Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Green your Halloween

Katharine Robinson considers a night in telling ghost stories a great way to be green.

Image by Eti Swiford

Inspired when I came across, I thought you would like a few ideas on how to make this pester-power heavy day into something a little less destructive to the planet.

Imagine... a small group of friends gather for a Halloween party. There are no lights on, the TV and radio lay abandoned for the night. The room is lit only by a solitary jack-o-lantern, carved lovingly from a home-grown pumpkin the day before.

The group sit in a circle; perhaps a little local cider is on offer to warm them through...They begin to tell ghost stories.

You can’t get an evening much greener than that!

Here’s the usual list of tips to help you make Halloween that little bit greener:

  • Source your pumpkin locally, or consider growing your own next year.

  • Give out sweets to trick-or-treaters bought locally or home made from local ingredients.

  • Consider costume swapping with friends, especially good for children that may have grown out of last year’s costume.

  • If you can’t costume swap, try not to buy something new, but consider trawling charity shops for that illusive bowler hat or old bed sheet to cut two holes in

  • When buying candles, make sure they are the eco-friendly variety, soy wax is a good alternative to the usual paraffin products

  • If you decide to illuminate your face with a torch while telling ghost stories (a method popular in movies, especially when our cast are sat in a dark tree-house), use re-chargeable batteries to reduce your waste

Any other suggestions for a green Halloween, please leave them below in the comments...

Friday, 24 October 2008

Product Engineering in Renewables and CleanTech

This week Debby Lloyd has been immersed in engineering and product development in the renewables industry. Here are some of her thoughts...


There are some organisations globally renowned for their engineering R&D capabilities – some already have provenance in areas of "cleantech" as it’s moved into mainstream product development. Selected organisations have been involved in some of the most technically challenging high profile projects in the world with leading manufacturing organisations.

I recently spent a whole day at one such organisation at a new R&D engineering facility specifically built for the Cleantech sector. Imagine the scenario of being able to take your pick from more than a 1,000 engineers around the world with deep engineering expertise across all disciplines (structural, mechanical, electronics, controls, manufacturing etc) - marshalling and deploying them into the engineering challenges and opportunities presented by the renewable energy sectors.

When I look at who is providing similar services in terms of engineering consultancy for renewable energy product development I fear some will always be constrained in their development and offerings by their capitalisation and size. I also think there’s a tendency to be very "one dimensional" in their thinking. There are organisations in existence that are well versed to working and collaborating with leading OEMs across "same industry" sectors. As a result they emerge as real "centres of excellence" and become the industry "go to". This can be replicated for renewables – especially wind and tidal. So it’s encouraging to see renowned engineering organisations move into renewables and bring with them their alternative working practices that could benefit Wind Turbine Manufacturers and the wider cleantech community. The difficulty is they need credible renewables individuals to lead them into this space who are, of course, in short supply – and where we come in!

Some of these organisations have the capabilities to go far deeper into practical product development, testing and onwards to manufacturing issues rather than traditional "paper focused" consulting firms.

My personal perception (and feel free to challenge me on this) of R&D in the renewable energy sector is that it sometimes appears very "insular" and there is real reluctance to "go outside" for deeper expertise and alternative thinking which can reside in for example Aerospace, Defence & Automotive sectors. The need to protect IP is another reason. All these issues are born in part from the necessity of having grown from grass roots beginnings where self sufficiency is key for a variety of reasons – cost being a big one.

However maybe now is the time for different thinking – and options. There are engineering organisations steeped in dealing with such issues that can pull on years of engineering history and OEM collaboration from other vertical market sectors. These organisations bring new perspectives and techniques to the renewables sector that can really drive product innovation forward.

We’re working with some of them, its very exciting to watch what they can bring to the party.

Thursday, 23 October 2008

British Wind Energy has never been stronger!

This week Clare Buxton was in London at BWEA30, see her thoughts following the event.

This week, whilst the British Wind Energy Association (BWEA) are celebrating their biggest ever conference and exhibition (over 2500 registered as a delegate or exhibitor and over 200 companies exhibiting), Gordon Brown announced on Tuesday morning that the UK has now overtaken Denmark as the largest producer of offshore wind energy in the world.

The Prime Minster addressed the BWEA conference via a video message and congratulated all involved in the industry for hitting the 3 GW mark. 600MW of that installed capacity is offshore. In 2005 the UK had only 1 GW of installed wind capacity.

