Recruitment Matters - March/April

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Why hiring confidence is growing p3 BI G TALKI NG POI NT

The facts revealing recruiters' strength p4 91 Recruitment Issue MarchApril 2021 Ma ers


Are you ready for IR35? p6 DI VE RSI TY AND I NCLU SI ON

Supporঞng neurodiversity p8

Understanding the market

Job adverts show how the labour market is evolving T

hroughout the pandemic the REC has been following job advert figures using the Jobs Recovery Tracker, to give members, client businesses and the public a sense of how the labour market has been changing and growing. Almost a year on, it’s clear that things look very different to how they did before Covid-19 hit the UK. In terms of sectors that have seen a boost from the pandemic, health and social care is the most obvious. The number of job pos ngs for roles such as care workers, nurses and medical prac oners have remained high throughout the past year as the NHS fought against Covid-19. In January 2021 there were around 40% more adverts for nurses than a year earlier, while there were 74% more adverts for medical radiographers. The other sector that has boomed is construc on. While building sites closed during the first lockdown, they were allowed to open in June and job pos ng numbers have been growing since then. The stamp duty holiday and the fact that most people have been forced to stay at home have also had a posi ve effect in the sector. Skilled trades like bricklayers (+122%) and roofers (+115%), as well

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as carpenters (+44%), painters and decorators (+38%) and elementary construc on workers (+38%) all saw a big rise in adverts between January 2020 and January 2021. However, with social distancing and other restric ons in place for almost a year now, service industries such as hospitality, leisure, travel and tradi onal retail have suffered. As a result, job advert numbers have plummeted. Comparing January 2020 and January 2021, the roles with the biggest

Making great work happen

drops in job adverts were bar staff (-68%), waiters and waitresses (-64%) beau cians (-60%), chefs (-57%), sports and leisure assistants (-56%) and travel agents (-53%). With the country star ng to emerge from lockdown, this picture will con nue to shi . Recruiters and client firms alike will need to shi with it – and this will make the Jobs Recovery Tracker an even more useful tool in the months ahead. Find out more about this research at 09/03/2021 10:04

Leading the industry

the view... We should all walk a bit taller, says

Neil Carberry,

REC Chief Execuঞve


hat have recruiters ever done for us? As John Cleese famously didn’t ask in the Life of Brian. What if he had? Well, other than suppor ng £86bn in gross value added across the economy, boos ng produc vity by £7.7bn annually, a million people in temporary work every day and helping 300,000 people out of unemployment each year – twice the number JobCentres do – not much. Oh, actually, £29bn in annual tax revenues contributed by the jobs matched by our industry – twice the government's R&D budget. Every 21 seconds – the me it should take you to wash your hands – a recruiter secures someone a new permanent job. So quite a lot then. Our new study, Recruitment and recovery, sets all of this out. It has, for the first me, measured the mind-boggling contribu on our industry makes to the na on's social and economic strength. What we found will amaze even the most seasoned recruitment veteran and hopefully, make us all feel we can walk a bit taller. It proves that when recruitment does well, Britain does well. Now, more than ever, the country needs our industry to succeed. We can see the way out of the pandemic, and clients will need your help. Likewise, more people than ever are going to need you by their side – to give them the guidance and confidence they need to get back on their feet. To do well, we must make the case for recruiters and recruitment unashamedly. Our campaigns team are going full speed to secure the changes we need from government – making sure our industry's voice is heard. But we will also help you take this message to clients. This report shows that value-led service and professionalism makes a huge difference. Clients wouldn’t go to court without a good lawyer – they need to make sure they hire with professionals at their side too. This campaign is about you. It has all the facts you need to be loud and proud about what you achieve. Shout it from the roo ops.

