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Recruitment Watch - October 2012

Welcome to the latest edition of Mishcon de Reya's Recruitment Watch, prepared by the Firm's Recruitment Services Group. Its aim is to provide those involved in the recruitment sector with a snapshot of what has been happening in the world of recruitment in the last month.

News

The coalition government's Minister of State for Trade and Investment has identified recruitment as a UK export that can help to power the country's economic growth. Moreover, figures quoted by the Minister suggest the industry is already in the forefront of taking the UK overseas.

Speaking at APSCo's Export Your Way Into Growth forum last week, Lord Green said that 28 per cent of British recruitment companies are working internationally, compared to just 20 per cent of SME's generally. He went on to say that recruitment companies should take the opportunity to support the British service sector overseas to facilitate the UK's economic growth. He believes there is a global respect for the integrity of UK service industries – but more British companies could take the step to operate overseas.
Global Recruiter, October 2012

Organisations with recruitment interests performed strongly in the The Sunday Times 2012 Top Track 250, a league table that ranks mid-market firms by sales. The list is intended to complement the newspaper’s Top Track 100, which was published earlier this year. This year’s table featured 13 companies with recruitment interests compared with 10 last year. Eight companies were represented in the top 100 compared with only five in 2011. Tim Evans, managing director of Boxington Corporate Finance, compiler of Recruiter’s Fast 50, tells Recruiter the table represents a “very strong showing from recruitment”.

A number of companies in The Sunday Times also featured in Recruiter’s Fast 50 2012. Technical recruiters with global operations in oil & gas were particularly prominent, with technical oil & gas recruiter Fircroft in 10th place, with sales of £562m, the highest ranked of the 13. In June, private equity firm Equistone Partners Europe paid £140m to buy a “significant stake” in the company. Fircroft ranked 12th in Recruiter’s 2012 Fast 50. Fircroft was followed by Alexander Mann Solution in 18th place (£517m) and technical/engineering recruiter Morson in 23rd position (£508m). Multi-sector recruiter Cordant Group was 30th.

Technical/engineering recruiter NES Global Talent placed 64th (£380m). Earlier this month, private equity firm Graphite Capital sold the company to private investment vehicle AEA Investors for £234m.
Recruiter, 15 October 2012

Market

Job vacancies continued to increase in September, with the rate of growth accelerating to a 13-month high, says the latest monthly report by The Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) and KPMG, published today.

Demand for both permanent and temporary workers rose at faster rates during the latest survey period.

The REC/KPMG Report on Jobs September 2012 showed that job postings were up from 53.1% in August to 54.2% in September. It also showed that job vacancies were up 3.1% on the same period last year. REC chief executive Kevin Green said: "This month's figures show that the temporary labour market has boucebackability.

"The resilience of the UK labour market in the face of what official figures class as a double dip recession continues to be remarkable."

The report shows that temporary staff billings rose for the second month running, with the rate of expansion quickening to a 13-month high. Green commented: "This increase in the use of temps could be a sign of optimism among employers, and that they are gearing up for future growth.

"It certainly puts paid to any idea that changes to Agency Worker Regulations last year dissuaded British businesses from using temps as a vital component of their workforce."

He added: "The data provides encouraging signs for the economy, with demand for staff continuing to increase and candidate availability rising. However, we know that confidence is fragile and a big external shock could derail us from this promising course."
Tom Newcombe, HR Magazine, 8 October 2012

Trends/Practice

Mobile devices have been shown to have made significant inroads into the recruitment process with one in five recruitment searches now being made on a mobile device. This statistic has been put forward by Google's Emma Frazer, Head of Industry for Recruitment at Google, prior to the forthcoming Mobile Recruitment Conference in London on the 23rd of October. "Job seekers want to be able to search for a job anytime, anyplace and not just via a desktop anymore" said Mike Taylor from Web Based Recruitment and organiser of the conference. "The proportion of mobile search figures will only get bigger in the future and the challenge now for Recruiters is to make sure that they are in a position to offer a mobile-friendly experience to job seekers to keep up with the demand."

Taylor believes that the recruitment industry is behind the curve on mobile, currently failing to satisfy demand and often not giving a positive experience. "A couple of weeks ago we completed a review which showed that 94 per cent of FTSE 100 companies failed to offer a mobile-enabled careers section to help job seekers easily navigate and search for jobs," he said. "Clearly with one in five recruitment searches now being made via a mobile device these FTSE 100 companies will risk damaging their brand and reputation, as well as potentially losing candidates to their competitors, unless they quickly do something about it."

Some recruiters are seeing as much as 30 per cent of their web traffic coming from a mobile device and Taylor believes it is no longer acceptable for companies to ignore mobile as a recruitment channel: "There really is no excuse for companies not knowing how many mobile visitors they get to their website as the information is readily available within their website analytics data," he notes. "Once companies have an understanding of the data, the next step is to plan a mobile recruitment strategy to ensure that visitors can easily search for jobs, as this is what job seekers will be expecting from now on."
Global Recruiter, October 2012

"Flexible working needs to be more innovative to attract highly skilled technology workers," says Darwin 90% of businesses interviewed in Europe by Darwin Recruitment offer flexibility in the workplace but considering the recruitment challenge for certain IT and Telecom skills, Darwin questions whether they go far enough.

