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Next steps for supporঞng the economy p2 B I G TALKI N G POI N T

How to take acঞon on race at work p4 Issue 88 Recruitment October/ Ma ers November 2020


Managing workplace risk assessments p6 TR AI N I N G AN D E VE N TS

What you missed at REC 2020 p8

REC calls on government

Recruitment industry will help fuel recovery T

he Chancellor Rishi Sunak is due to deliver his budget statement in the autumn. The task ahead of him could not be bigger – to introduce policies that will bring the economy back from the biggest economic shock in our history. The REC has been highlighঞng to government what needs to happen to boost jobs in both the Comprehensive Spending Review and the Budget. We’re working to ensure government embraces the role the recruitment industry can play in schemes announced in the Summer Statement to help the recently unemployed get back to work. This autumn, here are some of the measures we are calling for the government to deliver on. Sঞmulate business and hiring A sঞmulus package, which includes reducing taxes on business acঞvity such as Employer Naঞonal Insurance Contribuঞons (NICs) and business rates, as well as a reformed apprenঞceship levy, would help firms get back

@RECPress RM_October 2020 1

on track. Reducing employers' NICs will help lower the cost of employing people. “Employers NICs are the single largest non-wage labour cost that employers face,” says Louise Hewe , Managing Director of Hewe Recruitment.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has a big task ahead of him

Secure a good trade deal Covid-19 has added to Brexit uncertainty. At the ঞme of wriঞng businesses are sঞll none the wiser about how they will be able to conঞnue doing business with the EU come January. The government needs to act fast and: • Minimise barriers to trading with the single market • Ensure the mutual recogniঞon of people’s qualificaঞons • Secure the flow of data between the UK and the EU • Guarantee UK professionals’

Making great work happen

ability to travel and do business in the EU with ease. Simon Conington, CEO of BPS World and REC council member, says: “So much of the recruitment industry depends on mobility and trade agreements. The government needs to agree the terms with the EU urgently so we can prepare.” A flexible immigraঞon system Equally important is the new immigraঞon system due to come into force on New Year’s Day, but ঞme is short for business to implement the new rules. The new system must be clear and easy to use, parঞcularly with Right to Work checks. Long term, we need to ensure that the system is flexible and does not result in damaging skills shortages in the economy. Keep digital Right to Work checks When the pandemic struck, the requirement of Right to Work checks to be done in person was a huge problem. The REC successfully campaigned for checks to be made digital. This new way of working been a success and we’re calling on government to build on what has been done. Susie Ankre , Director at Susie Ankre , Director at Plum Personnel, says: “Digital checks provided an essenঞal lifeline for us to get people out to work, especially in the NHS. I truly hope the rules will not be reversed.” 17/09/2020 12:49

Leading the industry

the view... As Covid-19 is changing the world of work, clients will look to us as experts, says Neil Carberry, REC Chief Execuঞve


s the heat of the summer has cooled off, we’ve started to get a clearer picture of the economic damage caused by Covid-19. As well as the ini al shock of the GDP slowdown and collapse in hours worked, we’ve seen redundancies rise as firms reshape themselves for the economy we now have. The ending of lockdown has seen the economy bounce back gradually and, with it, the recruitment and staffing market. Temporary hiring was hit less hard than permanent peak-to-trough, and is likely to recover more quickly too, given the level of uncertainty. But job ads rising back above one million (see the REC Jobs Recovery Tracker) and reports from members across the country of a slow and steady path back allow a moment of guarded op mism. We should also take in how much about work has changed – some of it temporary, some permanent. Clients’ needs are not what they were and the problems they will look to the industry to help them solve are different too.

“We should also take in how much about work has changed”

Almost an office revolu on Months of office closures have captured imagina ons in our city centres. Already some big London names like Schroders have announced they’ll be offering staff the op on of working from home permanently. Others, like PwC, have commi ed to a mixed model. Calling me on the tradi onal office ignores many reasons people value it – for the work-life separa on, the culture,

