GR September 2022
Embrace Technology – 20 years the voice for the global staffing industry
<small>20 years the voice for the global staffing industry</small>
Welcome to the new look Global Recruiter.
As we enter our 20th year we felt it was the perfect time to improve the readability and delivery of the magazine. No more squinting and pinching, zooming in and zooming out. Our new platform allows interactive content and provides an excellent reading experience across all devices.
The publication is set to harness the very best of online interactivity in media production, launching a more media rich digital magazine, including video content, interactive features, and giving you greater access to industry resources than ever before.
For you, the reader, it means you get access to more in-depth insights about the people and the businesses that are moving the industry forwards. The new interface is easy to navigate and requires no additional downloads or instructions. It’s just click on the arrows on screen and follow the content – clearly and concisely.
This is an exciting time for your industry and The Global Recruiter is here to support you all the way.
Follow the arrows right and down and enjoy your new read.
The People Business
From the editor: “The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.”
Twenty years ago recruitment was done differently. It had to be. There wasn’t the same level of technology support, the same level of communication, social media or smart phones – indeed, in 2002 mobile phones had only just started coming with colour screens.
The economic circumstances of 2002 were widely different, the skillset employees were after wasn’t the same as today and even the qualifications school leavers offered went by a different grading system.
So yes, they did things differently, but what they did was still the same.
There was still the same search for good talent, the same competition and the same need to match candidate with client. Employees still wanted good people who could contribute to their businesses as soon as possible and who would stay and contribute for as long as they could.
Recruitment now – as then – is a people business. Sure technology has revolutionised the daily life of the recruiter, and some web-based platforms have replaced volume and low-value placements, but recruiters still need understanding, communication and, in short, good people skills.
A lot has changed in twenty years, but notably the importance, awareness and value of the recruitment sector has grown. It has become a vital part of every employment sector, a dependable service for new and established business, the creator of careers and countless success stories.
Here’s to the next twenty.
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> Mini-Budget reaction
> Skills need could stall digital transformation
> Recruitment’s Big Issue
> Cloning warning among umbrellas
> Ethnicity pay gap impact
> Quiet quitting productivity danger
The end of IR35 may not yet be the end of employment complexity.
The new Chancellor’s ‘mini-budget’ has a bigger impact than many usual budgets from previous governments. From tax cuts and promises of more to come to the dramatic impact this has had on the value of the pound, the new Truss-led government appears to be pulling no punches when it comes to considering its next moves with the economy.
Naturally the recruitment industry’s main focus was on the sudden axing of IR35 legislation – a step which was unexpected and welcomed in equal measure.
“Reducing the counter-productive rise in employer National Insurance – a tax on creating jobs and paying people more, that falls heavily on the sectors most affected by the pandemic – is wise,” commented REC CEO Neil Carberry, “and ditching the botched changes to IR35 – the rules on how temporary contractors are paid – is also a huge help. These have been big REC campaigns, and we welcome today’s announcements. The changes will provide many businesses with much needed relief, when taken into the balance with short-term support on energy bills.
“It is not enough to simply tear things down though,’ Carberry continued, “we also need to build. On IR35, retained European regulation, investment zones and infrastructure there is hard work to do on replacement rules, and in some cases little time to do it. Business is ready to help – but we will need action from Government to make things happen.
Tania Bowers, global public policy director for the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo) also welcomed the repeal of the Off Payroll legislation. “Many of the proposals in today’s announcement will strengthen the appeal of highly skilled, professional flexible working in the UK which is long overdue,” she said. “The planned changes to Income Tax from April 2023 – in particular the abolition of the top rate of income tax for the highest earners – and reversal on the planned increase in Dividend Tax alongside the IR35 repeal, will encourage more individuals back into the flexible labour market to drive growth at end-engagers.” Bowers also felt there was an intention from the government to make the UK a global powerhouse and noted the removal of the banker bonus cap was likely to strengthen the country’s Financial Services sector.
Crawford Temple, CEO of Professional Passport acknowledged the removal of the ‘car crash’ that was IR35, but also sounded a word of caution adding that the government needs to press HMRC to provide detailed guidance relating to the application of the MSC Legislation. “I would go further and suggest a review of both IR35 and MSC Legislation needs to be carried out urgently so that contractors are not inadvertently operating under schemes that would apply full PAYE to their income from April,” he said. “IR35 is flawed and the government should start with a clean sheet of paper and design a strategy for the modern workplace.”
Skills need could stall digital transformation
Nearly half of companies face digital skills issue says research
Hitachi Vantara, the Digital infrastructure, data management and analytics, and digital solutions subsidiary of Hitachi Ltd. has released the findings from a 451 Research report finding that a lack of digital skills is jeopardising industries’ digital transformation initiatives. The report “Industry 4.0: Maturity of Adoption and Its Impact on Sustainability and ESG” surveyed more than 600 IT and OT leaders engaged in Industry 4.0 initiatives across the manufacturing, transportation, and energy and utilities sectors.
The report provides a broad view of the confidence, concerns, and next steps regarding enterprises actively engaged in digital transformation. Key findings include:
- While 100% of companies surveyed are engaging in or planning digital transformation projects for their operations or supply chains, more than half of companies said they lacked sufficient skills in key areas. The most critical gaps cited are in data science (42%) defined as artificial intelligence, machine learning and analytics; IoT deployment and development (48%), or robotics deployment and operations (60%).
- Given the technology skills gap, at least 37% of respondents indicated that they had no plans to implement IoT-led initiatives.
- Once viewed as a potential barrier to Industry 4.0 and digital transformation initiatives, IT/OT convergence is happening with 95% of respondents saying the two departments collaborate adequately or better for IoT projects.
