5 reviews
16:04 13 Mar 23
Highly recommended! Josh and Sarah have been fantastic at Astute. They've found and placed me in 2 jobs now between them, both really responsive and excellent at keeping you up to speed with things. Very knowledgable about the roles and happy to talk to companies with any queries you have.
C R.C R.
10:45 27 Jan 23
Great agency one of the best ones I've worked with! Liz has been a great help and support in helping me towards a new direction in my career life. She is very attentive and keeps me in the loop at all times! She makes the extra effort to work with my preferred requirements for work and even if it isn't completely attainable she meets me in the middle and does as much as she can to help! Also Liz is very funny might I add 😂 and I'm happy that I can now put a face to the name after all these years! Thank you again Liz for all your help and support! 😊
10:32 20 Dec 22
Josh and the Astute team was very swift to help me to find roles that matched my profile. They are really reliable and will help through every step of the recruitment process going out of their way to assist and follow up when needed. Could not find a better recruitment agency!
Helen PinegarHelen Pinegar
16:19 18 Dec 22
Fantastic recruitment agency.. Josh was extremely enthusiastic, encouraging and clearly knowledgeable about what was needed from both the employee and the employers point of view. Extremely supportive especially in regards to interview preparation and endeavoured to procure feedback promptly. Wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Astute in the future to both candidates and recruiting businesses particularly for the right fit for the role!!!
Lisa LeighLisa Leigh
11:56 30 Nov 22
I have worked as a candidate for Astute and they have been excellent. Super friendly service and professional agents keen to fit the right person to the right job. It has been a pleasure dealing with them and I would happily work for them again in the future. Highly recommend this agency.
Contact us
Suite 1, Ground Floor West,Cardinal Square,10 Nottingham Road,Derby. DE1 3QT
Stanford House,19 Castle Gate, Nottingham, NG1 7AQ

Why good recruiters are like swansGood Recruiters are like swans. Clients and candidates should experience a smooth, calm recruitment process, and not see the way our legs are kicking madly under the water! Clients do need to realise that there is a lot of work that proper professional recruiters do behind the scenes though!


Take client 1.  Long-standing, and currently we are on an exclusive recruitment campaign to hire two permanent qualified accountants and appoint for a 12 month maternity leave Qualified Accountancy role for them. Open, regular dialogue with the hiring line managers as to our headhunting progress, ongoing guidance on the salary budget, and whether the annual salary for the roles is accurate market rate to entice the ideal profile of the candidate.


This strategy of clear communication and collaborative recruitment partnership means that we can achieve near 100% CV sent to interview requested ratio.


The client knows that for every single applicant forwarded to them, our team will have already contacted and reached out to many, many more potential candidates that did not make the grade. When headhunting, we will investigate if they are looking for a role, and challenge the candidates on their aspirations, technical financial skillset for these particular finance roles and ‘team fit’ to see if they align with our client’s employee value proposition and ethics.


Our client knows that one CV in their inbox could have meant many man hours in the background, skilfully interviewing and deep diving into potential candidates’ skills, experience, and career/ life aspirations.


The result? A seamless process whereby quality interviews take place, with smooth, transparent communication and honest, constructive feedback the whole way through.


Our client benefits from one agency acting as a true ambassador for their brilliant finance teams, with a justified expectation of quality not quantity of applicant.

Our candidates benefit from a targeted search that takes their aspirations AND their accountancy skills into account.

This is a recruitment partnership that has lasted many years.


Client 2/

A qualified accountant with specific industry sector background and key system skills was urgently required. Our client needed an incredibly quick turnaround and wanted to conduct interviews and ideally offer a suitable candidate within a week. The job was taken at 2pm on a Friday.

The consultant worked hard.

Very hard.

Conversations were had with over 100 potential candidates – most calls lasting 20 minutes, up to an hour.


The result? 4 x  CVs were in our client’s inbox for Monday morning.

All were interviewed, one person was offered the role straight away with just a few days.

Scroll forward.

A friendly phone call to follow up as our bill was unpaid.


Our candidate was still in post – and very happy in the role. His boss was equally happy.

The reason for the bill not being was that they did not believe that we had ‘worked hard enough on the role. They felt that just a couple of quick calls were made and that was it so expected a reduction in our fee as a result. They had not realised all the man-hours and dedicated time sourcing and speaking to potential candidates behind the scenes.


This is why Good Recruiters are like swans.

Clients and candidates should experience a smooth, calm recruitment process, and not see the hard work going on beneath the surface.

They should understand that there is a lot of work going on out of sight, to make that process seamless and smooth.


Good employees are also S.W.A.N.s too!


The SWAN formula is an acronym created by an executive recruiter, John Swan, and is a very useful tool to improve candidate selection processes.


Four Simple Letters:  S. W. A. N.


SMART. Always look to recruit intelligent, smart people into your business/ team. But how can you measure the intelligence of a candidate? The answer is simple. Questions! Intelligent people tend to be more curious than average people.