and actual human interac on. Companies, too, get big, and long-term benefits from co-working. Innova on and staff development are easier in places where people work together. So the future will be one of greater flexibility and distributed working facilitated by technology, with retained co-working for some of the week for most workers. We were already heading towards this – Covid-19 moved us along quicker. But it will change the labour market. How much of a commute is acceptable where a candidate only has to go to the office two days a week? And will this culture travel from city centres to other offices, which have opened sooner? Hiring well online will ma er more More of our work will stay online – with video playing an important part. This is a huge opportunity for us to get closer to clients and to advise them on how to hire well online. The use of tests and other online selec on tools is also likely to rocket. At the REC, we’re working with FutureLearn on a new course on hiring well, and inclusively, online. We can be the experts on all of this. Employer brand online will be more important than ever – and many of the cultural and social cues firms use to sell themselves won’t be there in the online process. Likewise, the Zoom interview requires proper handling to be effec ve – online mee ngs are, as we have all discovered, more structured by nature. Candidates and clients alike will need our support. Knowing the best tech to use and how to use it well is an opportunity to set ourselves apart as a professional service. Done properly, be er use of technology could mean more me for a consultant to focus on the human part of the job – crea ng a great client and candidate experience. Here’s where I want to hear from you. This is uncharted territory for many of us. Get in touch and tell us what’s working for your business and what challenges you are facing. As ever, your REC is here to help.

If you want to keep up to speed with all things recruitment then follow me on Twi er @RECNeil 2

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Leading the industry

the intelligence...


staff remained on furlough as of late July, as many companies were temporarily closed or ran at reduced capacity.

The end of furlough, what now? By Thalia Ioannidou, Research Manager A er months of state-subsidised wage support, the government's Coronavirus Job Reten on Scheme will come to an end on 31 October. When it does, unemployment is likely to rise. But there are reasons to feel hopeful. Employers are looking to hire more staff soon and recruiters can play a role in determining what happens next. As of late July, a record 9.5 million staff remained on furlough as many companies were temporarily closed or ran at reduced capacity. Approximately 1.2 million employers had taken part in the scheme. By that point, the scheme had cost £31.7 billion. The scheme is credited for protec ng the jobs of a large propor on of the workforce who would have otherwise been laid off. So, the end of the furlough scheme marks a crucial point for millions of households and businesses. Redundancies on the rise The country’s largest firms had already announced more than 205,000 redundancies ahead of the scheme winding down in August, while almost a quarter of small UK businesses had cut jobs. In the following weeks more firms announced redundancies. The heaviest job losses were reported by airline companies, non-food retailers, automo ve manufacturers, and holiday operators. Predic ons about the outlook for the economy and employment are gloomy. The Na onal Ins tute of Economic Research warned that ending the scheme in


million acঞve job posঞngs across the UK in the week of 3-9 August

October will cost approximately 1.2 million jobs. Similarly, the Office for Budget Responsibility cau oned that the unemployment rate at its peak could range from just under 10% to above 13%. But there are encouraging signs. While it is clear the economy will take a while to recover fully, it is posi ve to see a slow rise in business confidence and job pos ng ac vity in certain sectors, loca ons and occupa ons. Our latest Jobs Recovery Tracker reveals that the number of job pos ngs in the UK has gradually increased since May. By early August, this rose to a new post-lockdown high of 1.10 million ac ve job pos ngs across the UK in the week of 3-9 August. That's up from 1.04 million in the previous week. There were also 126,000 new job pos ngs, the highest since the crisis began.

employers being inundated with CVs and having to si through hundreds of applica ons for a single vacancy. Although a greater pick of candidates can help find the right fit of a role, such an over-subscribed process also presents a challenge to employer brand. They require specialist help to manage this. As the jobs market specialists, recruiters are best placed to filter through the increasing number of applica ons; ensure a fair and inclusive process; access specialist skills and secure the perfect match to their client’s needs. Crucially, recruiters also support jobseekers by helping to iden fy opportuni es, both permanent and temporary, and ensure people get back into work quickly. In the weeks and months ahead, recruiters will play a key role as we strive to keep Britain working.

Recruiters make a difference As more people become available for work there are reports of

Weekly ac ve job pos ngs in the UK 1,100,000 1,080,000 1,060,000 1,040,000 1,020,000 1,000,000 980,000 960,000 940,000 920,000 900,000 11-17

18-24 May



8-14 June



29/5 6-12 June/July

13-19 July


27/2 July/Aug

3-9 August

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17/09/2020 11:27

Race in the workplace

big talking point

Commiমng to change Having a successful diversity and inclusion strategy depends on honesty. As recruiters, are we really doing all we can to move from paying lip service to changing the face of business?


