A new recruitment brand, CK Technical

We are pleased to announce that CK IT and CK Engineers have rebranded to form a new recruitment division, CK Technical. This new team will focus on finding roles for high calibre Engineers and IT professionals in the scientific, chemical, waste, biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries

As specialist recruiters in the life science industries, we noticed that many of the IT and engineering roles that we recruit for have a great deal of crossover between the engineering and IT sectors. As our brands progressed it became clear that it would be advantageous to combine these two recruitment divisions.

Not only will this merge be an advantage to CK and it’s clients, it means that the years of experience held by CK Engineers and CK IT and their industry contacts will enable CK Technical to offer a wider variety of jobs, an improved recruitment service and help our candidates find the right roles tailored to their specialities.

Also our new streamlined and simplified appearance will create an easier user interface while still providing access to technically-related vacancies and job-seekers.

Visit our brand new website www.cktechnical.co.uk 

If you have colleagues, relative or friends who are engineers or IT professionals within the life science and pharma sectors then please share the news with them!

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Gender Pay Gap Report 2018

At the CK Group we have always worked hard to promote equality and diversity amongst our employees.

We recently welcomed the opportunity to publish the information required under the Equalities Act 2010 (Gender Pay Gap Information) Regulations 2017, showing gender pay gap levels within our business.

Since the CK Group began in 1991, we have advocated equality amongst all of our employees without exception. Alongside our internal measures, we support our clients to ensure their contingent workforce, in many cases our employees, is engaged in an ethical manner, paid fairly and sourced from a diverse pool of talent.

We are pleased to be able to publish our own Gender Pay Gap Report 2018, all the statistics were compiled using the standard methodologies set out in the Regulations, based on a “snapshot date” of 5 April 2017,with reference to the ACAS guidelines where appropriate.

The statutory reporting information for our company includes all our employees and the results in the report.

Read the Gender Pay Gap Report 2018 here


Does your agency keep your data safe? All you need to know about ISO 27001 and why it is important.

With data breaches becoming increasingly common, cyber-security and data protection is a big topic in the media and a priority for CK Group. In September 2017 we proved to the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) that we were safe and secure, and in turn were awarded with our very own ISO 27001 certificate.

But what exactly does this mean? And why should it be so crucial for recruitment agencies to be ISO 27001 certified?


What is ISO 27001?

ISO 27001 is a framework of policies that helps companies keep information safe and secure. It is recognised worldwide, and it ensures that companies continually review and refine the way they manage and protect the data that they hold. It also gives specific requirements that a company must meet to keep their accreditation over time.

In short, a ISO 27001 certified company such as CK Group has the management framework in place to significantly reduce the risks of a data breach but more importantly, it has the right procedures to properly manage an incident if one was to occur.


Why ISO 27001 is particularly important in the recruitment sector

A few years back ISO 27001 was considered to be solely an IT department standard. However, due to increasing pressures to prioritise protecting data it is becoming popular in other fields.

Like other ISO management system standards, having a ISO 27001 certificate is not obligatory. However, companies who are not compliant could be putting sensitive data at risk. It is particularly important in the recruitment sector as companies like CK Group tend to hold a lot of information about their clients and candidates.

How does it help our clients?

–       It keeps recruitment plans confidential

–       It keeps salary and payment information confidential and safe

–       It protects employee information and keeps it safe from prying eyes

Similarly, how does it help our candidates?

–       It keeps their names, addresses and contact details safe

–       It ensures their data is only shared with people that they have approved

–       It keeps their salary details confidential and safe

–       It keeps copies of identification and other documents safe

–       It makes sure that their reference and qualification details are not passed on to any third parties without approval

If a recruitment or employment agency is not ISO 27001 certified, a data breach could have significant damaging consequences on candidates, clients as well as the said agency.


Choosing to work with an agency that is ISO 27001 certified, and not just ISO 27001 compliant

Many agencies might claim to be ISO 27001 compliant but will not have the accreditation. What does this mean?

To get an ISO 27001 a company needs to go through a vigorous auditing procedure. Some companies may think they are compliant but haven’t necessarily been through the complete process. Without a third party validating their framework of policies and general practice it is impossible to know whether the organisation is really compliant or not.

All in all, whether you are a client or a candidate, with so many high-profile data breaches occurring, choosing a recruitment or employment agency with no ISO 27001 accreditation could be putting you at risk and could end up having damaging consequences.


If you would like to find out more about the ISO 27001 principles we follow visit our previous blog post about CK Group gaining ISO 27001 accreditation here, or get in touch with us today, as we would be delighted to speak with you.

Have you thought about contract recruitment? Why hiring employees on a contract basis could be the right model for you.

Contract recruitment, in a nutshell, is hiring staff on a contract basis, rather than permanently. The employment contract lasts a fixed amount of time, usually 6 to 12 months, and once completed the position terminates.

This is becoming an increasingly favourable model for organisations in the science and clinical field and is often a necessary way for pharmaceutical companies and clinical research organisations to operate their human resources.

There are numerous advantages to hiring on a contract basis, and here we explore some of the scenarios when contract employment may be the right model for your organisation.


Changing work demands

If workflow at your organisation is not consistent, hiring contract staff may be the ideal solution. Rather than having to pay your staff needlessly during quiet periods, or dismissing them and having to pay redundancy pay, contract recruitment could provide your organisation with a more flexible and cost-effective employment structure.

Alternatively, if there are certain times of the year when workflow is very busy, recruiting additional contract workers could help stabilise the business. Additional help will enable your full-time employees to concentrate on their jobs, and hence increase their productivity.

When work demands change, an organisation can increase or decrease the number of contract staff they use to suit the human resources needs.


When there is a need for a particular expertise

At CK Group we have many experienced contractor candidates with specific skill sets in their field.

Many contractors have worked for a vast number of companies in your field and therefore have a lot of experience that full-time employees may not. They can bring a new and unbiased third-party perspective to your organisation, and help you run projects more efficiently.

Contract employees are often hired for specific projects and to fulfil certain roles while the project runs. This is often the case in research, and regular positions offered on a contract basis include research associate and clinical project manager roles.


A cost-effective solution

There are also financial benefits to hiring contract staff. When you hire on a contract basis the agency will handle all tax and National Insurance administration, manage holiday entitlements, pension contributions, sickness absences and any disciplinary matters, enabling you to reduce your own overheads by not having to manage these processes


Tighter control over staffing budgets

In contract employment employees are hired for a set amount of time and at a specific rate. This makes it very easy for organisations to calculate the cost of hiring temporary staff.

For projects and trials many pharmaceutical companies will favour this recruitment model as it allows them to have tighter control over the allocated budget.


Recruiting at short notice

Hiring personnel on a contract basis is normally a much quicker process than hiring someone permanently. As contract recruitment is for a fixed amount of time, less consideration is needed when employing someone new. This, in turn, makes the hiring process less lengthy and cheaper.

If you need staff immediately or at short notice, contract recruitment is worth considering. It can even be a temporary solution while you look for staff for a permanent role.


Understanding the different contact options

At CK Group we have a variety of contract options to suit our candidates and clients’ requirements.

Some of our contract staff are employed by us and engaged on a PAYE (pay as you earn) basis. This means that we are responsible for all employment matters including their Employers National Insurance contributions, holiday pay and managing their payroll.

Alternatively, some of our contract staff work under their own limited company. A contractor working through their own limited company is employed by that company, which is engaged under a contract for services by CK Group. Their own company deals with all employment matters, which can simplify certain aspects of the engagement from an administrative point of view. CK Group ensures that the company is bona fide and makes all necessary due diligence checks.

Other contractors work through an umbrella company. In this case, the umbrella company employs the contractor, which again can simplify certain aspects of the engagement from an administrative point of view.


All in all, contract recruitment can be an ideal recruitment model for organisations that need specific skills, a more flexible employment solution or are cost sensitive. At CK Group, we provide our clients with the best contact candidates within the following sectors:

• Pharmaceutical
• Biotechnology
• Chemical
• Engineering
• Waste
• Environmental
• Food

To find out how we can help you find the right contract candidates, contact us here.

Or call: 01246 457700 or email: info@ckagroup.co.uk


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CK win Employer of the Year Award

CK is very pleased to announce that the company won the Employer of the Year Award at the Hertfordshire Business Awards.

CK attended the glittering awards ceremony run by the Archant group on the 23rd of November at the wonderful Knebworth Barns at Knebworth Park and is absolutely delighted to have won the Employer of the Year category which is sponsored by Blue Arrow.

MD Jonathan Hart-Smith said “Winning this award this year really means a lot to us. We’ve put a lot of effort in over the past 26 years to make sure we are a fantastic company to work for, and the acknowledgement that we are Employer of the Year for 2017 in Hertfordshire really is a big tick in the box for everything we’ve done to look after our staff.”

CK has worked hard to create a great working environment for all staff, having recently refurbished the offices countrywide and designed a new employee reward scheme, just to name a few areas of improvement. This award is confirmation of that work.

Thank you to the Archant group and all of the judges for putting the night together and to Blue Arrow for sponsoring the award.

Find out more about what it’s like to work at CK here





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CK Group Receives AgileOne’s Platinum Award

CK Group is proud to announce that on November 9, 2017, the company received AgileOne’s Platinum Award for supplier excellence. The award was presented to Liam O’Connell at AgileOne’s annual European Supplier Excellence Summit held at the Radisson Blu in Dublin, Ireland.

“Supplier performance has a measurable impact on client satisfaction, so the Supplier Excellence Awards are a natural extension of the benchmarking we do to ensure only the very best suppliers get the opportunity to support our clients,” said Peter Carvalho, President of AgileOne. “As a trusted partner, CK Group has proven that they are up to the task of providing the world-class customer service and high-quality talent our clients have come to expect from AgileOne.”

Jaideep Majumdar, Associate Vice President of AgileOne, and the entire Global Strategic Sourcing team lead the charge to build strong partnerships with suppliers. “Our supplier management program is just one of the many ways AgileOne goes above and beyond to ensure our clients have access to the talent they need to be successful. Our commitment to connect, build, and foster our supplier partners means we take a proactive approach to their success. From mentoring to providing additional opportunities for business growth, our ‘Best of the Best’ suppliers are living proof that our unique business model is a win-win for AgileOne, our clients, and our suppliers.”

The CK Group has a fantastic relationship with Agile One and has won the Gold Award at this summit for the past two years running. CK are delighted to have improved upon this by winning the Platinum Award this year.

Owner and Operations Director of the CK Group, Liam O’Connell said, “The CK Group have worked on a number of programs for the pharmaceutical and life sciences sectors since 2010, and it is an honour to be recognised with the Platinum Award for the UK. We look forward to continuing to strengthen our relationship and to continue to support programs throughout the UK and Europe. AgileOne continues to grow from strength to strength and the CK Group look forward to working in partnership with them for the foreseeable future.”


About CK Group:

Established in 1991 to specialise in scientific recruitment, CK quickly became a leading staffing organisation that now provides a full spectrum of recruitment services for the scientific, clinical, technical, IT and engineering industries.

In 2010 the CK Group was founded to be a natural home to its four highly reputable brands and one Real World Evidence CRO:

  • CK Science
  • CK Clinical
  • CK IT
  • CK Engineers
  • CK Aspire

Across the group, the REC qualified consultants are committed to providing a world-class service through their expert industry knowledge and by forming long-term relationships with clients and candidates alike.CK has built strong relationships with a client base that includes 26 of the world’s top 30 leading blue chip organisations, as well as a multitude of SMEs and everything in between


About AgileOne:

AgileOne’s consultative approach solves workforce challenges for our customers by delivering cost savings, risk mitigation, vendor management, employment alternatives, industry best practices, and access to the best talent. Combining innovative talent procurement technologies with experienced professionals and a robust suite of total workforce solutions, we maximize the value of our customers’ workforce, decreasing liability and overhead associated with human capital management.

AgileOne manages the complexities of today’s global workforce by streamlining all components of contingent and direct labour.


Find out more about our past awards here

Agile One Award

CK to present at KellyOCG 2017 Supplier Forum in Zurich

Jonathan Hart-Smith, MD of the CK Group will be speaking at the KellyOCG 2017 Fall Supplier Forum on Thursday, 9th of November 2017 in Zurich, Switzerland.

The theme of this forum is Amplify-Interlock-Connect – Connecting TALENT with the World of Work.

This exclusive event gathers top suppliers, thought leaders, and industry professionals in an intimate setting that enables peer networking and candid dialogue about the challenges and opportunities that face us in the year ahead.

The subject of Jonathan’s presentation will be: INRALS – Global Reach, Local knowledge for a niche supplier. This presentation will focus on the power of having local knowledge at an international level and will share insights into the world of work from INRALS.

If you are attending the event look out for Jonathan’s presentation at 15.45-16.30 in break out Session D.

If you would like to talk to Jonathan at the event, contact him on these details here.

Finalists in the Hertfordshire Business Awards 2017

We are delighted to announce that we are finalists in the 21st Annual Hertfordshire Business Awards. We have been shortlisted in the Employer of the Year category which is sponsored by Blue Arrow.

We are very pleased to be part of these awards as our southern office is based in Stevenage, Hertfordshire and we strive to work with and assist as many local businesses as possible. For example, in September we hosted a voluntary session with Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst to update tenants and SBC team members on upcoming changes in employment legislation and some of the insights from our recent recruitment process optimisation survey.

The awards ceremony is taking place on the 23rd November 2017 at the wonderful Knebworth Barns, Knebworth Park. Over 440 business personnel will gather under one roof for an evening of celebration and success. The event is black tie and will consist of a sparkling drinks reception, three-course gala dinner, entertainment and the awards presentation.

Find out more about these awards here

Herts business awards

CK Group gain ISO 27001 accreditation

We are very pleased to announce that the CK Group has gained ISO 27001 accreditation. This award is recognised worldwide as the standard for information security management and demonstrates that the company has reached the high standards set by the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO).

We have demonstrated that we could not only prevent but also defend against potential data system vulnerabilities, due to our comprehensive suite of information security controls and the management system we introduced to ensure these controls remain efficient and continue to meet the needs of the business, our clients, and other stakeholders.

An annual audit is carried out by an external third party to ensure our systems continue to meet the stringent requirements set out in the ISO 27001 standard.

Chief Executive Ashley Kirk said, “Achieving ISO 27001 certification is another exciting landmark in the CK Group’s evolution as a business. It demonstrates our commitment to information security in alignment with industry best practice. In the 21st-century business world, it is vital that we all take data security seriously and CK is delighted that its information management systems have been assessed as meeting this exacting international standard. It’s great to be able to give our clients’ total confidence in our data management and information security systems.”

If you would like to find out more about the ISO 27001 principles we follow, please get in touch with us today, as we would be delighted to speak with you.


Please contact us here.

ISO 27001 Registered Logo

Present your company in the best way during the recruitment process

The July Office for National Statistics reports states that UK unemployment is currently 4.5%. This is, down from 4.9% for a year earlier and the lowest since 1975.

Undoubtedly this is good news for people seeking work and demonstrates that there are certainly opportunities out there. When trying to attract talent, however, this does mean that we all have to work harder to make sure the brightest and the best want to join us.

A recent survey by the CK Group found that 70% of employers in the life science industry sometimes find it hard to recruit the right staff and 30% find it hard most of the time.

The recruitment process is the time to impress upon the people that you would like to hire that your company is the right place for them. As part of recruitment and selection, you are not only trying to identify the best person for your role but you are also working hard to show people from outside of the business that they should want to work with you. If they are unsuccessful, you want them to be disappointed and to walk out of your building wishing that they had got the job and be telling other people in the job market what a great company you have.

To achieve this, the recruitment process should be well managed. Any relationship with external recruiters should be professional and well informed with regular communication. Remember that your recruiter is working hard to represent your business.

Try to make sure the recruitment process is quick and efficient; a lot of talented people get snapped up quickly so be willing to be flexible and make sure that you showcase your business and your current staff.

CK Group’s survey gave some guidance on the process and tips to consider:

  • 67% of applicants prefer to use their own CV over an application form.
  • 24% of applicants fail to complete their application of if application form is required
  • 94% of applicants prefer a simple 1 – 2 stage interview process and are therefore more likely to see it through to completion.
  • 76% of applicants were put off by unfriendly interviewers
  • 52% of applicants said that company staff need to sell the company more


How to sell your company:

Some simple things to cover during the interview process can make a big difference to how your business is perceived:

  • A site tour and company culture – the two biggest influencers on how welcoming a company can be perceived are to talk about the company culture and to let your candidates see the site.
  • The candidates future – The next most helpful techniques are to highlighting developmental and future promotional opportunities and the benefits of working with your business
  • Business future and your team – Finally talking about where your business has come from, what the future holds and meeting the team will help demonstrate that your company is the right place for them.


Leaving a positive impression:

After the interview and the candidate has left the site, it’s important that they see your business in the best possible light. This helps with cementing an acceptance of any offer. It also helps to raise your standing as a place that people want to work and they will share their positive experience with other future applicants.
Feedback is vitally important in helping create a positive impression with your future workforce. 75% of job seekers said that they would not consider reapplying to a company that did not provide them with any feedback and only 13% of applicants in the CK survey said that they had received constructive feedback following an interview.


Offer acceptance:

In the recent survey, 70% of applicants said that they had turned down offers because they were counter offered by their current employer or because the company that they were applying to had taken too long to make a decision and they had taken something else. Surprisingly 40% of candidates had turned down jobs because the salary offered had been lower than they had been led to believe it would be or below market rate.
It’s therefore not only vitally important to make a good impression but also to feedback promptly and to make sure that any offer made is in line with market rates.


Take a look at some of our other advice articles and videos here.

If you would like more recruitment advice then please contact Jonathan here.


Author: Jonathan Hart-Smith, Managing Director


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