Successful people are smart, especially when it comes to the skills and competencies required for their specific job. This is what Jim Collins meant in his business classic, Good to Great, when he wrote about “getting the right people in the right seats on the bus.” People who have a gift for their particular job tend to work faster, make fewer mistakes, and are far more productive.




WORKS HARD. When recruiting, look for people who are willing to work hard and who have backgrounds and achievements that show how they have gone the extra mile and exceeded expectations. As we emerge from the pandemic, employers need staff who don’t just work lots of hours. Instead they want employees who can work smarter and handle their workloads to deadlines. The years of presenteeism are fading away and rightly so.

People who actually want to “work hard” are more successful at their jobs. The basic rule is that “people don’t change.” A person who is unaccustomed to hard work is not suddenly going to transform under your supervision.




AMBITION. An excellent candidate is someone who wants to move ahead in life. Ambitious people are willing and eager to take additional training; they are already reading and studying and seeking opportunities to grow, both personally and professionally. They value continuous improvement and genuinely want to be the very best they can be.

This is not about only selecting candidates who want to be the FD of a Plc. It is the ambition to be the best at whatever level they are working at and the willingness to learn/ read/ train to become the best.

Candidates should be “ambitious” and able to demonstrate to you why they want this particular job.

We love this quote by Steve Miles, Vice Chairman of Heidrick & Struggles; “Don’t seek a flame-chaser, find people who are anxious to be effective and ambitious about this assignment, not some future promotion or benefit. They have to live for today in that job, not chase the flame of future possibilities.”




NICE. The likability of the candidate is a critical factor. Where this quality was once mainly prized in customer service/ public facing jobs, being ‘kind’ is a highly valued strength in people applying for all levels of employment and professions. Whether in finance, accountancy, or other professions, employers are looking for people who they can work with and who can share and believe in their team values, and who they like. Team fit is one of the most consistently important attributes that our clients are looking for.

When we say “nice,” we mean people who are cheerful, positive, easy to get along with, and supportive of others. They fit within the culture of your organisation. Their beliefs are in alignment with your values and the customers your organisation serves.

In the final analysis, your ability to pick the right people for your team is the key to motivation. You cannot hire the wrong people and then expect to motivate them to be excellent performers for your team. You need to look hard for your ‘A’ players, or use an ‘astute’ recruitment expert who can do a thorough search for you!


The saying, ‘measure twice, cut once’ is particularly true in the world of recruitment.



Other blogs you may be interested in: –


Candidate Blogs 


Client Blogs



If you would like to discuss anything regarding this article or any of our other articles, please  email [email protected]



Astute Recruitment Ltd show why mental health and physical health matterMacmillan Cancer Support recently published research showing that an estimated 7 million people across the country have turned to exercise including jogging or running during the pandemic crisis to boost their mental health.


One in seven people in the UK (14%) said exercise had helped them handle stress better since the first lockdown.


Exercise proved more popular than meditation or yoga (12%). Roughly 33% said physical activity including running, helped them feel calmer and more positive, while one in five said it helped them to feel mentally stronger.


Macmillan is hoping this will all mean a record interest for the 2021 London Marathon. 2020’s event was first postponed to October and then cut back to just an elite event, following a year that has left charities devastated following reduced fundraising.


You are never too young, or old to start either. Nor are you too fit or unfit. From a gentle jog initially, gradually building up to a slow, then faster run, this is one exercise with no limits on who can join in or at what level.


Everyone can do it.

Whatever the weather!


Taking a regular stroll to the local park, it’s surprising how many new faces you can spot, having a run or jog.


According to City AM, Sports Direct sold 218% more pairs of running trainers online during the lockdown than in the same period 12 months before, and Britons bought 243% more running clothing than normal!


One of the best, instant results from a run is the immediate lift of your mood. This isn’t an accident.


The science bit. 


When you exercise, endorphins, tiny chemicals, react giddily with chemical receptors in our bodies and go mad inside our bodies. That’s what causes you to feel lifted in body and soul. Those jigging, rushing chemicals. A whole new 21st-century twist to the phrase ‘gettin’ jiggy with it’ 🤣🤣


Whether you’re experiencing a simple case of the Monday blues while working from home, or more persistent symptoms of depression, that’s why exercise can really help to boost your mood and reframe your mental health to a new, much more positive place.


Getting regular exercise is important for good physical and mental health. Exercise can help stimulate parts of your brain that aren’t as responsive when you’re feeling depressed. It also promotes the release of feel-good brain chemicals. Exercise can also help to distract you from your worries and improve your confidence.


Commenting in the Guardian, Saurav Dutt, a 38-year-old author in London, ramped up his running in 2021 after taking it up for the first time during the initial lockdown.


“I used to try to avoid running as much as possible just because of the effort,” he said. “But the endorphin release after a big run is really significant, it really lifts your mood. And you’re also thinking about reinforcing your own general health, because underlying conditions are a big problem with Covid.”


