Soft skills favoured over technical knowledge in graduates

In a report by education provider, Kaplan, it has been suggested that employers value confidence and effective communication over technical knowledge when recruiting graduates.

The survey of 198 UK employers found that employers ranked ‘soft skills’, including confidence and an ability to be analytical, high at the recruitment stage. Technical knowledge took the 24th position out of 30 when employers ranked a list of their required or desired competencies.

Managing Director of specialist recruitment company, Cast UK, Wayne Brophy comments on the findings:

“At Cast UK, we place equal emphasis on soft skills and technical ability as we recognise that, ultimately, people buy from people. Technical skills are critical in a specialist company so we take the time to develop these through our bespoke graduate training academy.

“While having in-depth knowledge in the sectors we recruit for is of upmost importance, relationships and rapport with our clients is one of the reasons that over 70% of our business is repeat business.”

Employers need to move fast to access a shrinking talent pool

Extended recruitment processes are proving a major stumbling block for employers in a market that is witnessing a real battle for talent.


The CIPD’s 2013 survey, Resourcing and Talent Planning, states that larger organisations are most affected, with 57 per cent of companies with more than 5,000 employees reporting they have lost potential recruits due to the length of the process.


While there has been a shift in the recruitment process, with online selection tests used by a fifth of organisations and an increasing number of interviews carried out by telephone, employers need to be smarter if they want to secure top talent.


The latest Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) and KPMG report points to an acceleration of both permanent and temporary placements, especially in the South East. Permanent placements are reported at a five-month high, with temporary placements at a seven-month high.


Wayne Brophy, Managing Director of specialist recruitment company, Cast UK, commented: “This market buoyancy may sound like good news for employers, but with a shrinking talent pool, there is heightened competition to attract the best talent. This is particularly challenging in larger organisations, which can sometimes be weighed down by bureaucracy and can lack the agility of more entrepreneurial counterparts.”


This skills gap is reiterated by the REC and KPMG report which points to the sharpest decline in permanent candidate availability since the survey commenced in 1997.


Wayne added: “These statistics should remind employers of the value of using recruitment partners who specialise in their designated markets. It is also an opportunity for organisations to focus on creating true ‘employer brands’ and to think hard about how they tackle the entire recruitment process.”


Employers turn to interim managers as competition for talent increases

There has been a shift in the recruitment market, with a 15 per cent increase in demand for interim managers, as reported by the Interim Management Association (IMA), in the first quarter of 2014.

The financial services industry takes the lead, accounting for 45 per cent of interim appointments in the private sector in Q1, according to the IMA.

Specialist recruitment company, Cast UK, is seeing this trend mirrored in its clients’ recruitment strategies, with an exponential increase in interim managers across its sector specialisms, peaking in FMCG/Retail which has seen a 45 per cent surge this year alone.

Wayne Brophy, Managing Director at Cast UK, commented: “Although we seem to be coming out of the recession, we’re seeing a continued demand for interim managers as employers recognise the value of a more flexible approach to recruitment.

“With significant skills shortages in certain sectors, a reduced talent pool is also a catalyst for this as employers are seeking highly experienced, specialist talent with a proven track record, who can hit the ground running.”

The rise in demand for interims is also reflected in the CIPD’s 2013 survey, Resourcing and Talent Planning, which reported that three-fifths of companies surveyed believe that the economic environment will increase demand for interim and contract workers.

It’s also worth noting that the rate of change within businesses is creating a mismatch between the skills required by businesses and the talent available in the labour market.

Wayne added: “Our clients are increasingly recognising the value of interim managers, either to help solve a short-term employment problem or as a smart means of managing growth and enhancing the organisation’s skills base. While historically, interims were seen as a bit of a leap of faith and a departure from traditional resourcing models, organisations are switching on to the benefits of interim managers, particularly from a commercial point of view.”

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KPMG’s “Global Manufacturing Outlook” report highlights new challenges for sector

According to KPMG’s 2014 report “Global Manufacturing Outlook: Performance in the crosshairs,” manufacturers are set to face a new set of challenges around product development strategies and supply chain, while it’s also been revealed that there is emphasis on understanding product costs and profitability.

The report highlights the following key findings:

  • Manufacturers are focused on understanding their product cost and profitability. Only 12 per cent of respondents said they were ‘very effective’ at determining product profitability. Many suggest that they plan to commit either moderate or significant investment into enhancing their systems and processes for profit and cost information. More than half say that – over the next two years – they will place either a moderate or high priority on adopting processes and systems to achieve the real-time measurement of product cost and profitability.
  • Organisations are rethinking their product development strategy. Respondents are increasingly focused on enhanced spending, shifting towards breakthrough innovation objectives and exploring new collaborative business models to create competitive advantage. Seventy per cent of respondents said they would double their level of spend in R&D. Yet at the same time, 88 per cent said that partnerships, not in-house efforts, would form the future of innovation. Technology is also coming into play; three-quarters of respondents say they are better leveraging decision-support technology in their R&D function.
  • Supply chain transparency and visibility remain a key challenge for manufacturers. Forty per cent of respondents admit they lack visibility across their extended supply chain, with 33 per cent saying it was due to either inadequate IT systems or a lack of skills. Our research suggests that many of the gains in supply chain visibility have resulted from stronger relationships between manufacturers and their top-tier suppliers and the willingness to share more real-time data across the value chain.
  • The majority of respondents think that they could achieve a globally integrated supply chain within the next three to five years. More than half say that they use global demand planning and global capacity planning technologies in their supply chain enterprise-wide. More than three-quarters say that their relationship with top tier suppliers is now strong enough for them to share real-time capacity and demand data.

