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Issue 31 November 2015

RECRUITMENT MATTERS The View and The Intelligence Leadership and party conference wrap p2-3

Page turner Kevin Green talks with PageGroup’s CEO Steve Ingham p4

Legal update and the IRP

Events and training

Intermediaries and Caroline Foote p6-7

IRP Awards 2015 shortlist p8

CALLS MOUNT FOR FLEXIBLE SKILLED MIGRANT VISAS The Recruitment & Employment Confederation is calling on the government to ease restrictions on the number of skilled migrants entering the UK. It says the current pointsbased system is harmful to the UK economy and undermines the rights of businesses to hire according to need. The UK’s skilled migration route provides a points-based system for companies to sponsor workers from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) on a Tier 2 skilled visa. Companies applying to sponsor non-EEA workers must first apply for a Certificate of Sponsorship, with more points allocated to

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roles earning higher salaries. The government’s Migration Advisory Committee is reviewing the Tier 2 visa system and is looking to tighten the rules around entry. Among those changes include introducing a levy for companies recruiting migrants outside the EEA, and setting time limits on jobs listed on the Shortage Occupation List. REC policy advisor Hannah Feiner says the changes won’t help businesses. “The long-term solution to skills shortages lies with upskilling the UK’s future workforce via apprenticeships, vocational qualifications and improved careers guidance – but improvements in these areas will take time to

deliver,” she says. “Access to international labour must remain unhindered until a time when the UK is able to produce enough suitably qualified candidates.” The REC wants a system that “prioritises migrants of greatest benefit to the UK”, regardless of the size of their salary. The migration cap is being felt across sectors that rely on migrant workers. The chief executive of NHS Employers Danny Mortimer says more than 1,000 nurses it wants to sponsor have been rejected because they haven’t met the minimum salary cap for sponsorship. He says clinical services are being put at risk.

“Non-EU nurses are invaluable to the NHS,” he says. “Whilst we are experiencing a mismatch between supply and demand, we are asking that this is recognised and that nursing be placed on the shortage occupation list for the next two years.” The REC is still calling on members to submit case studies about the way the Tier 2 system has affected them. Email Hannah Feiner at for more. 14/10/2015 16:54

Leading the Industry


Plenty to ponder from the latest round of party conferences, says Tom Hadley, REC director of policy and professional services

How important is leadership to your business? Very important, says Kevin Green, REC chief executive

We’ve heard a lot about leadership recently, be it Sir Alex Ferguson’s new book or from Stuart Lancaster after England’s failure at the Rugby World Cup. That’s why for the REC’s first ever charity dinner (5 November) we’ve invited World Cup and Olympic winning coach Sir Clive Woodward to talk about how leaders develop winning teams. Leadership is the key differentiator in our industry. I recently had the pleasure of interviewing one of our industry’s most prominent leaders, Steve Ingham of PageGroup (pages 4-5). We spoke about how he runs a global business with a turnover in excess of £1bn, operating in 35 countries with over 5,600 staff, and about how the business model used by Page has proved itself over the last 40 years. Page focuses on organic growth – no acquisitions. They invest in a few key geographical markets and extend the disciplines they cover, but they always stay in their core professional space. They recognise that it takes time to get it right in new markets, so they play the long game and have retained a strong balance sheet to enable this. The most important thing that emerged from our chat was the importance of lead-

PARTY ON… ership to a people business like recruitment. We don’t have many other assets other than the people we employ. So finding great people, giving them real responsibility early in their career and developing them in the medium term is the most important activity of the recruitment CEO. Steve also talked about the importance of getting culture right because this is what enables retention. To grow a successful recruitment business, you need a pipeline of future leaders and a culture that’s about teams and not individuals. At the REC we’ve always known this and that’s why we are the industry’s leading provider of qualifications and training. But the demands on recruitment leaders are intensifying – the market is growing; candidates have more choice; and clients demand more. So to enhance our offering we’ve partnered with Elite Leaders to provide more development for recruitment entrepreneurs and leaders. We need world-class leaders who can help our industry reach its full potential and to change perceptions so that we are recognised as true professionals.