In the absence of normal running groups, a number of virtual running challenges have been set up online during the pandemic. Its why we set up our #miles4meals initiative too so that people wfh can still get some valuable exercise AND help a worthwhile cause!


These virtual running groups are especially popular with people working from home. It’s not good for us to be sat down at a desk all day, the tension it puts on your lower back and your hips, it is really important to get out and move the body. Here at Astute, we are thrilled with the response so far from candidates, clients and businesses offering their time and miles to help us.


Its been interesting to highlight to businesses and employers that the benefits of virtual group exercise projects can really help the levels of employee engagement, staff wellbeing AND productivity levels in their teams. Some bracing physical activity is scientifically proven to aid and improve worker’s efficiency and increase the amount of work they can do in their job.


You can easily join into a virtual group by using the NHS/ Public Health England’s Couch to 5k app which was downloaded 858,000 times between March and June last year, a 92% increase compared with 2019. Check out more information on this useful link https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/get-running-with-couch-to-5k/


Like many across the country, our busy working days now revolve around a “commute a few steps downstairs or upstairs” and Zoom meetings. With long, long hours sat tapping away on laptops interspersed with calls.


Gone is the commute to the office. For many, our step counts and levels of movement have suffered.


Before Covid struck, most of us would travel, often walking to meetings, even taking a lunchtime stroll to grab some lunch. Now, that 20-minute stroll can easily become a daily ‘two-step toddle’ to the fridge and back.


This is why all of us at Astute wanted to do an organised event to raise awareness of the physical and mental health benefits of exercise AND support our local communities whilst helping a brilliant local charity, all at the same time.

Hence, our #miles4meals charity initiative was born! 😊

To make a donation, check out our fundraising page on Derby City Mission’s website HERE

Alternatively, if you or your team would like to join us to help Derby City Mission put together more food parcels for those in need, please email me – [email protected] and my team and I will warmly welcome you and send you more information.



Article by Mary Maguire

Managing Director
Astute | Accountancy & Finance | HR | Office Support

Suite One, Ground Floor West, Cardinal Square, 10 Nottingham Road, Derby, DE1 3QT

T: 01332 346100

E:  [email protected]

W: www.astuterecruitment.com

LI:  https://uk.linkedin.com/pub/mary-maguire/18/73/553

LI: www.linkedin.com/company/astute-recruitment/

#BeAstute - Childrens Mental Health Week 2021 "I'm enough as I am said the boy"
#BeAstute – Childrens Mental Health Week 2021 “I’m enough as I am said the boy”

What inspires children can so often inspire all of us…

“What’s your best discovery?” asked the mole.

“that I’m enough as I am” said the boy.

I love this quote by Charlie Mackesy in his award-winning 2019 book, The Boy, The Mole, The Fox And The Horse.

My son was given this book to inspire him and all the then year, 6 pupils, in his school.

He’s kept it.

The other day, he came up to me in my upstairs bedroom (aka ‘office’ 🤣) and said,

“Mum, this is a really great book!”.

“Can I have a read?” I asked.

” ‘course you can Mum, but I want it back!”

Half an hour passed in the blink of an eye as I read beautiful and moving pearls of wisdom. Whilst written a couple of years ago, this is a timeless, wonderful book for kids and adults alike.

The gentle words wash over you, giving you a warm hug of reassurance.

And we all need a hug right now. ❤️❤️

Thank you Ashbrook Junior School!

Thank you Charlie Mackesy for creating such a heartwarming, wise and beautiful book.

A book for the best of times, and the hardest of times too. It’s a brilliant book to recommend to all those parents working from home for their children, especially during this special children’s week dedicated to raising awareness of child mental health.

It’s a beautiful, and rare book that can befriend a child and also captivate adults too.

A lot of parents are struggling to juggle their work and jobs from home whilst overseeing their children’s schoolwork at the moment. As a parent and an employer of staff with children, its really important to highlight and recommend great opportunities to help hardworking parents reassure their kids.

There is a great organisation called Children’s Mental Health Week

where you can access a video from their Royal Patron, HRH The Duchess of Cambridge’s video message to mark the start of the week.

Their Virtual Assembly with BAFTA and Oak National Academy is now available to view and share – featuring Jodie Whittaker, Oti Mabuse, Matthew Lewis, and many more…

If you would like to read more articles and posts on employment, recruitment, careers, mental health, and more, please follow Mary and our company page for Astute Recruitment Ltd on LinkedIn and Facebook.



Mary Maguire

Managing Director
Astute | Accountancy & Finance | HR | Office Support

Suite One, Ground Floor West, Cardinal Square, 10 Nottingham Road, Derby, DE1 3QT

T: 01332 346100
M: 07717 412911


E[email protected]

W: www.astuterecruitment.com

LI:  https://uk.linkedin.com/pub/mary-maguire/18/73/553

LI: www.linkedin.com/company/astute-recruitment/



Astute tips on the Extended Furlough scheme for employers and employees
Astute tips on the Extended Furlough scheme



So, as we find ourselves in another Lockdown, what is the advice for employers and their employees on this adaptation of the Government’s original Furlough Scheme? Here, we try and break these down and provide some useful links for more detailed advice and webinars.