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



Covid, recovery and women Ornella Nsio, Campaigns & Government Relaঞons Manager


he pandemic has had a fundamental impact on our labour market and ways in which people work. But women, par cularly those with mul ple protected characteris cs, have suffered a larger nega ve economic impact from the coronavirus outbreak. In the first wave of the pandemic, 133,000 more women than men were furloughed, and women were five percentage points more likely to have been made redundant. This is largely due to female workers being overrepresented in the hardest hit sectors and women taking on the larger share of home-schooling and caring responsibili es. According to the Ins tute for Fiscal Studies, working mums are 1.5 mes more likely than working dads to have lost their job or quit since the start of the lockdown, and are also more likely to have been furloughed. To minimise the long-term scarring effects this will have on women's progression, the government must adopt a gendersensi ve approach to recovery. A gender-regressive scenario would cost the economy billions in GDP and leave the UK further behind on the global ranking of gender equality. As members of the government’s Flexible Working Taskforce, the REC supports proposals to make companies publish their family leave and flexible working prac ces online. This requirement would prompt employers to assess their roles for flexibility. It would also remove some of the fear female candidates can have about asking prospec ve employers about their maternity packages and policies. Next, we must reinstate gender pay gap repor ng. The government has given companies a six-month extension to carry this out, but it is impera ve that the extension does not lead to another suspension. While suspending gender pay gap repor ng last year was understandable, a further suspension would undermine government’s commitment to gender equality and send the message that gender equality is a luxury add-on, rather than a business requirement. The labour market has withstood a tough 12 months. However, for it to recover and prosper, gender equality must be at the heart of the government’s strategy.

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Leading the industry

the intelligence... Recruiters have a vital role now that recovery is in sight By Josh Prenঞce, Researcher From looking at official figures, it is very easy to conclude that the UK’s economy is in a pre y bad place right now. At the me of wri ng, the latest labour market figures from the ONS showed the unemployment rate had risen to 5.0%, while the employment rate was down to 75.2%. The number of people on company payrolls was almost 800,000 lower than a year earlier, and the number claiming unemployment benefits has been around 2.6 million every month between May and December. In addi on, UK GDP rose by 15.5% in Q3 2020 but remained 9.7% below the levels seen at the end of 2020 – and in November, GDP fell again by around 2.6%. The Bank of England also expects GDP to fall in Q1 2021 by around 4%. The UK’s economy and labour market have certainly taken a big hit because of the pandemic. But despite all this, businesses and recruiters both seem to be op mis c about the outlook and willingness to hire. The official vacancy count has been rising

Labour market figures from the ONS showed the unemployment rate had risen to


GDP fell again by around


UK GDP rose by


in Q3 2020 but remained


below the levels seen at the end of 2020

steadily since April-June 2020. Our JobsOutlook survey shows that employers’ confidence in hiring is growing, si ng at net: +7 in November 2020-January 2021. Their inten ons to bring in new staff have grown too. And these improvements were all happening despite the growing numbers of Covid cases and heightened lockdown measures. So what’s going on? Well, there are a few factors at play. Firms have shown throughout the past year that they can be very adaptable to the circumstances around them – even ones as serious as these. When the first wave of the virus arrived in the UK, there was an understandable sense of panic and worry – about how long it would last, whether their cashflow would allow them to survive, if their supply chain would manage the stress, or if they would be able to func on effec vely while working remotely. And while some have faced difficul es, many have proved that they are agile enough to

while the employment rate was down to


succeed in these extraordinary mes. Recruiters have played a vital role, both in supplying key workers to essen al industries and also advising clients on adap ng their business. Our Recruitment and recovery study finds that 28% of large businesses are set to either explore or con nue hiring people who don’t live close to the office in the future, following the remote working revolu on of the past year. Recruiters are there to help find the best staff for their vacancies. But the other factor is the vaccine rollout. There is now a clear light at the end of the tunnel, and this has given the third lockdown a completely different feel to the first. Employers can now plan ahead more effec vely, move their business from crisis to recovery phase, and look to hire new staff to help them bounce back. Recruiters will be there to provide valuable advice, help them to find the flexible workers they need, and create a more produc ve and inclusive labour market. March - April 2021 Recruitment Ma ers

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Recruitment and recovery

big talking point

The impact of good recruitment F

rom within the recruitment industry, it’s easy to sense how important the sector is. Seeing how securing the right job can change someone’s life. Finding the people businesses need to keep going. Fuelling the economy. But the REC recently commissioned independent research to measure that economic and social impact, and it confirms it’s one of the country’s most valuable sectors – and worth much more than many people think. With 119,000 workers placing nearly ten ঞmes as many people into permanent roles across the UK each year, the industry is worth more to the UK economy than the accountancy or the legal sectors. It also has the highest penetraঞon of agency work of any advanced economy, which is what gives our labour market the flexibility it needs to keep unemployment low. As many as one in five companies using temporary workers believed they would not be able to operate at all without them. The industry is also at the forefront of driving change. Only 10% of companies say that every single worker they have