Commenting on these findings, Managing Consultant at specialist recruitment company, Cast UK, Mark Nesbit points to the development of employee skill sets as key to effective relationship management and recruitment, which was highlighted in the KPMG report.

“As skills development and managing relationships with top-tier suppliers are noted as a priority, appointing experienced professionals that can harness these challenges and translate them into growth for the companies in which they operate will be key.

“From the report it’s clear to see that manufacturers are focused on profitable growth. Increasing levels of supply chain transparency and visibility; improving use of data, analytics and business intelligence tools; integration of new technologies; and a continuation of the trend towards greater partnerships and collaborative business models are at the forefront of these strategies.”

At Cast UK, all senior recruiters have either worked directly in logistics, procurement and supply chain or have extensive experience in our specialist areas. This business model ensures that recruiters are informed about the industry challenges faced by their clients and they can assist them with finding the right people to tackle these demands.

“It will be interesting to see how our clients approach these challenges, as this will surely shape recruitment strategies moving forwards. Furthermore, university programmes should take note of the findings and adapt to these new demands to ensure that professionals coming into supply chain, procurement or logistics understand the new role that these positions will play in business,” concludes Mark.

Cast UK promotes Gareth Steggles to Managing Consultant

Specialist recruitment company, Cast UK, has promoted Gareth Steggles to the role of Managing Consultant for its Logistics North division.

Cast UK, which specialises in recruitment for procurement, buying, supply chain and logistics, operates nationally out of offices in Manchester, Birmingham and London.

Gareth, who joined the company’s Manchester office in 2010, will lead the strategic development of the northern logistics team, covering a region spanning Birmingham to Scotland.

With the ambition to create a ‘best in class’ team delivering the highest standard of service in permanent, temporary and interim recruitment, Gareth is keen to play an integral role in driving the growth of his division as part of the company’s wider success story.

He will be responsible for overseeing a team of consultants and leading the business development programme through the management of key accounts within the logistics sector.

Commenting on Gareth’s promotion, Managing Director of Cast UK, Wayne Brophy, said: “As a valued member of our team Gareth is an excellent leader with a proven track record and an in-depth knowledge of the sector, which ensures he fully understands the needs of both clients and candidates.

“Logistics is a growth industry and our team of professionals at Cast UK have the market knowledge and sector experience to provide the best resourcing advice, with access to exceptional talent within this area. This is a great opportunity for Gareth to lead the team through the next phase of growth.”

Gareth, from Bolton, is a keen distance runner and cricket player outside of work.

Cast UK welcomes Alison Humphries as Non-Executive Director

Specialist recruitment company, Cast UK, has appointed Alison Humphries as a Non-Executive Director.

A leader in her sector, Alison’s career history includes Director roles at Hays Plc, Robert Half International, Barkers Norman Broadbent Plc and Penna Plc. Her appointment to the Cast UK Board is a key milestone in the recruitment company’s continued growth curve.

Cast UK, which specialises in recruitment for procurement, buying, supply chain and logistics, has offices in Manchester, Birmingham and London and operates across a number of sectors, including FMCG and retail, manufacturing and engineering, logistics, public sector and professional services.

Alison, a self-confessed recruitment ‘lifer’, currently holds Director roles at Recruitment Leadership Ltd and Elite Recruitment Network Ltd and is the Chief Examiner of the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC). She will work with the Directors’ team at Cast UK to help drive the company’s growth strategy.

Commenting on her new role, Alison said: “Cast UK is an ambitious company with a clear appetite for growth and a skilled team who are acutely focused on where they want to be. This is a great opportunity to help harness that potential and play my part in the Cast UK growth story.”

Wayne Brophy, Managing Director of Cast UK, added: “We’re thrilled to welcome Alison to our Board as someone with an outstanding track record and incredible sector experience.

“We’re looking forward to working with Alison to realise our goals and embark on the company’s next critical chapter of growth.”

Cast UK sees the importance of nurturing lasting client relationships

Specialist recruitment company, Cast UK,  recognises the positive effect client relationships has on placement success, as the company has been analysing their  extensive database and found that the rate of successfully placing candidates increases to a staggering 80% if they involve a face-to-face client briefing meeting.

Cast UK puts this success down to developing strong relationships with clients which are substantially strengthened through on-site client visits, allowing them to gain an in-depth understanding of the sectors in which it operates, and more importantly the company’s culture.  By doing this, Cast UK can understand and even anticipate the needs of employers and match candidates that will best suit the job.