qual opportunity and fairness are not nice-to-haves for be er mes – they are essen al to business and economic success. The focus on the pandemic should enhance our efforts, not detract from these aims.” These are the words of REC Chief Execu ve Neil Carberry, as the recruitment organisa on signed up to the Race at Work Charter – a Business in the Community ini a ve, which provides a prac cal framework for employers to tackle barriers faced by black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) colleagues in the workplace. But to ensure these are more than words, the REC is taking the me to revisit its D&I strategy, to ensure it’s fully embedded in everything it does, from its policy to its training and events. It wants to celebrate those recruiters already making a difference, empower those who want to, and educate those yet to rise to the challenge. And while race is the latest lightning rod showing just how sorely progress on D&I is needed, REC’s Stakeholder Engagement Manager Ornella Nsio stresses that no strand of diversity should have to compete at the expense of another in terms of focus and results. “A truly inclusive workplace benefits everyone.” 4

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Start with understanding But race is a tricky area to address. Suki Sandhu, founder and CEO of execu ve search firm Audeliss, highlights three major issues: • the people who need to have the conversa on – the white majority – don’t feel adequately equipped to do so and live in fear of saying the wrong thing • their companies lack data on their racial make-up so they don’t fully understand where the problems lie • there’s a disconnect between (mainly) white leadership and the experiences of employees of different races “Ac on on gender has been taken because many male leaders want to create a be er world for their daughters. But when it comes to race, there is o en zero understanding of the problem, or its poten al solu on. This is why engaging and listening to the experiences of those from different backgrounds is so crucial – as is self-educa on on the issues of race.” Sandhu cri cises recruiters for not doing “nearly enough” to live up to their responsibility for driving change – and Audeliss is an example of the ac ve role they can play in making a difference. By focusing on diversity in execu ve search,

The most recent BAME2020 Ambassador appointees, clockwise from top le[: Emily Chow - Markeࢼng and Operaࢼons Assistant – LiveWire Sport Toks Ayorinde - Senior Account Execuࢼve - John Doe Honica Sharma - Junior Print Media Execuࢼve – The Specialist Works Dakota Branch-Smith - PR and Studio Assistant Jason Jung - Account Execuࢼve – LiveWire Sport Hephzibah Kwakye-Saka Senior Campaigns Manager, Riot Communicaࢼons Xenis Hughes - Senior Account Execuࢼve – Right Formula Shahin Rasঞ - Account Director – Fuse Vic Khagram - Influencer Strategist – BCW

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Sandhu is trying to make a more profound impact by going in at the top. To counter the pushback that senior diverse talent simply doesn’t exist, and inspire the next generaঞon of diverse talent, Audeliss – with INvolve – produces Role Model Lists, celebraঞ ng the achievements of top BAME, LGBT and female talent. And in response to the Black Lives Ma er movement this summer, the agency published an open le er in The Sunday Times, through which more than 300 fi rms have signed up and commi ed to measuring and reporঞ ng their long-term and sustainable acঞ ons on racial diversity. Be the change Amanda Fone, founder at communicaঞons and markeঞng recruitment specialist F1

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recruitment, agrees that recruitment leaders should be seen as acঞvists on D&I. And when it comes to race she urges the industry to take a good, hard look at itself: “It’s too white. It’s just not represenঞng the communiঞes we serve. We need to get a grip on that.” It has bred a lack of trust, she conঞnues, with BAME candidates concerned about tokenism. Fone didn’t feel her company could tackle the issue of trust quickly enough as part of its daily business. Instead, over the past four years it has invested 40% of its profits into BAME2020, an iniঞaঞve it set up with Adrian Walco , co-founder of Brands with Values, targeঞng 20% of the total young talent that enters the sector each year to come from BAME backgrounds, and for this talent to stay in the sector unঞl 20% of leadership roles are represented by BAME talent. “We’ve built up a community of more than 2,000 followers with a thriving ambassador and adviser network, 60% of which are nonwhite. They’ve taught us so much,” she says. But the real challenge hasn’t been finding the talent, but keeping the talent in the sector – and this year BAME2020 has launched a further iniঞaঞve, No Turning Back, focused on workplace culture and helping clients to audit and measure their progress on inclusivity. “Talent only stays in organisaঞons where inclusive values are ‘lived’ on a daily basis.” Although more than 20% of F1’s candidate base is from a BAME community, rising to 35% for freelance and project work, Fone won’t put people on a shortlist unless the client can demonstrate their workplace is inclusive. Open doors Trust is also a reason to partner those with a proven track record in supporঞng local communiঞes, says Dr John Blackmore, CEO of Acঞon