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You can follow Kevin on Twitter @kevingreenrec

The annual circus of the party conference season was an opportunity to be the voice of our industry at key debates around jobs, skills, pay, productivity and social mobility. As the depleted Lib Dems regrouped under their new leader, it was bright blue skies over Brighton as Labour emerged bleary-eyed into the new political dawn of the Corbyn era. While up in Manchester, the Conservative hordes basked in post-election glory.  Pay and progression were hot topics. Employers are concerned about the National Living Wage but there was a broad consensus that more should be done to boost career progression. Our recent Getting On report is helping to position our industry at the forefront of this debate. The skills deficit was also high on the agenda, with shadow business secretary Angela Eagle making the link to the productivity debate. Meanwhile, the Chancellor announced a new Infrastructure Commission to accelerate the delivery of skilled staff for new projects. Our ‘Report on Jobs’ has highlighted shortage areas and we’ll continue to use our data to inform policies around skills and immigration. Good recruitment and flexible working patterns were also part of the mix. Jeremy Corbyn recognised that “people like the independence and flexibility of being selfemployed”, something that also applies to the thousands of people who choose to work as contractors and agency workers. Labour MP Tulip Siddiq honed in on the need “to create more diverse workplaces by addressing unconscious bias”, and David Cameron’s speech included references to eliminating discrimination and boosting social mobility. What’s next? With the EU referendum looming large, our priority will be to contribute to the debate around the best outcome for the UK jobs market. We’ll also be working closely with REC members to build on recent discussions in the conference halls, breakout rooms and hotel bars of Manchester and Brighton. You can follow Tom on Twitter @hadleyscomment

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THE INTELLIGENCE Workers in low-paid jobs need to be given opportunities to grow, says Diana Beech, REC senior researcher Low-paid jobs are too often perceived as ‘bad’ jobs. This is neither rational nor justified, as much low-paid work is vital to our society. Low-paid jobs are also attractive entry points into work for those without experience or qualifications, as they enable people to make a living whilst building up skills and experience. Getting On, a new REC report exploring progression for workers in low-paid jobs, reveals that more than one in five workers in the UK can be classed as being in low-paid positions. That equates to more than 5.1m workers, or 22% of the UK adult workforce. According to the latest figures from the ONS Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings,

STILL GROWING SLOWING I have been talking for some time about how the welcome revenue growth that recruiters have been seeing has been slowing. This downward trend continued in July with median RIB recruiter revenue growth slowing to 4.3% in July. Additionally a quarter of RIB members are seeing revenue growth of more than 18% – a stunning performance when inflation is hovering around zero. Worryingly more than a

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the median full-time gross salary in the UK is £518 a week. Yet, bar staff – the UK’s lowest paid workers – earn less than half of this at £253.60 a week. Retail workers fare only slightly better at £278.70, whilst care and industrial workers also rank among the lowest-paid occupations. With such large numbers in low-paid employment, we ask what government, businesses and recruiters can do to help low-paid workers unlock the full potential of their jobs? The government has already taken steps to improve earnings for low-paid workers through the introduction of the National Living Wage (April 2016), which is set at £7.20 for workers over 25. Yet increasing pay is only half the battle. Our research shows that many workers would appreciate inwork training to move them on in their careers. Employer-led funding for training for those aspiring to move into areas facing vital skills shortages




would obviously be of benefit to both workers and businesses alike. Employers, too, can do much to motivate their workforce. Discussions with workers revealed that creating a positive working environment can boost workers’ morale and thus help to increase productivity levels. Putting in place effective management structures ultimately helps workers to feel valued and understand their progression opportunities.

Figure 1: Recruiter turnover growth

30 20 10 0 -10 Aug 13



May 14

quarter of RIB members are seeing revenues lower than a year ago, a situation that has persisted for the last two years. Indeed a quarter of RIB members are experiencing revenues more than 6 ½ % lower than this time last year.



a slowing in the UK labour market, with growth in vacancies slowing from over 25% a year ago to 8.5% in August of this year. The number of people not employed but not seeking work fell 0.7% in the last 12 months to 8.99m.

