HW Global expands UK offices to accommodate continued strategic growth

5th April 2022

Fast growing executive search company HW Global has expanded its UK offices in Leeds, Manchester and London to accommodate a projected doubling in headcount.

The group has relocated its Leeds and Manchester operations to significantly larger tech-enabled space, allowing them to accommodate additional headcount in state of the art offices.

The expansion plan is part of the group’s strategic objective to offer clients an end-to-end talent solution from Board, C-suite, mid-management to specialist talent solutions including Technology, Supply Chain, Digital, Data & Analytics, Business Transformation and Finance.

HW Group services clients globally and operates multiple brands including HW Global and HW Interim, its Exec Search practices, HW People which was launched in May last year as a mid-market recruitment business delivering talent solutions from £50k-£100k salary levels, Zebra People – a digital recruitment specialist and Osmii – a development, cloud and digital specialist that HW acquired in December 2021.

The group now boasts a £30m+ turnover with colleagues across the UK, with plans to increase headcount including two new senior positions of Head of Marketing & Communications and Head of People Operations, reflecting ambitious growth plans and investment in core operations.

Spencer Jinks, CEO of HW Global, said the pandemic has created booming market conditions for all businesses within the group: “Massive business transformation activity is taking place across all industries, functions and geographies.

“The lockdown has not only forced the breakdown of generational barriers to digital online purchasing, driving organisations to automate their businesses to serve their consumers, but also to drive operational efficiencies and remain competitive in their sectors.

“There are so many challenges to businesses right now; sustainability, redesign of supply chains, hyper-inflation and the need to truly embrace EI&D. Businesses have to think more laterally and in all cases this means engaging and hiring exceptional talent.”

Spencer added: “Our strategy is built around capitally invested, high-growth sectors of transformation and demand. To service this we will continue to acquire complementary businesses while investing internally to support organic growth.”
For more information visit www.hwglobalpartner.com, www.hwpeople.co.uk, www.zebrapeople.com and www.osmii.com



Top 50 private firms challenged to match FTSE 350 gender parity targets

2nd March 2022

By Pascale Gara

The largest private businesses in the UK have been challenged to match listed companies on boardroom and leadership gender parity in a government-backed review.

The FTSE Women Leaders Review recommended that FTSE 350 companies and the biggest 50 private businesses in the UK by sales set a target to increase women’s representation in board and leadership roles to 40 per cent by the end of 2025.

The 78-page report, published last week, also recommended each company appointed at least one woman in the Chair or Senior Independent Director role on the Board, and/or one woman in the Chief Executive or Finance Director role – also by the end of 2025.

Currently, female representation on boards stands at an average of 39.1 per cent across the FTSE 100, 36.8 per cent across the FTSE 250 and 37.6 per cent for the FTSE 350.

But the review found that out of the 414 women in FTSE 100 board roles, 385 were non-executive positions. Just 29 women held executive director positions at the UK’s biggest companies last year – 13.5 per cent.

It reported women held 31.5 per cent of FTSE 350 leadership roles in 2021 but only a quarter of positions on executive committees — with just 18 female chief executives and 49 female finance directors.

The review follows the five-year Hampton Alexander equality review which ended last year, concluding its target for women to fill a third of board positions had been achieved on average across the FTSE 350.

Denise Wilson, chief executive of the review team, said: “A lack of women in the boardroom was the original challenge and represents the area of greatest progress, but we need to achieve the same gains and more, for women in leadership.

“While we continue to build on good practice from the earlier years, we need to firmly shift focus in this next phase to leadership roles, and those at the top of the organisation, including the Chief Executive Officer roles where women remain few and far between.

“There is no shortage of experienced, capable women, ambitious for themselves and their companies across all sectors of business today. Yet…the appointment rate today is significantly skewed in favour of men, with almost two out of every three available roles in the year going to men. This needs to change.”

Robin Budenberg CBE, Chair of Lloyds Banking Group Plc said in the FTSE Women Leaders Review report: “In my view, women are more likely to want to be part of an organisation if they see women at the top.

“At Lloyds Banking Group, women make up 40 per cent of our Board and 34 per cent of our leadership population. But we have much more to do and have set new aspirations of 50 per cent women and 13 per cent Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic colleagues in senior roles by 2025. And our Board will mirror those ambitions. Diversity around both the Board and Executive table is a source of real competitive advantage.”

Michelle Scrimgeour, Chief Executive at Legal & General Investment Management, which has a 50 per cent gender split in its management team, is calling for investors to use voting powers to speed up change, for executive teams to remove barriers that block women’s progress through their senior leadership pipelines, and for data disclosure for all listed companies.

She wrote: “In my career I’ve witnessed the benefits of more balance in a workforce (different perspectives, wider talent pools, stronger innovation) and I’ve seen what women as individuals can bring. There has been real progress in normalising and celebrating gender diversity in senior leadership roles in recent years. However, I’m impatient for more.”

The onus is on executive search firms to work with boards and executive leadership teams to help them achieve increased diversity and inclusion – not just in terms of gender, but also non-gender diversity characteristics.

The business case for this is clear; research by McKinsey & Company* showed that companies with ethnically diverse leadership are 33 per cent more likely to outperform on profitability and 21 per cent more likely to have above-average profitability with gender diverse leadership teams.

This is why HW Global signed up to HM Treasury’s Women in Finance Charter in 2019, making a series of pledges to promote diversity within our business and assisting our clients to meet their own diversity and inclusion targets.