West London (AWL). The charity has 22 years’ experience in finding work for long-term unemployed and economically inacঞve people. Among the projects it’s currently involved in is Moving On Up – helping to get young black men, who are at least twice as likely to be unemployed, into work. And through such projects, it has forged strong links with local families (a high proporঞon of whom are from BAME backgrounds) and local colleges and universiঞes (with a strong supply of young talent that doesn’t always get access to good job opportuniঞes). But as access to funding and grants dries up, AWL is looking to make the charity more sustainable by launching a social enterprise recruitment agency – Acঞon Talent – focused on diversity and social mobility. Although Covid-19 has hindered the agency’s launch, those at the top of business have liked the idea of using a social enterprise as part of their recruitment services to the benefit of their local community, while demonstraঞng their commitment to diversity. “But it’s tough geমng through to the decision makers – those actually doing the hiring,” says Dr Blackmore. He’s looking for recruitment agencies to partner, and also argues that many recruiters would benefit from the exposure and the experience of working with a social enterprise. He too, believes that it is be er understanding that will break down barriers – and recruiters’ ability to consult and advise their clients. The more collecঞve the acঞon, the bigger the impact. As Suki Sandhu says: “The biggest risk to us as an industry when it comes to D&I is to repeat the mistakes and inacঞon of the past and not take this opportunity to work closely with clients to create legiঞmate and lasঞng change. It took 10 years to reach 30% target for women in FTSE board, how long will it take for race to be represented fairly too?” October/November 2020 Recruitment Ma ers


17/09/2020 13:52

Health and safety

legal update

Back to the office: ge ng risk assessments right By Jane O’Shea, Solicitor at REC


er many months of working from home, some businesses are asking employees to return to the office. What do employers need to think about when conduc ng a Covid-19 risk assessment? Obligaঞon All employers have a legal duty to ensure the health, safety and welfare of their employees, workers and visitors to their premises. They must do what they reasonably can to achieve this. Conduc ng a thorough Covid-19 risk assessment before asking employees to return to the office will form part of that duty. What is in a risk assessment? The purpose of the risk assessment is to iden fy sensible measures to control the risk of transmission of Covid-19.


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As a legal minimum a Covid-19 risk assessment must: • iden fy the ac vi es or hazards that may cause transmission of Covid-19 • iden fy the people that are at risk of exposure and the level of the risk • outline the ac ons that must be taken to remove the risk or, where that cannot be achieved, to control the risks to employees The hazards and the measures introduced to control them will, of course, be different for every business. But common prac cal measures will include: • addi onal hand washing facili es • new ways to maintain social distancing such as a oneway system • more frequent and thorough cleaning procedures • using screens and other protec ve equipment in the office Once the risk assessment is complete, record the findings (this is a legal obliga on if you employ five or more people) and review the controls that you have put in place on an ongoing basis. If it is necessary to make further changes then the risk assessment should be updated and shared with employees. Remember that failing to complete a risk assessment

that factors in Covid-19, or failing to put adequate measures in place to manage the risks of Covid-19, could amount to a breach of health and safety law. Consult with employees Some people are understandably anxious about returning to the office, especially if that means using public transport. Consul ng with employees directly, or via elected health and safety representa ves, will help reassure them that their needs are being taken seriously. It’s important to keep everyone informed by sharing the results of the assessment and the details of changes you are bringing in to protect staff and minimise risks. Make sure that throughout the process, you always take on board any sugges ons or concerns raised by members of the team. It's important that the assessment takes the necessary addi onal precau ons for employees who are par cularly vulnerable to Covid-19. This could mean considering alterna ve working arrangements for those workers, such as con nued home working. If that is not possible for their current role, offering a temporary alterna ve role that can be done from home could be a solu on. As always, your REC is here to help if you have any ques ons.

17/09/2020 12:50

Inspira on

What we know

Behind the scenes with recruiters making a difference How RX Plus Recruitment helped two locum doctors respond to the call of duty

Having qualified as medical doctors in August 2019, Dr. Reynolds and Dr. Khesri (names anonymised) decided to take a year out to go travelling. When their plans were cut short by the pandemic, they both applied to the NHS return-to-work programme. When nobody got back to them, they approached the new Nigh ngale hospitals. Again, there was no response, despite the NHS urgently needing doctors. “We were banging our heads on the wall, it was so infuria ng. We were being told of an impending crisis and all doctors were needed back in the NHS but nobody would get back to us.”

Recruiters get people into work quickly during a crisis

That’s when they saw a job ad for General Medical Doctors to work on a temporary basis with RX Plus recruitment. They applied on a Thursday in April and Adam, a member of staff at RX Plus recruitment, got back to them the same day. They started work the following Monday at the Royal Gwent Hospital in Newport.