40 ■ Upper Qtile ■ Median ■ Low Qtile



Finally, recruiters – as the first port of call for many – not only play a vital role in putting people into jobs, but also helping workers to build a successful career. Our research shows that recruiters often have the specialist knowledge about what it takes to progress in certain sectors, so partnering with businesses and local education providers could give agency staff added value to employers, as well as facilitating workers’ career progression.





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This extreme divergence in revenue growth demonstrates the importance of bench marking performance against other recruiters to maximise performance. The slowing revenue growth is clearly related to

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


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The BIG talking point



A CONVERSATION WITH STEVE INGHAM REC chief executive Kevin Green talked with Page Group chief executive Steve Ingham at the 2015 SIA Executive Forum Europe about the future of the company and why making a profit in China upset him KG: How did you grow into new markets? How do you go about building scale?

SI: It’s certainly not easy, and all the assumptions you make are probably going to be wrong. The key is having the right team to go in there. We use proven individuals who’ve been successful in the group. If their skills are appropriate, we’ll put them into those new markets and then we’ll hire locals and overcome the challenges of building talent in that market. Obviously there are roadblocks and we overcome those – sometimes very slowly, sometimes very fast.

KG: Tell me about the differences between fast and slow: is it about team, market or relationships? SI: It’s always about people, but sometimes you don’t get the

timing right. You don’t always hire the right people straight away. It’s about understanding the key things you need to do to be good at recruitment in a particular market. Most revolve around people. In mainland China, for example, we had 20 people for 10 or so years, but when we finally cracked the code of all these particular issues, we accelerated very quickly. We now have more than 450 people there.

KG: How’d you crack the code? SI: For China, it was hiring the right individual. The chap who works for us there had been working for us in the UK for 17 years, and he felt it was the right time to make a career move. He was in charge of 20 people in the China office. I would phone him every month and find out how he’s getting


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on with his house and his driver and all that sort of thing. I remember after six months we talked about the shape of the Chinese business, and he said: “Great news, Steve. We’ve made a profit.” I said: “That isn’t great news.” In the UK, we’re very focused on making profits, you see. So he said: “What do you mean? Surely making profits is the primary concern?” And I replied: “Remember the vision we had, which was in three years taking the business to 200 people? Where are we from that first 20?” He said to me “17”. He realised he’d used six months of his objective of trying to get to 200 to cut three people to make the profit he did. At the end of the day I can see why, but we had to change his way of thinking, and then figure how to hire great Chinese people to come on board to do recruitment.

KG: How do you recruit people and how do you grow them?

SI: We have been very consistent in our growth strategy. We don’t chop and change during downturns or upturns. Many people have done 20 years plus in the business, and hundreds have done 15 years plus. And because they’ve done that, they trust the business totally. We use that integrity for conversations on how to grow a career. People expect to see out their careers at Page. KG: How do you structure talent growth? SI: The first thing in management and leadership is to make sure a group of people are seen as a team and not as a group of individuals. Our incentives are focused

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on team performance rather than individual performance. By the time you’re at a level where you can influence group performance, many of those people will have shares in Page and know they have to do their bit to get the end result.

them to China, we grow from within. I’ve been to our offices all around the world and the consistency is phenomenal.

the main thing is I’d lose a lot of integrity internally. The opportunities that arise go to us, not to others.

KG: What are the pillars of

KG: A lot of recruiters talk

your culture?

to me about being a listed business. What’s your take on Page being one?

SI: People have to breathe our KG: How do you build that culture?

SI: It’s a challenge and avoiding acquisitions helps. I’ve known most of my management team for 20 years and that means it’s a very social environment, but it also means there’s a lot of integrity and trust there. If you call someone up to ask “What the hell is going on?” you want to understand the language – I don’t mean Mandarin or Spanish, I’m talking about the Page language. We don’t hire someone from a competitor or outside the industry and move

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values, and the most important one for me is integrity. If I can’t trust someone, they’re gone.