“Faced with too many priorities and too few people, companies need a focused, sustained approach that derives outcomes as quickly as possible,” said Sid Sharma, IoT Practice Leader at Hitachi Vantara. “At Hitachi Vantara, we focus on an outcome-centric approach enabled by our deep industry expertise and experience. Our ready-to-deploy industry-specific templates, data models and automation libraries help us in scaling and accelerating results.”
The survey also revealed that companies are facing a plethora of competing digital priorities from business optimisation to employee retention to ESG (environmental, social and governance). The top driver for digital transformation continues to be optimisation of business processes and operations, followed closely by reducing risks, innovation/new revenue streams and increasing revenue/cutting costs.
“Digital transformation and its potential to create value for society, environment and economies will depend on how fast certain industries can adopt and ready their workforce for the cloud, cybersecurity, 5G, AI/ML and IoT. Companies must be selective about their business’ most critical outcomes and appropriately align it with the necessary investments in software, automation and services,” added Sharma.
Despite ESG finishing eighth as a company driver, more than 80% of respondents see ESG regulatory requirements as having at least a medium impact on their organisation and expect the impact to increase significantly in the next two years.
“While regulation will have some impact, companies indicated that the primary drivers to meet ESG goals are coming from other market and social pressures,” as stated in the report by Ian Hughes, Senior Research Analyst for Internet of Things at 451 Research, a part of S&P Global Market Intelligence. “Increased efficiency and sustainability are competitive factors for enterprises. Digital transformation helps make these efficiency improvements, and many of the ESG requirements achieved are almost a bonus.”
The August 2022 report also reveals that more than three-quarters of respondents are confident in their company’s skills for IT and OT security, operations, and application development. However, that degree of confidence may be overestimated given the findings of a recent cybersecurity study that suggested nearly four of five IT respondents reported a ransomware attack at their company within the last year and that nearly three quarters (73%) were financially or operationally impacted by these attacks.
Recruitment’s Big Issue
Big Issue Group calls on organisations to back a new specialist recruitment service
Big Issue Group is calling on businesses to back a new UK wide recruitment service called ‘Big Issue Recruit’. The service offers people who are further from the labour market access to their desired job roles by pairing them with personal Job Coaches.
In the wake of the cost-of-living crisis and record levels of poverty and inequality, there are now close to 15 million people in the UK trapped in poverty. But while unemployment has fallen to its lowest level in 30 years, with 1.26m unemployed people actively seeking work, for the first time there are now more job vacancies to fill (1.3m) than people seeking employment.
There is an urgent need for an upskilled workforce. Big Issue Recruit (BIR), which aims to bring people from a more diverse range of backgrounds into the job market, is a new solution to this crisis.
BIR, the latest innovative venture from Big Issue Group, is a specialist recruitment service, dedicated to supporting people who face barriers to joining the workforce into sustainable employment. It is a person-centered service and free to candidates, supporting individuals pre, during and post-employment.
Job Coaches will work with candidates from a diverse range of backgrounds, who are experiencing poverty. The candidates will range from prison leavers, caregivers, those with skills gaps, to people experiencing social, health, financial or digital barriers to work and, of course, Big Issue magazine vendors keen to move into employment.
On signing up candidates are partnered with a personal Job Coach, to understand and determine their needs and goals. Building confidence, skills and resilience and coaching individuals through the selection process, to secure their desired roles.
Finally, Job Coaches will work with candidates to establish a great relationship with their new employer and support them in their new role and career.
Paul Cheal, Group CEO of The Big Issue Group, said: “Big Issue Recruit is a reliable, ethical, end-to-end method of recruitment which reduces the risk and cost of candidate churn. We are seeking partners who want to create employment pathways and work with us to fill their employment vacancies, diversify their workforce and create significant social value.
“Our service creates social value through the provision of training, employability, health and wellbeing support, F&DI and ultimately sustainable careers.”
Paul Armstrong, Chairman of The Permira Foundation, a Founding Partner organisation of BIR, said: “Big Issue Recruit is a ground-breaking initiative driven by Big Issue Group’s proven track-record, vast knowledge and expertise in engaging with those often excluded and combining this with businesses in a partnership to help people into employment. We look forward to continuing our partnership with Big Issue Recruit, as this programme goes from strength to strength.”
Cloning warning among umbrellas
FCSA warns sector on danger of cloned umbrella companies.
Freelancer and Contractor Services Association (FCSA) has issued a further warning and update about the fraudulent activity of cloning real companies and using these clones to defraud recruitment and employment businesses, workers and even HMRC. The organisation has been investigating serious infringement activity surrounding cloned companies. This activity involves the creation of a registered company with a nearly identical name to a real company, for example a real business called Harrison MacMichael Umbrella Services Ltd may be cloned as Harrison McMichael Umbrella Company Ltd.
This clone then uses carefully prepared documentation – often exact copies of the real company’s documentation and branding, to persuade employment businesses – customers of the real company – to remit monies to the cloned company’s bank account and even supplying new contractors to them.
It is extremely likely that payments received by the cloned company, which include money for employment costs such as NICs, income tax and apprenticeship levy is never remitted to HMRC. As such the worker’s personal tax account is never credited with the monies actually due, potentially doing great harm to them.
The FCSA have amassed substantial independent evidence of this activity and have supplied this information to the police, Action Fraud and to numerous departments within government itself, including HMRC. They believe that the fraudulent activities have so far deprived the Exchequer of well in excess of £1 million through unremitted NICs and tax deductions.
The FCSA are urging employment businesses and contractors to ensure that the companies they are doing business with are the real thing by double-checking with Companies House or, for FCSA members, on the FCSA website. Employment businesses should take great care to ensure that any requests to change destination bank accounts from an umbrella or accountant are legitimate and to pay careful attention to company registered numbers and names.
