Shortlist's most-read stories, in brief

Labour hire

The most-read stories on Shortlist recently have covered: award-winning agencies merging; Shortlist's new podcast; Hays' profit sliding amid "medium" COVID impact; Finite's resilient results; a recruiter's conflict of interest dispute; and more.

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


Award-winning agencies merging

Two recruitment companies that frequently square up against each other at industry awards are merging into an entity with combined revenue of more than $20 million.

White-collar recruitment specialists Reo Group (founded in 2009) and Cox Purtell (founded in 1994) will rebrand as Reo Purtell, initially employing about 25 staff between them.

Stella Petrou Concha (Reo Group) and James Purtell (Cox Purtell) will head the merged entity as co-CEOs, with the former overseeing recruitment, people and culture ("the essence of the actual operating part of the business") and the latter taking a strategy and growth focus (including segments the group is growing into, and other businesses it can acquire and roll up), Petrou Concha tells Shortlist.

Read more: Award-winning agencies merging


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Shortlist podcast: Transforming a business during COVID

The eighth episode of Shortlist's interview podcast is now available, featuring Brunel Australasia MD Tania Sinibaldi.

She discusses:

  • The ways in which Brunel has been impacted by the pandemic;
  • How her leadership style has changed, and which areas have been most challenging;
  • Brunel's business transformation and how it is "fighting bureaucratic drag"; and
  • What lies ahead for the business and broader industry.

Shortlist will cover the interview highlights in an upcoming article. Browse more episodes of the podcast here.


Hays ranks COVID impact as "medium"; GP down 12%

The pandemic has resulted in a "medium level of disruption" in Hays' Australia and New Zealand operations, directors say in its FY20 report to ASIC.

Gross profit has slumped 11% and profit before and after tax is down 22% and 23% respectively, year-on-year.

The dividend paid to Hays's UK-listed parent entity fell from $49 million last year to just $8 million.

The company paid $29 million in tax, well down on last year's $36 million, as a result of the lower profit.

Hays' local leaders shared the pandemic pain along with the company's general staff, with key management compensation down 12% to $5 million (FY19: $5.7m), while total staff costs fell 6% to $168m.

Directors say it is difficult to forecast the future impact of the pandemic on the group's results, which will depend on "government actions and various industry behaviour in response to the pandemic". Data source: ASIC

Finite posts solid result despite COVID

Finite Group has posted a drop in net profit for the 2020 financial year, but still delivered bumper dividends to shareholders.

Group revenue fell just 2% year-on-year while contractor costs dipped by the roughly the same amount, Finite's latest ASIC filing shows.

Profit before tax was down 7% after a rise in depreciation booked during the year to $3m (FY19: $717k). Finance costs rose from $1.2 million to $1.7 million.

After tax profit was down 8.8% and the group's EBIT margin fell slightly, from 5.5% to 5.26%.

Dividends paid to owners rose from $12.3 million to $16.3 million. Data source: ASIC

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Recruiter loses dispute over conflicts of interest, misconduct

An employer has defended sacking a recruiter who altered personnel files to help his family members obtain jobs they would not otherwise have been considered for.

The NSW Department of Education employee was a senior advisor in school recruitment and his wife and sister were employed in the school system as teachers.

In 2017 a school principal became aware that the wife had told other teachers her husband could influence recruitment processes, including by conducting background checks or adjusting staffing codes to help them match upcoming vacancies.

The Department launched an investigation, informing the advisor in August 2018 that he had allegedly failed to disclose conflicts of interest and had altered his family members' personnel files without approval, improving their prospects of being matched to open roles.

In December 2019 the employer informed him it had substantiated all but one of eight allegations. Following further meetings, it confirmed its findings and in March it directed him to resign. He did so in April, but then claimed his termination was harsh, unreasonable or unjust, seeking reinstatement or compensation…

Read more: Recruiter loses dispute over conflicts of interest, misconduct

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