The Experts: Ann Swain on the Turning Point for Recruitment

Ann Swain

Global CEO, APSCo

Ann Swain is the founder and Global CEO of APSCo an international trade body representing the professional recruitment sector with operations in the UK, Germany, Singapore, and Australia. APSCo is now recognized as a badge of quality for clients and candidates across the world.

Ann has over 30 years’ recruitment experience including time as Managing Director of Learning Curve and UK Sales Director at Computer People before establishing APSCo in 1999.

Welcome to our latest installment of our Power Women in Recruitment Month. Throughout October, we will celebrate some of the incredible women that make up the recruitment industry, highlighting their career achievements along the way.

This week we hear from Ann Swain, Founder and Global CEO of The Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo).

Watch @AnnAPSCo, Founder and Global CEO of @APSCo_org, share what opportunities she sees as the turning point for the global recruitment industry. Share on X


RIX: Is the rise of online recruitment platforms a challenge or opportunity for recruiters?

Ann Swain: I would say that the recruitment market isn’t always the quickest to welcome new technology and to utilize it as fully as it should do, but the opportunity is that I think the role of a recruiter is less about sourcing and more about creating a candidate experience that brings candidates who have been sourced, normally utilizing social networks or whatever else it may be, but utilizing technology to bring them into something and make sure that they engage with us as recruiters and make sure that engagement carries on to an end user customer and have a fruitful experience right the way through. I think that’s the role of recruitment moving forward. That means there’s an opportunity to really harness any new technology, any new platforms to help us make that better.

“I think the role of a recruiter is less about sourcing and more about creating a candidate experience.” - @AnnAPSCo, Founder and Global CEO of @APSCo_org Share on X

RIX: What can U.S. and UK recruitment companies can learn from each other?

Ann Swain: I think there is a huge opportunity for American recruitment companies and UK recruitment companies an awful lot, but not only the UK and I think that America has an opportunity, it’s a big, strong, the biggest market, but it can be easy when you are ahead of the game for a period of time to be arrogant and to become complacent. What I would say is APSCo is based not only in the UK but in Australia, in Singapore, and in Germany. Each of them has interesting markets, a couple of them quite large markets and I think that discussion and opportunity to learn should be again harnessed, whether that be at events such as Engage or other events that actually go across the pond and to and from for a bit for there to be sharing of information. What I would say is this, the UK has had a long history of having a passport and traveling and opening up offices and opportunities in different places.

There’s less of that from America. It’s such a huge market, but it can be quite easy for an American business to be hugely successful simply by looking at America and providing services there. But if you look at the UK, we travel and we open up whether it be in Australia, whether it be in Singapore, across the whole of Europe, but also in America. So what I would say is the opportunities there, the timing I think is right for there to be more discussions. What can we learn? I think with smaller agile markets, there’s an opportunity for the American market to learn about how to move on quickly and have to spread the word and branding into other countries. I think from the American market, it’s how to take on big pieces of business and deliver them in an organized, efficient manner. What a great opportunity.


RIX: How can we increase the number of women leaders in the recruitment industry?

Ann Swain: What are we going to do about it? Well, I am a director of something called Women in Recruitment. Natasha Clarke actually is the chairman of that and Nicola Mullarkey, and we’re doing an awful lot of work in the UK, but it was spread beyond that too on making sure that women coming into the market understand what the career opportunities are, and actually helping those people, recruiting those women and giving them a career opportunity, and give them opportunities that work for them as well. I think there’s a great future in recruitment for women. You can have a big family, I happen to have a fairly large family. You can have a big family, and a successful and long-term career in the recruitment market, without question.

“I think there's a great future in recruitment for women... You can have a big family, and a successful and long-term career in the recruitment market, without question.” - @AnnAPSCo, Founder and Global CEO of @APSCo_org Share on X

If you’re interested in hearing more insights from Ann Swain, check out Take It from the Top: Episode 12 – Ann Swain and Leah McKelvey, where Ann shares trends she’s seeing across the global recruitment industry.

What do 2,000+ staffing professionals say are the priorities, challenges, and trends that matter to them in 2019? Find out at the brand new site for global recruitment insights and data.