The company’s commitment to exceptional service and building rewarding and lasting relationships is why over 70% of its business is repeat business.

Employee retention, especially within the first year of employment, is vital to businesses. Cast UK believe the key to ensuring a successful placement is finding a good culture fit between company and candidate. When someone leaves it has a detrimental effect on the organisation’s finances and ability to perform, as it’s a loss of knowledge and skills and can cost anywhere between a third and three quarters of a person’s annual salary to turn over a position.

Sir Richard Branson discussed the importance of employee retention in Entrepreneur magazine: “Don’t wait until an employee comes to you and says they are ready to leave before you start thinking about what their goals are and what keeps him happy – this should be part of your hiring decision. Before you make a prospect a job offer, be sure to consider how their plans for their career fit with your company’s. If there’s a real mismatch, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to work together long.”

Commenting on the importance of thinking about employer retention strategies right from the outset, Managing Director at Cast UK, Wayne Brophy said: “Personality clashes and not feeling valued by an employer are the top reasons people leave their jobs.

“We want to ensure that the candidates we place are happy and remain in their jobs way past the initial 12 months, because that ensures a mutually beneficial relationship between client and employee. It’s a clear win-win. We work with a broad client base, from SMEs to the majority of FTSE 500 companies in the UK, so getting the right fit for a candidate is crucial to our client relationships. We firmly believe our success rate is a testament to our passion and commitment, coupled with expert knowledge and experience in the sectors in which we operate.”

Cast UK congratulates St Marie’s Vikings’ June player of the month, Chris Lunt

As sponsors of St Marie’s Vikings RLC, specialist recruitment company, Cast UK would like to congratulate Chris Lunt as June’s player of the month for the Widnes-based Rugby League team.

Cast UK is proud to support the local sporting community and recognise outstanding team players.

To support the Vikings’ squad, team members at Cast UK attend games throughout the season as well as attending its end of season awards presentation and taking part in the club’s annual golf day.

Winners of the Widnes Cup for five years in a row, the Vikings are already on the path to becoming champions again with some excellent performances in league.

Avid St Marie’s Vikings supporter, director at Cast UK, Gary Robinson, said: “We feel that it’s important to get involved with local clubs and sport because it plays an important role in engaging with young people and promoting a healthy lifestyle.

“We are pleased that we can help the club and provide support that will help pay for the new kits, training, trophies and community programmes.”

St Marie’s Vikings club chairman, Mike Pile, added: “Support from local businesses is vital to helping us continue outreach in the area and we are delighted to partner with Cast UK.”

Gary Robinson says thank you to medical staff at Warrington General Hospital

Following on from our previous blog post, Gary Robinson, director at Cast UK, has reunited with the medical team at Warrington General that saved his brother’s life to present a cheque of £1000 as a result of his fundraising earlier this year.

In February, Robert Robinson, Gary’s brother, suffered cardiac arrest in the early hours of the morning. After family and paramedics performed CPR and managed to get him breathing again, Robert was taken to the resuscitation and critical care unit at Warrington General where he remained in a coma under the vigil watch of nurses and doctors for 36 hours.

Robert awoke and, with no signs of permanent brain damage, five months later has made a full recovery and is hoping to return to his job as a physics teacher at Birchwood High School in Warrington.

Commenting on Gary’s fundraising efforts, managing director at Cast UK, Wayne Brophy said: “We are all really proud of Gary and delighted that he has reached his fundraising goals. Gary and his brother Robert are both an inspiration.

“The team at Cast UK wishes Gary all the best for future fundraising and training, as we hear another marathon is on the cards!”

Cast UK gears up for projected 72.5% workforce growth in the North West

According to a recent survey by Insider, in collaboration with North West law firm, Weightmans, the region’s workforce numbers are expected to grow by 72.5% in the next year.

The survey has also highlighted:

  • 4% of businesses say their workforce has expanded in the last three years
  • 22% of brands claim that their workforce has stayed the same
  • 11% of businesses plan to grow their headcount between 20% and 50%

In addition, the survey finds that the ways companies recruit and retain the staff ranges from financial incentives and flexible working to training and development.

However, the survey also reveals challenges faced in by companies when it comes to managing employees. Internal communications tops as the biggest obstacle, followed by demand for flexible hours, sickness absences, ageing workforce, increased retirement age and finally, mental health issues.

Specialist recruitment agency, Cast UK, has experienced similar growth to the figures stated in Insider’s findings. Wayne Brophy, managing director at Cast UK, explains: “In the past 12 months we have experienced unprecedented growth. From the introduction of our Graduate Training Academy and recruiting 15 people across the UK to launching Cast UK Profiler, an online tool which ascertains personality strengths and gives jobseekers insights into what makes them tick, we expect to continue our growth curve into 2015.

Commenting on how Cast UK approaches some of the challenges referenced in the survey, Wayne said: “We offer our employees a range of incentives from uncapped bonuses and duvet days to team nights out and gym memberships. However, I find that the best incentive is to simply support, encourage and recognise the achievements of your people.”