HMRC have published full revised guidance about the extended Coronavirus Job Retentions Scheme – i.e. the Furlough Scheme. This has now been extended to March 31st 2021.


The key changes for furlough claim periods from November and beyond are as follows: –


  • The UK Government are currently reviewing if employers could be eligible to claim for their employees serving contractual or statutory notice periods and will change the approach for claim periods starting on or after December 1st. Further guidance is to be published at the end of November. As things stand, employers may claim the grant for notice periods.


  • In the cases of Employers claiming for an employee for the period from November 1st retrospectively, only backdated written agreements put in place up to and including November 13th may be relied upon for the purposes of a claim. In simple terms, this means employers should ensure written furlough agreements are in place by November 13th if they are wanting to claim the grant retrospectively from November 1st.


  • After December 2020, the names of employers who claim under the Furlough Scheme for the month of December onwards and, for employers that are registered Companies or Limited Liability Partnerships, both the company name and registration number will be published by HMRC, so that this information will be in the public domain.


  • Should an employee decide to end their maternity leave early to enable them to be furloughed, they must give their employer at least eight weeks’ notice of their return to work and the employer will not be able to furlough them until the end of the eight weeks.



  • Top Accountancy firm, Dains, have compiled a number of useful HMRC advice and areas for businesses to focus on including: –

·         Time to Pay – HMRC

·         Raising finance

·         COVID-19 Business Interruption Loan Scheme

·         COVID-19 Bounce Back Loan Scheme

·         COVID-19 Job Retention Scheme – A Practical Guide (Check out our Top Tips)

·         COVID-19 Job Retention Bonus

·         COVID-19 The Self Employment Income Support Scheme

·         Financial forecasting

·         Grant applications, loans and funding

·         Cash management and profit improvement


Have a look at Deloitte’s upcoming webinars on COVID-19: – 


  • 3 December 2020
    The COVID-19 webinar: health, economics, business

The COVID-19 webinar: health, economics, and business


  • 17 December 2020
    The COVID-19 webinar: health, economics, business#

  • For the latest Government advice and support: –

Click on this link for help and support if your business is affected by COVID-19 from the Government’s website

To keep up to date with the latest developments on COVID-19, advice to employers, businesses, and employees, please follow our company page on LinkedIn HERE.

You can also follow us on FaceBook HERE

On Twitter by following astute_recruit

& Instagram HERE




Now the nights are drawing in how to keep your fitness on track? Local, Derby owner of Santinos Gym, Kim Santino shares some expert tips
Now the nights are drawing in how to keep your fitness on track? Local, Derby owner of Santinos Gym, Kim Santino shares some expert tips







Now the nights are drawing in, how to keep your fitness on track? Now more than ever it is key for everyone to try and maintain their fitness levels. Our MD, Mary Maguire, discussed this very point with local, Derby Gym owner and multi-award-winning Body Builder, Kim Santino. Hence this collaborative and useful article was put together.


Over to Kim telling us more about his gym and the amazing contribution his Boxing Academy makes to support young people in our communities around Derbyshire.


“I’m Kim Santino, I’m 61 years young and a competitive bodybuilder.

I am very proud of my Gym, Santino’s Gym and Studio in Derby, which we opened just 4 years ago. Yes, its hard work and very long hours but it is so rewarding!

Each piece of equipment was hand-picked to hit every body part from all angles and installed lots of cardio machines in the Studio for that all-important heart-pumping exercise. Adding our Boxing clubs was the icing on the cake. Our Boxing Circuits are a killer, well not literally 😊, but it’s the Boxing Academy we are particularly proud of. It supports young people in the community, giving them the mindset and confidence to stand up to bullies and the discipline and focus to avoid bullying behaviour.

Many years ago, I ran Karate Schools and achieved 3rd Dan Black Belt status but the desire to put on a little weight to enhance my performance led me to join a Gym.

I found my strength improved week on week and along with that, my confidence too.  Continuing with both, however, would have been counterproductive so had to focus on just one and decided to see where bodybuilding would lead me.

Of my many Bodybuilding titles, gained over 3x decades, I am most proud of the ones I achieved in 2019 as I became Mr Universe, Masters Champion, Mr World Masters Champion and Mr Britain Masters Champion.

At the Gym, I’m on hand to give advice, to lend a hand with training and love, more than anything else, to see someone really making a difference to their life!

We have so many amazing transformation stories and are so proud of what our members have achieved over the years at Santino’s.

‘Santino’s Gym, a Friendly Gym with a Hard-working Ethic’.


