Recruitment Grapevine | Executive Grapevine International Ltd

Does the recruitment industry need to embrace flexible working?

For some, the concept of flexible working may seem at odds with the recruitment sector’s...

Does the recruitment industry need to embrace flexible working?

For some, the concept of flexible working may seem at odds with the recruitment sector’s traditional working cultures, however, for early backers, the benefits of flexible working are a no brainer. The nature of the industry – which revolves around the schedules of busy jobseekers – is prone to side-tracking traditional nine-to-five shift patterns, enabling seasoned consultants to increase contact with prospective candidates outside of working hours. Not only will authorised flexible working facilitate an improved level of client-candidate contact, it is likely to boost the work-life balance for recruiters too.

Earlier this year, a poll carried out by YouGov found that just six per cent of employees are working the traditional hours of nine to five, proving the widespread uptake of flexible working policies across the UK. The study revealed that most full-time workers would prefer to start earlier and leave earlier: 37% opted to work between 8am and 4pm while 21% preferred to work between 7am and 3pm. There may be a clear demand from the majority of UK employees to implement flexible working, however, is this positive stance mirrored in the recruitment industry? The experts weigh in, below…

 

Daniel Ostrowski, Managing Director at Woodrow Mercer

Since I founded Woodrow Mercer in 2012, we have always tried to do things differently and better.  We don’t put too much focus on targets or KPIs and we work hard to empower and encourage our teams to approach their desks in the way that works for them.  

As such, I’m a strong advocate of flexible working.  We all have lives and sometimes life gets in the way! So, if someone needs to work from home to sign for a delivery or come in later after their boiler has been repaired, then so be it.  

I honestly believe this culture of trust and flexibility contributes towards our offices being fun and cheerful places to work. In turn, this means that our clients and candidates enjoy outstanding service from happy people. Flexible working is something that Woodrow Mercer prides itself on and it’s a practice we will continue to encourage.  

“ We all have lives and sometimes life gets in the way!”

“We want to accommodate the needs of our staff, keep them happy and keep them motivated”


 

Steve Rawlingson, CEO at Samuel Knight International

I think the recruitment industry does need to start embracing flexible working more than it is currently. Recent statistics show that only around 6% of the UK actually work 9-5 from Monday to Friday now so there’s definitely been a major shift, not just across certain industries but across the UK as a whole. As a result of flexible working becoming commonplace, it’s beginning to be seen as standard practice rather than a special benefit. This is certainly true in the eyes of millennials and younger people coming into the workplace, who make up a key demographic that recruitment companies tend to target.

At Samuel Knight, we aim to hire the very best graduates and recruitment personnel so being able to offer them benefits such as flexible working is important. We want to accommodate the needs of our staff, keep them happy and keep them motivated. While our policy is still very much in its infancy, we’re learning as we go and I can understand the concerns some companies in the recruitment sector have. However, we feel that by adopting this approach in-line with carefully thought out KPI’s and consultant targets, this allows us to actually get the best out of our employees. We end up with consultants who are motivated and feel they have a better work-life balance because they know the company trusts them. Our employees are more productive as a result and this helps raise the level of performance across the company.’ 


 

Bradley Gough, Managing Director at Think Staff Solutions

As a business owner of three recruitment companies, we operate on a flexible working basis at all levels. My colleagues at all my companies are trusted to make adult decisions, we trust them to be at home and work if they wish to. I think recruitment as a whole is still stuck in a mentality that staff members need to be chained to their desk for ten hours a day so that they can keep an eye on them. Recruitment needs to move on from outdated expectations because, after all, we are the go-to for our clients who often encourage flexible working. So, if we don’t implement it how can we really sell the benefit to candidates? The answer is we can’t. The culture is broken across so many spectrums. If you hire a member of staff, trust them. We’re not looking after toddlers after all.

“My colleagues at all my companies are trusted to make adult decisions, we trust them to be at home and work if they wish too”