Showcasing the best recruitment talent, we are pleased to present our full list of winners of the 2023 Recruiter Investing in Talent Awards.

Recruiters Investing in Talent Awards Ceremony 2023 took place on
Tuesday 30 January 2024 at The Brewery.

You can see the photos from the event here

You can now see the 2023 winners here:

WINNER: Lightning Travel Recruitment


The judges said: “Lightning Travel Recruitment are building an organisation with inclusion at its core. Every aspect of the culture is fresh, exciting and inspirational. Whatever your background, you would feel welcome and supported.”  All of the judges said they would love to work for this company.

Highlights of their company approach include:

  • Zero salary secrecy – “All staff know each other’s wages, and pay is discussed openly to ensure there is no pay inequity. We also won’t work on roles unless a salary is advertised externally.”
  • The team is trained on their individual personal brands and marketing.
  • Paid mental health days one Friday a month.
  • Wellness support in the form of HEKA where the team get an extra £50 per month on top of their wages to dedicate to wellness.
  • Accountability checklists but no KPIs [key performance indicators].
  • The team make no outbound sales calls.

The company is trans-owned.

Highly Commended : RedLaw

The judges said: “A strong entry, particularly pleased to see the detailed overview of their employee diversity statistics.”

WINNER: 5Values Consulting group


The judges said: “We were impressed at their B Corp certification; we know the rigour this entails, particularly of a small company. Their profit share plan and 100 hours initiative specifically stood out along their investment in Yulife as an employee benefits platform and their induction pack for new joiners to their business.”

Named to recognise the company’s five guiding principles – Inclusive, Sustainable, Attentive, Authentic and Considerate – 5Values launched its B Corp certification journey in 2022, which led to a number of developments and improvements. They include: making changes to its supply chain operations to limit carbon impact, along with introducing improved health care packages for staff, and creating a 100-hours initiative, which allows staff to use paid time outside their annual holiday allowance to give back to the community. The company also invested £30k into a professional development funding scheme for employees. Each team member is entitled to a £1k annual professional development fund.

5Values has also achieved business success during the period with leaps in Contract Net Fee Income and Permanent revenue. More than 70% of the 5Values team received pay rises and promotions in 2022/23.

Highly commended: Bramwith Consulting Group



WINNER: European Recruitment

The judges said: “Exceptional cultural ethos fostering inclusivity, coupled with its remarkable diversity and outstanding achievements showcasing a championship mindset across multiple disciplines.”

Based in Brighton, European Recruitment’s diverse demographics exceed those of their home base. For instance, 60% of the company’s senior leaders are women, the team consists of 35% ethnic minorities (compared to an 19% average in Brighton and Hove), 15% of the workforce identifies as LGBTQ+ and within the company, 22 languages are spoken. Across the company’s placements, 47% were ethnic minorities and in 2022, the company placed candidates of 41 different nationalities. In the first half of 2023, 44% of placements by the specialist technology recruitment company were ethnic minorities, of which 26% were women. 

The company’s community engagement includes sponsoring Brighton Pride as a Pride City Angel, raising funds for the Rockinghorse Children’s Charity which helps sick children in Sussex and for MindOut, an LGBTQ mental health charity.

A quarter of European Recruitment’s employees have worked there for over five years.


WINNER: Robert Walters

The judges said: “A number of impressive CSR [corporate social responsibility] initiatives that were delivering, also demonstrating a good use of technology in achieving these.”

Included in the company’s list of achievements in 2022-23 was training 1,300+ consultants to improve their communication when speaking to unsuccessful candidates to ensure first-class feedback. Notable CSR activities include partnering with the Saatchi Gallery on a national art competition, the Robert Walters UK New Artist Awards; volunteering at HMP Pentonville and Wormwood Scrubs to help people find employment through CV and interview skills training, and raising £151k as a company on a single day in October 2022 when all employees stepped away from desks on Global Charity Day to earn money for local charities. Internally, over 1,100 Robert Walters employees have been promoted during the eligibility period. 

The company’s recent Global Employee Engagement survey revealed: 77% feel the brand they work for is meaningful to them, 79% think RW has the right culture for them to be successful in the future, 74% are satisfied with the recognition or praise they receive for their work.

And the company has launched a dedicated innovation team who explore and implement new ways of doing things such as saving time and streamlining existing processes. This is done through trialling and testing hundreds of new tools annually.