Denmark has been commonly recognised as the European, and probably World, leader in the Wind Industry, but the UK has just proved that by MW installed we are now at the front of this sector.

The company responsible for pushing the UK capacity over the 3GW mark was Scottish Power Renewables with the Whitelee windfarm, where its 140 turbines will produce 322MW of energy, or enough power to 180,000 homes.

Centrica was another one of the companies present at the BWEA conference who were celebrating: they have just gained consent for their 250 MW Lincs offshore wind farm project. Centrica already own and operate Lynn and Inner Dowsing (194MW).

All in all October 2008 has been an important month for Wind Energy in the UK… Let us know if you’ve heard any other exciting news or have any comments about the sector!

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Energy Saving Week – Greener Shopping

Shopping hides all manner of CO2 emitting sins. As a girl who loves shopping, Katharine Robinson is always looking for ways to make her favourite pass time a little greener. All this week she has been looking at various ways to reduce your CO2 emissions as part of a series for The Energy Saving Trust’s Energy Saving Week, running from October 20th – 26th.


Everything we buy has to get from raw material to our doors one way or another. Whether it’s bananas coming from the West Indies, a turkey coming from a farm in Norfolk, or your t-shirt that was made in Bangladesh, green house gases are probably emitted somewhere along the line.

It’s not just transporting the turkey either. It’s the food it has eaten, the miles driven by the farmer in maintaining his farm and the power used to light barns and run slaughter houses too. At every stage of production, our food and all other consumer goods use up more energy.

How can we reduce our carbon shopping print?


Farm Shops and Farmers Markets are great places to find locally produced food. Finding locally produced food in your area isn’t all that hard, Big Barn lets you look at local producers in your area from Farmers’ Markets and Pick-Your-Own to Restaurants and Bakeries.

There are some clothes manufacturers based in Britain, a quick search on the internet soon turned up Frank & Faith, a Dorset based, socially conscious clothing label launched in 2006. So if you are determined to make your fashion as guilt-free as you can, it is possible.


Looking for food that is in season now will help you not only stay local but also ensure that you are not eating fruit and vegetables that have been kept in an energy-guzzling cold store for months. There is also the option of growing our own too of course.

For example, main crop potatoes, apples, most traditional game birds and sea bass are all in season right now.

Photo by Maigi

Seasonal food can also be cheaper as we do not have to pay a premium due to scarcity or for the higher transportation cost of bringing the food from abroad.

Seasonal food is also fresher and so tastes better and is better for us.

Second Hand:

This option doesn’t really work for food! Clothes, Consumer electronics and just about everything else we bring into our homes can be found pre-owned somewhere.

Charity shops are a great way of reducing waste and green house gas emissions as well as helping a good cause at the same time.

eBay can be great for making yourself a little extra cash and also picking up something you want, like a CD or a book for a fraction of the price and saving the carbon-heavy production of a new one. I would recommend caution though and always check the feedback a seller has received before purchasing. It’s also worth checking how far an item will have to travel to get to you. eBay offers you the option to search for items locally, use this and you might be able to get on your bike and collect your new purchase.

Second hand shops still exist in most towns, especially for the likes of computer or video games and consoles. Check out this second hand shop directory for more ideas than you thought possible.

Online Shopping:

If you prefer to get everything from one place, all the big supermarkets offer a shop online service. If you can manage to get your head around one large weekly shop and order it online, you could save yourself time, money and green house gas emissions.

Online shopping means your goods get to you, and several other households, from the shop in just one van. If you can get everything at once it will also save you lots of little trips. Most retailers also offer schemes that cut down on plastic bag waste, either by delivering your shopping without bags or taking away your old ones to be recycled.


Perhaps consider making this Christmas a green Christmas? I plan to make all my gifts eco-friendly in some way. Perhaps I could blog about it and let you know how it goes...

If you have any other Green shopping advice that you can add to this post, please leave a comment.

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Energy Saving Week – Greener Driving

Today Katharine Robinson aims to give you some EcoDriving tips to save fuel, money and needless CO2 emissions. This post is part of a series for The Energy Saving Trust’s Energy Saving Week, running from October 20th – 26th.


Many employees commute to work. The days when everyone worked within walking distance from their home have been gone for a long time.


The talent shortage plaguing the Renewable Energy industry often means that talent has to be tempted from far and wide. This may mean colleagues at your company commute a long way to the office or the projects they are working on. This can prove very costly, in terms of money and emissions.

