Above and beyond recruitment | Manchester Airport Group
Jetting 59 million+ passengers to 270 destinations each year is an increasingly complex operation and requires top talent.
With a portfolio comprising Manchester, London Stansted and East Midlands Airports, the Manchester Airports Group (MAG) looks to its 40,000 strong team to not only keep passengers moving around the clock, but to drive efficiency, service quality, growth, and mitigate operational issues.


  • Filled more than 750 vacancies
  • Saved £'s in search fee's with innovative candidate attraction methods
  • On-site account team, truly part of the in-house recruitment function
  • Key hires: Chief Information Officer, HR Director, Diversity & Inclusion Director

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The challenge

Initially contracted to source engineering skillsets in response to MAG’s evolving needs, it quickly became apparent to us that what the Group required was support identifying the right professional services talent. Spanning HR, procurement, legal and more, we’re fully embedded within MAG’s operations to deliver cost efficiencies and attract talent to essential roles, both within the operation and group services, and to support the delivery of the transformation programmes at both Manchester and Stansted Airports.

Jacqui Jones, Head of Interim Recruitment at MAG, explains:

“We’re considered as part of the MAG team, to the point where we’re included in the Group’s headcount, team meetings and staff away days. As with any new contract, the initial challenge is to build our profile from within so that we’re seen as a true extension of the team, rather than us and them. Internal managers quickly recognised the value that we delivered to the business and the number of new vacancies rocketed.”


The action

In response to the growing mix of permanent and interim needs, our MAG team grew from two to six on-site recruitment experts to meet the growing demand. Jacqui’s colleague and fellow Head of Interim Recruitment, Sara Jackson, was also seconded into the role of Head of Recruitment at MAG whilst a permanent candidate was found.

Shortly into the contract, we won a competitive tender to support MAG’s core vetting services. Based at our head office in Salford, the vetting team report directly to MAG’s head of vetting and are responsible for delivering robust checks and clearing new staff to Civil Aviation Authority standards.

As part of MAG’s wider transformation programme, the business implemented a new ERP (enterprise resource planning) platform, leveraging the latest SAP technology so that its IT capability would support efficient and scalable growth. The challenge for us was the availability of SAP skills, especially as MAG became the first-ever organisation to adopt the full cloud-based end-to-end solution.

Jacqui continues:

“SAP skillsets are rare and are usually only found in the South of England. We were competing in the same talent pool with businesses worldwide and had the added barrier in that we needed to attract the talent up north. This wasn’t without its difficulties, but by utilising the Morson Group’s wider technical abilities, we were able to develop an attractive interim package and source the best candidates.”

Delivering a successful RPO has meant our team needed to remain agile and respond to MAG’s changing recruitment needs.

“Some of our larger counterparts are far too rigid in how they work. We’ve always prioritised client service and go the extra mile to maintain great relationships. If we need additional support to deliver our promises then we’ll recruit it, bucking the norm in recruitment where if an account makes you £X amount of money then you can recruit X many people to work on it.”

The result

During the four-year contract to date, we have filled more than 750 vacancies for the leading Airports Group.

Notable hires include recruiting the ‘head of’ and ‘director’ for the Northern Powerhouse Partnership (NPP) and MAG’s construction director. Utilising a number of targeted recruitment tactics, including dedicated search specialists, bespoke landing pages, print advertising in leading political and national news outlets and market mapping, saving MAG £thousands in search fees.

Some of the key innovations that we have introduced during its tenure with MAG include an online timesheet system that reduced admin time for hiring managers. Management information reports tailored to HR and procurement requirements were also delivered, as well as precise one-page flash reports that aligned to strategic objective outputs. In addition, we have provided a variety of process communication tools and a project-based RPO specifically for security performance leads.

Don’t take our word for it…

Working with RPOne can only be described as ‘collaborative. This hybrid recruitment model has delivered many benefits including reduced cost, increased MI and greater governance.


Our on-site account team are truly part of the in-house recruitment function at MAG and have developed strong relationships across the HR team and hiring manager community with a focus on delivery at all times.


We have been through a number of operating and process changes, with RPOne proactively adopting, supporting and championing those changes. As a recruitment team, including volume hiring, non-volume hiring and interim solutions, we have on-boarded more than 3,000 people across our airports and the RPOne service has been invaluable to achieving this.


This hybrid recruitment model, which works extremely well, has delivered many benefits including reduced cost, increased MI and greater governance since implementing this four years ago, with further benefits to come as we move into a new phase of transformation at MAG.


– Group Head of Recruitment (non-volume) at MAG

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