“How to keep your fitness on track now the nights are drawing in” – Kim’s top tips

1.       Training:

The Winter months are upon us and I have always tried to impress upon people that it is so important to train hard at this time of year.

After all, Summer bodies are actually made in Winter!  What better way to make sure you get out of the house, keep fit and healthy, socialise, and make the most of those short dark days? So many gains can be made; so many improvements, all ready to hit that beach or attend that special occasion in the New Year looking and, above all, feeling your very best.

2.       Food:

Its very tempting to fill yourself up with carbs during the cold months. We certainly seem to crave them in cold weather! We all love a hearty meal, whether it be cottage pie, a hot steaming stew or lasagne, but be sure to burn off the carbs you had earlier on in the day and to reduce carb intake later on when you are about to snuggle up at home.

Remember to eat a balanced, healthy diet to make sure you are taking in a good source of vitamins and minerals but take supplements too to boost your immune system.

Kim’s key takeaway!

Consistency is key and remember, that it is not just the hour in the Gym but what you do during the other 23 hours that counts too.

If you would like to find out more about a great, local, and truly friendly gym, you can visit Kim’s website for Santinos Gym clicking HERE.


Mary and Kim will be putting together other tips and information around keeping fit and healthy in the coming months, including how Mental Health is inextricably linked to our physical wellbeing.

Do your furloughed staff know you CARE


Furlough. With over 8 million workers furloughed, we wanted to ask employers, “Do your furloughed staff know you still care about them?”


When did you last talk openly with your furloughed employees?


Just a week ago was a Bank Holiday. The next one isn’t until the end of August. Between now and then, millions of workers will have been on furlough for approaching 5 months.


While employers and those still employed face ever-increasing workloads covering their businesses, how are the furloughed feeling?


Mental health week ended just a few weeks ago, but already the news is full of new, pressing economic shocks and doom.


Now, imagine you are a single parent, a breadwinner in your home? A recent graduate. A new homeowner with mortgage bills at the end of every month.


Imagine how they might be feeling on furlough.


Whilst furloughed, staff in the UK cannot contribute to their company’s business financial success, there is nothing to say employers have to neglect these armies of suspended talent whose passion and commitment to start working for your company again remains undimmed.


So, stay connected. Take the time to speak to your furloughed team regularly. Reassure them, be present and mindful of questions they may have. Be personal. Be open to any insecurities they may have. Encourage them to refresh their skills through online courses. Above all, be honest.


The businesses that survive the current situation will be the ones who can trade out of the furlough. With most of their staff refocussed, positive, upskilled, and confident in the knowledge their employer, boss and company are, and have been, 100% behind them.


Those companies will have the essential ingredients for business success in a turbulent economy. Loyalty. Passion, drive, and commitment. Happy, engaged workers are far more productive than staff who feel isolated, forgotten, or neglected.


If you can get that collective belief in your team, they will genuinely want to help the company and help you, return to profit. A motivated team is a successful team!


So, show your furloughed workers you really care about them. They will be worth their weight in gold when the market picks up and you need to retain your trained, talented people.


If you are a furloughed employee who is feeling neglected and insecure, please contact our team at Astute Recruitment Ltd who will be delighted to talk through your concerns and help you.


Our MD – Mary Maguire, is happy to take CVs and distribute them to our team. Simply email your CV with a mobile number and any message to [email protected] and she will be glad to help, advise, and support your career queries.







Mental Health Week Can Your Business Afford to Ignore Mental Health?

Mental Health Week Can Your Business Afford to Ignore Mental Health?



We investigate the key impacts, costs, AND savings to companies of mental health at work.


Mental health has increasingly been highlighted as a key factor in business and employee performance, success and productivity.


This year’s Mental Health Week has special importance with the global fight against covid sars 2. Millions of workers, everywhere, across the world have been impacted.


Some working remotely, some furloughed. Some facing redundancy. Some already recently made redundant.


People’s work suroundings and working conditions have been turned upside down in just a few, short months, and whilst efforts to crank up the wheels of industry are in motion, the working landscape is likely to have been changed forever.


Nearly 1 in 7 people, almost 15% suffer some degree of mental health problems at work.


Men in full time employment are half as likely as women to experience mental health problems.


Nearly 13% of all staff absences in the UK can be attributed directly to mental health conditions.


According to research, improvements to mental health frameworks at work could equate to over £8bn in savings for UK businesses alone!


In today’s uncertain ecconomy, business owners, Finance Directors and senior management are more conscious than ever to seek good returns on investment and save money and more importantly improve staff engagement, morale and resilience.


What better way than to invest in staff?


But what are the cost benefits? How can this improve my balance sheet and company performance?


According to The Mental Health Foundation, workplace interventions including employee screening and care management strategies for those living with (or at risk of) depression was estimated to cost £30.90 per employee for assessment, and a further £240.00 for the use of CBT to manage the problem, way back in 2009 alone.