We heard a couple of weeks ago that the driving test is to include a nod to green concerns. At this stage, instructors will only be offering feedback on how green the new motorist’s driving technique is. This news coincides with an announcement from the DfT that they will be putting an extra £3m into promoting greener driving techniques. According to statistics from the DfT, a month or more of fuel can be saved each year by following the techniques outlined in its Act On CO2 campaign.

I have been out looking for precise tips that you can easily follow, this is what I have found;

  1. Clear all the junk out of your car! Hauling extra weight around is using up more fuel. When you get home tonight, empty out the boot before you even go inside. Start saving immediately before even changing any driving habits.

  2. Decrease drag
    a. Take the roof rack off – the drag it (and anything tied to it) creates is epic. Only put on a roof rack when you are using it or, even better, don’t use it at all.
    b. Wind up the windows. Do you really need to be gangsta-leaning down the road? It’s a lot greener and more professional to arrive with your hair-do intact.

  3. Pump up your tyres. I always wondered why my granddad uses less fuel than me. It turns out that he gives his motor a weekly service. This involves checking his tyre pressures. The engine has to work a lot harder to propel you along the road if your tyres are a little squiffy – so get out your manual, check what is optimum and get the foot pump out. It’s good exercise too!

  4. No Electrical Gadgets! Are you always bombing along with the air-con fighting the open window, your ipod or phone charging in the cigarette lighter socket and the in-car sat-nav telling you to turn left even though you know exactly where you are going? Stop it! Turn it all off. Only use the sat-nav if you get lost (saving you miles of fuel), get a little solar charger for your ipod and wind up the window. You will be pleased to know that the power used by the radio is negligible and therefore has no real effect on the engine performance.
Now onto some tips that require a little thought when you are behind the wheel.

  1. Keep your revs low. Changing gear a little earlier ensures that your revs and fuel consumption stay low and you don’t guzzle fuel. The AA’s Drive Smart advice recommends that you change up at approx 2500 rpm in a petrol car and 2000 rpm in a diesel. My little Renault Clio is perfectly happy to make changes even earlier than this. It reduces engine ware too.

  2. Stick to the speed limit! This is good advice anyway – you can save money in speeding tickets too. The faster you drive the thirstier your car is for fuel. 70mph uses 9% more fuel than 60mph and as much as 15% more than 50mph.

  3. Keep moving. It will probably mean slowing down sooner, but the stopped traffic will have started moving again before you get there. The more you start and stop the more fuel you use, so try to keep creeping along.

  4. Leave the car in gear. When you coast modern cars still use fuel to prevent stalling. So stay in gear with your foot off the accelerator and get metres for free!

  5. Plan your journey. Got several chores to do? Try not to go out more than once but plan your journey to have the shortest route. Not only will you save time but you will use less fuel and save your car from unnecessary wear and tear.

You may recall a very entertaining Top-Gear challenge from a few years ago. It seems Jeremy discovered a number of the same tips when he drove from London to Edinburgh and back again on just one tank of fuel! If you have not seen it, I managed to track it down on Youtube.

I hope that you have managed to take something away from these tips and that you will now go a little further for your £1.

If you have anything to add, feel free to leave a comment.

Monday, 20 October 2008

Energy Saving Week – Saving energy around the office & home

Today Katharine Robinson aims to give you some Energy Saving tips to reduce energy usage, save money and needless CO2 emissions. This post is part of a series for The Energy Saving Trust’s Energy Saving Week, running from October 20th – 26th.


It’s very easy to be complacent about using Energy, especially in the office where those using the energy are not the ones paying for it.

Today I have been looking for things that we can all try either at home or in the office to cut our CO2 emissions.

Image by Christopher Hall

At home:

  1. When was the last time you defrosted the freezer? If you can’t remember then Energy Saving Week is just the reminder you need. Defrosting our fridges and freezers keeps them working at peak efficiency.

  2. Next time you go to switch on the light and the bulb goes, replace it with an energy saving one. An energy saving light bulb lasts 10 times as long as a regular one and uses just 20% of the energy. Get some when you go shopping this week so next time you are prepared.

  3. Whether you are washing clothes or dishes, make sure you have a full load. This will cut down on the number of times your machine runs a cycle, extending its life and cutting your energy usage.