In a series of surveys conducted by Darwin across five European countries, results show that the vast majority of companies offer flexibility around daily or weekly shift variations but few, if any, go beyond this. In a market that competes heavily for top tech skills Darwin asks whether more firms should be offering annualised hours or even annual secondments that keep strong skills within the business. “The IT & Telecoms sector never ceases to stop innovating to bring enterprise services and consumer customers what they want, so we think they should apply some of this ‘Blue Sky’ to their labour resources” says Paul Kirby, CEO and Joint Founder of Darwin Recruitment.

The global industry is suffering from skills shortages and while flexible working practices are desired by workers they only go so far and are generally designed to benefit the business. “Secondment is an important concept to bring new products to market in quick timeframes and although Darwin has a strong contractor base that can take up flexible assignments we can also see benefits to employers of offering permanent workers the flexibility of annual working on projects that take them away from their existing teams” says Paul. The surveys revealed that a third of companies showed themselves to be extremely willing to relocate staff to locations where they required the skills the most, but nearly all offered daily or weekly shift patterns in their flexibility terms with annual secondment on projects generally taken up by contractors to avoid the issues of guaranteeing positions after the assignment was finished.
Recruitment International, 23 October 2012

Companies

Michael Page, the white-collar recruiter, has warned it will undershoot full-year profit expectations and cut more staff to respond to tough economic conditions that have eroded the group’s fees. The specialist in placing people in accounting, financial and legal jobs said it had moved to offset adverse macroeconomic conditions by trimming its staff in all regions except Asia-Pacific, where it generates a quarter of its profits. “Assuming that there isn’t some sort of recovery around the corner I will continue to react accordingly,” said Steve Ingham, chief executive of Michael Page, when asked if there would be further job cuts in the coming months.

Gross profit for the quarter to September 30 fell 11 per cent to £127m compared with the same period last year, and by 8 per cent compared with the £138m recorded in the second quarter to June – itself also down by almost 7 per cent on the previous year. Mr Ingham said he had expected the second half of the year to be difficult and that the group was particularly affected by the Eurozone crisis because it is the market leader in the region.

“If people aren’t confident about the [economic] outlook then hiring is not top of the agenda,” said Mr Ingham.
Vanessa Kortekaas and Michael Kavanagh, Financial Times, October 8 2012

The London office of Henderson Scott will see the opening of a new Emerging Technology division. The new venture will be led by Callum Wallace, who has been promoted to the position of divisional manager following a highly successful period serving the company as a senior consultant in Singapore. The move has been triggered by the new opportunities which are appearing in the technology sector inspired by the uptake and popularity of cloud computing. "A fundamental aspect of cloud computing is that it is facilitating a comprehensive change in the market," says Wallace, "in addition to providing its own immediate solution. The cloud based model is already enabling the rapid development of other facets of the IT and telecommunications industry, which in turn is acting as an accelerant to the broad adoption of cloud-based services. A prime example of this is in the creation and uptake of the expanding range of mobile devices and mobile applications, and their integration into consumer and corporate environments."
Global Recruiter, October 23 2012

Innovative and fast growing revenue growth consultancy RecruiterHub has now launched in Bristol, Leeds and Nottingham to complement its existing London Hub.

Attendees at the recent launch events heard from Managing Director Russell Bennett and Director of Training Judith Armatage (formerly of REC), about the carefully selected range of services offered by this straight-talking, hands-on consultancy.

RecruiterHub, launched in 2009, has experienced consistent growth over the past three years by working alongside SME recruitment businesses in a range of sectors including IT and pharmaceutical. In addition to its respected business advisory service, it now offers high-impact commercial training, ‘The Academy’ – a unique in-house training programme for new starters, and, 'Intel' – its bespoke market intelligence service and Coaching.

Having a team of strategically located advisers has enabled RecruiterHub to expand its offering to the Midlands, North and South West as well as London.

Bennett says of the expansion; “We have worked with many clients to help them diversify, expand and even bring some back from the brink of commercial failure. However, in order to be able to meet growing demand we needed to bring other good people into our team. With these key people now in place, people with considerable industry experience, we are able to work with many more recruitment businesses.
Recruitment International, 24 October 2012

Michael Page International, the corporate group, has today announced that it will be rebranding to PageGroup and modernising the look of its core brands to Michael Page, Page Personnel and Page Executive.

PageGroup has put in place the new brand structure to bring together the best of the entire Group and to capitalise on the diversity of opportunities within professional recruitment that lie outside the remit of its original, core brand.

Steve Ingham, CEO of PageGroup believes that the corporate identity PageGroup, provides the company with a structure that reflects the strong growth to date and potential growth of its brands.

“Our Page Personnel and executive search brands have reached a significant size and market reputation, so we felt now was the right time to create a new brand structure to consolidate our operations and maximise the opportunities available within professional recruitment globally.

“In some countries Page Personnel now employs more people than Michael Page and we want to reflect our growth, diversification and remit with a new corporate group name that represents our brands equally,” Mr Ingham said.
Recruitment International, 23 October 2012

Mishcon de Reya

Mishcon de Reya's Recruitment Watch is published by the Firm's Recruitment Services Group, established to meet the demands of our clients within the recruitment sector. The cross departmental Group is made up of specialist lawyers who have extensive experience within the sector and a proven track record in being able to meet the growing demand for a one-stop service amongst their recruitment clients.