This form of corporate ID theft is all too easy, and the damage it does to all the parties involved is substantial and lasting. I urge the authorities to take immediate action to bring this criminal activity to an end. I’d also urge government to give the Registrar of Companies the power to quickly and without delay strike of companies which are so obviously clones.
Glassdoor find 43% of black employees
feel the impact of pay gap
A Glassdoor survey of 2,000 full-time workers has revealed that more than 2 in 5 black employees (43 per cent) have personally experienced a pay gap because of their ethnicity or think this pay inequality exists in their current workplace. In contrast, over half (57 per cent) of white workers think there is no ethnicity gap at their company.
The majority of black workers (66 per cent) think their employer needs to do more to close the ethnicity pay gap within their company. But among white workers this figure reduces to just 40 per cent. And with black professionals holding less than 2 per cent of the UK’s management and leadership positions, there is little room at the top of companies to advocate for change.
"Two in five black employees (43 per cent) have personally experienced a pay gap because of their ethnicity or think this pay inequality exists in their current workplace"
Furthermore, over one in two black workers (51 per cent) think the ethnicity pay gap has widened in the last 2 years. In comparison, 29 per cent of white employees believe the same. So what should companies do to close the ethnicity pay gap? Almost six in ten black employees (57 per cent) believe the solution would be to increase pay transparency.
Glassdoor Economic Research have also publish a list of the top 25 UK companies for diversity and inclusion. Economists analysed more than 290,000 reviews by UK-based employees who each shared anonymous feedback and ratings on their employer’s approach to diversity and inclusion.
Biotech and pharmaceutical company European Bioinformatics Institute (EBI) was ranked number 1 on the list by employees. Headquartered in Cambridge, the company specialises in biology data. EBI is a member of the Equality in Science Programme and is committed to creating and sustaining a culture in which diversity is celebrated and all are treated equally.
The top 10 UK companies for diversity and inclusion are:
- European Bioinformatics Institute (4.9 Glassdoor Diversity & Inclusion rating out of 5)
- Zscaler (4.7)
- The Good Care Group (4.7)
- Policy Expert (4.7)
- Waterman Aspen (4.7)
- Revolent (4.7)
- Medidata Solutions (4.7)
- Autodesk (4.7)
- Faire (4.6)
- Tapi Carpets & Floors (4.6)
Eleven industries feature on the list; tech is the most represented sector, with 12 companies. The complete list of 25 companies is in the notes to editors and here.
Talking about the research, Glassdoor economist Lauren Thomas said: “Diversity and inclusion have been increasingly prioritised by employers in the last two years. And our list showcases a wide range of companies from multiple industries whose employees feel valued and included.“However, it is clear that more still needs to be done before equality can be achieved in the workplace. Increased transparency around diversity and inclusion isn’t easy, but it is a powerful way to highlight progress and incentivise accountability.”
Thomas added that while mandatory ethnicity pay gap reporting is still in discussion, many companies, including Glassdoor, are voluntarily publishing their diversity and inclusion reports.
Quiet quitting productivity danger
Robert Walters warns as 40 per cent of young workers vow to ‘act their wage’
A new poll from Robert Walters has found almost half of workers under the age of 30 have stated that they only intend to do the ‘bare minimum’ of their job description if their pay or progression remains unchanged. This phenomenon – termed ‘quiet quitting’ – is seeing young professionals performing just the basics of their job role, ensuring that they bring no further initiative or betterment to the position.
“This behaviour isn’t something entirely new – there have always been less motivated individuals in the workplace,’ says Toby Fowlston, CEO. “However, the real concern here is that unlike those few workers who tend to consciously be less productive at work – ‘quiet quitting’ is often a subconscious act borne out of frustrations toward the workplace.
“It is easy for managers to pull their employees up on lack of productivity, but unless they get to the bottom of the ‘why’ their motivation has dropped, then quiet quitting could well become a silent movement that has a damaging effect on businesses productivity and profitability,” Fowlston adds.
According to recruiter Robert Walters, the leading reason for workers under the age of 30 choosing to ‘quit quietly’ is pay. Whilst it may have been a record year for pay increases – with those moving to a new employer getting pay hikes of +25 per cent, and those remaining at the current company receiving +10-15 per cent increases – this isn’t close to the +54 per cent increase in household energy bills seen in April 2022, and the 80 per cent increase we’re anticipating in October.
The inability for wages to match cost of living is creating a culture of younger workers ‘acting their wage’ – younger workers suddenly feel heavily underpaid for their role due to rising costs and inflation and some are therefore refusing to do more outside the parameters of their job description.
When surveying managers, more than half feel that they are taking on more workload due to a dip in productivity from younger workers.
According to the poll, 39 per cent of managers state that hybrid and remote working makes it difficult to measure the output of their team – with a further 24 per cent stating that the flexibility to choose differing work patterns and hours means that there is no universal indictor for productivity, making it easier for ‘quiet quitters’ to go under the radar.
Toby comments: “Quiet quitting creates a real imbalance in the team – where engaged workers will find that they are having to pick up the slack or deal with the lack of output from their disengaged colleagues. This in turn will either burnout or frustrate those workers who are going above and beyond to deliver a high output.
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The D&I Key
WEC: Denis Pennel, managing director, World Employment Confederation on how hybrid work could be better for everyone.
As people head back to work this autumn after the summer break the issue of how and where they work is increasingly on the agenda. During more than two years of Covid-19 restrictions, home-working and hybrid arrangements have become the norm and we have proven that they can be highly successful. As is so often the case, necessity was the mother of invention.
The question now is how we best integrate these more flexible working models into our labour markets and balance remote working with presence in the office. One of the more enduring legacies of the pandemic has been a renewed focus on accommodating more flexible workforce solutions and this is significant because flexibility is also the key to making our workplaces more equitable, diverse and inclusive.