An economic model conducted in a company of 500 employees where two thirds are offered and accept the treatment, an investment of £20,676 will result in a net profit of approximately £83,278 over a two year period.


So, how can employers, HR teams, business leaders put in place policies to effectively improve employee wellbeing and mental health in their workforce?


Make it personal.


  • Employ personalised, tailored information for staff


  • Create bespoke advice specific to your staff, your business and working environment


  • Create risk assessment          questionaires


  • Encourage staff to watch online seminars


  • Implement online workshops using experts


  • Use experts. You don’t have to do this alone. Use businesses like Precise HR Ltd, who can give honest, tailored advice specific to your company, workforce, industry and importantly, your budget!


The cost?


Approximately £80 for every employee, for 12 months.


The saving?


According to the Mental Health Foundation, for a company with 500 employees, where all employees undergo interventions, it is estimated that an initial investment of £40,000 will yield a net return of £347,722 in savings. Mostly due to reduced presenteeism (lost productivity caused by an employee working while ill) and absenteeism (work hours missed due to ill health).


In another article by Michael Parsonage and Geena Saini, their report highlights that mental health problems in the UK workforce cost employers almost £35 billion just 3 years ago.


They broke down the overall costs as follows: –


  • £10.6 billion in sickness absence;
  • £21.2 billion in reduced productivity at work, or ‘presenteeism’
  • £3.1 billion in replacing staff who leave their jobs because of their mental health.



So, conclusively, the costs of ignoring mental health for your employees, simply can’t be ignored.


More useful links for detailed reports, information and advice on Mental Health issues: –


The Mental Health Foundation

Precise Hr Ltd

The Centre For Mental Health

The UK Government’s Latest Advice on Mental Health and Wellbeing













…………. Below 2b curated…….






Lelliott, P., Tulloch, S., Boardman, J., Harvey, S., & Henderson, H. (2008). Mental health and work. Retrieved from gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/212266/hwwb-mental-health-and-work.pdf

Stansfeld, S., Clark, C., Bebbington, P., King, M., Jenkins, R., & Hinchliffe, S. (2016). Chapter 2: Common mental disorders. In S. McManus, P. Bebbington, R. Jenkins, & T.Brugha (Eds.), Mental health and wellbeing in England: Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey 2014. Leeds: NHS Digital.

ONS. (2014). Full Report: Sickness Absence on the Labour Market, February 2014. Retrieved from webarchive. nationalarchives.gov.uk/20160105160709/http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/dcp171776_353899.pdf [Accessed 28/07/16].

Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health. (2009). Briefing 40: Removing Barriers. The facts about mental health and employment. Retrieved from ohrn.nhs.uk/resource/policy/TheFactsaboutMentalHealth.pdf

Knapp, M., McDaid, D., & Parsonage, M. (2011). Mental Health Promotion and Mental Illness Prevention: The Economic Case. Retrieved from gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/215626/dh_126386.pdf [Accessed 02/07/16].

Knapp, M., McDaid, D., & Parsonage, M. (2011). Mental Health Promotion and Mental Illness Prevention: The Economic Case. Retrieved from gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/215626/dh_126386.pdf [Accessed 02/07/16].




Astute Recruitment's Top CV Tips To Make YOUR CV Stand Out
Astute Recruitment’s Top CV Tips To Make YOUR CV Stand Out













Here are some of the latest top tips and suggestions to help ensure your CV is destined to help steer you to the job of your dreams.



1/ Highlight your affinity with technology.

Nearly all jobs now require some interface with IT, especially jobs in accountancy, where there are myriad CRMs, ERPs and other systems which need to have their data migrated to Excel to produce the best financial reporting and analysis. One of the Big 4 firms recently stated that nearly 80% of CEO’s regard abilities around AI to be THE number one asset of a business.


2/ Showcase your SOFT SKILLS. Nearly 60% of senior leaders state soft skills as being more important than ‘hard skills’.

Examples of soft skills: –


  • Ability to adapt i.e. How can you embrace change?
    • Think of examples where you have successfully adapted to change and include these on your CV.


  • Your ability to be creative in thought & deed.
    • AI is only as good as the programming it has been given. It cannot ‘think ahead’. People can. The ideas of tomorrow are what the bosses of today need from their teams and employees. Highlight how you are an ‘ideas’ person and how your creativity has: –

“made positive changes in your work/ or for your team/ or in your business to the company’s performance”


  • Talking for Success – Ability to communicate;
    • Employers now need employees who can collaborate better, build stronger relationships, motivate more effectively to ultimately drive increased productivity and performance. SO, in your CV you need to showcase your verbal dexterity across negotiation, collaboration, and presentation. Just don’t forget to listen!
    • Don’t forget to include your latest Skills Learned! In your second job, you may have mastered world-class skills in the IT package of the day, but the employee of tomorrow needs their CV to show an affinity with the current and emerging technologies and software. Always showcase new skills learned over the last couple of years or even in the last few months! These new skills may be the very ones that make you stand out from the crowd and secure an interview.!


