Safety is in Speed when Landing the Best Candidates


Time is of the essence

“In skating over thin ice, our safety is in our speed.” So said Ralph Waldo Emerson in the 19th century, proving he knew as much about human nature as he did about the physics of mass and gravity. It’s a call for measured progress to stop caution turning into inaction. And you guessed it, it applies to the current  recruitment climate too, which is thawing fast.

In 2014 Skills for Logistics published its Logistics Employer Skills Survey 2013. Its message of optimism about the near and medium-term future of logistics recruitment (half a million new jobs by 2019) was tempered by a warning that too many companies are still in a recession mindset when it comes to planning for new logistics managers and executives. In short, they are leaving it till the last minute.

At Cast UK, we’re forever advising our clients to get the ball rolling as soon as possible after the need for recruitment becomes obvious – in fact, we suggest that it should never stop.  Just as important is ensuring your recruitment process is as efficient and speedy as possible. The Skills for Logistics published Logistics Employer Skills Survey reported that 57% of companies surveyed have lost potential candidates due to the length of the recruitment process.

Here’s our list of top tips for reducing your process timescales to secure the best talent for your team:

  1. Think long-term. Economies always have their ups and downs, as do individual sectors. But waiting for the ups before going recruiting will lead to disappointment. Planning ahead is essential if you’re to hit the ice speeding.
  2. Keep the interview process nimble. A two-stage process should happen quickly for you and for the candidate to maintain focus and enthusiasm. Block-book interviewers so the gap between the first filter interview and the final one is as short as possible.
  3. Don’t waste time on the maybes. If you’re not sure about someone’s CV, it’s unlikely the candidate will suddenly become the runaway favourite after interview 1. Be brutal, follow your instincts and only interview the ones you’re genuinely tossing up between.
  4. Outsource your recruitment. OK, we would say that, wouldn’t we? But think about all the other companies you hire to supply critical parts of your business, from its fuel to its IT infrastructure. Recruitment is a distinct skill with techniques and expertise that don’t necessarily come naturally to all employers. Outsourcing it brings in the best practices – and the best candidates.
  5. Form a real relationship with the recruiter. Let them in, let them see how you operate, and you’ll probably find your recruiter will be your most valuable partner, identifying potential talent long before you’d considered taking someone on.
  6. Don’t lose your focus on your internal assets. For every experienced new recruit there’s a company somewhere that’s lost an employee. If you’re experiencing a high turnover of staff, it could be that you’re not paying enough attention to their career development. A good retention and talent management scheme will make staff feel vital to your company and can increase the chances of your finding the next manager or executive from within.

You might not be looking for anyone right this moment, but that’s no reason not to get the groundwork under way. Follow the six steps above and when the time comes you’ll already have a plan in place to land the best managers and executives.

Don’t wait till you can hear the ice cracking under your feet – keep moving and feel the benefits.

Cast UK grows team with promotions and a new appointment

Recruitment company, Cast UK, which specialises in procurement, buying, supply chain and logistics, has strengthened its team with two promotions and a new appointment to its Manchester office.

Hannah Villa-March and Genevieve Greensted have both been appointed to the role of consultant after completing the Cast UK Graduate Training Academy, and David Lloyd joins the team as a consultant.

Hannah joined Cast UK after receiving her degree in German and Spanish and gaining career experience in a media sales role. She has successfully completed her training and is a consultant looking after logistics throughout East Midlands and South Yorkshire.

Genevieve, a Fashion and Textiles Retailing graduate, joined the company as a resourcer in the logistics division and is now a consultant working with Cast UK’s logistics clients across the South East.

David has been appointed to the position of consultant and joins Cast UK from Tesco Stores Ltd. where he was deputy store manager following a fast track programme. He will work alongside the logistics team with the companies’ clients operating in the North West.

Speaking about her experience of the training academy, Hannah said: “The business has seen significant growth in the last year and Cast UK’s comprehensive training scheme has contributed to our expansion. Graduates benefit from one-to-one support and mentoring from consultants, which ensures a solid foundation for career development.”

Wayne Brophy, managing director of Cast UK, added: “Our Graduate Training Academy has been very successful and we are delighted that Hannah and Genevieve have excelled and taken on the role of consultant. We’re also thrilled to welcome David to the team and look forward to continuing on our growth curve.”

Cast UK appoints four new graduates to its Manchester office

Specialist recruitment company, Cast UK, has strengthened its team with four new appointments to its Manchester office.

The new starters, which include Ben Bennett, Russell Smith, Ben Findley and Dan Whitmore, have joined Cast UK’s Graduate Training Academy.

Ben Bennett is a geography graduate from the University of Leicester and is working within the procurement and supply chain team focusing on engineering and manufacturing in the Midlands.  In his spare time, Ben is stand-up comedian and made his debut at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival last year, which received four-star reviews.

Russell Smith is a psychology graduate from Manchester Metropolitan University and international swimmer representing GB in overseas competitions across Europe, Australia, USA, South Africa, Japan and Singapore.  As part of the retail and FMCG team, led by Pete Hobson, Russell will specialise in procurement and supply chain in the Midlands and Milton Keynes.

Ben Findley, who studied at Royal Holloway University of London, joins the specialist recruitment company with over four years of experience in retail and works in the logistics team in the South.

Dan Whitmore, originally from Saddleworth, joins Cast UK after receiving his degree from York University. He joins the procurement and supply chain team, led by Mark Nesbit, to work with clients throughout the North East.

Commenting on his experience of the Cast UK Graduate Training Academy, Dan said: “It’s great to be part of an ambitious team who are specialists in the sectors they operate. I’ve received great support from my team leader, Mark, and feel like the company is helping me to build a solid foundation for career growth.”

Wayne Brophy, managing director of Cast UK, added: “Having grown the team significantly in the last year, we recognise the importance of providing an environment that both supports and challenges ambitious graduates embarking on their careers in recruitment.

“We’ve developed a model that enables them to benefit from the expertise of senior team members, with a one-to-one pairing process, while giving them the opportunity to learn and develop their career with us.”

Demand for professional talent up by 20% as job market returns to pre-crisis growth

According to new survey data from APSCo, the UK’s professional staffing trade body, recruitment firms now have 20% more vacancies on their books than this time last year. Its latest research, independently validated by Staffing Industry Analysts, comes as the Treasury’s growth forecast for the UK economy continues to climb month-on-month, with forecasted GDP growth now standing at 3.1% for 2014, up from 1.8% at the beginning of the year.

Permanent vacancies across the engineering, IT, accounting & finance, social work and media & marketing sectors are all up year-on-year, with the former three demonstrating the most impressive jobs growth (35%, 22% and 18% respectively).

Furthermore, professional temporary and contract vacancies are also exhibiting strong growth as both are up by 8%.

Contrary to APSCo’s findings, specialist recruitment company, Cast UK, reported a staggering 45% increase in interim roles within the last 12 months.

Wayne Brophy, managing director of Cast UK, explains why he thinks interim roles are on the up:

“The report by APSCo does reinforce the same growth trend we are seeing in permanent vacancies, however, we are experiencing a much steeper increase in interim work as it’s a way of accessing experienced, specialist talent with a proven track record, who can come into a business and hit the ground running.

“Both employers and employees benefit from this type of role as interim work either helps to bridge a short-term employment gap, or is an efficient way of managing growth and enhancing an organisation’s talent pool, particularly during a period of transition.”

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.”