Today’s global workforce has never been more diverse. It encompasses young people, women, older workers, migrants, different ethnicities, disabled people, LGBTQ+ and many more. Clearly with people’s differing priorities and needs, it is not feasible to offer just one type of work model. Instead, we need a range of different labour contracts and approaches that offer workers greater freedom to choose where, when and how they work.
In our post-Covid world, workers’ desire for flexibility has moved from being a ‘nice to have’ to a ‘must have’. The LinkedIn Global Talent Trends Report 2022 records 63 per cent of workers citing work-life balance as a top priority when choosing a new job. Furthermore, the rapid growth in remote jobs has served to expand opportunities for workers and employers across many countries and research suggests that the share of jobs that are already remote stands at 16 per cent globally.
Flexibility is enabling many demographic groups to take advantage of work opportunities that would otherwise have been closed to them. Women, for example, are 24 per cent more likely to apply for remote roles than men due to the flexibility that they offer in juggling family/work responsibilities; while younger people, and particularly Gen Z, are often looking for flexibility in the work that they do in order to accommodate side hustles.
Flexibility is also crucial in integrating older workers and those with disabilities into the workforce.
Today, flexibility is also becoming a key value proposition for employers and a way for them to expand their pool of talent. Offering diverse forms of work and contractual arrangements is essential in responding to workers’ growing need for flexibility and also expands the opportunities open to organisations.
So where is this trend for greater flexibility going and how can we leverage it to promote diversity and stamp out inequalities in the workplace? One area where I believe that flexibility can make an important different is in addressing the challenges surrounding young people entering the workforce.
Young people were disproportionately affected by the Covid pandemic and its fallout. They lost out on traineeships and mentoring as well as on work opportunities. Global youth unemployment is now over 15 per cent - three times higher than adult unemployment1.
This impacts young people’s self-confidence and mental health as well as their long-term job prospects and must be addressed urgently.
Employers and HR services professionals need to go the extra mile in helping the next generation to find their way in navigating our disrupted employment landscape. Private employment services offer young people an important stepping-stone into the labour market.
They are able to smooth what can be an intimidating experience and provide holistic support that will set them up for success. Importantly, the sector also provides training in the hard and soft skills that they need to land a job.
The chronic labour shortages that we are currently experiencing around the world are largely a function of a mismatch between supply and demand. By skilling unemployed youth, we can work to bridge the gap while also setting people on the path to career success.
Young people are over-represented in the agency work sector compared with the overall employed population and students make up over 20 per cent of all agency workers. Many graduates and school leavers are not certain of which career path they want to follow and by working through agencies they can try their hand at different roles and sectors and discover where their passions lie. Our industry’s career guidance, coaching and training services can play a key role in meeting the needs and aspirations of individual workers – transitioning them into different roles and sectors and accelerating their future progress.
When it comes to integrating young people into the labour market at this difficult moment, the new trend for hybrid working and the flexibility and inclusivity that it brings, may also be vital components in ensuring that we avoid a lost generation.
More than ever, staffing companies are a partner of choice to enable flexibility, for both workers and businesses.
Ultimately, promoting diverse forms of work is increasing labour market diversity. Our sector has a proven track record in supporting minorities and vulnerable groups to enter the workforce, therefore facilitating more diverse and inclusive workplaces. We now have a unique opportunity to leverage that further!
Do you think the hybrid workplace will be more diverse?
- Requires careful management
Up Close: Against a world of challenges, Focus Cloud Group has found investing in growth always pays off.
For Lloyd Gordon, CEO of European IT recruitment group, Focus Cloud, nothing, not even a recession or a pandemic, will stop him from having faith in achieving his ambitions and those of his staff. Having left his role as a recruiter and set up on his own as an economic slump loomed in 2015, he refused to allow the economic negativity to impact the potential of his business. The entrepreneur tackled the pandemic with similar gusto, not only ensuring the company retained staff, but also growing the business.
The foundations of success
“I think for any big biller in recruitment there comes a point where you’re looking for that next ‘big thing’ to push yourself further,” says Lloyd. “For me, I’d spent almost a decade working in ERP and cloud recruitment for another firm, billing well over a million every year in my final four to five years. I was successful, but I knew I needed to get out of my comfort zone and push myself to do more. That’s why I quit and set up on my own.”
The plan for Lloyd was always to grow the business and become a global cloud recruitment powerhouse, ambitions which didn’t slow during the pandemic. “By the end of 2019 the business was in great shape,” he says. “We had a strong team, a strong brand and were making a profit. When the pandemic hit in 2020, like everyone else, we were worried about the uncertainty. But for me, the people behind Focus Cloud were the priority and we ensured we kept everyone in a job.”
With demand for cloud recruitment solutions increasing during the pandemic, it wasn’t long before the business found itself needing to grow, with the firm recruiting people who had lost their jobs as a result of the pandemic and ending 2020 in profit.
That’s not to say that setting up a new business is smooth sailing, though, as Lloyd attests: “It’s definitely tough, both financially, professionally and personally. The first year in business was difficult and there were moments where I was starting to worry, but I kept going and by the end of our first year of trading we’d reported a profit.”
A cultural connection
With the business well and truly growing by 2021, Lloyd began exploring next steps. While Private Equity investment didn’t feel right at the time, an introduction to Jonathan Wright, chairman of Cognitive Group, set the wheels in motion that would lead to the eventual creation of Focus Cloud Group.
We hadn’t yet cracked the Microsoft recruitment market and Jonathan knew that. Throughout my entire career I’d tracked the success of Cognitive Group, but it was only once the introductions were made between myself and Jon Keen, that I realised the powerful potential the two brands had.
For the CEO of Cognitive Group, the cultural connection that he felt the two businesses had really sealed the deal. “There’s always been the potential to take Cognitive Group into global markets, but we hadn’t found a partner that really fit with our business culturally,” Jon explains.