  4. Dry your washing outside on the line instead of using a tumble dryer. This gets more difficult as winter draws in, so get some dryer balls to cut down on the length of time clothes need to be in the dryer.

  5. Consider switching to a green energy tariff. If this is too expensive an option, most utility providers will offer you a paperless or online service. You get your bills and do your metre readings via the internet, saving on paper and the travel cost of a metre reader visiting your home. This can sometimes be a cheaper option too.

In the office:

  1. When leaving the office, make sure you have not only fully shut down your computer but that monitors and printers are switched off too. This can be easy to forget, but quickly adds up to big savings.

  2. Keep an eye on the lighting in the office. If everyone in a particular department is in a meeting today – do they need their desk area lit up? Could blinds be opened to make the most of natural light?

At home and in the office:

  1. Turn down your thermostat by just one degree. This is hardly noticeable in temperature and could save up to 10% on heating bills. Even better – wear a big fluffy jumper!

  2. Boiling Water! When making hot drinks, only boil the water you need. When cooking, if you can boil water in the kettle first, then transfers it to the pan, this will save energy. The heat transfer in a kettle is more efficient as the element is in direct contact with the water.

  3. When charging mobile devices like phones, PDAs and portable games consoles, make sure you don’t leave the charges plugged in and switched on 24/7. Most will keep using energy even when your device if fully charged. If you need reminding, set an alarm on your phone when you plug it in

Tune in the rest of this week as I will be offering some green driving and green shopping tips as well.

Friday, 17 October 2008

Say "Hi!" if you see us at BWEA30

Clare Buxton, EcoSearch’s Lead in the Wind Energy sector, gives her thoughts on attending the BWEA30 conference and exhibition next week.


Next week is the British Wind Energy Association’s conference and exhibition, celebrating 30th years of success. BWEA30 will take place at the ExCel centre, in London’s Docklands. The main sponsor is RES, and they are expecting to have 175 exhibitors and over 2000 people to attend. Debby Lloyd, Mark Sawyer and I are all very excited to be attending again this year.

Highlights for us will be catching up with old friends who we’ve been in contact with over the last year but not had the occasion to meet with, meeting new people and witnessing firsthand the continuing growth of this sector. As we found at All-Energy ’08, we are sure that BWEA30 will be even bigger than BWEA29 was in Glasgow last year.

Another highlight will be, of course, meeting Boris Johnson at the Conference Eve Reception at the Institute of Civil Engineers (contact Alice at BWEA to reserve your place) and hearing what he has to say; and also hearing the PM’s address to delegates and exhibitors on the opening day. It is only relevant that the leadership of the UK recognise what an exciting event this is, for all involved.

All in all, I’m really looking forward to it. BWEA30 will be a celebration of the success of the Wind Energy industry in the UK, and I am sure we’ll also see some of our European friends.

If you’re interested in meeting with me, Debby or Mark at the conference – please don’t hesitate to contact us!

See you there!

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Top tips for creating a brilliant CV

John Lawton, Director at Ezek - one of our partner organizations, has produced the first part in his “How to create a brilliant CV” article. Here is a flavour of what he has to say.


Some advice for anyone thinking of re-vamping that old CV – a few things to consider first...

  1. Don’t re-vamp an old CV! Start from scratch and really think about who you are and what you want. The process you go through in creating the CV is perhaps more important than the document itself. There are questions about yourself that you need to know the answer to before attending any interviews. The creation of a new CV is the ideal time to do this.
  2. Have a clear identity! Only include the information that is relevant to what you want to do next. You don’t have to appeal to a wide audience, just the employer you want to work for. If you think you have more than one identity, have more than one CV. Send it to people that will be interested! It can be very frustrating for employers to receive many irrelevant CVs.
  3. Give your achievements. Express what you have done in the past tense – then I am sure that you actually did it. Illustrate the benefits of what you did and quantify this if you can.
  4. John gives an amusing list of his top bad CV categories. If you find your CV falling into one of these, it may be worth speaking to a professional. Here are the ones from John’s list that we at EcoSearch see most often
    a. The ‘I followed a system on the web’ CV
    b. The ‘cut and paste job description’ CV
    c. The ‘let me tell you my life story’ CV

For more from John, you can subscribe to the Your Career articles at and receive all future instalments direct.

Monday, 13 October 2008

One Month of the EcoSearch ‘Dot Green’ Blog

It has been my pleasure to administer the EcoSearch Blog over the last month. The team here have shown real commitment to creating content. I look forward to doing this for a long time to come.