Highly commended: Eames Group

WINNER: Investigo

The judges said: “A stand-out winner – head and shoulders above the rest…They know their ‘why’ and there is strategy behind it – you get a real sense of its meaning and the direction of travel…There is a clear investment in their workforce and hunger to grow and attract talent…quantified around investment in talent. A strategy for mind, body, morale and soul…Forward thinking.”

Since July 2022, Investigo has made the following financial investments in the company’s work environment:

    • People and Culture: £310k with investments in a head of HR and team, launches of a Culture team, new onboarding programme, continuous management training for all people managers and a ‘Strengthen’ programme to support those new to work in the recruitment sector.
    • Benefits: £650k invested in the introduction of one- and three-month sabbaticals for five and 10 years of service respectively and tenure bonuses at five, 10 and 15 years; and fertility loans of up to £10k, among other features.
  • Virtual and physical workplace environment: £350k for a variety of business and well improvements, including the in-office placement of Pilates Reformer equipment and Peleton bikes,
  • Events and activities: £750k.

Staff turnover between July 2022 and October 2023 was 24.8%.

Highly commended:  RedLaw


The judges said: “Outstanding—so much substance, and [it] didn’t feel like an initiative but thoroughly thought through with insight and data. The hands-down winner; they listen to their people and take action on their feedback. Integral to the business strategy and strong on allyship. Everything they are doing is a circle – they are constantly learning and implementing this into the business.”

With IPSOS + Stonewall Rainbow Britain Report research saying that in 1 in 3 GEN Z in the UK identify as LGBT+, EY found its employee population, particularly at GEN Z, did not “quite reflect this dat. The strategy became “How do we propel the EY brand and position ourselves hereon in as thought leaders in the space of LGBT+ inclusion, to be an attractive and safe employer to the LGBT+ community? We wanted to create something that would reach the various LGBT+ communities, inspire and motivate them to engage with our brand and see EY as an inclusive and safe employer, where they can truly belong.”

Retention-wise, EY restructured its existing EY Unity network for LGBT+ employees to “ensure underrepresented have a voice”. Groups were created for Community Leaders (Lesbian + Gay women, Gay men, Bi+, Trans+Non-Binary and Aspec communities to engage and motivate colleagues to be “visible and vocal” in nurturing, growing and advocating. Also included in the restructuring was the creation of Regional Representation to ensure visibility in even smaller, lesser-known offices. This increased Unity’s Steering committee by 50%.

 A film was created also to help challenge viewers their own potential biases, perceptions, opinions and prejudices in a non-confrontational way: “We filmed in a way that alluded to gender binaries and hetero normative relationships to the viewer, whilst showcasing EY as a place whereby you can exist in the boundaries minorities and underrepresented, whilst being valued , appreciated and your true authentic self.”

Since 2022, EY Unity’s membership has increased by 75% -- just one aspect of the multi-faceted approach EY has taken to take on the responsibility and opportunity to continually provide education and insights.

Highly commended: Goodman Masson

WINNER : Investigo

The judges said: “The winning entry set a benchmark…in thoughtfulness and depth.”

Taking a holistic approach to supporting women in the workplace, Investigo aims to bridge the gap in equity for women and increase female representation across the business by ensuring they have additional opportunities to progress and offering bespoke support for their wellbeing, covering mental, physical, social, financial, job and career health. 

Women-centred benefits include: enhanced maternity leave, including adoption leave; holistic pregnancy support including free Pilates sessions and pregnancy coaching from fertility to return to work; fertility loans of up to £10km alongside counselling and therapy support; comprehensive policy on all types of pregnancy lossl one-to-one perimenopause and menopause coaching, support and treatment through Peppy via Vitality; external one-to-one private sleep coaching including baby-and-mum routines, children’s sleep issues, juggling work and parenting, anxiety and menopause-related.

The company conducted two wellbeing surveys – one for the entire business and one specific to women in the business – to assess their employees financial, job and career, emotional and mental, social and physical wellbeing, along with peer-group forum discussions. “We aligned our wellbeing strategy…to deliver across these pillars, a major part being the delivery of our Women’s Health Programme,” Investigo said. Also, the company grew its Wellbeing and Engagement committee and increased female representation to drive initiatives that were engaging, insightful, memorable and inclusive. 

Especially significant was the opening of these programmes to “extended family and even our client and candidate network, to go beyond our business and begin to influence wider industry on the importance of women’s health and having a women’s health programme”, the company said.