Recruiters are more than matchers and dispatchers

“Adam, our recruiter, has been absolutely fantas c. Apart from ge ng us into jobs so quickly during the crisis, he helped us navigate a lot of the admin we’ve never had to do before as doctors, such as mesheets. It made the whole experience much easier and meant we could focus on trea ng pa ents. Now that our contracts are coming to an end, we both want to transfer to hospitals in London. Adam has helped us with this too, including obtaining reference le ers for us. This means we can con nue working without much disrup on.”

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How NuStaff restored the confidence of a worker trying to find work in the lockdown Having spent years driving long-distance for a logis cs company, Nigel Green le his job at the beginning of March to spend more me with his family. With lots of experience, including some in management, he was fairly confident he’d find a good job fairly quickly. But with the economy suddenly in lockdown, Nigel struggled to find a new role over the next two months, despite sending in applica ons and CVs everywhere.

Candidates value a quick response and the support recruiters offer

“I then applied for this great job with NuStaff, which combined my skills as a Class 1 HGV driver and also my opera ons and management experience. The very next day one of the team phoned me up to discuss the role. They helped me prepare my applica on and I was delighted to get an interview. They really helped me build up my confidence for the first interview. I had resigned myself to the fact I may have to return to long-haul driving away from home. I have a second interview soon.”

Recruiters are the first port of call

“To anyone in my posi on who is looking for work during this crisis I’d say you’ve got to persevere. There are jobs out there. Speak to a recruiter because they know where those jobs are and what it takes to be successful in the interview.”

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Training and events

Informing brave decisions

The REC’s all-digital annual conference aimed to support the industry with the knowledge and shared experiences required for these cri cal mes REC2020, the REC’s first fully digital conference, was held on 8 September – and with more than 1,000 people signed up, it was also one of its biggest ever. “It’s no surprise when so much is changing all around us and we’re all looking for how to navigate the path ahead,” said the day’s host – REC Chief Execu ve Neil Carberry. The day’s goal was to help recruiters “refocus, reframe and regain” as they meet the current challenges, respond to the opportuni es and pave the way for great work to happen. A endees logged in to hear from Dame Carolyn Fairbairn in one of her last major speeches as the Director-General of the CBI. She offered a view from businesses across the country as she set out how recruiters could be most help to “build back be er”. Calling recruiters “guardians of values and behaviours”, she insisted that progress must be maintained on inclusion, and that the good work agenda has to stay alive – even when talent is in plen ful supply. According to Lewis Iwu, CEO of Purpose Union, there is a “genera onal change happening… that’s raised the bar of what employees expect from businesses” on issues like inclusion and climate change. Fairbairn urged recruiters to focus on the young people whose prospects had been damaged by the pandemic: “Don’t let rogue algorithms work against our young people,” she said, emphasising the con nued importance of the human touch at a me when new technology is transforming recruitment. In a later keynote panel Rob McCargow, Director of AI, at PwC delved

Recruitment Ma ers


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further in to how to get AI right. “It’s going to require a genera onal shi , but the prize is worth figh ng for,” he said. Fairbairn also highlighted the opportunity for the industry to establish itself as the “central heartbeat for strategic change” for clients and ul mately the economy, as long as recruiters made the me to understand employers and work in partnership with them. With those three challenges, she helped set the mood for the day. Panel discussions from business leaders including Bev White, CEO of Harvey Nash and James Reed, Chair of the Reed Group, focused on leadership and what the “new normal” for work might look like. The day also delved into the prac cali es, with breakout sessions on recruitment technology, employer brand strategy, workplace culture and how to adapt your business to industry change. Recorded case studies and bitesize

learning offered extra insight – from lessons from previous recessions to what’s new in marke ng candidates. But the event also finished on a more personal note, with Gus Balbon n, former Execu ve Director of Lonely Planet, talking a endees through how they – and not just their businesses – can adapt to change. “The future doesn’t look very good for you if you do the same thing every day,” he said. “But focus on your ability to adapt and you can handle anything.”

If you missed the REC’s annual conference, find all the biggest takeaways and lessons from leading recruitment businesses and employers in one place. Access the free digital guide here:

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 © 2020 Recruitment Ma ers. Although every effort is made to ensure accuracy, neither REC, Redac ve Publishing Ltd nor the authors can accept liability for errors or omissions. Views expressed in the magazine are not necessarily those of the REC or Redac ve Publishing Ltd. No responsibility can be accepted for unsolicited manuscripts or transparencies. No reproduc on in whole or part without wri en permission.

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