“As a company, our people-first culture is one of our biggest strengths,” he continues. “We have a ‘C-for-life’ model that we live by, which essentially means we are constantly asking ourselves and those around us, ‘what behaviour will make this customer, contractor or colleague work with Cognitive for life?’. It’s the latter group of peers that can often be overlooked in a recruitment business, but from day one we’ve recognised that we’re only as good as our people. This focus has worked for us so far and it translates into a combination of staff retention and company growth.
Not only can we boast that over half of the team have worked with us for more than six years, but this value-based approach has also led to Cognitive placing its 3000th experienced hire into the Microsoft channel – a milestone few others can claim.”
Putting people first
For Jon, this new partnership has value beyond the ability to grow the company. It is also giving his teams a financial reward. “Our staff own 20% of the Cognitive brand and this investment enabled all shareholders to benefit, with further significant equity opportunities set out for this next period of expansion.”
“While over the course of Cognitive’s growth there have been investment opportunities from other potential partners, there wasn’t the connection between the values and ambition that we have as a business. With Lloyd and the Focus Cloud team, though, there’s so much potential to help both brands really excel.
Lloyd is incredibly inspiring to be around and he has that level of ambition that we need to take the company to the next level. His team have already tackled the global market and combining that knowledge with our Microsoft experience will be the catalyst to push boundaries as Focus Cloud Group.”
Through this new partnership, the new brand will be able to provide global recruitment solutions across major cloud platforms Microsoft, Workday, SAP, Salesforce and ServiceNow, as well as the Life Science and Cyber Security industries. The new group will be headed by Lloyd as CEO and Jonathan Wright, who becomes the chairperson for the new group.
With a strong global reach in the Cloud recruitment market, the two businesses are aiming for ambitious growth plans, with global expansion in the pipeline and targets outlined for a minimum 20% growth per year.
As Focus Cloud and Cognitive Group have shown, putting people first and having faith in the team and yourself, can deliver top-notch results. But it is that element of belief in what you and your team can do that really stands out. As Lloyd comments: “Sometimes in your career and personal lives you just have to be bold. Don’t let the negativity in the news or the economy stop you from reaching your own ambitions. I think sometimes negativity can become an excuse. Stay positive, have faith in yourself and surround yourself with people who have the same mindset, and you can achieve anything. I’m really grateful for the support we’ve had for the business – those who have helped us get here certainly won’t be forgotten.”
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The Talent is
Analysis: Ger Doyle, head of Experis, Digital & Business Innovation of ManpowerGroup on how to secure in demand tech talent.
While much has been written about how businesses will become even more dependent on digital skills over the next few years, the labour market is still struggling to find a solution for the global skills gap crisis. Digital transformation amid the pandemic has not only driven demand for IT skills but has also left non-IT professionals unable to cope with digital tools. In fact, our ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey finds that one in five organisations globally is struggling to find skilled tech talent and that IT/data skills are the most difficult to find for nearly three in 10 organisations.
As digital transformation and acute skill shortages accelerate, the key question is how do organisations best grow talent to secure the crucial combination of in-demand technical skills together with the soft skills that are critical for business success?
Here is how.
Find the hidden talent
If the talent shortage has taught us one thing, it’s that employers need to be more adaptable when it comes to unlocking new sources of talent. They need to recruit based on potential, not necessarily past experience. Traditional approaches focused on filtering candidates according to qualifications may fail to identify those recruits who have crucial raw qualities that employers desire.
With so many organisations competing to recruit IT workers from the same talent pool, there is a golden opportunity for employers to look further afield. In the US alone, there could be more than 27 million hidden workers, many of whom have been overlooked due to a lack of formal qualifications, health issues, disadvantaged backgrounds or family care responsibilities.
Recruitment strategies that embrace greater gender and ethnic diversity will be significant in the hunt for IT talent. Accenture, for example, has set itself a target of reaching 50/50 gender equality in its workforce by 2025. Similarly, ManpowerGroup is on track to achieve 50 percent women in leadership by 2025 and, together with Verizon, has provided support to Women’s CoLab, a library of free resources that helps women advance and grow in their careers.
To identify hidden talent, HR managers should do three things. First, look to search and recruit candidates in untapped talent pools. Second, take a holistic approach, considering how to attract talent while ensuring a culture of diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging to support talent retention. Finally, they should revamp and tailor the candidate experience based on expertise, not employer expectations.
A data driven approach
To get better results from recruitment, retention and HR strategies, companies should also look to technology itself to leverage data-analytics tools, all of which can ultimately help make better decisions and reduce attrition as it relates to hiring tech talent.
Data-driven recruitment uses technologies such as data management and machine learning to analyse large talent pools to identify candidates with the right skills, experience and mindset. As more data becomes available, the organisation secures greater insight. For example, ManpowerGroup’s Experis Academy enables employers to match candidates to a set of minimum-level criteria so that recruits can start work straight away. It then builds a bespoke training pathway for each individual to develop the required competencies.
This means the organisation acquires the skills it needs now, and employees increase their market potential.
The results speak for themselves. By using data science, employers can begin to strip out biases and hire best-fit candidates. There are already moves in this direction:
76 percent of organisations with more than 100 employees now rely on assessment tools, such as aptitude and personality tests for external hiring.
Some employers choose to go further with data science and entrust more of their hiring processes to technology, such as artificial intelligence (AI). This may sit uneasily with some HR leaders, but when a study compared humans against hiring algorithms for more than 300,000 hires in high-turnover jobs, it found that hires chosen by AI stayed longer and performed equally or even better. The algorithms outperformed humans by at least 25 percent.
Once staff are hired, data-driven technologies can also help them acquire the skills they need to develop. The Experis Career Accelerator tool helps employees set up personalised professional development programs by mapping their current skills, assessing these against what employers are looking for, and building a tailor-made menu of continuous learning.