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The gross value added supported by recruitment, equivalent to 4.3% of GDP

hired is a good fit. And as they switch on to the costs of making a bad hire, the recruitment sector is contribuঞng to increased producঞvity – to the tune of £7.7bn a year – by finding the right candidate for each job. That will only increase as recruiters help their clients

access talent from a wider geographical area with the rise of remote working. Three in four companies say that on average the workers that they have found through a recruitment agency are a good match. Likewise, 78% of those who found a job through a recruiter said it was a good match for them. With diversity and inclusion under the spotlight, three in five businesses said that working with a recruitment agency had helped them increase the diversity of the candidates they considered, and a similar number said it had helped them increase the diversity of new recruits. And when it comes to social mobility, the industry is helping people to find their first jobs, a route out of unemployment and the opportunity to gain new skills and the confidence to progress. But, for all the posiঞves, it’s clear that recruiters’ work is not done. The REC’s

9 in 10

The number of businesses with more than 10 employees which say recruitment is important to their success

09/03/2021 10:05


The annual tax revenues supported by the jobs matched each year

report also highlighted that only half of Britons think that companies do a good job at recrui ng efficiently, while even fewer believe the process of recruitment is fair or inclusive to job seekers like themselves. So what can be done to build on these results and prove the industry’s value to more people?

tackling issues such as diversity and inclusion and future skills requirements, as well as hiring methods and new ways of working. Albert Ellis, CEO of the Staffline Group, agrees: “We’re s ll seen as middlemen, but we’re much more than that – we’re not facilitators, we’re consultants. We help clients understand what they need, we help shape that, and some mes we change their minds.” “Recruiters are the gateway to the market. Without them people would be absolutely lost,” he con nues. He also points to increasing recogni on of that fact from government, who have given contracts to recruiters so they can support those who have lost their jobs in the current pandemic. Both bosses refer to the skill and empathy good recruiters have in the way they hold candidates’ hands through what can be a trauma c experience – however experienced or senior the candidate might be. But Cook also offers a few words of advice to all recruiters in order to raise the industry’s profile: “Under promise and overdeliver. Triage effec vely. Do less, be er.” For the REC, it’s a ma er of campaigning for the government and companies to focus more on the importance of good recruitment – and to unlock its power to support economic growth, social mobility and inclusion. “For too long, many CEOs have spoken of people as their biggest asset, but le the process of bringing staff into the business as something to be done at

A hidden industry For Tim Cook, Chief Execu ve at nGAGE, the answer lies in persuading people to stop thinking of recruitment as a process – as long as that remains the case, recruitment and its value remains hidden behind the scenes. “The industry o en gets thought of as too much of a broker, but I’ve never met a recrui ng manager who doesn’t want to talk to an expert in their field. The same goes for candidates. Having that knowledge of any given sector and the skills within it is our intellectual property, and that’s the value we deliver.” “Everyone can luck out and find a good finance director, but who wouldn’t want to see an interes ng selec on of FDs to choose from,” he con nues. He believes the past 12 months have given the industry a great opportunity That is equivalent to saving of thepeople using the The number to shi percep ons and prove its Exchequer worth. over £3 billion a year recruitment industry to leave “It’s been as hard for us as it has been IURP UHGXFHG EHQHĆWV DQG KLJKHU unemployment for clients, but we’ve been able totax payments, and over twice for a permanent communicate a lot more closely about DV PDQ\ DV WKRVH ZKR ĆQG D MRE role every year, saving the what we can do be er. It’s made it more the Job Centre. through Exchequer over £3bn from personal – and recruitment is personal,” reduced benefits and higher tax he says. It’s also pushed the fast forward payments bu on on moving recruitment towards having a more strategic partnership ership role with the client, par cularly ly around

100,000+ The number of young people a year finding their first job through a recruitment agency

low cost and high speed. By contrast, employers that treat recruitment as a priority issue because of the value it adds unlock compe ve advantage,” said REC CEO Neil Carberry. “Companies wouldn’t go to court without the best lawyers – they shouldn’t hire without the best recruitment and staffing service.” He adds: “From temporary work to permanent roles, at home or at a workplace, recruiters have stepped up through the pandemic to keep the wheels of our economy turning. And they will be more important than ever as we bounce back – helping government, businesses and employees build a be er p y world of work.”

