A-Z Of Employers: Reed

By Steve McCormack

Published: 06 July 2006

What does it do?

Reed is one of the UK's biggest recruitment companies, responsible, in its time, for placing millions of people into temporary or permanent jobs. It covers a wide spectrum of employment sectors, including accountancy, administration, computing, education, engineering, and insurance, and also provides a training and HR consultancy service for businesses. It also works for the Government by running its Welfare to Work programme, helping unemployed and unqualified people into work in big cities, including London, Glasgow and Liverpool. Alec Reed started the business with £75 capital and one branch in Hounslow, west London, in 1960. Since then, growth has been by natural expansion, rather than by buying other businesses. Why is it mentioned in this column? Because a recruitment company needs to employ recruiters of its own.

Vital Statistics:

Reed employs more than 3,000 staff in the UK and Ireland and runs an internet site with more than a quarter of a millions jobs posted on it.

The office:

The nearest thing to an administrative headquarters is Wimbledon. Although there are 305 offices, spread far and wide, the majority of the graduate opportunities are in London and the South East. Geographical mobility, though, will always help.

Is this you?

Between 40 and 60 graduates are taken on, with flexible start dates, every year, most destined to become recruiters, but some bound for Reed's numerous other areas, such as charity management, HR-outsourcing or accountancy. Minimum entry requirements are a 2:1 degree in any subject and 300 UCAS points.

The recruitment process:

Applicants successful in the online screening stage, via www.reed.co.uk/workforreed, are invited to attend a psychometric testing session, and meet one of the managing directors for a formal interview. If that's successful, you'll be offered a place on the three-year graduate training scheme, where you'll taste a variety of roles in all seven of the Reed sister companies, and study for an appropriate professional qualification, such as personnel or management accountancy. Throughout, you'll follow Reed's internal training programmes, covering sales and negotiation, time management and presentation delivery, plus a leadership scheme. An informal graduate network and mentoring system provides support and guidance throughout training.

Top Dollar?

Starting salary is between £18,500 and £23,500, depending on location and experience, with up to five pay reviews during the training period.

Beam me up Scotty?

Reed stress that trainees are on a fast track to senior roles, ultimately company directors, positions now occupied by former graduate recruits.

Who's the boss?

The founder's son, James Reed, who joined the company in 1994, is now Executive Chairman. Before that, his diverse career included spells as a documentary producer at the BBC, and jobs working for various charities, including Afghanaid and Help the Aged.

Little known fact:

One of Reed's main offices in London is housed in the building which used to be the Apple Boutique, owned by The Beatles in the 1960s.

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