KG: A lot of recruitment firms focus on acquisitions, which Page has avoided. Have you ever been tempted to buy another business? SI: Not really, and it’s not occasional; I get more than one offer a week. We’ve never done it, we probably wouldn’t be very good at it. Buying people into your business is dangerous. I’ve seen many that have gone wrong. But

KG: What is the strategy going forward?

SI: It means spending a lot of your time focused on shareholders – they do own your business. There isn’t a week where I don’t meet a shareholder. You do feel your days could be better spent in an office running operations and advising people, but you have to respect the relationship you have with shareholders. In terms of the business, we can run things as we please. I’ve never had a shareholder tell me we shouldn’t go to a country or make a hire – that doesn’t happen.

SI: The fundamentals will continue. I absolutely believe our clients pay us for our skills, but clearly tech is going to make the skills we do faster, greater, more productive and efficient. We’re also only interested in moving into markets with high-growth potential. We will only go to countries that can potentially offer us an operating profit of around 30%. There are a couple of others we’ve got a watch on: Japan and India. For Japan we want to crack the Nikkei, and we’re some way towards doing that. We have 50 people in two offices in India, but our profits aren’t at 30% just yet. But if we can tick all the boxes, then both are very exciting opportunities.


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Legal update

WORKING WITH INTERMEDIARIES By Lewina Farrell, solicitor and head of professional services at the REC The REC Legal Helpline continues to receive a high number of queries regarding how to work with intermediaries including umbrella companies, CIS intermediaries and personal service companies. This is for a variety of reasons including the Conduct Regulations opt out, the ITEPA changes in April 2014 and new reporting from April 2015, and the recent consultations on travel and subsistence expenses relief (T&S) and IR35. Members are also concerned about employment status and who should do what checks on the temporary workers. Before an employment business engages with an intermediary it must do the appropriate due diligence. REC has prepared a detailed intermediary checklist for use by its members. In brief employment businesses should check: • The intermediary’s incorporation details including where it has been incorporated, who

the company officers and shareholders are, its VAT registration; • The intermediary’s trading history and credit record – on a daily basis we come across new umbrella companies/CIS intermediaries. When only recently incorporated they have no or a limited trading history – all businesses must start somewhere but you will be paying significant sums to this intermediary on a weekly/monthly basis so you need to know it is financially stable; • That the intermediary will hold monies received from the employment business in a separate trust account and that the account is held in the UK. If the intermediary folds and the funds are not held separately, they may be claimed by the insolvency practitioner and not paid over to the temporary workers/contractors either for some time or at all. The employment business may then face a claim from those individuals to be paid directly

even if it has no liability to do so; • What ID, right to work, DBS, professional qualifications checks does the intermediary carry out on the temporary worker? How does the intermediary manage the Conduct Regulations opt out process? • The terms on which the intermediary will engage any contractors/ temporary workers. If a CIS intermediary, how does it assess that the temporary worker can legitimately work CIS? • How the intermediary pays the temporary worker. If a PSC, does it treat all pay as employment income, or does it pay part salary, part dividend and if so, why? Does the intermediary apply T&S expenses relief and if so, how – this is particularly important given the proposed removal of T&S expenses relief from temporary workers from April 2016. Check that the temporary worker will

receive all of the tax/ NICs relief claimed on their behalf; • Has the intermediary or any individuals running the business ever been investigated by HMRC and if so, why and what was the outcome? We see lots of claims that the intermediary is 100% HMRC compliant or that a QC has confirmed that it applies T&S correctly or a particular supply model is legitimate. Remember that HMRC will never confirm that a business is fully tax compliant (or indeed whether it is investigating a particular company); • Has the intermediary ever received an employment tribunal claim and if so, what was the outcome? For more information REC model contracts have been drafted to protect employment businesses. See the model contracts and the full intermediary checklist at

