Recruitment Leaders 2022: Event Recap

Posted: 30th Mar 2022
The lowdown on our Recruitment Leaders 2022 event.


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Yesterday, we hosted our first (still virtual) event of the year.

Focusing on the Recruitment sector, we were delighted to host sector veteran Ann Swain, Global CEO of APSCo (The Association of Professional Staffing Companies), and Carl Swansbury, award-winning Corporate Financier who has advised on the sale of numerous Recruitment firms, alongside our own panel of experts. We also heard from Mark Roberts, Managing Director at gap personnel – who sold his firm Japanese BeNEXT, listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

If you’re interested in growing a recruitment agency, this is the event (and recap) for you.

2:03 | Adding “pound note” value to your recruitment business

Carl Swansbury

Carl talked us through what a Director who would be open to a future sale should know.

He discussed how a firm’s Enterprise Value is calculated (Maintainable Earnings x Variable Multiple) and how that is used to calculate an Equity Value (Enterprise Value – Debt + Cash +\- Working Capital), which is the value shareholders actually receive upon sale.

They point we heard from Carl, and later in discussion with Mark, is that there many things Directors can do to increase their Enterprise Value prior to sale, which will significantly impact value upon sale. Maintainable Earnings can be managed through EBITDA (organic and inorganic growth) and the Variable Multiple can be managed through recurring revenue, scale (e.g. geography, markets, products, etc.) or reducing risk (e.g. reliance on particular revenue streams).

Managing these aspects needs to happen sooner, rather than later; housekeeping and planning for any potential sale usually takes around 24 months before a typical six month transaction period. Earn out periods after that can typically take 12-24 months.

35:11 | Why planning in a recruitment firm could trump strategy

Ann Swain

Ann’s been close to the industry throughout her career and, as Global CEO of the leading recruitment sector body, her perspective is invaluable.

We begin by hearing Ann’s perspective on changes she’s seen in the industry. Over time, competitive lines dissolved completely information has gone from scarcity to abundance (thanks, LinkedIn) – leading us to conclude the past is no longer a good predictor of the future.

In 2019; competitors, the market and disruptors were the enemy. Today; it’s inflation, skills shortages and legislative change.

Planning (goals around who, how, when), she argues, is far better aligned to today’s environment than strategy (a detailed assessment of situation to desired future). Planning is more agile and allows faster results. As long as your North Star – your vision – is defined, that will be enough guidance for you and your business.

“It is not the strongest of species that survives, nor the most intelligent. It is the one most adaptable to change.” – Charles Darwin

1:01:39 | New primary research on recruitment consultant productivity

Bn Tomlinson, Andy Lewis

Atlas Cloud experts Ben and Andy talk through new research conducted in-house, from 1,000 recruitment consultants across the globe.

Their unique scoring system tracks employee productivity experiences with technology across key industry variables like using a CRM, reformatting CVs, etc.

So what did they find? First of all, there’s a huge scope for development: 3.5 hours per day was found to be impacted by technology inefficiencies (not necessarily time lost overall, of course).

Looking deeper, Reformatting CVs and Video Conferencing scored the lowest, suggesting there’s the greatest scope for change. A quick win identified was Printing and Scanning issues were largely due to training inefficiencies (or lack of completely).

Andy talked us through how Atlas Cloud clients use this unique methodology to monitor their IT systems more effectively, giving us (as the provider) a more effective insight base for making proactive improvements to the overall system. It’s a real game changer!

1:16:30 | Minimising threats to your recruitment firm (featuring including more sector research)

Ben Tomlinson, James Thompson

Ben began by talking us through a unique threat: internal threats. That’s threats from your own employee base.

He used primary research from 1,000 recruitment consultants to show just how serious the threat of data theft from consultants (when leaving to join another agency) is. The answer is very serious!

Over 70% of recruiters said they would be “very likely” or “like” to take client/candidate data with them when moving from one agency to another. Around two-thirds said they knew other recruiters that had done the same.

But it doesn’t have to be that way! Limiting recruiters’ ability to do this in 2022 (without hampering their productivity) is fairly easy – either through device management or virtual desktop technology solutions.

James then discussed external threats to your firm. He analysed all of the 150 or so firms from the delegates signed up on the day and found some alarming statistics!

  • 80% of the firms had instances of breached passwords available online – including one firm that had over 52,000 passwords available!
  • 100% (all!) firms had obvious security weaknesses on their websites
  • Just over 50% of firms had weak protection against phishing, the most common form of attack

Atlas Cloud offers free mini audits like this to Recruitment firms. Claim your complementary report now!

1:31:47 | ‘Been there, done that’ – Carl talks with Mark about his successful acquisition

Carl Swansbury, Mark Roberts

We heard first hand how Mark purposefully managed all of the aspects that Carl went through at the beginning of the session. The fireside chat is better off watched than summarised!

Atlas Cloud is proud to be an APSCo Trusted Partner.

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About The Author

Martin is a keen badminton player and Newcastle United supporter (for his sins). Outside of sport he loves spending time with his wife and two young children; usually watching copious amounts of Hey Duggee and building masterpieces out of Lego.

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