They include:

  • Aim to deliver shortlists comprising at least 30 per cent female candidates.
  • Advise and guide clients to be more flexible about candidates in order to meet diversity targets, considering candidates from different sectors, backgrounds and experience.
  • Focus on promoting non-gender diversity characteristics within our recruitment strategy such as varied age, ethnicity, disability, socio-economic background, LGBT+.

But we understand that truly striving for greater diversity and inclusivity in the workplace is not about writing lengthy strategies or discussing empty promises. It is about actually delivering a genuinely diverse list of candidates for every role we seek to fill.

When we search for talent, one of the techniques we employ to promote gender diversity is to look and contact certain leader groups relevant to the role to tap into their network and find truly exceptional women.

We also ensure that we learn from conferences and events that champion ethnic diversity, discovering how we can be an agent of positive, anti-discriminatory change in our marketplace. For example, we consistently target the Women of Colour Conference, which looks at all facets of diversity through the BAME lens.

We are very conscious of bringing the principles of boardroom diversity, be it gender and/or ethnicity as well as diversity of thought to each shortlist meeting so that they complement what already exists at the Board table.

HW Global advertises all our non-executive roles on Women on Boards and Dynamic Boards to increase our reach a diverse range of candidates. In 2020, 67 per cent of our successful non-executive placements were representative of a gender diverse or ethnic background and in 2021 it was 69 per cent.

We proactively connect globally with a variety of organisations which promote ethnic diversity on main boards. On a recent search in the USA we connected with Chief and the Executive Leadership Council – both well known for promoting women and ethnicity within their networks.

Our other techniques to promote diversity include:

  • Operating with a broad set of search criteria that encompass all varieties of experience, educational background, and racial heritage.
  • On occasion, conducting blind CV presentations to reduce unconscious bias in the selection of candidates.
  • Actively challenging our client’s perspective on hiring to not only prevent them from limiting their horizons but acting as a positive influence in the proliferation of diversity in all industries.

Delivering exceptional candidates that add value through their diverse perspectives and background is an essential part of how we operate and something that we believe contributes to better, richer, longer-lasting hires.

* McKinsey – ‘Delivering Through Diversity’ 2018

Pascale Gara is Head of the Chair and NED Practice at HW Global.

HW Global announces further acquisition after acquiring a majority shareholding in Osmii

12th January 2022

HW Global has today announced a further acquisition in the digital recruitment market after securing a majority shareholding in Osmii.

The London-based development, cloud and digital recruitment specialist, which was founded by Xavier Osipczak and Neil Mitchell in 2011, places senior talent into disruptive start-ups, major software players and game-changing brands on a permanent, contract and interim basis.

Osmii also supports clients with advisory services, market intelligence and entity set up. Operating globally, its client base includes India-headquartered Wipro, Germany based T-Systems, US based DellEMC, with Unilever, BT and Lloyds Bank among its UK customers.

The deal follows HW Global’s acquisition of Zebra People, which specialises in hiring digital product teams, in 2019. Also London-based, Zebra was launched in 2001 by Nick Cochrane and recruits up to director level for permanent and contract roles including user experience and product design, full stack developers, product managers and delivery/project managers.

It takes the HW Global group, which also includes fast growing mid-market talent provider HW People launched last year, to £30m turnover with offices in London, Leeds and Manchester.

HW Global’s Executive Search and Interim divisions operate on an exclusive and retained basis in the £120K+ search market, also placing interims on daily rates from £700 to £2,000.

They will continue to appoint the senior leaders in their key markets – Financial Services, Consumer and Business Services, with Osmii, Zebra People and HW People building the critical capability that sits beneath.

CEO Spencer Jinks, pictured, said: “Osmii is an exceptional business and fits perfectly within the HW Global group. Alongside Zebra People, Osmii will enable us to provide even greater support to our clients in the fast-moving digital and technology sectors that have quickly become a cornerstone of the global economy.

“Forming this strategic partnership is another key component in our growth strategy, offering clients end-to-end talent solution on a global basis in targeted sectors of high growth, transformation and demand.”

The strategic partnership will facilitate mutual growth for both businesses, with HW Global forecasting a group EBITDA in 2022 of £3.7m, which will include the results of Osmii.

Neil Mitchell, Director of Osmii, added: “Working closely with HW Global provides a springboard to further scale our business both in UK and international markets.  We have built a strong reputation in the industry, which we can enhance further through this partnership, combining our capabilities with the expertise and global reach that exists in HW Global.”

Advising HW Global on the acquisition of Osmii was Newcastle-based RG Corporate Finance (RGCF) led by Partner and Head of Corporate Finance, Carl Swansbury, supported by CF Manager Connor McBride and CF Executive Ben Kain.

Financial and tax due diligence was undertaken by RG Partner Grahame Maughan and Director Jon Routledge. Legal advice to HW Global was provided by Philip Ashworth, Corporate Partner at Andrew Jackson Solicitors LLP, who was supported by Nicole Waldron.

Osmii received legal advice from Chris Coates, Corporate Partner at Clintons.

Carl Swansbury, Partner and Head of Corporate Finance at RGCF, said: “Since RGCF was engaged by HW Global in 2020 we have worked incredibly closely with its directors to identify businesses that would deliver upon its ambitions to enter new markets and increase market share. The digital sector is a fast-growing industry which requires expert staffing solutions and the combination of Zebra People and Osmii within the HW Global group will be of real benefit to the market, along with existing clients and candidates alike.”

Philip Ashworth, Corporate Partner at Andrew Jackson Solicitors LLP, added: “HW Global is an exciting and dynamic business with ambitious growth plans. It has been a pleasure to support and guide the business through its latest acquisition.”