Our most popular topics so far have been:

· Clare Buxton’s week-long series on the talent shortage facing the wind energy sector
· Steven Rogers’ post on entering the renewable energy market
· Debby Lloyd’s thoughts on Carbon Forum UK
· EcoSearch’s guide to your green career

This is a picture of some of our team at All-Energy ’08.


All the major blog contributors are here, from left to right: Phillip Clement, Katharine Robinson, Debby Lloyd, Mark Sawyer, Clare Buxton and Steven Rogers.

Big EcoSearch news includes:

EcoSearch are honorary advisors to the Arctic Survey - there are still corporate sponsorship opportunities left!
Debby Lloyd spoke at Carbon Forum UK
We are already getting excited about All-Energy ’09 in May; we will be there on stand C4.
EcoSearch visited the Energy Solutions Expo in London
Lots of hot jobs available on the EcoSearch website

Katharine Robinson

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Arctic Survey Update

EcoSearch are Honorary Advisors to The Arctic Survey which will gain unprecedented global publicity in early 2009.

Data collected will be assembled for the UNFCCC.

Support includes HRH Prince of Wales & WWF. Since January of this year the core team has been focused on fundraising for Arctic Survey and the project is now officially on the starting blocks and limbering up for the ‘off’ in February.

Arctic Survey big
Image copyright Martin Hartley

Sponsorship Opportunities for corporate organisations are available below

Specialist Surveying Equipment - £40K
Explorers’ Expedition Equipment - £75K
Explorers’ Technical, Physical and Psychological Training - £15K
Pioneering Ice-Penetrating Radar - £130K
Global Public Engagement Website - £100K
Final Ice Trials - £40K
Explorers’ Drop-Off and Pick-Up Flights - £100K
Specialist Air-Drop Resupply Programme - £325K
Science Programme - £75K
Radar Data Processing and Analysis - £50K
Super-Computer Modelling Time - £100K
Scientific Findings Report - £30K
Global Policy Engagement - £100K
Mobile Phone Air Time - £25K (could be given in kind)

Arctic Survey Logo

For more information:

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Energy Solutions Expo!!

Steven Rogers gives his thoughts on Energy Solutions Expo, which starts tomorrow. He and Mark Sawyer will be there to see what is happening in the world of Energy on behalf of EcoSearch.


The renewable energy and energy efficiency market has a plethora of shows, exhibitions and conferences spread across the globe. One of the largest and most varied shows on the circuit is the Energy Solutions Expo based in London’s Olympia, which is where we will be tomorrow and Thursday.

Energy Expo is “the event where you can find out how to make your organisation efficient, sustainable and renewable.” The event is split into three industry sections:

1) M&E The building services
2) Total Workplace Management
3) Working Buildings

Our reason for attending is to keep the team as informed and up to date as possible with the technologies and industry advancements. Of particular interest to me are the engineering companies and the energy companies (e.g. E.ON Energy Services, Ener.G and ITI Energy). They are pushing the market forward and regularly have interesting and new offerings. From a personal stand point, I find the technology incredibly interesting in this sector so cannot help being drawn to all technology ‘things’ that are new and shiny so they are always top on my list!

You can let us know you are going by visiting the event on Facebook via the EcoSearch page.

Look forward to seeing you all there and feel free to stop me and say “hello!”.

Friday, 3 October 2008

An Online Job Search – What to look for in a ‘Good’ green job

Today Katharine Robinson will be looking at the online job boards and how to use them effectively to get to the next step in your green career.


I manage EcoSearch’s ‘digital footprint’. Simply put, I make sure we are there to be found on the web. Not only does that mean I manage this blog, but I also look after where we advertise the job opportunities we are working on.

The news for those seeking a new green job is good and I’m going to tell you why.

Setting the scene

The talent pool in the sector is so limited in the UK, EcoSearch’s home territory, that the number of applications to these job advertisements is small. Not only that, but a surprising number of those applying have irrelevant experience – I had a candidate not long ago apply to a job as a wind farm project developer, his only work experience to date was of trapping hedgehogs.

If you are looking for an EcoJob, you will find a plethora of opportunities out there for you – you won’t have to put more than a couple of key words into a search engine before you find somewhere you want to send your CV.