WORKPLACE WELLBEING IS COMING We all know the importance of looking after our physical and mental health, right? We understand there are four key indicators to our prolonged health and wellbeing, which will see us remain fit and active throughout our working lives and into our dotage: • Weight. Excess weight (obesity) is a key cause of diabetes • Exercise • Smoking 6 RECRUITMENT MATTERS NOVEMBER 2015

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• Excessive alcohol consumption This could be wrong! Another approach could be by an extension of the Duty of Care requirements with the onus placed on employers to take further additional responsibility for the wellbeing of their staff by way of additional legislation. The Work Foundation recommended three main ways the government could contribute to building a

healthy, productive UK workforce that is fit for the present, and fit for the future: • Integrating specialist support for older workers into occupational health and back to work services such as Fit for Work • Encouraging individuals and employers to plan early on for the health challenges of working in later life • Changing attitudes and creating an age friendly working environment

including the removal of the 26 week rule and extension of the right to request flexible working. One thing is clear: workplace wellbeing is coming. Stuart Scullion, is commercial director at Punter Southall Health & Protection, an REC Business Partner, and chairman of the Association of Medical Insurers and Intermediaries

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The View

Angeline Jordan is a learning and development consultant at Cordant Group

Caroline Foote is the managing director of Careers Move Group



How has your year been? It’s been really busy in the training group because the company is growing and and growing. I completed the Fast Track Cert RP last year and come the December exam, I will have put 28 people through. My pass rate is 95%.

Four important areas for recruiters Listening: The ability to listen to both candidate and clients; there are so many people who talk over them all of the time. There’s nothing worse than a candidate coming in and spending an hour with us, and then we do something opposite to what they asked for. Passion: We want someone who really enjoys the role and really wants to do a good job. Expertise: You need to be an expert in your field with a continuing interest in the subject. Customer service: Absolutely critical. A career for a candidate is a huge part of their life and we help facilitate that. It’s one of the biggest things recruiters do. We need to be a trusted and reliable partner.

What do you love most about being a recruitment trainer? I like working with the different levels across the business – from apprentices to senior managers and everyone in between. It gives me an understanding of all elements of recruitment. I suppose with all parts of training is that if it makes people’s jobs easier, then that’s great. The feedback you get from that makes it all worthwhile. How do you see the industry right now? I think the main thing is the industry is very candidatedriven. Going forward, the focus will be on skills shortages. It makes learning and development more important than ever. We have to help people grow and develop. It ties in with the coaching culture we have. We’re also looking at things like social media, apps and ways you can have bite-sized learning without the cost. It helps them use the facilities they’ve got. What is one thing you’ve realised about your role? Recruitment is a 24/7 job now. I’m looking at using the tools we’ve got at Cordant to bring it together and make it accessible. We use social media to harness the learning.

Networking is vital For agencies and professionals it’s all about finding roles that internal recruiters can’t. You have to have a really extensive network and they can be both physical networking, through to virtual through tools such as LinkedIn. Having been around for a while, we have quite deep networks, but it needs to be seen as a living and breathing thing. Keep an eye on partner relationships We’re doing a piece of research about the relationship we have with clients and seeing what valued partnership means to us. We’re seeing an increase in client relationships as we move further away from recessionary times. Clients are prepared to look at fairer fees for finding niche talent. They want to work more and more with knowledge-based agencies. We’ve had some major PSL wins and that’s all been down to the fact we embrace working in a different way. I think the next 12 months is going to be pretty good.

