Ethero Strategic Staffing

Highlighting best practice as a representative in The Parliamentary Review

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Ethero Strategic Staffing is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Managing Director
Gareth Hughes
We are the sixth fastest-
growing recruitment
organisation in the UK
Ethero are ranked the sixth fastest-growing recruitment
organisation in the UK and have targeted turnover of
£20 million by 2020. They were established in 2010 by
Managing Director Gareth Hughes and have targeted investment
in technology, especially in social media, as an effective way to
expand their brand and grow their business. Gareth discusses the
multitude of challenges that his sector faces, ranging from the
end of free movement to the need to combat modern slavery.
Established in 2010, we are a Midlands-based multisector recruitment and staffing
supplier. Officially the sixth fastest-growing recruitment organisation in the UK, our
mission is to grow faster than our competitors by providing innovative recruitment
services while ensuring that our strong ethical values remain central.
Primarily working in the automotive, warehousing, food production, agricultural
and manufacturing sectors, we have supplied roughly 50,000 temporary workers
and placed over 250 candidates in permanent roles in 2018.
Our core values
Ethical: We drive transparency through every aspect of our business. We are
corporate members of several trade bodies, licensed by the Gangmasters and
Labour Abuse Authority and registered as an ISO 9001:2015 quality systems
Tenacious: We achieve where our competitors fail, and we are not satisfied until
the job is done well.
»Managing Director:
»Established in 2010
»Based in Telford, Burton-on-
Trent, Coventry and Stoke-on-
»Services: Multisector
recruitment and staffing
»No. of employees: 35 office-
based staff and over 1,000
temporary contractors
»Sixth fastest-growing
recruitment business in the UK
last year
Ethero Strategic
Highlighting best practice
Helpful: We are always supportive of
our clients and candidates and also of
our own team members.
Entrepreneurial: We seek out new
opportunities to grow the business
every day.
Responsible: We take ownership for
our own actions and for the service we
provide. Our staff are empowered to
act as experts in their roles.
Organised: We plan effectively, train
and retain the best staff, and use the
best resources available.
The demand for spoken English
increases year on year. At the same
time, the increase in migration from
areas such as Romania and Bulgaria
has seen an increase in non-English-
speaking candidates. We have worked
with local colleges and developed
in-house English language training
courses to help to alleviate this
Similarly, the national shortage of
skilled and properly qualified drivers
is widely known, but it seems very
little is being done to combat it. We
are enabling solutions to this problem
through our purpose-built training
facility, our work with driving schools
and a 24-hour recruitment process.
Technology changes everything, and
we change with it. We are a leading
adopter of new technologies to ensure
that our processes are as fast, robust
and lean as possible. We have invested
in fully integrated systems that enable
us to process more candidates, more
jobs and more job adverts faster than
ever before. This assists with auditing
and invoicing tasks. We have also
embraced social media to maximise
our exposure.
The challenges of our sector
In recent years, the recruitment sector
has faced significant challenges. These
include GDPR, workplace pensions
and the apprentice levy, all of which
have required investment in technical
systems and in staff and client training.
We have always sought to go beyond
compliance and achieve perfection.
This is coupled with the challenges of
illegal activity and human-trafficking-
led exploitation. We have put steps
into place to ensure that we can
eradicate this problem from our
operation. We have taken training
from the Association of Labour
Providers and its Stronger Together
programme and disseminated this
training throughout the organisation.
To avoid the recruitment issues in
our sector, we focus heavily on staff
retention. This includes healthcare
schemes, increased pension
contributions and personal growth
incentives. We reward achievements
with team-building events and run
an annual team conference, which
involves getting together in a social
setting away from work once a
year. Finally, we conduct an annual
Christmas awards ceremony to reward
the top performers in our business.
The apprentice levy has been a
challenge for us and for the whole
industry. As we pay large numbers of
temporary staff, our annual wage bill
Our office
An agency
would receive
an approval
rating, which
they could use
when talking
to prospective
This would
help to raise
standards and
falls into the qualifying criteria. Sadly,
as most of our staff are temporary
workers, they rarely qualify to become
apprentices, as there is no guarantee
that they will work long enough. As
a result, we are unable to use the
majority of the funds generated by
our apprentice levy. An adjustment to
this, with the government allowing us
to offer an element of our apprentice
levy to our customers as part of an all-
encompassing contract, would allow
our temporary workers to take up
modern apprenticeships and improve
their skills and employability.
The challenges that we will face as
free movement comes to an end
are not yet known. It is expected,
however, that an acute shortage
of candidates available to work in
agriculture will significantly impact the
food supply chain. We supply labour
to food production clients throughout
the Midlands who will inevitably be
affected by this. Automation, and the
new seasonal agricultural workers
scheme, will play a part in overcoming
this particular challenge, but this
is restricted by financial, time and
operator selection constraints.
A potential solution
I would like to see the GLAA licensing
programme extended to allow
agencies that are prepared to be
absolutely transparent about every
aspect of their business to be given a
larger stamp of approval. This could
involve reporting key information on
an annual basis when going through
the licence renewal process. Such
information could include the total
licensing period and the number
of complaints received in this time,
proof of keeping up to date with
employee payments and compliance
with statutory guidelines, proof of
ethical sales and recruitment training,
and proof of ethical holiday pay
processes. It would also be essential
to demonstrate efforts to combat
Based on this, an agency would
receive an approval rating, which
they could use when talking to
prospective customers. This would help
to raise overall standards and ensure
As we look ahead on a company
level, we hope to achieve £20
million turnover by 2020. In terms
of the wider sector, we hope for an
immigration policy that understands
the need for basic-level labour,
something that is increasingly essential
with the end of free movement.
We would also welcome increased
careers advice in schools, especially to
explain that work in the agricultural
and basic industrial sectors can act as
great stepping stones into the wider
The national
shortage of
skilled and
drivers is
widely known,
but it seems
very little is
being done to
combat it
Our six values are key to
our business

This article was sponsored by Ethero Strategic Staffing. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it.