find jobs in law, accountancy and financial services. In 2014 as much as 70% of jobs in these sectors went to graduates who had been to a selective state or fee-paying school. While the report recognised that some businesses are committed to ’recruit[ing] the brightest and best, regardless of background’, we clearly need to do more. This issue is not confined to law and finance. At our last Marketing, Media, Comms & Creative Industries (MMCC) sector group meeting, we discussed how hiring procedures need to evolve in these fields as well. Unpaid internships, for example, are an enduring problem. Individuals from all backgrounds should have the opportunities to ‘break through’, and employers should seek to improve the ways they bring in future generations of talent. The Commission’s chair Alan Milburn called the report ‘a wake up and smell the coffee moment’, and the report’s recommendations include: shaking up attraction strategies to encourage applications from all socio-economic backgrounds; providing students with more support to navigate the selection process; and challenging definitions of talent. In all these areas recruiters have the expertise to help make change happen. This is the message we took to a meeting with the new Employment Minister Priti Patel, and it’s at the heart of our Good Recruitment Campaign. Recruiters can help their clients to review hiring procedures and criteria so that factors such as which school a person went to are less of a ‘filter’. It was encouraging to hear some of the UK’s leading firms recognise this at our TREC conference. Improving hiring practices is central to public policy objectives around boosting inclusion and social mobility. The ‘politicisation’ of the good recruitment agenda gives us a great opportunity to demonstrate our industry’s contribution to the highest levels of government as well as to the UK’s business community and the population at large. You can follow Tom on Twitter @hadleyscomment

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THE INTELLIGENCE How important is word of mouth for candidates? asks Nina Mguni, senior researcher at the REC Are you aware that one in five workers plan to leave their job within the next year? This is unsurprising. In the last four months, we have seen a record number of reported vacancies in the Labour Force Survey. As of June, the Office for National Statistics reported 734,000 vacancies, an increase of 12.6% from last year. And with the exception of construction, mining, real estate and wholesale all sectors have seen year-on-year growth in vacancies. This bodes well for candidates. But recently published research by the REC found some interesting data on candidate behaviour. The

STILL GROWING BUT IT IS SLOWING For some time we have talked about continuing revenue growth for UK recruiters; that continued in April and we now have 16 consecutive months of growth. However, April saw a sharp fall in revenue growth to 8.4% – the first time it was not in double digits since December 2013. Indeed, more than 25% of RIB members saw revenue declines in April (Figure 1).

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candidate strikes back found that 19% of people surveyed found their last role through word of mouth. This suggests that people’s views and opinions about an employer and the employer’s recruitment process will influence decision making. Our research found that one in four people (24%) talked to people within their professional network about an organisation’s recruitment process; and one in 10 (10%) had advised a friend or family member not to apply for a job at an organisation because of a poor application experience. Some of these proportions increase when looking at younger age groups. Almost one in three (29%) 25–34-year-olds have talked to someone within their professional network about the job application process. One in five people aged 18–24 have advised a friend or family member not to apply



for a role because of a poor application experience (20%). Candidates are much more assertive about what to expect from the recruitment process. In focus groups, candidates shared anecdotes about what a positive candidate experience looks like. It is important to note that there was at least one person in each of the focus groups that had withdrawn from the recruitment process despite being offered to progress to the next stage. So what should recruiters, and their clients, be doing to get it right? Our report asked candidates to identify

Figure 1: Recruiter turnover growth 40

734,000 12.6% AN INCREASE OF

the single most important improvement that employers can make. The top three reasons selected were: provide feedback for unsuccessful candidates (34%); provide more feedback throughout the application process (22%); and reduce the average time between interview and decision (12%). These are simple improvements but will be significant in getting the recruitment process right for candidates. Because, in truth, with so much choice for good candidates, employers cannot afford to get the recruitment process wrong.

vacancies up 12.6% in Marchto-May compared with 2014. Within that total, Manufacturing vacancies are DOWN 3%, Construction UP 30% and Transport & Storage UP 47% compared with March-to-May 2014.

■ Upper Qtile ■ Median ■ Low Qtile

30 20 10



0 -10 -20 May 13



Feb 14

Easter was considerably earlier in April this year compared with 2013, which may have had some impact – we await the May figures with interest to see if revenue growth bounces





Apr 15

back to previous double-digit levels. We note that the Office of National Statistics is still reporting a double-digit increase in vacancy growth, with seasonally adjusted

Chris Ansell is chief financial officer at Recruitment Industry Benchmarking (RIB). The RIB Index provides bespoke confidential reports on industry trends. See www.; info@ribindex. com: 020 8544 9807. The RIB is a strategic partner of the REC.


