Residential care providers on hunt for new executive talent

28th June 2021

By John Wakeford

Talented executives with an eye for customer care are being sought by the boards of larger providers in the fast growing UK residential care sector.

Eyeing opportunities for further consolidation in the hugely fragmented market, the bigger operators are currently recruiting roles right across the C-suite.

Senior managers in industries where customer service expertise and commercial acumen are both key are now being encouraged to consider newly created executive positions in residential care.

Boards are looking to attract talent from both within the industry and also from other customer orientated sectors like hospitality and retail, which have been forced to shed senior posts in recent months, for the vision, ideas and drive they need to upskill the quality of their management and service.

Opportunities cover the entire C-suite, including CEO, COO and CFO positions, as well as general management and commercial roles.

With 5,500 independent providers accounting for 84 per cent of the £16bn market, many running only one or a small number of homes, there is huge potential for consolidation in a sector which has attracted significant private equity investment in recent years.

The PE firms and funds which account for the rest of the market include HC-One with 271 homes, Four Seasons with 203 homes and Care UK with 113 homes. More than £1.8bn has been spent in 64 retirement and nursing home deals according to PitchBook, and the bigger players are looking to further consolidate.

The long term outlook for the residential care sector is healthy, with a massive projected increase in demand. The sector has grown by 4.5 per cent since 2015 and the ageing population will undoubtedly continue to drive increasing demand for care home services.

As life expectancy rises, the 65+ population in England is projected to increase by 34 per cent between 2020 and 2035 from 10.5m to 14.1m people. The Office for National Statistics has predicted a 36 per cent growth in the 85+ population alone in the decade to 2025, from 1.5m to 2m.

But the industry faces huge challenges meeting this increasing demand. In 2019/20 staff turnover rates topped 30 per cent and 7.3 per cent of the roles in adult social care were vacant, around 112,000 vacancies at any one time.

report by Skills for Care published in October 2020 estimated up to 520,000 extra jobs would be needed in the adult social care sector by 2035 – an increase in staffing of 32 per cent.

There is also a looming beds crisis, with thousands of smaller, outdated care homes at risk of closure over the next five years according to research by Knight Frank. An estimated 70 per cent of care home facilities were built prior to 2000 and will need upgrading and refurbishment.

All this amid increasing scrutiny from both regulators such as the Care Quality Commission, which grades and issues reports on care homes, and the media, which turned its spotlight on residential care in the wake of the Covid outbreaks last year.

Over recent months we have seen a significant increase in demand for executive roles in residential care, and have achieved a 94 per cent success rate for national search assignments across the entire C-suite including CEO, COO and CFO positions as well as numerous general management and commercial roles.

I am keen to talk to both residential care providers looking to upskill the quality of their management, and executives who are interested in joining this vitally important and fast growing sector – or finding a new role within it – at such an exciting time. Please contact me for an informal, confidential discussion to find out more.

John Wakeford is a founding director of HW Global Talent Partner with a specific focus on Care and Hospitality. Contact him at [email protected] or +44 (0) 113 243 2004.

HW Global launches mid-market recruitment firm

10th May 2021

Leading UK headhunter HW Global is launching a mid-market recruitment business using executive search techniques to attract sub-£100K candidates.

HW People will operate alongside HW Global’s Executive Search division, working with its consultants and researchers to offer a comprehensive bespoke service sourcing the best permanent and interim talent.

Industry sectors it will cover include consumer (FMCG, retail, digital), financial services, leisure, food & grocer, and care – supporting both family office/shareholder managed and private equity backed companies.

Specialisms will include finance and treasury, e-commerce/marketing, digital/technology/data, risk and compliance, change and transformation, and procurement.

Adrian Hitchenor, Founding Partner at HW Global, is leading the new division and explained how it will be different. He said: “Unlike the contingent recruitment model used by most recruiters in the sub-£100K market, HW People will collaborate exclusively with clients on a retained basis.

“This gives them the benefit of our unrivalled ability to research and source talent across discipline, sector and geography. We will work as a trusted adviser, acquiring a deep knowledge of our clients and the culture of their business to find the best fit when conducting a search assignment on their behalf.

