Avencia Asks: Carina Barclay

This week’s Avencia Asks blog is with our Recruitment Business Partner, Carina Barclay. Carina provides an exclusive insight into her day-to-day life working ‘onsite’ as an MSP (Managed Service Provision) Recruitment Business Partner and what her role involves.


Carina, tell us about yourself; how long have you been working at Avencia and what first attracted you to the role?

I joined Avencia in 2019 and have worked in the recruitment industry for 14 years. I started my career in a recruitment agency before moving to internal recruitment in 2009, and it was here that I was introduced into the world of Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO).


I was first attracted to Avencia as I had previously worked with their parent company Oliver James. I liked the way that they worked and that Avencia was a start-up that had the backing and security of the long-established Oliver James Group.


I had also crossed paths with Avencia’s Co-Founder Charlie Gordon in my previous role, and when the opportunity came up to work with Charlie and the team at Avencia it was very exciting. Once I had met everyone, I knew instantly that Avencia was the right place for me.


You previously worked as part of an in-house talent acquisition team; can you talk us through how this differs to working as part of an outsourced solution?


My everyday tasks are very similar and the relationship with the business and hiring managers is ultimately the same.


The big difference is having access to a full delivery team as this is something I haven’t experienced in my previous roles where I was looking after the full 360 recruitment process; managing the roles, resourcing for the candidates, and processing offers.


It has been invaluable having access to a delivery and back-office solutions team, particularly for the MSP where there is a whole department to help out with the onboarding, especially with the IR35 reform coming into play in April this year.

Having access to these teams has allowed me to focus on building the relationships and become a truly embedded partner to my clients.


Working as one of our MSP Business Partners for Markel International, you have a vital role. What does your role involve, and how does it differ from a Recruitment Business Partner looking after Permanent hires?


I manage all contingent recruitment for Markel International, covering the UK, Dublin, Europe, India, Canada, and Bermuda, so managing timesheets, new hires, and extensions.


The main difference between my role and that of a Business Partner who looks after permanent hires is the speed. The time-to-hire is so much quicker in MSP. I need to be very organised to ensure I am focusing my energy on the right tasks.  


What impact has off-payroll working had on the ongoing workforce management? Have you seen a shift in resource requirements?


The IR35 reform has kept me busy over the last couple of months. Markel International have a division called Markel Tax, and we have been lucky enough to partner with their team to help undertake all status determinations for contractors.


There hasn’t really been a shift in Markel International’s resource requirement as the contractors they have on site are true contractors, so everything has pretty much remained the same.


Unlike many companies, they are continuing to resource contractors where required.  


Contingent resource tracking is hugely important when running an MSP, what VMS do you use and how does it complement the client?


Markel International use Beeline which was introduced to enhance their operational efficiencies and align the contractor workforce process with Markel Corporation, their parent company in the US, who had previously used Beeline and realised how good it was. Last year Avencia led a tripartite project to implement and deploy Beeline with Avencia as the MSP for Markel International.


Beeline enables Avencia as the MSP to manage the contractor requisition process, run timely reports, and have automated candidate tracking, reducing paperwork and emails to hiring managers.


Through an integration with Avencia’s finance systems, Beeline automates the invoice payments based on timesheet approval and has a screening and vetting process to ensure the contingent workforce and supply chain are compliant. It is very clear, and the approval chain process is good.


Describe some of the most common challenges you experience, unique to the running of an MSP?


Timesheet management is the biggest challenge as you are up against deadlines which are so rigid; if a timesheet isn’t approved, the contractor must wait a whole month to be paid.


Time zones can also often be a challenge as the support team for Beeline is based in the US, so time difference can be difficult to manage.


How does Avencia support its clients in addressing these challenges?


Avencia keeps the communication going across both the hiring manager and the contractor. For example, if a contractor hasn’t submitted their timesheet, I would pick up the phone to them and get it sorted.


We solve the problems and make sure everything is processed and actioned in a timely manner.


What does a typical week look like for you?


Timesheets are always my focus on a Monday and Friday. I send out emails to all contractors to remind them to submit their timesheet, as well as approve them, make sure all reports are correct, to ensure our contractors and temp employees get paid on time.


For the rest of the week, I work through extensions, speak to hiring managers, seek approval, and process any extensions needed. I also add new resource onto the system and book in interviews with hiring managers.


The main thing that is always in the back of my mind, however, is the management of the system; making sure everyone’s IT access is up-to-date and the management of timesheets are actioned correctly as these are linked to peoples pay.   


If you could describe the part you play in the recruitment process in one sentence, what would it be?


I provide a relationship driven service and I am responsible for the effectiveness of day-to-day recruitment activity for the MSP and Markel International National Markets permanent recruitment.


What’s the best thing about working at Avencia?


The people, they are all so lovely. It’s refreshing to be in a team where everyone understands recruitment; it’s great to interact with other recruiters and bounce ideas off each other. We all communicate daily and have quarterly team get-together’s over video calls - I can’t wait to do these again face-to-face!


To find out more about how Avencia can assist you with the management of your contractor workforce, get in touch at hello@avenciaconsulting.com


  1. These companies have become an integral part of the Indian job market as they help employers find qualified candidates quickly and easily while reducing costs associated with recruiting. With the increasing demand for quality talent in India, RPO India are playing a major role in helping businesses meet their staffing needs.

  2. Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) has taken the hiring process to a whole new level, and it’s no surprise that it has become a lot more popular in the last few decades. Not only do RPO companies in India save you time, but they also allow you to focus on other core competencies.


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