Every year, over 300,000 people use the recruitment industry to leave unemployment for a permanent role.


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Off-payroll rules

legal update IR35 – are you ready? By Jane O'Shea, REC Solicitor


n March last year, an cipa ng the economic shock that was to come, the government took the sensible step of listening to our call to delay the implementa on of IR35. One year on however, the reforms to how we tax contractors in the private sector are due to come into force from 6 April. This brings the private sector in line with the public sector which has been working under similar rules since 2017. If you use contractors, you have certain obliga ons you must follow which we discuss here. The changes affect medium and large companies which will be responsible for determining whether the contractors they hire fall within the scope of IR35 off-payroll rules, and are therefore liable to pay the appropriate income tax and Na onal Insurance Contribu ons. Small companies will be exempt from the changes. Determining a contractor's status Clients must decide whether their

contractors fall inside or outside of IR35. They must provide a Status Determina on Statement (SDS) outlining the reasons for their decision and provide this to the worker directly and to the next party in the supply chain. Each party must then in turn pass the status decision down the chain. Reasonable care The rules require clients to exercise reasonable care when making the status determina on. The obliga on is to assess what the contractor’s status for tax purposes would have been if they had been engaged directly by the client. Clients should use a clear and consistent processes when making a determina on and avoid 'blanket assessments'. Failure to use reasonable care when making the SDS will result in the client being liable to make the relevant tax and Na onal Insurance Contribu ons deduc ons and pay the correct amount to HMRC. An agency that is next to the client in the supply chain will be liable where HMRC cannot recover money from the fee payer. That applies even where that agency has complied with its obliga ons under the rules and regardless of

whether or not others in the supply chain have complied with theirs. Challenging a decision It is the client's responsibility to provide a process for resolving disputes. Under the status disagreement process the client must respond within 45 days of receiving a query from either the fee payer or the contractor and must: • confirm that it has considered the representa ons made and decided that its SDS is correct, and give the reasons for that decision; or • give a new SDS containing a different conclusion and state that the previous SDS is withdrawn. If the client does not respond within 45 days it will become the fee payer. In these challenging mes the REC is advising members to push ahead with planning and keep engaged with clients and contractors. Keep an eye on the IR35 hub on our website to make sure you get the latest developments.

Is there an advert coming for here


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Chantel Gower, Delivery Team Leader, Butler Rose The rise of remote working will be the real, lasঞng shake up for recruitment from the last year, for recruitment companies as well as clients. Firms have had to adapt and put their trust in employees. Some, like my own, are now seeing the opportunity to downsize their office space. I have one client in Leeds whose en re finance department is now spread across the UK.


What I know

Behind the scenes with REC Professionals, a[er a year with Covid-19

remote working when they are filling new contracts, but an element of flexibility will be a factor in a lot of permanent appointments too.

Successful candidates can be quite insistent that remote working is wri en into their contract. It means clients have the challenge of making sure they’re being fair to exis ng staff who might want that too, otherwise that could lead to issues around reten on.

If you’re struggling to fill a posiঞon, why wouldn’t you look further afield? We’ve had to

Trust is key.

educate some clients to the benefits of poten ally a rac ng really high calibre candidates without paying a premium. In the short-term, with ongoing restric ons, it’s probably easier for them to consider

It highlights the importance of finding the right candidate, but we’ve all seen the data. Remote working hasn’t hit produc vity, in some cases it’s even risen thanks to a be er work-life balance.

Sarah Knight, Managing Director, Sarah West Recruitment How would you summarise the past year for your business? We’re so far away from the goals we wanted to achieve as a business. But there have been so many lovely things to talk about. It’s been joyous how close we’ve become as a team, to our clients and some of the candidates we’ve been able to support. We’ve done pro bono work, advising a local charity on their people structure to help them survive. Where work has been patchy, we’ve deployed manpower to give back to our community – and worked with clients to help too. It has been about finding joy in our work, when we’ve not been ge ng the

buzz of placing someone quite as o en. It’s also been about ins ga ng conversa on. We’ve tried doing more Zoom calls with job seekers rather than just emails, because many are lonely. We also set up a network among our clients so they can discuss some of the issues they have in common.