“Using our extensive network of executive contacts, we will approach and interview the most successful candidates who are currently high performing in their roles, select and shortlist the most appropriate, and assist with the on-boarding process following appointment.”

Rachel Frankland, who has been with HW Global for 15 years as a researcher and consultant, has been promoted to Director at HW People.

She is being joined by Director Howard Murfin, who has more than 20 years’ recruitment experience and was previously Senior Account Director at Matt Burton Associates.

Rachel said: “Companies need to attract the best talent, which doesn’t typically sit on traditional databases. Working in partnership with clients provides a more comprehensive and rigorous approach to identify the best talent for a role, taking into account both skillset and culture fit.

“We’re currently working on assignments for Senior Finance Analysts, Financial Controllers, Finance Business Partners and Head of Accounting roles and are keen to engage with other businesses looking for a bespoke talent service.”

HW Global, which has a £20m turnover and employs 50 staff based in London, Leeds and Manchester, currently operates on an exclusive and retained basis in the £120K+ search market, also placing interims on daily rates from £500 to £2,000.

The launch of HW People is the latest move in the parent group’s rapid growth strategy. In 2019, London-based Zebra People was acquired to enable HW Global to offer a comprehensive digital talent service to its clients. HW Global now appoints senior digital leaders, with the Zebra People team building the critical capability that sits underneath.

Last year HW Global announced it was seeking similar acquisitions of leading human capital organisations operating in its key market sectors of consumer and financial services, at the tier below executive level. Other potential acquisition targets include recruitment agencies specialising in finance, HR, technology and professional interim.

Pictured (l-r) are: HW People Director Howard Murfin, HW Global Founding Partner Adrian Hitchenor and HW People Director Rachel Frankland.


Taxing times for interim consultants as IR35 introduction confirmed

9th March 2021

By Rachel Frankland

Last week’s Budget confirmed what many interim executives had been expecting – the planned extension of IR35 to the private sector is going ahead next month.

Despite industry pleas for the major change to off payroll working rules to be further delayed due to the ongoing economic fallout from the pandemic, there was no mention of IR35 in Rishi Sunak’s statement to the House last Wednesday.

So the new rules will come in on April 6th – a year later than originally planned.

Medium and large sized private sector firms (over 50 employees) will thereafter bear the responsibility for determining the IR35 status of all consultants and contractors.

In sectors like financial services, risk averse employers including high street banks took an early decision to go for a safety first approach and ended all off payroll contracts last year, amid claims HMRC’s own Checking Employment Status Tool (CEST) was not delivering clear outcomes.

Moving interims on to company payrolls inevitably means paying full income tax and National Insurance and being taxed on expenses as an employee. Given current economic conditions, companies are not substantially increasing interim day rates to compensate for these increased tax deductions. But a growing number are offering fixed term contracts, many of which build in a benefits package and the option of a retention bonus – which go some way to making up for the income lost through IR35.

Many firms are not, however, willing to place interims on their payroll and instead are opting to hire consultants through umbrella companies which effectively payroll the interim – a move which inevitably will increasingly become the norm for many businesses.

Some career interim consultants not happy with reduced income or operating through umbrella companies have instead opted for a permanent executive role, affording them more financial security in these difficult times, and others have gone down the non-executive director portfolio route.

However, the majority are now accepting that these changes are irreversible.

But while the method of contract may be changing next month for most, what has not changed is the need for businesses to have ready access to executive talent.

This may be to help steer them through organisational change, unprecedented change following a turbulent year, the sudden departure of a senior director, or simply the requirement for a highly specialised skill set they do not have in-house.

HW Interim has access to an extensive network of experienced and talented interim and change management executives for PLCs, large private companies, SMEs and private equity backed organisations.

We recognise that culture fit and aligned values is crucial to the success of any hire and so we spend time understanding our clients and candidates to ensure we get the best fit for both parties.

For an informal conversation about your interim management needs contact HW Executive Interim Consultant Rachel Frankland at [email protected] or +44 (0) 7595 203229.