Google for Jobs, Google Maths, Real Maths and UK staffing

Now, I love our American cousins, but they are the nation that likes to exaggerate.


I mean they describe a human being putting one foot in front of the other as ‘awesome’, and they have things like the ‘baseball world series’, which is pretty much played between state teams of the USA. This week, a US pundit suggested the UK is quaking in its boots at the launch of GFJ.


Conversely, the UK is made up of people who think the 7 wonders of the world are “perfectly acceptable”, and of course we follow genuine world sports series like the Football World Cup.


We see maths a different way too. Here are some maths versus ‘Google Maths’ examples.



Actual Maths


In 2017, there were 5.7 million businesses in the UK.


• Over 99% of businesses were Small or Medium-Sized businesses – employing 0-249 people.


• 5.5 million (96%) of businesses were microbusinesses – employing 0-9 people. Microbusinesses accounted for 33% of employment and 22% of turnover.


• In London, there were 1,519 businesses per 10,000 resident adults. In the North East, there were 657 per 10,000 resident adults.


• The service industries accounted for 74% of businesses, 79% of employment and 71% of turnover.


• The manufacturing sector accounted for 5% of businesses, 10% of employment and 15% of turnover.


• There were 414,000 business births and 328,000 business deaths in 2015.


• 21% of SMEs are female-led, and 28% of FTSE 100 board members are female.




Google Maths


72% of job seekers go to Google to search for jobs.


Google for Jobs, Google Maths, and real maths in practice part 1


One pundit has suggested that the UK is quaking in its boots at the prospect of Google for Jobs coming to the UK this summer. Aside from the fact that the British do not quake – we may raise an eyebrow in mild disdain, but quake? Oh dear, that is about as authentic knowledge of the British as Dick Van Dyke’s Cockney accent.


So let’s see if that is based on real maths or Google Maths.


5.5 million (96%) of businesses were microbusinesses – employing 0-9 people. Microbusinesses accounted for 33% of employment and 22% of turnover.


Google has to convince 5.5 million companies that they need to either create and/or change their website/careers site to have jobs that Google can use on the GFJ platform. How likely is that to happen?


The UK already has a free online job source that many of these employers use to find employees: the Jobcentre’s career site provider. Then they are served by local newspapers, local jobs boards, walk-in candidates and, yes, recruiters.


But Google Maths says 72% of job seekers use Google to find jobs. So is there a seismic shift on its way this summer? I think not.


Google for Jobs, Google Maths, and real maths in practice part 2


1% of employers have more than 249 staff members. Small or Medium-Sized businesses – employing 0-249 people


The UK staffing industry generates billions in fee income from UK employers. But the way that revenue is generated is dominated by temporary workers, where our tax laws require the staffing firm to pay the worker and then charge the employer for the worker as a service. It is about 70% of what the UK staffing industry does(The REC has it at 83% temp for 2016/2017: So how does GFJ affect that? Well, it does not, unless GFJ can provide the employer with the service the recruiter can and pay the worker and charge the employer and deal with the contractual commitments of each employer and their myriad of terms they want. Much like baseball, then, world domination is claimed/predicted for GFJ, and its effects on staffing firms or fee reduction in the temporary staffing sector are about as credible as the rumour that the groundsman at Graceland is really Elvis.


OK, but what about the 30% of perm hires? Sure, the perm hire market could see some impact, but really, since the perm market is based on a contingent model, where the recruitment service is free until the point of success – which has devalued the service beyond all recognition in the 25 years I have been in the sector – I see GFJ taking some of that high risk, low reward market on as a very, very, very good thing for staffing firms.


I mean, leaving aside that most employers could not sort out their employer brand experience with a tour guide, map and sat nav provided, employers will need to become job advert writers, not job spec issuers.


The net outcome is that the UK staffing sector for perm needs to hold its nerve. If indeed I am wrong and its nerves do get rattled. Because let’s face it, one or one thousand less 10% fixed fee contingent, very average job orders, where you compete with 75 other agencies and all other forms, is no big deal.


Then there is the best bit: if the employer is a ‘Google Maths’ believer, then just stick web scraping software on their jobs and wait till they fail their way to no hire, and then tell them they need to retain you to headhunt the employee they need, and if you supply temps in their niche, backfill the job order with a temp while you look. Can’t be done? Ask some of the recruiters I trained to be a better recruiter, and they will tell you it can, and that is no Kevin Costner ‘Field of Dreams’, that is real, that is real, real.






Mitch Sullivan made an excellent observation in June that employers 100% believe in retained recruitment; those who have employed an internal recruiter or internal recruitment function/department (in-sourced or outsourced) are the most significant converts. Why?


So glad you asked. Because paying an internal recruiter’s wages, covering their business overhead, is a retainer. If GFJ floods those guys with the shite job orders most recruiters get to work on, then hey, GFJ, be the industry’s guest.


Tony Byrne taught me that I needed to work hard, yes, but smart hard. Being a perm recruiter working on compromised fees, against multiple other agencies, for a first past the finish post system, is hard work. It is not smart. Smart is delivering a service for 25% to 30% on a retainer fee for a job they could not fill.