Highly commended: Oscar Recruit

WINNER :Programme One

A collaboration of Goodman Masson, 11, Aspire, Bruin, Charlton Morris, Deverell Smith, Franklin Fitch, Gravitas Recruitment Group, La Fosse, Meet, PRG, Signify Technology, Spencer Ogden.

The judges said: “Loved the collaboration.”

Programme One is an initiative designed to deliver a lasting programme of change that addresses the underrepresentation of Black talent within the recruitment industry. Involving 13 leading recruiters, organisers partnered with the Windsor Fellowship, who help to unlock the talent of underrepresented people, to develop the infrastructure of the programme. Former SThree CEO Gary Elden OBE was an advisor to the group from the beginning. With the Aleto Foundation, which develops and delivers leadership programmes that bridge underrepresented backgrounds and the corporate ladder, a mentoring programme was put in place. The mentors are all Black recruiters from recruitment businesses, and there are clearly defined mentoring objectives for a relationship that will last at least a year. The mentors receive training for these specific volunteer opportunities.

Also, Programme One now has two talent attraction consultants who can speak with authenticity about Black experiences in recruitment are responsible for sourcing applicants to the programme. All talent information is fed into an applicant tracking system that was built specifically for Programme One to capture all candidate and talent activity. Talent acquisition teams from the member agencies contact the talent directly. 

Talent comes from sixth-form colleges, university alumni groups, African-Caribbean societies, places of worship, social media groups and semi-professional football teams.

During the period of eligibility, 35 Black recruiters joined the recruitment industry. In the first half of the year, 290 people applied for roles on offer, 39 qualified for the scheme by passing screening questions linked to suitability for sales roles, and 15 have found roles.

Highly commended: Investigo


“Our intention simply was to build an inclusive workplace.” That’s how Goodman Masson answered Recruiter’s question about what the company intended to build and why in an allyship programme.

“We wanted an allyship programme that included voices from across the whole organisation…that supported all marginalised groups and is an active ally and advocate…Allyship sits central to the board’s ambition, critical to fostering an inclusive workplace culture.”

Within Goodman Masson’s drive to build allyship within the company are the following aims for their employees’ knowledge and understanding:

  • How to use inclusive language
  • Understand how to be inclusive
  • Build their employees’ knowledge and nurture their willingness to expand their horizons.
  • Educate all within the company about the different experiences around us…and to better understand how to be a better, more active ally.

A foundation for building allyship within the company was the organisation of a Diversity & Inclusion Working Group. The working group complements Goodman Masson’s existing network groups – Access for disability to include neurodiversity and mental health, Balance for gender equality, Pride for LGBTQIA+ community, Unity – race, class, religion and heritage – each of which is actively sponsored by a member of the leadership team. The company said, “The burden of support and tackling discrimination for individual protected characteristics and marginalised groups often falls to those individual groups themselves, adding additional burden.”

The D&I Working Group has brought the four networks together and created greater interaction within the groups themselves and the company. Also, the working group ran a strategic planning programme that shared their vision for building and an inclusive workplace culture. The session drew 80% of the company’s employees.

All of the business’s geographies – London, Duesseldorf and New York – participate ongoing D&I activity.

The company said, “We very much subscribe to the philosophy that ‘Ally is not something you are; it is something you do.’”


WINNER: Morgan Hunt

The company achieved a remarkable milestone by forging a transformative partnership with the Black Leadership Group (BLG) and subsequently launching the Black Leadership Job Board in March 2023. Morgan Hunt was the first private sector entity to join forces with the BLG.

The partnership involved:

  • Completion of the BLG’s 10-Point Plan Diagnostic Toolkitm which involved a comprehensive audit of anti-racist practices and active participation in relevant training.
  • Collaboration with recruitment providers in the Further Education sector to create and implement an anti-racist protocol, with the primary objective of promoting new behaviours and practices in senior leadership.
  • Hosting a “Developing an Inclusive Hiring Strategy” webinar.

The job board launched has effectively connected UK employers with a pool of diverse leadership talent, empowering the careers of Black professionals. Part of the launch has been a marketing plan that involved continuous engagement with the candidate and client base through email and social media campaigns. The job board has had over 63,000 visits, 32 applications per week and more than 750 job opportunities posted. The results have also been reflected in Morgan Hunt’s business, with individuals from Black or other ethnically diverse backgrounds comprising 23% of their executive placements over the past year.