CK employee volunteering in the Congo

CK Group’s Marketing Executive Lauren de Frece is currently on a short sabbatical in Kinshasa, the largest city located in the Democratic Republic of Congo with a population in excess of 11 million. She has flown to provide aid to local residents by improving the surrounding areas with her husband and a larger group.

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Congo gifts

CK host Cupcake Day for Alzheimer’s Society

On Friday 16th June the staff at CK Group headquarters in Chesterfield hosted a Cupcake Day to raise money for Alzheimer’s Society. The day was a flying success with £227 raised through cake sales, and further boosted by the company to an amazing £300 total!

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Cupcake Day

Is now the right time to change jobs?

2017 is a fairly unstable year, with a good deal of uncertainty in the air.

  • How will Brexit affect me?
  • What will the new government do?
  • What is happening in the US?
  • Are we taking climate change seriously enough?

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Three lab scientists

CK are recruiting

The CK Group are a specialist Scientific, Clinical, IT and Engineering recruitment consultancy dealing with the chemical, pharmaceutical, biotechnology, environmental, waste and food industries within the UK and Europe, providing both contract and permanent employment.

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CK Group are recruiting

CK Group raise £950 for Macmillan Cancer Support

Today at the CK Group we were delighted to be visited by Rob Turner, the Chesterfield Senior Fundraising Manager for Macmillan Cancer Support, who came by our office to collect a cheque for £950 on behalf of the charity. The money was raised by CK staff at our annual awards event in January, held in recognition of the efforts and achievement of CK staff over the last 12 months.  The amount raised was further topped up by a company contribution.

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CK donate to Macmillan Cancer Support

CK Group Receives Gold Award at Agile-1’s 2016 UK Supplier Excellence Summit

London, 20th September 2016 – CK Group, the leading supplier of scientific and technical staffing services, is proud to announce that it has received the Gold award for service excellence from Agile-1. CK Group accepted the award during the Agile-1 2016 UK Supplier Excellence Summit. The private event was held on Monday, 19 September at The Grange St. Paul’s Hotel in London, England.

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Agile1 Best of the Best

Strong performance for EU pharma and biotech sectors

The latest IHS Markit Europe PMI Composite Index for July actually showed a slight decline on the previous month for all sectors. Despite this slight cooling from 55.8 in June to 55.3 in July,  economic growth across Europe remained strong and among the highest over the last six years.

Beneath the overall figures, the pharmaceutical and biotechnology sectors are gaining momentum with strong order books and profit margins. Alongside transportation, pharma and biotech are the strongest performing sectors at the moment, which is great news for investors and people working in these fields.



The growth of output through July in the pharma and biotech sector is the fastest for the last ten years and considering the sector was in contraction 12 months ago, the growth during this period is extremely positive.

Through 2015/16 the trend in new orders had been negative with companies experiencing a slow down until August 2016 when the rebound started and a change in momentum occurred.

Order books have improved significantly since and the overall situation has been helped by stronger growth in output prices than for input costs for the first time in 12 months.



Overall this is great news for the life sciences sector and presents a positive picture for the latter part of 2017 and early 2018. This growth has been reflected by the recent results from the latest report on jobs from IHS Markit and the REC which shows that staff appointments have increased at the fastest rate in the sector in over two years.

However on the downside for organisations, as the demand for staff increases and candidate availability decreases the pressure on wages will continue to grow, putting additional pressure on costs.

Nonetheless, let’s look at the positive side and the continual investment and growth of the life sciences areas.


If you would like any further information relating to the above contact


Author: Liam O’Connell

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Find out more about Liam here


Male scientist working

Should you use a recruiter?

Should you use a recruitment consultant to help find your staff? As somebody that operates a recruitment company, you would expect the answer to be yes!

However, the answer is actually, “not always”.  Using an external recruiter has a time and place.  In the current age of technology, if you have the time, resource and budget to find the right talent to support your business then using an external recruiter can be a genuine luxury.

Having said this though, there are times and sectors in which a good recruiter can be worth their weight in gold.  Knowing when and how to use a recruiter will make it a positive experience and get the results you want for all concerned.