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The BIG talking point

TREC 2015

TREC 2015


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People that have left your organisation provide the most honest feedback about your company and your employer brand, so try your best to speak to them. Colm Coffey, UK people director at KPMG, said that as part of a company-wide restructure, they sought the opinions of ex-employees – and those that had left between six to nine months ago were the most honest with their feedback. Hardly surprising (they had nothing to lose), but brave of KPMG to seek them out and ask!

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Building a flexible workforce is not as easy as it sounds. Unconscious bias from line managers and senior managers is having a detrimental effect on companies trying to implement flexible working practices. Inferred perception versus

the actual reality is causing issues around recruiting and retention. Johnny Campbell from Social Talent explained further. He said a line manager who has employees sitting in front of them in their offices can see and monitor what they are doing; the same line manager

cannot ‘see’ what their remote workers are doing or how hard they are working. They then develop unconscious bias to the people they can see instead of the ones they can’t. Instead of measuring their outputs, as they should, they remained focused on their inputs.


The best quote I have heard from a long time. The quote was from Peter Cheese at the end of the day, and it made everyone laugh (nervously!): “HR brings too much Powerpoint and not enough Excel to the table.”

As for myself, did I get enough value out of attending TREC2015 to want to pay to go again next year? Absolutely – it was excellent and it should be on your agenda for next year.

For more information Read Andy Headworth’s full account at WWW.REC. UK.COM/CORPORATE-BLOG

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16/07/2015 15:47

Legal update

CHARGING FEES UNDER THE CONDUCT REGS The REC Legal Helpline occasionally receives enquiries from members asking if they can charge fees to work-seekers. This article reminds employment agencies (EAs) and employment businesses (EBs) when they can charge fees and when they cannot. By Lewina Farrell, solicitor and head of professional services at the REC Regulation 5 of the Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Businesses Regulations 2003 (the Conduct Regulations) prohibit EAs and EBs or any person connected to them from making the provision of workfinding services conditional on the work-seeker using any chargeable service eg. CV writing or training. If a work-seeker uses services which can be charged for, the EA or EB must ensure that the work-seeker can cancel or withdraw from using the services by giving written notice (including by email), without being penalised in any way. The notice period is five days, or 10 days for services relating to the provision of accommodation. Conduct Regulation 13 then provides that before providing or arranging the provision of any services to a work-

seeker for the first time, an EA or EB must notify him/her which services they charge a fee for. Where providing a service which may be charged for, the EA or EB must also inform the work-seeker of the amount of or method of calculation of any fee for those services, the identity of the person to whom it is payable, a description of the services and a statement that the work-seeker has a right to withdraw from those services by giving the notice period applicable (see above). The

EA or EB must also confirm whether any refunds or rebates are payable and how they are calculated. Where none applies there should be a statement to that effect. If an EA or EB offers any gift or makes an offer of any benefit to a work-seeker, as an inducement for him/ her to use its services, it must make clear the terms and conditions on which the gift or benefit is offered. For example, if you offer vouchers to work-seekers who register for temporary work, but the vouchers will only be given once a number of hours work is performed, this condition must be made clear to the work-seekers before they register. In short, EAs and EBs cannot charge an individual for finding work for him/her (instead an introduction or transfer fee is charged to the

hiring client). The EA or EB can charge for other services provided the individual is not obliged to take these services from the EA or EB and provided s/he knows what the charges are and how they are calculated before agreeing to take the additional service. There should be a genuine choice in taking the service ie. the individual should be able to source the same service from elsewhere without any penalty from the EA or EB. S/he should not be automatically enrolled in any scheme or deemed to have taken a particular service even if s/he can opt out later as this takes away the element of choice. We have been waiting for some time for new Conduct Regulations. However, we understand that the above provisions will remain in any new regulations.

NON-STANDARD CONTRACTS: ARE YOU COVERED? Non-standard contracts give recruiters an increased responsibility, essentially allowing potential employers to pass the blame onto the recruiter if any issues arise. This means recruiters bear a greater level of risk with any non-standard contract placed, which they need to protect themselves from. As you might expect, this increased risk leads to higher insurance


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premiums, so recruiters need to be cautious when seeking insurance. One particular issue that needs to be investigated closely is the way that an insurer determines where liability lays in the case of workers using a nonstandard contract. Peter Stoll, director of recruitment at Jelf Insurance Brokers, tells us that for some insurers

“covering non-standard contracts is considered an extra on recruiter policies”. This means that the recruiter has no choice but to seek legal advice for each non-standard contract it places – costing time, resource and of course money. He goes on to explain that as the preferred insurance partner of the REC, Jelf has no such contractual liability

exclusions, and that it is included within the cost of the policy itself. This means that if a recruiter enters into a non-standard contract (either intentionally or otherwise) there is no restriction to cover. Peter and his colleagues go that extra mile to check each contract, so their clients can avoid having to seek legal advice and the potential costs involved.