So, now you have an idea of the content for your CV – you now need to hotwire it with the ‘keywords’ that many search firms program their algorithms to pick out. Yep – your CV won’t be picked out by a human being – more likely,  if you are applying to one of the larger, national and international recruitment agencies – your CV will need to stand out in a sea of applicants screened by non-human eyes.

Increasingly, even smaller search and recruitment agencies are turning to algorithms to ‘sift’ through CVs. However, at Astute Recruitment, we offer the human touch and always will, to pick up the nuances of individuals. But this point in general about larger recruitment agencies is key.


How can you ‘proof’ your CV and application to overcome these algorithms?


1/ Keywords all the way!

Not just any keywords, but the ones that are specific for the targeted jobs that you are applying for. So, if you are an accountant, make sure you include keywords relevant. So for example, if you are looking for a role as a financial accountant – keywords like Balance Sheet, Consolidations, Audit, Group Accounts may well be worth you including in your skillset! Equally, if you are a Management Accountant, keywords including Variance Analysis, Profit & Loss, Cost Centres, Cost of Sales, Gross Margin Reporting, Stakeholder Engagement may be wise to include!


2/ Softskills

Again think about the soft skills that your potential boss will be looking for… “Communication” “within budget and “deadlines”. Now for the big tip. Most people include the former – but don’t qualify what they mean. i.e. “OK – you completed X, Y, Z but how much did you bring this in less than budget?” or  “How much faster did you achieve your project than the original deadline? 10% faster? 30% faster?” Define your achievements with definite numbers and percentages. Make your achievements quantifiable. Show how they are continuous and year on year rather than just something achieved several years ago in a role since which you have received several promotions.


3/ Check your profile is good on social media. (Hint: This doesn’t mean having a great photo of you at the trendiest wine bar on Instagram (unless you are going for a bar job! 😊)

Instead – LinkedIn is now one of THE main online spaces for any professional employee to showcase their skills. Use the summary field, for short, succinct snippets to showcase your key attributes in work. And to do this – again use our new friends, ‘keywords’. Keep job titles straightforward. In-house recruitment specialists, HR professionals, and recruitment agencies and search firms will conduct ‘keyword’ searches on LinkedIn to identify as narrow a shortlist with the most relevant profiles for their roles. You need to try and make sure your profile is the one that appears in their searches. Avoid glitzy, busy icons, anything too ‘random’ and ‘out there’.

Yes, you want to come across as someone with ideas and creativity of thought, but you need to also come across as someone who can fit into the professional, flexible, 21st century working world.


For personal, one on one advice about your CV, or anything to help you take the next step in your career, contact our team for

confidential and tailored advice on 01332 346 100

or by email to Mary Maguire






How to inspire potential new hires to work in your team
How to inspire potential new hires to work for your team

Employee Benefits & Initiatives – ‘Creating Desire in your Hires and existing team’

We asked several HR Managers, CFO’s and Financial Directors, if they would be interested in us providing guidance and advice around employee benefits and staff initiatives.

The aim?

To improve candidate attraction throughout the hiring process and also to appeal to existing valued staff.

We thought we would share this information as the feedback has been so positive…..

We now have a deeply competitive job market – not just in Derbyshire but across the East Midlands and beyond.

Employee benefits and initiatives have become increasingly important to employers looking to attract top local talented professionals and for employees as part of their decision making process when choosing whether to accept a job or not. Increasingly people looking for a new job are not just thinking of the basic salary but the overall package a future employer can offer that fit in with their own life, family and commitments. Employee Benefits have also become a key issue  in terms of improving staff retention for employers.

This is particularly important when employers are either seeking to retain specific, valued, sector trained staff across disciplines including accountancy, marketing, engineering etc. and to attract those with key talents into their business and not into the arms of one of their competitors!


The important key trends in benefit provision for employees are now focussed on: –

  • Flexible working
  • Pensions
  • Holiday entitlement
  • Flexible Benefits Package
  • Staff Discounts
  • Childcare Vouchers
  • Wellness at work – including employer’s attitudes to mental health and environmental factors
  • Staff incentives/ initiatives


Flexible working  –   If companies can offer core hours of working with the employee able to gear the extra hours to make up the full working week either before the core hours or after are particularly popular. For instance, staff being able to work 7-4, 8-5, 9-6.

Pensions  –  While changes to UK Pension policy for businesses and business owners through auto-enrolment have been established, many companies just offer the standard minimum allowances.  If a business can offer a tiered scheme according to seniority of position and longevity of service to their staff this is a real consideration in the employee market place for staff looking for a new role and for those deciding whether to stay with their existing employer.

Holiday Entitlement  –  The norm is now 25 days plus Annual Statutory Bank Holidays with an increasing amount of companies offering up to 30 days tiered according to longevity of service of staff and seniority of position.