Open the middle
Too often, the conversation about the technology sector skills gap focuses on the most experienced and entry-level roles and ignores the majority in the “middle of the pyramid.” This is where people have strong technical skills and an intuitive sense of the business but may lack exposure to emerging technologies and a roadmap for their future development.
Rather than struggling to recruit from a diminishing pool, firms can retrain existing staff at all levels to deal with the demands of the new workplace. This is about rescaling, reskilling and upskilling people so that they have what it takes to be future-ready. It’s about betting on potential more than ready-made talent.
Lead with Confidence
Companies guided by culture and values will be those that best adapt to the new workforce reality and win the war on talent. It’s hardly surprising therefore that seven in 10 workers say having leaders that they can trust and follow is important to them. Two in three also want to work for organisations that share their values.
A leader’s ability to drive organisational and cultural transformation in a world where two-thirds of corporate leaders now believe that culture is preeminent, is therefore key in helping attract and retain the best talent within tech.
Leaders have an opportunity to harness digital technologies to support their teams in a wide range of value-added activities — everything from predictive analytics technologies that give early warning of labor demand and supply issues, to sentiment analysis that tracks employee engagement.
The key for businesses will be to show how culture and values guide talent decision-making and ensure that these principles translate to employee-centric policies and benefits. Finally, companies and business leaders will need to ensure that promises turn into action when it comes to prioritising employee well-being in order to retain top tech talent in the future of work.
Technology: TritonExec’s managing director, marketing, Caitlin Dingle on how digital transformation impacts on executive search.
Over the last few decades, every single industry has shifted and been massively disrupted by digitisation – and digital transformation has become an inescapable concept across today’s business landscape. This transformation is being extended to business’s talent strategies, and therefore this new digital has meant profound changes in the way leadership talent is found.
Executive search firms of the past are transactional in nature – a business needs an executive, a mandate is opened, a search firm is retained, and a search to pinpoint and qualify an executive is carried out – but with this new economy, that approach simply isn’t enough. While the executive search industry has always relied on networks, collaboration, and relationships, the future of this industry relies on businesses adapting and utilising technology and data collection to streamline their processes and service offerings.
Tech solutions and hiring
There are multiple avenues to focus on technology and data in the executive search world: Tech-driven screening results in greater hiring efficiency and increased candidate success, while data collection applications help to speed the process and create an easier experience for hiring managers.
Tech-driven screening can include pre-employment aptitude, cognitive, domain and psychometric assessments, and can all be handled by technology and captured for data analysis. These tests can collect data around integrity, cognitive ability, personality, and can even be utilised retrospectively to paint a picture for businesses around cultural fit and leadership success and retention.
Leveraging a platform that stores all your candidate data, recruitment notes and information, and relevant documentation in a single place is crucial in providing hiring managers ease and access to all the information needed to hire talent in today’s market effectively and efficiently. A client having access to dashboards detailing the search pipeline, specific candidate files, or overall search data creates a more collaborative relationship. This type of technology equips clients, enabling them to make data-driven decisions. As a result, searches are completed with faster time-to-hire, more efficiently overall, and with better attrition rates.
It would be remiss not to discuss the digitisation of the workforce and its impact to the executive search market. Businesses have shifted their thinking about where we work and how we work. This type of digital transformation means there remain virtually zero borders in the fight for talent. Technology allows us to improve hiring efficiency at the core of the process, and collaborative communication tools allow us to efficiently share information globally.
Interviews are routinely conducted virtually; panel video interviews and virtual roundtable events can provide the recruiter with a much clearer sense of candidate behaviour and personality than a telephone interview would. AI technology can be applied to video interviews to analyse facial expressions and grade verbal responses to predict job performance and provide a more detailed assessment of personality traits. This, in turn, speeds up the recruitment process, allows for better personality and behaviour matching, and ultimately a more successful outcome.
Tools from the (digital) toolbox
By nature, executive positions take longer to fill, and such recruitment processes demand more frequent communication than hiring for entry or professional positions – a ‘white glove’ service that technology cannot replicate.
However – the right and relevant digital solutions grant recruiters the chance to further focus on this white-glove side of their service provision and the knock-on effect is positive for all stakeholders.
The deeper a search firm’s understanding of their client’s business, its culture, and the needs to be filled by the leaders they are placing, the more successful the outcome will be.
Therefore, we have seen technology and data help to curate a better understanding of how successful candidates will be in complex leadership roles. For example, by utilising data-based and predictive analysis-driven hiring, along with an array of digital tools – enabling customising search criteria and data collection to each company’s client specific needs, recruiters can help improve the selection process and ensure an executive’s future success and job longevity.
In our experience these types of data and insights around talent pools have been used to better define our client’s market strategy and to drive client-specific initiatives, such as improving diversity, finding a leader with specific skills, or hiring high potential professionals.
In one instance, we focused on hiring a global digital consultancy client its next generation of leaders, a project we referred to as the LDP, or Leadership Development Program. Relying on tech-driven screening as well as data collated through client and project immersion, we deployed a full white glove recruitment offering and were able to pinpoint and target highly competitive and selective MBA graduates. The program resulted in over 125 leaders placed across the business, with 92 per cent retention rate two years post hiring – most of whom have continued to accelerate their careers through internal promotions and upward movement in the business.
Tech to bolster team hires
As companies attempt to scale at pace, it’s equally crucial that they hire strong teams of leaders underneath their executives. Creating processes bolstered by technology that allows our clients to quickly hire at scale was crucial. Our project-based hiring services work with various enterprise strategies and create an exclusive model that shifts hiring from transactional to growth-focused and proactive – and these processes can be conducted entirely virtually.