A combination of uncertainty in the UK economy as a whole, given a looming Brexit and a shortage of qualified scientists creates an environment where attracting a talented person away from their current role to join your business is tough.

The July 2017 ONS statistics show that the UK employment rate was 74.9%. This is the highest since comparable records began. The unemployment rate is 4.5%, down from 4.9% for a year earlier and the lowest since 1975. Given that the labour market is clearly tight, a talent shortage in science and technology has been exacerbated even more. In this type of environment, looking outside of your business for help in sourcing talent can be a good idea.

Clearly, for some roles and very often for a first job in industry, suitably talented individuals can be attracted with a simple online advert and there are a number of websites designed to help you do this cheaply and efficiently. However, if you have a lot of roles to manage, some help with managing the volume can be useful, or for a role that is of a specialist nature or on a contract basis, working with a recruiter that has spent in many cases years building a niche network is often the time to look externally.

If you work in a sector that requires wooing and attracting a candidate to join your business rather than casting the net and picking out the best,  you may find that you can spend a lot of time sending off speculative approaches to candidates or making phone calls to talented people to ask them to consider joining your team. This is clearly very time consuming and can also make you appear a little too keen.


Choosing your Recruiter!

Choosing a recruiter that has a lot of experience in your market is easier said than done.  The hiring managers in the department you are recruiting for will probably know of some people to start with and a LinkedIn or Google search for a specialist will probably yield a lot of potentials.  Choose a few and spend some time asking them questions about track record and areas of expertise.  You should also consider asking the hiring manager to join you to meet or speak with them too to get a more technical or specialist insight.

I would suggest that you ALWAYS meet your recruiter face to face.  It will give you more confidence in your selection but it will also give them more of an emotional buy in to make sure that they deliver for you personally as well as professionally.


How many recruiters should you work with?

Some argue that working with a large number of recruiters means that you cover a lot of ground quickly and that you drive the speed of recruitment because your recruiters will know that they are up against others to get to the best people first.

The flip side of this argument is that you will have to brief multiple recruiters, risk an inconsistent interpretation of how your business is represented in the market, run the risk of the same candidate being contacted multiple times and starting to get the impression that you are a little desperate as well as starting to lose control of the recruitment process.

It can also serve as a disincentive to your recruiter if they think there is “no point” working on something because so many other people are doing it too. For a contingency assignment, I would suggest working with 2 recruiters to give you full market coverage and retain control of the recruitment process.

You will also find that if you are up front with your recruiter that they are in a very small select group, they will go that extra mile for you too.  If you don’t see the results very soon or following your feedback session with your recruiter then you can consider opening up to other avenues.


What to expect for your investment?

If you are working with a small number of recruiters you should expect as a minimum:

  • Face to face initial briefing
  • Initial honest feedback about whether your expectations are realistic (does the candidate you are looking for exist? What is the market like? Are you in the right ball park with your compensation and benefits package?)
  • An agreement about how your role will be pitched and the USPs of your business highlighted. Ideally with a written pack to accompany this.
  • Suitable applicants being presented to you with a CV, interview notes, details about why the candidate is to be considered, areas to probe further at the next stage interview and any specific questions you would like addressing
  • Comprehensive background checks – references, qualification and identification verification
  • Regular feedback on the progress of the assignment.

Don’t be afraid to ask for advice even when you are not hiring and feel free to ask for transparency on pricing and processes.  You will both find that if there is an appreciation that you want a great job doing but that you are willing to pay a fair price and understand that your Recruiter needs to earn a living means that the issue of money is not the elephant in the room and you can both get on with doing a good job.


Getting the most out of your relationship?

If you are up front about how you want to work with your recruiter and what your expectations are, you will find that you have a very healthy relationship with a committed partner.  If you have selected a suitable expert in their field, maintain regular communication and are willing to listen to their advice, this will demonstrate that you value the relationship and you will find that your recruiter goes the extra mile.


Take a look at our recruitment services here

Author: Jonathan Hart-Smith

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