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The View

Dan Whitley is a senior enior ampion client director at Campion ates Willcocks & Associates Ltd, and winner of the IMA Interim Consultant of the Year at the 2014

van John O’Sullivan an at is the chairman ment Elite Recruitment Network



Firstly, congratulations on winning interim management consultant of the year! How has the rest of the year been? The year has been extremely busy so far. As a business, Campion Willcocks covers consulting, interim management, resourcing and permanent recruitment. In 2015, we have been working with many new clients and this has kept me more than occupied. So it’s been an exciting period for Campion Willcocks – and for me personally.

We need to start attracting the best I think it’s about properly trained people. I still don’t think there are kids in the playground or at university saying “I want to be a recruitment consultant”. There’s a job of work there in harnessing great people. Then you can talk about training and qualifications that will raise the profile of the industry.

What are the biggest challenges in the sector right now? I would say that the biggest challenge is the high level of competition for top talent. For the last few years, the main focus of major banking clients has been regulatory change and cost reduction; whilst this has not diminished, we are now starting to see far greater strategic investment, which is both positive and reassuring for the UK banking market as a whole. Demand for talent is not an issue but the availability of resource is the wider consideration here. What has winning an IRP Award meant for you? Winning the award has been fantastic in terms of raising my profile in the market with candidates and clients alike, both longstanding and new. Since winning the award, I have had a number of direct approaches as people have searched for my details online. It has been wonderful to receive this recognition after many years working in the industry. It’s also been great to win the award on the first attempt; indeed, it’s the first professional award I have ever entered. What would you say to someone who is thinking about entering this year’s IRP Awards? Your entry will involve reaching out to clients. You’ll need to collect case studies of assignments from a variety of clients, as well as supporting testimonials. The judges are looking for an individual who consistently provides a first-class service so input from clients and candidates is essential.

Audited recruiters are the future I would picture a world in a few years where major companies only use supplier recruitment companies who are properly audited and professionally accredited and invest in their staff. I can’t help but feel the recruitment industry – right now – has a huge opportunity to professionalise itself. I think we’re still regarded out there as a lower service offering than we are. The industry needs to keep talent There is no doubt that the number one issue for recruitment companies at the moment is finding their own talent. Many, many people left this industry during the last recession. Suddenly, every recruitment company has a three-to-four year growth chart underpinned by finding, securing and retaining the best people. I don’t know anybody who is really cracking that well at the moment. A great recruiter is more than its database A recruitment company’s deliverable is not just its ability to deliver a list of people, it’s the ability to harness those people and get them to work for the companies they’re working for. All technology has done is make a global database. I think clients will no longer pay big money for punting a CV along from someone they could easily find themselves. A great recruiter brings the ability to influence those candidates and to work in a consultative way and make the two match up.

To keep up to date with everything the Institute of Recruitment Professionals is doing, please visit

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Events and training

CERTFIE Congratulations to everyone who earned a Level 3 Certificate in Recruitment Practice (QCF) in June. We thought we’d kick things up a notch and ask our talented h a ‘Certfi Certfie’ e – here are some som of the best class to send through





RIDI AWARDS For more information To find out when the next Level 3 Certificate in Recruitment Practice (QCF) class is, visit WWW.REC-IRP.UK.COM/QUALIFICATIONS

The Recruitment Industry Disability Initiative (RIDI) is playing a key role in promoting inclusive hiring practices. Information on entering this year’s RIDI awards – which recognise the contribution that recruiters are making in this area – can be accessed at the following link: WWW.RIDIAWARDS.COM/


Membership Department: Membership: 020 7009 2100, Customer Services: 020 7009 2100 Publishers: Redactive Publishing Ltd, 17 Britton Street, London EC1M 5TP. Tel: 020 7880 6200. Editorial: Editor Michael Oliver Production Editor: Vanessa Townsend Production: Production Executive: Rachel Young Tel: 020 7880 6209 Printing: Printed by Precision Colour Printing

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

© 2015 Recruitment Matters. Although every effort is made to ensure accuracy, neither REC, Redactive Publishing Ltd nor the authors can accept liability for errors or omissions. Views expressed in the magazine are not necessarily those of the REC or Redactive Publishing Ltd. No responsibility can be accepted for unsolicited manuscripts or transparencies. No reproduction in whole or part without written permission.


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Recruitment Matters - August 2015