Virgin Media: High-Volume RPO and Professional Recruiting for Improve Diversity


After publishing their gender parity report, Virgin Media set us the challenge of recruiting more female technicians into a role which has a pronounced gender bias, with 99% male incumbents.

At the end of 2017, Virgin Media changed their approach for vetting new starters. Sales starters would now have to complete full vetting before starting. vetting was completed after the start date.

In 2017 we successfully hired 275 Field Sales Advisors, in 2018 we were challenged to increase the number to 450, with a smaller attraction budget than we were granted in 2017. This was a sizeable challenge as field sales are one of the tougher areas to recruit for. Typically it uses up a higher percentage of our media budget.


Setting up a ‘Women in Field’ working group and regular project calls with the client were key. We explored every avenue to tap into a market which previously wasn’t engaged with this opportunity. We wanted to be bold and disruptive in our approach, particularly around how the role was advertised and positioned. We listened to existing female employees and involved them in the recruitment process, making sure they were present for female candidates attending assessments.

Fully vetting new joiners before they start on induction makes for a fantastic candidate and hiring manager experience. We used our existing partnership with ‘Security Watchdog’ to identify how to dramatically reduce the three-week clearance period. With better signposting and a clearer process, we reduced the clearance period to just 11 days.

We developed new channels to engage people who previously would not have applied. We streamlined the application process and introduced the option to register interest in hotspot areas. We used our internal SNAP team to post across social channels such as Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Our Field Sales recruiters were then able to engage those interested and convert them into applicants.

‘We’ve made more than 30% more hires in 2018, with a 20% smaller attraction budget.’


‘Women in Field’ was launched in four key locations and in just two months, we received triple the number of applications from women that we received in the whole of 2017. And by the end of the pilot, we had more than doubled the number of female employees.

The new vetting process has helped to reduce early attrition by up to 20% across sales channels.

In field sales we’ve made more than 30% more hires in 2018, with a 20% smaller attraction budget compared to 2017.

Overall, we’ve dramatically improved our application to hire ratios across all of the UK. And in 2018 (year to date) hiring managers have saved 376 hours in interview time.

The campaign was shortlisted in the ‘Diversity’ category of the 2018 Recruitment Marketing Awards. We’re now seeing more regions across the UK using a similar approach in order to increase their gender diversity.