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A message from the Recruit 121 MD on our 17th anniversary

Today marks the 17th anniversary of Recruit 121, still privately owned and 100% focussed on matching high calibre SAP experts for a multinational client base.

Shortly following the drama imposed by the millennium bug, Recruit 121 was born on the 22nd of August 2000, based from a very small office in Cardiff, affectionately known as ‘the yellow submarine’ due to its garish walls.

Our meetings were held in the local pub due to a lack of meeting rooms. We often had to call back there the next day to pick up our meeting notes! However, the dream began: Build a company we are proud to work in, with a caring attitude toward everyone it touches and be able to consistently find the needle in the haystack for its customers.

In our first year, we received 62 SAP vacancies, the first being for a Variant Configuration specialist. We converted 11 of these into successful assignments. Not bad, but when you consider we failed to fill 51, there was significant room for improvement.

Establishing operational processes, developing client relationships, building a credible candidate network whilst turning a profit was very hard, but they were equally matched with the difficulty of establishing our roles within the business, identifying our strengths and learning to work together as an effective team.

17 years on, despite our stronghold being Europe and the Middle East, we regularly trade across all continents, supporting customers in over twenty countries. In the last 12 months, we have received just short of 1100 SAP vacancies, successfully filling 372 of them.

Throughout my time, I have worked through some extremely challenging times, a number of my own making. Taking my eyes off the core business metrics, miscalculating the effect of exchange rates and poorly executing a fundamental organisational change following the recession had a tremendous impact on the business. Separating two international businesses involving the split of a long partnership and all the legalities and fiscal implications took its toll.

Whilst there were tremendous barriers to overcome, I have enjoyed every moment. Maybe not at the time, but for the opportunity that each provides to test your principles, learn new things and working closely with very talented people throughout my entire journey.

Far from taking this anniversary as a time to boast of our achievements I would like to offer a thank you to all who have contributed to this journey. Those current and previous colleagues, vendors, customers and candidates alike. We don’t always get things right, but it’s the ability to constantly keep to a principle of honesty, to go further than expected and create an environment that supports and provides an opportunity for people to develop and grow. Without this, I would not have a strong, growing business that’s managed to thrive despite the challenges. The last few years have seen significant growth and we continue with big plans for the future. If they are anything like the last 17, then I will look back with fondness once again.

Che Hookings -22 August 2017

SAP announce cloud revenues on €2.3bn – how can you build on that success?

Here at the Recruit 121 group we’re passionate about building success.
The recent appointment of five new employees, the launch of two new divisions and a move to our new offices in Capital Tower, Cardiff has allowed us to get 2016 off to a great start.
SAP is also building on extreme success with its cloud based services.
SAP has announced 2015 cloud revenues of €2.3bn, 11% of its overall revenue for the 2015 financial year of €20.8bn, and a near-doubling of the proportion of the company’s overall revenue attributable to cloud since 2014.
The SAP results statement showed that the EMEA region had an 11% increase in cloud and software revenue, including double-digit software licence performance in Germany and Russia. Cloud subscriptions and support revenue in EMEA grew by 53%.
One example of how SAP has used its cloud services is through its work with Shell and Volkswagen. The three companies worked together to pilot a solution, that helps dramatically simplify drivers’ parking and fuelling experience.
Cormac Watters, UK and Ireland SAP managing director, said: “Cloud adoption is soaring here in the UK market. Every customer wants to have the conversation.”
With this in mind, we are predicting a rise in the demand for specialists in cloud based services.
Our managing director, Che, said: “Having placed thousands of candidates for more than 500 SAP customers around the world the Recruit 121 Group continue to expand our client base and the provisions we offer for potential candidates, including our education services.”
The cloud-based learning platform allows you to access over 4,000 training titles – including e-learning courses, course handbooks and expert-led learning rooms – through one single subscription.
If you’re interested in brushing up your skills on anything SAP, including the cloud based services, visit our e-learning hub store to see what courses we have on offer.
Partnering with us not only gives you instant online access to SAP learning materials anytime and anywhere, but priority access to the latest SAP jobs, career advice and interview tips through our recruitment experts.
For more information on our Learning Hub offering and SAP jobs, contact us on +44 02920 496121 or Email us at:

New year, further success. Building on our first 15 years.

In August, we celebrated the 15 year anniversary of the launch of Recruit 121.

Now, in our 15th year we are building on our success with the appointment of five new employees, the launch of two new divisions and a move to our new offices in Capital Tower, Cardiff.

The recent growth within the Cardiff office responds to an increasing demand for SAP (systems, applications and products in data processing) recruitment services and the introduction of a dedicated recruitment service for finance roles, showing a commitment to expanding the expertise of Recruit 121 to become a trusted brand in the wider recruitment sector.

Recruit 121’s new faces:

Our new recruits are Emma Peterson, Darren Wilcox, Connor Wall, Guy Guest and Abby Hughes. Emma, 40, from Cardiff, is heading up our new accounting and finance division.

Emma said: “I’m really pleased to be taking on the exciting challenge of launching a brand new division for Recruit 121. The company has an excellent reputation and is recognised internationally as a market leader in the area of SAP recruitment.

“My aim is to establish the Recruit 121 brand in the financial recruitment sector and build a strong team, which focuses on sector knowledge and excellent client relationships.”

Recruit 121’s new offices:

We are delighted to have moved into our new offices on the 14th floor of Cardiff’s iconic Capital Tower. The new offices will provide us with much-needed space for the growing team and new furniture and technology, including two 65-inch screens for video conferencing.

Our managing director, Che Hookings, said: “We have seen Recruit 121 develop significantly over the past 15 years and our Cardiff team is now proud to be a globally-recognised source of expertise in SAP recruitment.

