After two successful quarters of growth in manufacturing sectors within the United Kingdom we at Michael Page Procurement and Supply looked at two growth sectors, pharmaceuticals and food and drink. For better or worse, people will always need to eat, and people will always get ill.
Sir Andrew Witty, CEO of Glaxo SmithKline has stated that the UK remains an “attractive location” and has committed to investing £275m in UK pharmaceutical manufacturing over the coming years. Equally, industry publications within food manufacturing point to the UK as a highly valued importer, with food imports equating to around £40bn in 2016, 70% of which comes from EU member states. The value of UK food exports is just under half that at around £19bn, of which around 40% is to non-EU states, suggesting a dependency on the UK’s custom. Fair to assume, therefore, the continued growth of these two industries, and with it, the need to recruit.
Despite clear operational and regulatory synergies within these two industries, the respective rates of success seen at Michael Page when recruiting roles is actually quite disparate. Within a specific region, the fill rate for pharmaceutical recruitment is nearly 45% of roles engaged, while in the same region, in food manufacturing, that percentage looks more like 18%, two to three times lower. This is a significant difference, and one not attributable to a difference in caliber of recruiter. Features of a recruitment process run by any Michael Page consultant ideally include a specialist evaluation of a job brief, time taken to visit the client to understand the environment and ethos of the company, expert matching of a CV to the role profile, and assessing the cultural fit between candidate and company.
The point of view of the business is that the success rate is dependent on engagement. It is only natural that working a portfolio of several pieces of recruitment, some will receive more attention than others, and commercially, this must be the case. The engagement from the client dictates the influence we as consultants can have on the final outcome so consider the following:
Companies A, B and C all engage Michael Page to find a Supply Chain Manager. The locations, salaries, fee structures and consultant running the process are the same for all three but the engagements are as follows:
  • Company A engages Michael Page exclusively, allows unobstructed dialogue with the hiring manager and allows a visit to site.
  • Company B engages Michael Page and two other agencies, allows some contact with the hiring manager and allows a visit to site.
  • Company C engages with several agencies, insists on minimal contact with the hiring manager and doesn’t have time for a site visit.
Clearly, the influence the consultant can have over the process reduces greatly, and with it, the likelihood of placing a candidate in the role. Our estimation is that the likelihood of making a placement slides from 80% with Company A, to 50% with Company B, to around 20% with Company C. But the difference doesn’t only lie with Michael Page. As a recruiting client, with ordinary day-to-day responsibilities as well, consider the increased difficulty in administering a process where six parties are all competing independently for the same end; six times the communication, six different interpretations of the job brief, duplicated CV submissions, candidates not fully pre-screened or assessed for suitability and sacrificing quality for speed in what ultimately becomes a race rather than an efficient process. Given the shortage of top talent in the market place currently one of the trends which we are noticing on a daily basis are counter offers. Over 63% of candidates have been counter offered by their current employer. If we look at our analysis over the three tiers of business, for Company A, we see a 89% conversion of successfully partnering with the candidate to secure their new position versus 52% for Company C. What is the difference for such a gap in successful conversion? For Company A we are able to consult with the client and candidate and are able to invest more time in building the relationship and fully understand the candidate’s real motivators for seeking a new career. 
Consultants at Michael Page are uniquely placed to access the whole of that candidate pool thanks to resources at our disposal; a phenomenally sophisticated database, in-house advertising agency, specialist global network of recruiters, external network constructed over 40 years of market leading service, specialist internal resourcing divisions, recruiter accounts across a variety of job boards and social media; the list goes on. 
Ultimately, every client wants the same result; the best candidate for the job, in the quickest time possible at the price agreed. Having been responsible for rolling out the life science proposition at Michael Page, the engagement I have enjoyed with my clients has allowed me to deliver that result nearly three times more often. But that delivery has been predicated on the co-operation, agreement and faith of my clients. 
Ben Carr
T:   +44 114 263 6026
M:  +447920118354