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

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Events and training


2015 IRP AWARDS SHORTLIST THE 2015 IRP AWARDS WILL BE HELD ON WEDNESDAY 9 DECEMBER IN LONDON. SEE WHO’S ON THE SHORTLIST FOR THIS YEAR’S TROPHIES COMPANY CATEGORIES Best Back-Office Support Team Amoria Bond, ID Medical, Meridian Business Support, Nursing Personnel, Picture More, Rethink Group, Staffgroup IRP Advocate Company of the Year Rethink Group, Serocor Solutions Best Corporate Social Responsibility Practitioners Bruin Financial, Equal ApproachID Medical, One Step Recruitment, Prospectus, Rock Recruitment Specialists, Stafflex, TTM Healthcare Best Recruitment Campaign and Client Partnership Abacus Professional Recruitment, Meridian Business Support, Omni RMS, Pro-Force Limited, Sanctuary Personnel Limited Best People Development Business Award GPRS Recruitment, ID Medical, Meridian Business Support, Pro-Force Limited, Serocor Solutions Best Company to work for (up to 20 employees) Bond Williams Professional Recruitment, BranWell Ford Associates Limited, Carrington

West, Charity People, Cathcart Associates Limited, Give A Grad A Go, Marc Daniels Specialist Recruitment, Seven Search & Selection, Supertemps, TARA Professional Recruitment Best Company to work for (up to 50 employees) Blayze Group, BPS World, Consillum Group, Gleeson Recruitment, The Oyster Partnership, Understanding Recruitment Best Company to work for (up to 250 employees) Amoria Bond, Caritas Recruitment, Darwin Recruitment, Empiric, ICG Medical, Liquid Personnel, MSI Group, ReThink Recruitment, Staffgroup, STR, Swanstaff Recruitment Best Company to work for (more than 250 employees) Capita Resourcing, ID Medical, Meridian Business Support, Penna, Pertemps Network Group, Phaidon International, Search Consultancy

Best Candidate & Client Experience Stuart John (Abacus Professional Recruitment), David Bamgbade (CRG), Jamie Sharratt (GPRS Recruitment), David Tait (Redmill Resourcing), Jane Gaunt (Redlaw Recruitment) Sian Williams (Supertemps) Best Newcomer of the Year Anup Mistry (Keystone Employment Group), Aija Maddocks (Redlaw Recruitment), Oscar Silbergberg (Core-Asset Consulting), Kristin Small (Right Click Recruitment), Georgina Turner (Forces Recruitment Services), Martin Webber (Letterbox Recruitment) Executive Search Consultant of the Year Jonathan Benjamin (Redlaw Recruitment), Maggie Hennessy (Penna), Joshua Rayner (Rayner Personnel) IMA Interim Consultant of the Year Toni Hall (Penna) Anthony Lewis (Penna), Ross Markall (ReThink Recruitment)

INDIVIDUAL CATEGORIES Recruitment Apprentice of the Year Zohra Hussain (Brightred Resourcing), Ulrika Lawrence (ARM), Cassie Moore (ARM), Chanel White (BPS World)

Permanent Consultant of the Year Simon Atkins (Pertemps Network Group), Camilla Clarke (Give A Grad A Go), Claire D’Amelio (Energize Recruitment), Jon Hunt (Lawes Consulting Group), James

Kent (People First), Addie Marks (GPRS Recruitment), Antonia Phoenix (ReThink Recruitment), Sian Williams (Supertemps) Temporary Consultant of the Year Vicki Armstrong-Smith (Supertemps), Sharon Atwal (ID Medical), Emilia Fasano (The Oyster Partnership), Katie Holdsworth (Class People), James McGauley (ID Medical), Adam Razzell (Advanced Resourcing Managers), Lisa Robinson (Red Personnel), Nick Rowe (Carrington West), Suzanne Sherriff (Bond Williams Professional Recruitment) Business Manager of the Year Lara Dawson (Penna), Helene Turley (University of Wolverhampton Careers and Employment Centre), Ranjit Nandha (ID Medical), David Weir (Penna), Kimberley Winnall (Pertemps Network Group) Business Leader of the Year Matt Fox (Dynamite Recruitment), Tony Goodwin (Antal International), Michael Helleur (ICG Medical), Ian Munro (CRG), Deenu Patel (ID Medical), Shubber Raja (Medilink Consulting), Stephen Rogers (Swanstaff Recruitment) Book your table now at


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 - November 2015