These team build events traditionally begin with a kick-off cocktail party (ideally held in person, but online as well), followed by two days of individual panel interviews. By the end of the three-day event, we will have taken candidates on a journey culminating in a full team of new hires that are completely immersed in our clients’ company culture from the outset. This hugely effective marriage of technology and culture-exposure has dealt with forging chemistry – something technology will never be able to replicate on its own.
Our most recent successes of project-hiring employing this strategy is placing twelve revenue generators for a high-growth fintech in just eight weeks and helping to build two teams (twelve sales executives and ten client account managers) for a professional services consultancy. Having conducted this process multiple times, it’s easy to say our success lies in our exceptional team’s aptitude and our client’s ability to be fast decisionmakers, however, the capability for us to hire this volume of high-calibre executive candidates with our white-glove standard, is largely due to utilising technology to support the entire process.
Our technology-backed future
This year, TritonExec became part of Prytek, the multinational corporation of firms that pioneered a model needed by global companies today: ‘Business Operations Platform-as-a-service’ – a complete package of related supplier services and technology that would otherwise be bought individually at higher costs, requiring more management and extraneous resources. We look forward to explaining how the partnership of technology and service provision will widen the scope of full-service recruitment, changing the way businesses look at talent acquisition.
Recruitment will always be a people business, but technology’s role in streamlining, refining and improving the process is something the industry has to constantly embrace, stay ahead of and work alongside to safeguard the industry’s future.
The Recruitment Network: Maintaining high performance levels for the road ahead.
Optimistic or Pessimistic?
After what has been the most extraordinary period for our sector over these past 18 months, yet again the economic cycles are starting to spin in a slightly different direction.
A downturn is upon us and the headlines have already been written. The post-covid honeymoon period recruitment businesses have been enjoying is now over and we’ll start to see our industry come crashing down once more like a house of cards.
Or will we?
Let’s get one fundamental thing straight, this is not a typical economic downturn ahead. Things are very different to the normal cycles we are used to, irrespective of what you might read in the paper… especially when it comes to the talent agenda.
Markets are still in dire need of talent.
In the UK alone we have lost over 3.5 million workers to a cocktail of Brexit, early retirees and younger generations remaining longer in full time education.
There are still record numbers of workers changing or looking to change jobs for a host of reasons born out of the covid era. Markets are desperately looking around for new types of emerging skills to attract in, and are simply struggling.
Sure, some organisations are downsizing, but they are hiring at the same time. They are using this time as a way to restructure their workforces, to settle the ship and reboot their talent agendas.
Sure, the markets in some areas are softening, but we are about to embark on one of the most fundamental transformations in the world of work as we know it, and the softening is just the forewarning of that.
And sure, there is a degree of uncertainty and nervousness everywhere, but having been through what we have been through, we all now know how to live with and get on with uncertainty, and we do just that.
Bring all this together and the reality is this… the demand for quality 3rd party recruitment support, from quality 3rd party agencies, is growing and will continue to increase. This has been the case for just about everyone in these last couple of frenetic years, but will filter down to only the quality agencies in the next stage of the cycle.
Those agencies with robust customer relationships, with embedded products and services.
These agencies are needed to help with the transformation as the markets continue to reorganise and restructure themselves. These agencies will be busy.
So, whilst the optimists and the pessimists are busy arguing whether the glass is half full or half empty right now, the opportunists will crack on and drink what is inside!
The Pulse – Checking the heartbeat of the market
We asked a handful of the TRN members how they are finding the markets right now.
This is what they said…
What’s happening in your markets right now?
- No change from the last 12 months
- Getting even busier!
- A slight softening in the market
- Really starting to dry up
The Recruitment Barometer
The innovators, early adopters and early majority, the most progressive recruiters will be doing all / most / some of the below better than others:
Excelling at Brand Building
Being strategic partners involved in talent strategy and co-designed solutions
Embracing and driving the D&I agenda
Offering Talent Intelligence and Insights
Be genuine experts/specialists
Offer value adding talent solution and services
Embracing the global workforce
Creating reoccurring revenue streams
Excel at candidate experience and engagement
Positively (and genuinely) impacting society
Personalise the employee experience
Offer flexibility to employees
Have leading edge tech stacks, excelling at automations, AI to become 24/7 recruiters
Be video led
Be genuine experts on sourcing
Build a culture and employee experience/brand for the next generation
Invest in marketing and brand building
Outsource/automate repeatable and transactional activity
Have strong learning culture
Offer best in class health and wellbeing support
Identify and attract different pools of talent
Be data led and obsessive about it
Evolve away from 360
Overinvest in leadership at every level
Build a coaching culture
Build an employer brand fit for the next generation
Allow people to work in flow and focus on their strengths
Free TRN events
Every month, TRN host a series of free roundtable events for Recruitment Leaders. Come and join us – you don’t have to be a member to get involved.
Business Development Strategies roundtable
Time: 09:00 - 09:45 (GMT) Tue 4th Oct 2022
Scaling up: Strategies for growth roundtable
Time: 10:00 - 10:45 (GMT) Wed 5th Oct 2022
360 Vs 180 Vs 120 Modelling Roundtable
Time: 09:00 - 09:45 (GMT) Fri 7th Oct 2022
Flowstate - how to create time to do our most productive work
Time: 09:00 - 09:45 (GMT) Tue 11th Oct 2022
Time: 10:00 - 10:45 (GMT) Wed 12th Oct 2022
Onboarding, Training and Developing Employees Roundtable
Time: 09:00 - 09:45 (GMT) Thu 13th Oct 2022
Hiring and retaining recruiters
Time: 09:00 - 09:45 (GMT) Tue 18th Oct 2022
Commission Structures and Incentives, including EMI Schemes and Flowering Shares
Time: 10:00 - 10:45 (GMT) Wed 19th Oct 2022
Free TRN events
The Ultimate Brand and Social Media Strategy
Time: 09:00 - 09:45 (GMT) Thu 20th Oct 2022
Preparing for the Downturn
Time: 09:00 - 09:45 (GMT) Tue 25th Oct 2022
Time: 09:00 - 09:45 (GMT) Thu 27th Oct 2022
Spotlight On… The Profit Maximiser™
How do you measure success in your recruitment business?