Be Picky – You can afford to have a good job hunting experience

Here are a few things to look for in a ‘good’ green job advertisement so that you get off to the best possible start;

· A name - of a real person that is working on that opportunity (try finding that person on the web, do they have a LinkedIn profile – are they credible?).
· An email address direct to that person – for you to send your CV to.
· A phone number - so you can call and speak to that person.
· Some information about the sort of company or team the job is with – this may be brief but it should be there.

If you can’t see those things, it’s not worth sending your CV. Your experiences and hard work will go off to populate a recruiter’s database so they can call you if their key-word search throws up your details. A lot of job advertisements try to keep the identity of the company that is hiring a bit of a secret until they know you are serious about the opportunity (so don’t worry if you don’t the company’s name) – but be wary if no information at all is offered. In the end, this is likely to be THE deciding factor as to whether or not you want the job.

To upload or not to upload?

In your green job hunt, you might stop by a number of websites that allow you to upload your CV to their database. This means that jobs can come and find you, taking some of the work out of your hunt.

This sounds great. Upload my CV and wait for the perfect job to come knocking on my door. This can be the case and sometimes is. I know that at EcoSearch we often search these databases for possible candidates and are often surprised by the quality and fit of some of those we find.

Unfortunately the best people often report being approached by multiple recruiters about vacancies that were not necessarily relevant. This can be frustrating if you went to the trouble of submitting a detailed CV. Especially if you are called about an opportunity that has nothing to do with the objectives you stated. It’s very easy to feel undervalued if you get called by an assortment of ‘white-socked’ recruiters looking for a quick hit.

My advice would be to cultivate an online presence that can be found – the easiest way to do this is by creating a profile on or another professional networking site. You can see mine by clicking on my name at the top of this page. This allows you to access your professional network online – a very useful tool for managing all your contact information. It also allows those seeking your skills to search and find you but not make the (often wrong) assumption that you are desperate to make a move – any move.

The next step on the ladder is out there for the taking, so go and find it!

To keep up with what EcoSearch is working on, follow me on Twitter: I tweet on EcoSearch and general Renewable Energy news as well as keeping up to date with the Web2.0 buzz.

Look out for my future posts; I’ll be looking at creating CVs and using LinkedIn to benefit your career. If you have any points to add about searching for a job online, feel free to contribute below in the comment section.

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Word of mouth recruiting: Is it working?

Today, Mark Sawyer takes a look at ‘Word of mouth recruiting’. How does your company get to potential employees that have those hard-to-find skills, and is it working? We would love to hear your thoughts.


To me that comes under the banner of employee referral schemes! Many companies say they have a scheme and that it is highly thought of within their firm. They suggest that the financial rewards for doing so is more than generous. However, it is widely recognised within the head hunter community that these schemes are little more than a token gesture to tick the corporate box. In reality and in my experience of delivering recruitment process management (RPM), companies should be able to hire between 35-40% of their staff through existing employees networks, but only if created, managed and supported appropriately.

There are several advantages to employee referral schemes, the first being that new recruits are likely to settle in at the company quickly and stay for longer because they have an instant circle of acquaintances through the friend that suggested him or her. The association with a member of staff also means the new employee may already have some understanding of how the business operates, and he or she will be motivated not to put in a poor performance that will reflect badly on the friend that made the recommendation. From a company’s perspective I can see how they feel it is a cost effective route to market, especially in a tight market where talent is scarce like that of the Renewable Energy vertical. So why do companies struggle to hire more than 15% of new recruits through an employee referral programme?

1. Current employees are not aware of the scheme. It is in the employee handbook – but when was the last time you read your handbook?

2. They don’t see those in their sphere of influence acting on it. Good behaviour breeds better behaviour and poor behaviour breeds….well you know!

3. The reward is always weighted in favour of the company and is typically £250-400. Although I have seen some as high as £1000, but only after the employee has completed 12 months service. (a perceived slap in the face when recruiter fees are a minimum of £5k and at the more senior end £50k)

4. People are not buying into actually improving the company – they have apathy with the culture.

However, there are concerns that employee referral schemes can stifle fresh ideas and limit the influx of new blood to a business because existing employees tend to suggest candidates in their own image. I have also heard that this situation has also led to worries that a need for fairness and diversity may not be satisfied.

A final potential problem with using employees as a source of new staff is the hit and miss nature of the method. There is no guarantee that the right candidates will be suggested at the appropriate time. And for this reason, the role of the professional recruiter is still a valid one.