As Resourcing Solutions celebrates its 20th anniversary, Richard Lawrance looks back on two decades in the industry;
“It's November 1996, and I’ve just lost my job so I crank up my modem and go online. There’s no Google (well not as we know it), no Twitter, Facebook, Wikipedia, YouTube, Digg, Huffington Post or Gawker so I wait for the search engine to get into action and answer my question ‘how to set up a business at companies’ house?’, the rest is history. So much has changed since I set up Resourcing Solutions in 1996. Back then it was more normal to spend 30 minutes a month online, nowadays people spend 27 hours online each month. Back then texting was paging and now text communication overtakes phone calls by a long way.
With so much technological change, we’ve had to adapt constantly throughout the course of the past 20 years. We’ve had various reinventions of our website moving it from a digital business card or brochure to a dynamic website that fulfils the customer journey and SEO. Every day we look to optimise the opportunities through social media and other applications.
Also, recruitment has become a lot more sophisticated over the past 20 years. If you mentioned SLA’s or KPI’s in 1996 people wouldn’t have had a clue what you were talking about – and if they had to guess they would probably have guessed a KPI as a fuel injected peanut!
When I started Resourcing Solutions, recruitment was relatively straight forward. You got a detailed job description and candidate criteria, and then you phoned loads of people until you had a strong shortlist of 3 or 4 candidates to submit. From this shortlist, you usually got 2 or 3 interviews which turned into a placement and you’d keep a reserve in the wings if anything went wrong. Busting PSL’s was straight forward providing you had the candidate. These days finding people is much easier, courtesy of social media platforms such as LinkedIn. However, recruiting people is more difficult than ever.
Recruitment is now much closer to the strategic heart of all companies, however the relationships with recruiters have often been pushed away to be much more remote through the use of RPO’s, MSP’s or internal recruitment teams. In fact for companies offering permanent recruitment, our biggest competition is with internal recruitment teams and not the rival recruitment organisation down the road.
For contract roles you killed and filled within hours and all agency workers would work under the client company’s supervision, direction and control. A timesheet would come in and you would invoice the charge rate, pay the pay rate and the difference was the agency margin.
Nowadays HMRC are really clamping down on the test of what is self-employment and what is disguised employment. There are so many more aspects to a recruitment agency’s service provision these days compared to 20 years ago. In our specific sector of engineering and construction these include providing personal protective equipment, tools, safety briefings, pre-employment and random drug and alcohol tests, medicals, fatigue management and managing commuting times.
In addition to this, contract workers are now entitled to pension, holiday pay and access to client facilities such as gyms. The gap between contract and perm has reduced over the period and the justification for such differential pay rates as a permanent employee and someone on a contract assignment has reduced.
It’s been a great 20 years growing from a ‘one man band’ to the largest Thames Valley based recruiter turning over £50m with recent expansion into Derby and Uxbridge. Over the course of our history we have developed the careers of close to 600 people and are now looking ahead to the future with exciting growth plans.