What Shortlist subscribers are reading right now

Trending news Shortlist subscribers are reading right now includes: U&U snapping up "compromised" high performers; Senior people moves; Six recruiters among top private companies; Recruiters partnering with competitors; and more.

The full articles summarised below are accessible with a subscription or free trial of Shortlist.

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U&U snapping up "compromised" high performers

Despite the "long slow road back" to pre-COVID numbers, U&U managing director Craig Sneesby says current conditions are ripe for recruitment companies to invest in people, provided they have the right culture and strategy in place.

U&U has leveraged its strong cash position leading into the crisis to stay "true to our belief to be sensible but opportunistic through these times and look to acquire really great people", he says.

"Every business wants to hold on to their best talent... the difference is how they're dealing with the situation, and the cultural impact to their team," he says.

U&U has been able to take advantage of those companies that have "compromised" their top recruiters by, for example, putting profits ahead of their employees' wellbeing, and has hired more than a dozen recruiters across its three locations in Brisbane, Sydney CBD and Western Sydney since COVID began.

Meanwhile, rec-to-recs are reporting a steady rise in hiring demand over the past two months for sectors least affected by the pandemic, while "non-critical" specialisations languish.

"The market is in a much better place for most people than it would have been in May, although not yet back to pre-COVID levels for the majority of companies", says Greenbridge Recruitment MD Adrian Carty.

In the past six weeks, hiring demand among agencies has become "exciting again", adds Barton Mills associate director Liat Gould, even while hiring freezes remain in place for some.

Hiring volumes are returning to normal for recruitment businesses in healthcare, engineering, technology, government, and call centre operations, while hiring appetite is lower for finance, Gould and Carty say.

"The market does seem to be picking up. There is a fair bit of candidate movement in the market, and not all of it is redundancies... About 70% of people I'm placing are employed and are choosing to move during COVID-19," says McCall Norris director Lisa Norris.

And agencies are looking at opportunities to hire talent from businesses that aren't doing well, she adds.

Sydney-centric recruitment businesses are likely to be more optimistic "than a national business with a Melbourne office", but with so much uncertainty in the market, it's difficult to highlight particular sectors as performing better than others, Norris says.

"Clients are all over the place. I've got some in sectors like IT who have staff down to three days per week and saying that will last until Christmas, while others are having their best year."

Subscribe to read the full story: Steady improvement in demand for 'critical' recruiters; Salaries 'resetting'

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Senior people moves

Adecco Group has appointed a new CEO for Australia and New Zealand, who will also take over as managing director of Modis Australia.

Preeti Bajaj joins Adecco from her CEO role at Clipsal Solar. Her previous roles include VP of strategy and commercial operations (transformation) at Schneider Electric, and head of commercial (NSW/ACT) at Metcash.

Incumbent Rafael Moyano, who has led the local business since mid-2017, has decided to pursue external opportunities after 14 years with the company. He will step down from his role at the end of September.

People Infrastructure (ASX:PPE) has announced changes to its senior leadership team.

Declan Sherman will transition from managing director to executive director, while David Cuda, who has been managing the business in an interim role, will continue to do so as group CEO, reporting directly to the board.

Sherman established PPE in 2016 with executive director Tom Reardon, as part of AWX's management buy-out. Cuda joined PPE in 2017, following AWX's acquisition of disability and childcare recruitment company Edmen Group, of which he was CEO.

PPE recently reported FY20 results, which showed it had "substantially bounced back" to pre-pandemic levels, and Richards notes there continues to be strong momentum across the business.

ManpowerGroup Australia CFO Givile Mockute has been promoted to regional finance director for the group's Asia Pacific and Middle East division.

Mockute joined ManpowerGroup late last year, and was CFO of Adecco prior.

She will be replaced by Foxtel finance director David Bruch, who starts as country finance manager on 1 October. Bruch has also previously held senior roles at EY and PwC.

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JobKeeper 2.0 regulations made

Regulations have been made to support the JobKeeper changes coming into effect later this month.

The new regime requires 'legacy' employers to satisfy a 10% turnover decline test to retain access to the support.

One important difference to the prior system is that employers must give employees seven days' written notice of a JobKeeper-enabling direction (JED) such as a stand down or hours reduction (up from three days previously).

Employers cannot require employees to work fewer than two hours on any day, and a JED can't reduce an employee's hours below 60% of their previous ordinary hours.

Penalties of up to $13,200 for individuals and $66,600 for corporates can apply to employers that don't meet the 10% test but knowingly or recklessly try to use the provisions, or if they fail to notify employees that a JED or agreement is continuing or ceasing each quarter.

Fair Work Amendment (Jobkeeper Payments) Regulations 2020

Meanwhile the Federal Government's paid pandemic leave scheme has been extended to NSW, meaning workers could be eligible for the $1,500 payment if directed by NSW Health to stay home from work and they don't have access to other entitlements.

The scheme now applies in Victoria, Tasmania, WA and NSW.

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Six recruiters among top private companies;

Six recruitment and staffing companies have again made IBISWorld's list of top 500 Australian private companies by revenue (also published in the AFR).

Among them, Talent is the only business to achieve double-digit revenue growth, while half of the list have reported small falls in turnover. Talent also ranked 30th in IBISWorld's top 50 most profitable businesses list, which is based on a three-year average return on shareholder funds, after tax.

Sarina Russo Job Access (ranked 407 in 2019) was the only recruitment company to fall off the list from last year.

The list is compiled from ASIC-lodged company reports and IBISWorld's appraisals of company revenue based on historic data and industry analysis. Source: IBISWorld/Australian Financial Review * Based on IBISWorld revenue estimates for 2018-19 and 2019-20

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Recruiters overcoming competition fears to build lucrative partnerships

Recruiters are increasingly turning to informal partnerships to deal with peaks and troughs in their hiring demand, and opening doors to work in new specialities.

And it's not just recruiters lacking work who are seeking out partners, says People2people Victoria MD Erin Devlin.

"I have heard of and directly experienced situations where you have a boutique recruiter that has the client relationship, and they are experiencing a surge in demand, so they have partnered with recruitment agencies that have more capacity to service the roles."

These collaborations are allowing agencies to fill role types they haven't worked on before, and "under the guidance of specialist recruitment agencies that understand that sector".

Partner agencies who are specialists in this scenario can assist, as "they are very much across the quality control, assurance and compliance aspects", Devlin says.

Outside of Victoria, People2people has also collaborated with other agencies in Sydney and Perth "to assist them if they're not in the same market we're actually in", adds group managing director Mark Smith.

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