“We have placed thousands of candidates for more than 500 SAP customers around the world and we continue to expand our client base.

“While SAP might not be familiar to many, it has been estimated that US$600bn are transacted on the SAP network annually, which is 50% more than Amazon, Alibaba and eBay combined.

“Our turnover for the Cardiff office last year was £10.2m, which represented a 5% increase on the previous year.

“We see an opportunity to capitalise on the knowledge and reputation we have built-up, over the past 15 years, and take Recruit 121 to the next level.

“We are confident that we can successfully expand our business model. The introduction of new areas of specialist recruitment, the new office and the latest additions to the team will be instrumental in helping us to achieve that. We are all looking ahead to the next 15 years and to what we can achieve.”


Compliance by Country: The UK

Through our monthly ‘Compliance by Country’ series we aim of provide information that candidates need to consider in order to ensure that they fully comply with the rules/requirements of working in different countries.

We recently gave advice for compliance in Switzerland and The Netherlands.

For the third post of the series, Smriti Malik BCom MBA, Senior Manager at Access Tax & Accounting Limited provides answers to frequently asked questions for contractors working in the UK.

What are the residency rules/requirements in the United Kingdom where the contract will take place and how does one go about registering if required to do so?

There are no individual registrations required upon arrival in the UK.

A UK National will have an existing NI number which will be used for paying National Insurance contributions in the UK and a UTR number for settlement of income tax.

A non UK National will need to apply for a NI number at the Job Centre and a UTR (Unique Tax Reference Number) which will be required in all tax related matters. Both the registrations involve filling in forms and sending them to the HMRC. Registration numbers are then received by post.
Do I need to move from a Limited Company to an umbrella company?

Not necessarily. It is possible to work in the UK through your Limited Company.

If you have a UK Limited Company, it will be your employer in the UK that is liable for corporation tax and VAT. If you have a foreign Limited Company, you need to get it registered as a foreign employer in the UK without tax liability. Further your employer will also be liable for PAYE and employer’s NI contribution in the UK. If the contractor chooses to take dividends from his Limited Company in the UK, these dividends will be subject to dividend tax, taxable in the hands of the contractor.

You can choose to work through a Limited Company or under an umbrella, as both are recognised as legal structures in the UK. Umbrella will give you lesser administration burden but a Limited Company can give you higher net take home.

What are the income tax and social security rates in the UK?

Resident individuals are liable to pay tax on their worldwide income in the UK.

Income tax is charged at a progressive rate from 20% on earnings up to GBP 31,785 to 45% on earnings over GBP 150,000.

Social security is obligatory for all employed contractors working in the UK. Employees pay Class 1 NI. The contribution is 12% for income greater than GBP 155 per week up to GBP 815 per week and 2% over GBP 815 per week.

Employers pay 13.8% NIC on weekly earnings over GBP 156.
Are you able to give an indication of the legitimate tax allowances available to expatriates?

There are no special expatriate tax rulings in the UK. However the UK offers tax free personal allowances of GBP 10,600 to non – UK nationals who are tax residents.
Do I need a VISA to work in the UK?

All EEA (EU and EFTA) and Swiss nationals can enter and work in the UK without needing to apply for a Visa, but if you are a national of Croatia, you need to apply for permission before you start work.
Should I keep my company registered in my home country? What are the pros and cons of this?

You should keep your company registered if you plan to use it for your next assignment or in future.

The benefit of keeping your current company active can be to facilitate its use for your future assignments rather than incurring costs by closing the current company and incorporate a new one for future use.

The negative of keeping a company can be maintaining its dormant status (inactive but alive), complying with a few legal formalities like filing dormant accounts every year.

A cost analysis should be done comparing the costs involved in closing down the company and keeping a dormant company.

For more information on freelance and permanent SAP jobs from Recruit 121, call us on +44 02920 496121 or email us at:

Recruit 121 Limited and Access Tax & Accounting Limited are unrelated companies, other payroll solution providers are available and contractors should take independent advice so that their individual circumstances are properly considered.

EDITOR: Ian Zagrecki BA MA

Cut the jargon with Recruit 121 Limited

Here at Recruit 121, we play a crucial role in helping our valued clients find the highly-skilled specialists they need.

In an industry where all things digital are on the rise, it can sometimes be difficult to cut through jargon to keep on top of your game.

A total 80 per cent of members surveyed by the UK & Ireland SAP User Group admitted they are sceptical of terms like ‘digitalisation’ and ‘digital transformation’.

Speaking at the UKISUG 2015 conference in Birmingham, group chairman Philip Adams said: “Our feedback has indicated there’s a lot of buzzwords, maybe a wee bit of hype, around the whole concept of digital business.”

With the introduction of new customer-facing applications like those from hybris, the SaaS applications from Success Factors, Ariba, Fieldglass, Concur and the Internet of Things projects, it can seem like things are becoming increasingly difficult to stay on top of in the world of SAP.

Here at Recruit 121 Limited, we are dedicated to keeping things as simple as possible for both clients and candidates and being an official SAP® Education Partner allows us to do just that.

The E-learning hub is designed specifically to deliver knowledge wherever and whenever it’s needed, giving on demand access to SAP learning solutions to fit in with your schedule and personal learning style. This learner centric approach allows you to ensure that having the skills needed to keep on top of changes in the industry is as simple as possible.

The cloud-based learning platform allows you to access over 4,000 training titles – including e-learning courses, course handbooks and expert-led learning rooms – through one single subscription. The most cost effective way to keep up to date and competitive in SAP solutions with product and technology knowledge.

Keep your skill set accurate, utilise the many opportunities that come with digital transformation and fit it around a busy schedule in a changing business landscape.

For more information on our Learning Hub offering and SAP jobs, contact us on +44 02920 496121 or Email us at: