Proud to Celebrate 15 Years of EMEA Recruitment

Proud to Celebrate 15 Years of EMEA Recruitment

We are delighted to be celebrating the 15th anniversary of EMEA Recruitment, after opening for business in 2007.

EMEA Recruitment was founded 15 years ago by Paul Toms and his wife, Kelly. With their experience recruiting in international markets, they originally focused on Finance & Accountancy recruitment in the Netherlands.

Their approach swiftly developed to include professional services recruitment in Switzerland and the wider EMEA market. We now have offices in Amsterdam, Zug and Nottingham, with a growing team of specialist Recruitment Consultants.

Paul remains hands-on in the business, helping professionals manage their careers, working with multi-national organisations to recruit the strongest talent, and supporting our recruiters with training and development.

Paul and Kelly’s first employee, Izabela Darmstetter, is still with the business, as an Associate Director. We also recently celebrated the ten-year work anniversary of John Bower, Director.

Over the years, we have welcomed recruitment expert Paul Macildowie as Chairperson and professional services recruitment specialist Richard Bailey as Managing Director.

Richard reflects on the last 15 years: “Lots has changed over the past 15 years, but fundamentally, we’ve always wanted to work with great people. Our employees, past and present, have consistently pushed growth with their committed professionalism.

“We’ve always had a lot of fun on the growing EMEA journey – a big thank you is needed to all our employees, but also candidates and clients who partner with us, and businesses we partner with.”

He adds: “We will continue to push to become the recruitment partner of choice for multi-nationals across Europe. Looking forward to further future growth.”

More recently, Michelle Ewing, Director, was welcomed to the board of directors, taking female representation on our board to 40%. We are also proud that 50% of our managers are women.

As a people business, we are committed to promoting Equity, Diversity & Inclusion in the workplace, both internally and externally, with our clients. By working with us, our clients can be confident that we act as a neutral third party in the recruitment process.

We are proud to be the ED&I recruiter of choice for many multi-national businesses, as reflected by ongoing events, training and candidate appointments.

As the world of work has changed, so has our approach. Our Consultants are specialists in their markets and disciplines, ensuring that they can deliver expert insights and updates to our network. We are seeing an increased focus on ED&I, remote working and sustainability.

We have acknowledged these changes and adapted EMEA Recruitment to become an agency of choice for our clients and candidates - but also an employer of choice for our Consultants.

As we look ahead to the future, we are excited about upcoming projects and partnerships, including our own commitment to fighting the climate crisis.

If you would like to find out how you can work with us, please get in touch with John Byrne, if you are based in Switzerland, or Richard Bailey, if you’re in the Netherlands.

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Female Leadership

Female Leadership

Female leadership is probably one of the most talked about topics in multi-national businesses today. We are seeing in the market that companies, as part of growth plans, quote that they are looking to increase female leadership, but are falling short of their target percentages.

This begs the question: are women not being offered equal opportunities, or are they more hesitant to put themselves forward?

EMEA Recruitment held a recent study to see how many men versus women would apply for the same role by looking at the job description. The results show that only 30% of women had applied for the role. The main reason was that women look to tick almost all the boxes required for the position, whereas men will apply if they tick around three to four requirements.

In Europe alone, almost half (46%) of women are employed, while just 35% of those were managers (as of 2021).

Another statistic from Catalyst shows that, among the largest publicly-listed companies in the EU in 2021, only 20% of executives and 8% of CEOs are women.

The key questions

  • Is discrimination happening due to women starting families, causing a generational gap in female leadership?
  • Do women find it hard to return to leadership roles after taking a career break to raise a family?
  • Are certain industries more forthcoming with female leaders than others?

Adapting the “Rooney Rule”

Several companies have now implemented a version of the National Football League’s Rooney Rule, which requires any team hiring a head coach to interview at least one minority candidate.

One business created a requirement that half of the final candidate shortlists for any executive positions must be women; in the last two years, the proportion of women on the executive team has risen from 25% to 40%.

In summary, female leaders can find their strength, express their voice and apply their talents when given these opportunities. They can also shape the conditions for others, supporting and influencing the systems that make the world welcoming to women’s contributions.

The progression of women in the workplace – and in leadership – isn’t just a women’s issue. It is an issue for all of us, so we can build communities in which we tap into the very best from each of us.

Here at EMEA, we provide our clients with relevant market information in a consultative approach - topics are also discussed through our roundtable events with clients. EMEA’s inclusive recruiter approach to each search means we have a deep understanding of the candidate and employer's expectations and needs.

If you’d like to discuss how we can help you build diverse teams, please get in touch with Hannah Mallia

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ED&I in the Employee Lifecycle

ED&I in the Employee Lifecycle

Keely Straw, Manager of Human Resources, shares knowledge on how you could improve your employee lifecycle, and her experience hosting EMEA Recruitment’s first face-to-face ED&I Roundtable event...

In my Q3 2022 newsletter, I shared insights on the future of work and what that means for Equity, Diversity & Inclusion (ED&I).

By making small changes throughout the employee lifecycle to accommodate a diverse workforce, organisations can improve employee experiences and boost engagement at every stage of the employee lifecycle:

1. Attraction - Brand reputation improves from employee, customer and stakeholder perspectives

2. Recruitment – Providing inclusive candidate journeys creates equal opportunities and allows organisations to draw from a wider talent pool

3. Onboarding – Demonstrating inclusive practices sets a first impression that encourages trust and loyalty

4. Development - Productivity improves, because data shows that employees with disabilities take less time off and stay with companies for longer

5. Retention – Turnover rates drop when everyone feels included and valued

6. Offboarding – Gathering employee feedback helps provide data and insights that can be used to improve ED&I policies further

Through my ED&I and HR networks, I have heard that many companies are already doing this and leading the way to make positive changes; they are eager to create a culture that is inclusive for everyone, regardless. Others are only just starting this journey.  

While there is plenty of information available online, at virtual online events and shared across social media, there isn’t anything local to Switzerland for ED&I leads to come together to share topics and success stories.

That is why, this month, I hosted EMEA Recruitment’s first face-to-face ED&I Roundtable event in Zurich.

This was an opportunity for ED&I leads - from multiple industry sectors and size - to come together, share insights on ED&I strategies and how to implement one, as well as other topics.

I would be keen to understand if you would be interested in future roundtable events, either dedicated to ED&I or broader HR topics. In addition, I would welcome the opportunity to hear how diverse your employee lifecycle is and how this compares with the general market consensus.

Please feel free to contact me directly to see how we can support you:

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The Last Thing that made you Smile | World Smile Day 2022

The Last Thing that made you Smile | World Smile Day 2022

To celebrate World Smile Day 2022, we’re sharing the heart-warming responses to the question, “what was the last thing that made you smile?” on the EMEA Recruitment podcast.

The podcast is produced in partnership with Operation Smile, an international medical charity that provides life-changing surgery and support to children and adults with cleft lip and palate.

It’s a cause close to our Founder, Paul Toms’ heart, as he was born with a cleft lip and palate himself. When interviewing guests on the EMEA Recruitment podcast, Paul asks them to explain the last thing that made them smile.

You can listen to some of the answers from our guests below:

Thank you to Dorie Clark, Markus Graf, Francesca Gino and Marco Aspesi, for sharing such lovely stories! Be sure to check out their full episodes:

Throughout our partnership, we’re hoping to create 100 new smiles. It costs just €180/182CHF/£150 and takes as little as 45 minutes to provide cleft surgery on an Operation Smile medical mission.

If you can donate anything to help us reach our goal, please visit:

Recently, we also welcomed Operation Smile UK’s new Executive Director, Mairead O’Callaghan, onto the EMEA Recruitment podcast to discuss her 11 years with the charity.

She also explained the charity’s goals for the next decade, as it celebrates its 40th anniversary in 2022.

Find the episode on your podcast app or watch on YouTube below:

Paul explains his connection to Operation Smile: “I can’t compare the challenges I faced with those of the young children Operation Smile help. All I can say is that, from my experience over the years, I changed from being afraid my uniqueness would define me, to embracing the fact that it defined me.”

Operation Smile is the official partner of the EMEA Recruitment podcast. If you’d like to find out more about our partnership, visit:

Operation Smile United Kingdom is incorporated as a company limited by guarantee in the UK (No.04317039) and is a registered charity in England and Wales (No. 1091316).

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Q4 2022: Finance Recruitment Market Update - Switzerland

Q4 2022: Finance Recruitment Market Update - Switzerland

As we begin the final quarter of 2022, one thing is for certain: the rate of change and challenge has not decreased in the last three months, but the Finance recruitment market remains extremely strong, with high levels of competition for candidates.

Candidate market

The unemployment rate in Switzerland remains low, at 2% in August 2022 (source: State Secretariat for Economic Affairs). This is a sign of a positive and stable economy, but also a factor in why some Finance roles are proving difficult to fill, as most people who were displaced during the pandemic have secured positions.

Highlighting a key shortage – Accountant and Controller level

Many companies have reported greater difficulties when recruiting for roles such as Accountant or Controller. One of the key reasons for the candidate shortage at these specific levels has been the move to remote shared service centres, which has reduced the flow of people entering the Finance & Accountancy profession in Switzerland.

The impacts on recruitment are:

For recruiters:

  • Traditional recruitment methods are not delivering success
  • Individuals who began their careers in 2020 have only ever known hybrid working, so this is a key factor in their decision-making
  • Employer brand and a relevant benefits package is extremely important
  • Recruitment processes are often not matched to the desired audience
  • Roles requiring languages in addition to English are significantly more difficult to fill  

For job-seekers:

  • High demand means greater choice of opportunities
  • Rising salaries
  • Changing job can be achieved quickly
  • Benefits and working conditions may be open to negotiation
  • Counter offers are being offered more regularly by employers

Counter offers made to candidates to retain staff in this competitive market include: higher salaries, enhanced hybrid working arrangement or even fully remote working.

At EMEA Recruitment, we share market insights with our clients before developing tailored recruitment campaigns that generate interest from the desired audience and lead to successful appointments.

In the current climate, an increasing number of clients are choosing to work with us on a retained basis, to ensure they are at the forefront of the battle for talent.

If you require help to recruit, please get in touch and we will gladly share market information. Please reach out to Mark Robinson:

If you are considering your own career path, there is no better time to speak to an expert and ensure that you have access to the right opportunities.

Hybrid working – how does it impact recruitment and onboarding?

Experienced Finance professionals have reported finding it harder to integrate into a new company, primarily because of the lack of time spent physically in the same location as their colleagues and peers. Many people at this level are happy to spend more time in the office, particularly during their learning curve.

Individuals who began their careers during COVID have only ever experienced hybrid working (initially more heavily home-based due to lockdowns), so are used to spending less time in the workplace.

When we are working with a business, we make sure that we fully understand the hybrid working requirements of both client and candidate from the outset, to ensure a smooth recruitment process with clear understanding on both sides, and work with both parties to achieve the right outcome.

Once employment commences, we maintain contact with both parties to help with the onboarding process and maximise the chances of a successful appointment.

Future impacts of hybrid working:

  • Are hybrid policies consistent across existing and new employees?
  • Is it as easy to identify good performance and potential for internal progression?
  • Does hybrid working lead to less engagement and feeling of belonging at a company?
  • Will average tenure in companies decrease if people are less bought in to their employer?

We will be running a series of LinkedIn polls to gain further insight into some of these topics. We hope that you will participate and enjoy reading the results in our next newsletter.


Having access to current market information, whether you are hiring or job seeking, is more important than ever before.

If you would like discuss your own career situtation or hiring into your team, we would be happy to speak with you:   

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Are you Investing in a Diverse Workforce?

Are you Investing in a Diverse Workforce?

With DE&I on the agenda for both employers and employees, companies around the world are focusing on developing their diverse recruiting strategies, therefore, good practice of hiring candidates under a process that is bias free is paramount.

Diverse recruitment should be aimed on finding the best possible candidate, regardless of a person’s background, and with equal opportunity given. Having diverse teams can contribute to newer and more varied ideas, resulting in companies being more innovative, creative and, overall, achieving better results.

It's also important to note that diversity in the workplace is not solely focused on business results and performance, but equally on building teams from qualified candidates, irrespective of their age, gender, background, race, religion or sexual orientation - this is long overdue and a step towards true equality in the workplace.

Diverse recruitment has many tangible benefits for performance and productivity, such as a broader range of skillsets, increased language and cultural awareness, and a more varied candidate pool.  

“Research from McKinsey & Company shows that the most diverse companies are also some of the most profitable: those in the top quartile for gender diversity on their executive teams were 21% more likely to experience above-average profitability than companies in the fourth quartile. As far as cultural diversity goes, companies in the top quartile were 33% more likely to have higher profitability than their less diverse counterparts.”

When recruiting with a diverse strategy, it’s crucial to measure the metrics of your hiring process. Understanding what your company is aiming to achieve in its recruitment and appealing to a diverse demographic is an effective way to encourage a wide range of applications.

So, how can you encourage such applications?

Tips on diverse recruitment

  • Audit your previous vacancies and make the necessary changes that will appear to a wider, more diverse audience - make sure the language used isn’t masculine, feminine or aimed towards a certain qualification level, seek to be more inclusive in the wording so as the vacancy can appeal to candidates with different backgrounds
  • Source candidates from different platforms - LinkedIn is one of the best tools to use for sourcing, but do not rely on the same channel to find your diverse candidates, as simply using the same platform, time and time again, can result in a similar talent pool and potentially lack in diversity
  • Ensure there are equal opportunities at screening - are the applications you receive anonymous? Are your pre-screening methods blind? Does your ATS system have the technology to flag or filter specific skills and experience? All the above will help you to remain free from bias throughout the recruitment selection process
  • Boost your employer branding - displaying your employer brand that naturally values its people and opinions from all backgrounds can be appealing to diverse candidates
  • Review your policies – company policies that appeal to a wide range of people demonstrate that diversity is valued and embraced as part of the company culture

Diversity recruitment is based on talent and merit, encompassed with ensuring measures are in place to reduce bias when selecting the right candidate. To ensure you have a strong diverse recruitment strategy, do take the above into consideration. 

We have noted a significant increase in payroll vacancies, particularly within the manufacturing and company software development industry over the past three months. These larger, multi-national companies have found such roles more difficult to recruit for, thus turning to external support.

If you require recruitment support for your difficult HR roles, contact our international Associate Director, Katie Insley, on or +31 20 241 73 66, who can discuss with you the services she has provided to previous clients and how she can support you with your recruitment needs.

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EMEA podcasts

The EMEA Recruitment podcast welcomes guests from across our network and beyond to share their career journeys, advice, and inspirational stories. 

We were delighted to welcome Terhi Nori, Global Lead for Project Workstream at ABB, onto the EMEA Recruitment podcast. “We create our own journey and our own story… it’s just a

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To celebrate World Menopause Day, we were honoured to welcome back Sally Higham, Director – Head of Talent Attraction at Lonza and Executive Menopause Coach, to the EMEA Recruitment podcast.

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Being a Woman in Finance - Susanne Rothstein

Being a Woman in Finance - Susanne Rothstein

We were honoured to welcome Susanne Rothstein, Vice President Finance Hydro Building Systems at Norsk Hydro, onto the EMEA Recruitment podcast. “When I have the opportunity to help young wome

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Executive Interviews