Lili Shereif arrived in Liverpool in 2000, an asylum seeker from Tehran with little English but qualifications in agricultural engineering and a determination to work. Friends told her about a support scheme, run by Reed in Partnership, and she joined up, working as a cleaner while studying English.
Her language became so good she started interpreting for other asylum seekers, and two years later Reed took her on as a personal adviser. Now she has won a company award and is developing a guidance manual for staff dealing with asylum seekers and refugees.
This is just one success story in a firm that prides itself on its growth and entrepreneurial, motivated spirit. For people who want to progress, the company offers plenty of chances, excellent training and good rewards.
John Bryson, quality and implementation manager at Reed Learning (part of the business that trains people for accredited awards), says: “For people who are not afraid to take a challenge, Reed is the perfect employer. Everyone can do something special given the opportunity and Reed is good at recognising that and providing it. This has proved an excellent philosophy for the personal growth of staff and of the company.”
The recruitment firm was started in 1960 with £75 by 26-year-old Alec Reed, working from Hounslow. By targeting what firms want and creating divisions to deal with areas like training, the firm has grown to 250 branches and annual sales of £407m.
Reed floated on the stock exchange in 1971; now it is run by Alec’s son, James Reed. Despite difficult times in the 1990s and redundancies last year, staff feel positive about the firm. A total of 70% feel their managers support their training and Reed allocates about £2,800 per head, plus subsidies of up to £500 for its “co-members” to take on non-work-related study.
Work is an important part of life for 79% of employees, and three-quarters have performance-related pay, taking the overall average salary to £21,350 a year (the basic £17,500 plus 22% in commission for recruitment consultants). One earned more than £100,000 in bonus last year.
There are options including private healthcare, and 69% of employees think they have fair workplace benefits. Other pluses include 25 days of holiday a year, discounts at restaurants, car-hire companies and David Lloyd leisure clubs, and bonuses such as a trip on the Orient Express and lunch at the Ritz.
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