Flexible Benefits Package  –  Whereby an employee is given a ‘benefit pot’ worth a certain amount of money whereby additional holidays can be purchased at the expense of one of the other benefits to suit that person’s individual circumstances.

Staff Discounts  –  Whereby the business is able to offer discounts on their own products or services to staff (e.g. several major East Midlands retailers offer significant staff discounts off the standard retail price of their products!). Alternatively companies can use the services of businesses specifically able to provide employee discounts from leisure/ retail outlets.

Childcare vouchers  –  For any employees with families this is a really big consideration and if employers are able to offer this – particularly to staff with very young children this is a major consideration for staff looking for work and also those currently employed.

Wellness at work  –  If companies/ employers are able to demonstrate their ability to recognise, reward and genuinely value their hardworking staff through awards, personal development plans, financial support with professional training costs – all of these count enormously. Along-side these are demonstration of softer benefits such as provision of a clean, friendly and safe environment for staff to work. Many businesses include staff areas where staff can have their lunch, rest and relax. Some businesses have games facilities for instance. Mental health at work for employees is also increasingly important. Have a policy on how to support your staff if they should have any mental health worries or concerns and promote this! Sometimes it is just having an empathetic but responsible ear in the business environment who staff know they can turn to confidentially which can make all the difference.

A working example of the staff benefits currently offered to a major overseas Parent company with wholly owned UK Subsidiaries / SME hubs in the East Midlands is included below: –

  • 25 days’ holiday plus statutory bank holidays
  • Subsidised canteen
  • Standard 35 hour working week* Extra hours need to be worked during busy periods
  • Flexible working (depending grade of role and the department – i.e. certain staff have to provide office cover between 8.30- 9. 30. For management graded roles – (i.e. usually for  fully qualified accountants) – there would normally be flexible working with the core hours between 10am-4pm. In certain finance departments most staff work 9-5 but they would still have to have the cover in the department for the 30 minutes each side of that on a rota basis.
  • Company Pension Scheme (employer contributions tiered from 5% to 7% depending on the seniority of the employee) – staff can match these contributions up to 1% below the employer’s contributions. Defined benefit schemes are popular in this regard but increasingly rare. If your business can offer a pension scheme above the statutory minimum you will really stand out.
  • Company bonus scheme (awarded according to the company’s performance and the employee’s achievement of KPIs). For more senior staff, bonus is a higher percentage (say 10% of salary) with their personal KPI’s / performance making up to 50% of the overall bonus awarded as they are likely to contribute more to the business’ profitability on a per capita basis.
  • Staff discounts on own brands (where applicable) or offering other retailer discounts/ gym membership etc.
  • Car Allowances – for Financial Controller/ Finance Director and management positions in general – car allowances are increasingly favoured by potential employees as part of the overall benefits package – particularly as they would receive any car allowance on a monthly basis in addition to their salary. Typically car allowance schemes are between £5,000 – £8,000 per annum with Executive / Director positions usually offering £10,000 – £12,000 per annum.
  • Ability to purchase extra benefits: Some employers will have a scheme in place whereby staff are able to purchase additional holidays up to one week’s worth. Alternatively on a salary sacrifice basis they would be able to purchase additional pension or other benefits to suit their specific needs.
  • Free Car parking
  • For finance staff,  the 6-week period after year-end can mean accounts staff are expected to work significant extra hours to help while the post year-end audit work is completed and statutory filings / shareholder information is processed and published. After that period, it is acknowledged that if there are any significant extra hours required, then time off in lieu can be issued at the line managers discretion.


For many SME businesses, not all or even most of the core key benefits will be practical. If an employer can incorporate just some of these to their existing benefits package, it is proven to be a valuable consideration to existing staff assessing their future with their employer and for employers looking to attract the best local talent available.


Alternatively – what initiatives can your SME business offer to staff that won’t impact on the day to day but increase productivity, performance and profits?

Some initiatives needn’t cost a lot of money AND can be tailored to your own SME business where some of the above more ‘corporate’ benefits would not be possible.

The key is demonstrating and promoting to your team and to new potential staff, that they matter and harnessing that team spirit.

At Astute we have our Reward Board – envelopes with numbers pinned to a board! The numbers correspond to certain tasks individuals need to achieve – be it a testimonial, client visit or placement. Once one of the team has achieved the ‘task’ they choose one of the numbered envelopes and write their name on that envelope. Once all the envelopes are ‘claimed’ we have an opening ceremony. The team are allocated their envelopes and open them. Prizes include starting later, retail discounts, early finish on a Friday and more!

We are also very careful to ensure that the ‘tasks’ are for everyone so our brilliant admin team can also take part and have their own ‘goals’ to achieve. If you are going to have a team scheme like the Reward Board – you need to ensure that EVERYONE is included and can take part!

So, inspire desire in YOUR business for potential hires and existing staff by thinking about how you can add value to your benefits scheme and team initiatives.

Your future and existing staff will thank you!