What will you take from the experience? The behaviours of our people are more important than ever. It’s not just about the jobs, but our ability to support people. The me and care they take impacts on our reputa on. We’re now trying to reflect that more in our incen ve schemes.

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Diversity & inclusion

Embracing neurodiversity in recruitment By Clare Caccavone, Programme Director at Ambi ous about Au sm


er a tumultuous year, the UK’s employment rate is es mated by the ONS to be around 75%. The pandemic has forced many organisa ons into survival mode, and restructures mean that unemployment is rising. The coming year is going to be busy for recruiters as more vacancies open up and more people compete for new jobs. It will be a challenging me, it’s fair to say – for some more than others. In the UK, only 16% of people with au sm are in full- me employment. Many au s c candidates want to work, but do not get the chance to prove themselves o en because they encounter recruitment processes and workplaces that exclude them. One aspect of job hun ng that au s c candidates find difficult is the interview process. They can struggle to maintain eye contact, process hypothe cal ques ons and are unable to predict ques ons. This can have a big impact on their performance. Au sm affects the way a person communicates and experiences the world around them. In an office environment this could mean they could struggle with things like bright lights or too much noise. However, au s c employees can o en be a huge asset to businesses, bringing quali es such as hyper focus, a en on to detail, reliability and unique problem solving. Rise to the challenge by embracing diversity The upheaval brought upon us by coronavirus has led to some unexpected

Recruitment Ma ers


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

Recruitment Ma ers March - April 2021

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changes in how we think about and carry out work. Many millions of us have adapted to working from home and have spent many months only mee ng our colleagues virtually. Recrui ng, interviewing and onboarding are now taking place online as a ma er of course. Businesses need to think differently to respond to the new ‘normal’. That means embracing diversity in their teams. There has never been a be er me to think differently about not only how we recruit, but who we recruit. This is a key moment to support more neurodiverse candidates into employment. Become an auঞsm-confident recruiter Ambi ous about Au sm is focused on suppor ng more au s c young people to enter the job market and reach their poten al. Its Employ Au sm programme works with employers, young people and career professionals to break down barriers and

improve confidence about au sm and neurodiversity. The programme delivers training, resources and ongoing mentorship to a wide range of partners across the UK all with the aim of helping more au s c young people into work. The programme aims to challenge outdated percep ons of what au s c candidates can and can’t do. Au sm-confident recruiters can play a vital role in helping these candidates to excel, by working with employers to adapt the recruitment process to make it more accessible and to help all the au s c candidate to shine. For example, the recruiter could provide the candidate with ques ons in advance or base them on past experience rather than hypothe cal scenarios, which rely on social imagina on. Small changes can make a huge difference and increasing au sm knowledge and confidence could transform the job prospects of a genera on of au s c young people. With the change in hiring prac ce brought upon us by the pandemic, there has never been a be er me to think differently about au s c candidates and build more inclusivity and neurodiversity into the recruitment sector. Not only will this benefit some of the most disadvantaged young people in our society, it will also reap huge benefits for employers in the long term. Find out How to Support Autism in the Workplace with our free webinar (19 April and 18 May at 12pm)

Membership Department: Membership: 020 7009 2100, Customer Services: 020 7009 2100 Publishers: Redac ve Publishing Ltd, Level 5, 78 Chamber Street, London E1 8BL Tel: 020 7880 6200. www.redac Editorial: Editor Pip Brooking Produc on Editor: Vanessa Townsend Producঞon: Produc on Execu ve: Rachel Young rachel.young@redac Tel: 020 7880 6209 Prinঞng: Printed by Precision Colour Prin ng © 2021 Recruitment Ma ers. Although every effort is made to ensure accuracy, neither REC, Redac ve Publishing Ltd nor the authors can accept liability for errors or omissions. Views expressed in the magazine are not necessarily those of the REC or Redac ve Publishing Ltd. No responsibility can be accepted for unsolicited manuscripts or transparencies. No reproduc on in whole or part without wri en permission.

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