Well, profit should be right up there and not just bottom-line profit.
You should also have a healthy fixation on all the areas of your business that contribute to that bottom line. Think net contribution per recruiter and per fee earner, yield per customer and per opportunity, candidate lifetime value and so on…
We believe there are so many opportunities that a recruitment business leader has to find an uplift in profitability just by running a regular ROI audit across your business and this is why we created the Profit Maximiser™ tool.
Prepared to Make a Difference
Innovation: Talent International’s global CEO Mark Nielsen discusses the creation of their DEI Toolkit.
Following the release of our all-new DEI Hiring Toolkit, we’ve been even more focused on not only boosting our own internal DEI strategies – but helping others do the same.
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) are words that gain a lot of attention, especially on professional platforms like LinkedIn. While this certainly isn’t a bad thing, it’s important they’re seen as more than just ‘words on a page’.
It’s not spoken words that make the most impact in the end; it’s the actions behind them. Which is why we wanted to create and release the DEI Hiring Toolkit in the first place, while also being transparent about our own initiatives here at Talent (and acknowledging we are still on a journey ourselves).
Why create the Toolkit?
Our motivations for creating the DEI Hiring Toolkit sat in two main areas. Firstly, we wanted to showcase our commitment and focus to DEI in a way that would deliver true value to others. That is, hiring managers wanting to hire more inclusively and not knowing where to start. Our Toolkit is by no means a comprehensive all-in guide, but we believe it offers key introductory tips to those at the start of their journey.
Secondly, recruitment is at the heart of what we do. As a result, we’ve noticed a significant increase in companies wanting to hire a more diverse range of candidates, with many clients coming to us for advice on how to achieve this.
While we are not DEI experts here at Talent, there’s no ignoring the fact that many organisations come to us for help across all aspects of their hiring - and this includes more inclusive recruitment.
So, we wanted to create a resource that we could share to deliver this help to those who have come directly to us. And, while we’re only in a position to offer introductory advice, we created the content for this Toolkit in the hope it will deliver true value to not just our clients, but everyone who reads it.
What can you achieve?
Sure, we’ve created the DEI Hiring Toolkit to provide initial tips and advice on how to hire with DEI in mind. But what are the actual benefits of this? Why actually bother?
From greater employee satisfaction to increased profitability, there are an endless number of reasons why DEI should be prioritised in the workplace. In fact, if we were to list every single benefit, we’d be here all day. So, to save your reading time (and save our typing hands), here are some of the most notable improvements diverse hiring has been proven to achieve.
Bigger talent pool
Commitment to DEI is something many candidates hugely prioritise when considering a new employer. More than 3 in 4 job seekers and employees report that a diverse workforce is an important factor, while 1 in 3 job seekers would avoid applying to a company where there is a lack of diversity among its workforce. This figure is even higher among underrepresented groups.
The bottom line is this: providing a genuine commitment to DEI through real action (i.e. having a diverse workforce) will help attract more candidates to your roles. This will result in a wider talent pool, giving you a higher chance of hiring the best people. It’s a win win.
Often, the direct root of stronger profits is enhanced employee performance. And (you guessed it) diverse teams are proven to perform better and be more productive.
Diverse teams are generally more innovative and better at problem solving, which is thought to be down to a range of diverse perspectives and thoughts coming together. If you have two groups, one made up of a diverse range of people, and the other including people of the exact same demographic, the diverse group are naturally more likely to be more innovative in their approach - simply as a byproduct of different perspectives combining for one goal.
Consistently relying on groups of similar people to make decisions could result in stale outcomes and a lack of innovation (i.e. not something you’d want for your company, right?).
A McKinsey report demonstrated that companies in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity are 35% more likely to have financial returns above their industry’s average. Harvard Business Review echoed these findings, showing that more diverse companies report 19% more revenue than less diverse counterparts.
Findings like this clearly show that being more DEI-focused in your hiring isn’t just the ethically-right thing to do - it’s also good for business. And, with profits and finances being a key indicator of company performance in the eyes of many professionals, this isn’t something to brush over.
The bottom line
Diversity, equity and inclusion are certainly more than just words on a page – the proof is in the pudding.
So, if you’re just starting out on your DEI journey and aren’t sure where to begin, our DEI Hiring Toolkit is definitely a worthwhile place to start.
A key aspect of this Toolkit goes beyond the how-to’s of hiring. We’ve also included a variety of personal stories from people with experience in different areas of the DEI space. From neurodiversity to ageism, we’ve had the privilege of giving a platform to a range of inspiring stories, each with their own pieces of advice built on authentic insight from those truly in the know.
Whether you’re keen to make your hiring processes more inclusive, or expand your own knowledge within the DEI space, our Hiring Toolkit will have something for you.
*<a href="https://www.therecruitmentnetwork.com/">Visit the Recruitment Network online</a>*
**Coming together is the beginning.
Keeping together is progress.
Working together is success.**
The Power of Diversity
Diversity: Juliet Rice, head of client services at Morson Group, London on how they're helping UK Power Networks achieve a more diverse workforce.
The utilities sector is notoriously challenging for recruiters. While requiring a broad range of skills, from leadership, through to highly-skilled white collar engineering roles and site-based personnel, the sector suffers from an image problem. Maintaining utilities networks may be vital, but it is not as appealing as some industries, and rising energy prices in the midst of the cost-of-living crisis mean that candidates wi