Why do Executive Search Firms Outsource Their Transcription Needs?

OutSec Blog Why Do Executive Search Firms Outsource their transcription needs - Recruiter Headhunter standing in an office

It is fair to say that Executive Search firms and headhunters have started to move with the times and are adapting and embracing different ways of working.  This includes outsourcing work to businesses that support them such as IT, accounting, marketing, and transcription firms.  By outsourcing these key process-based functions, it has allowed headhunters to concentrate on what they do best; headhunt candidates for large corporates.

When you think of outsourcing work, we often only think about the savings that will be achieved by getting the work done at a lower cost.  However, most Executive Search firms overlook the fact they benefit from a wealth of other factors besides.

So, what are the benefits of outsourcing dictation for today’s Executive Search firms?

1. Helps You Increase Productivity

Why is Dictation More Efficient than Typing?

The simple fact is that we can all speak considerably faster than we can physically type, as demonstrated by these stats:

“The average person types between 38 and 40 words per minute”.

A “good rate of speech ranges between 140 -160 words per minute.

This means that dictation is up to four times faster than we can type. Therefore, simply dictating a document is more cost-efficient, giving headhunters more time to be working on other projects and bring in more revenue.

Typing Yourself v Outsourcing: A Case Study

Julie is an Executive Search Consultant.  She works in London and is paid £80,000. Her hourly salary rate is approximately £41 per hour (she works Monday to Friday, 7.5 hours days a week). However, she has no access to any support.

Julie has been asked by a big global pharmaceutical company to prepare a 10,000 word typed summary document giving recommendations of whom to shortlist for the role of CFO.

Julie has two options available to her:

1.              Type a 10,000-word document herself; or

2.              Outsource that typing to a specialist transcription company.

What is the most cost-effective for the Executive Search Company and Julie?

To look at which is most cost-effective, we have to look at the time taken to type or time taken to dictate and the cost of transcription.

For that, we need a couple of stats: “The average person types between 38 and 40 words per minute” and a “good rate of speech ranges between 140 -160 words per minute.”

Typing the Document Herself

Julie would spend 250 minutes typing a 10,000-word document herself if she was typing at a speed of 40 words per minute, assuming she is not disturbed.  Therefore the cost to her firm in producing the document would be 250 x 0.68 = £170.

However, in the process, Julie would be working less efficiently. In fact, by not dictating this document, Julie has lost her firm 179 minutes, meaning she would be generating less revenue for her firm.

This means that the true cost of Julie producing the document herself (cost of production + lost time to the firm) is £291.72.

Outsourcing the Typing to OutSec

Julie can speak considerably faster than she can type. She speaks at a leisurely 140 words per minute to aid her typist.  Therefore the same 10,000-word document would take Julie only 71 minutes to dictate.

The cost of Julie dictating the document would be £48.28 to the firm. The cost of outsourcing the document production to OutSec would be £85.20.  This means that the cost for the production of the document is only £133.48. Saving £36.52 for the firm. However, Julie has also gained an extra 179 minutes in working time and has saved the company an additional £121.72 in salary time, making a total saving to the company of £158.24.

However, the true value of that 179 minutes’ could be higher (imagine a scenario where a firm charges out time per hour, which is considerably higher than an hourly salaried rate). So imagine if that 179 minutes’ worth of time, is charged out on an hourly basis to a client at say £100 per hour.  That would mean the savings would increase from £121.72 to £298.33!

This is solely based on just one document.  Imagine the savings and increase in productivity that could occur by dictating all your transcription needs. This is why lawyers, accountants and other professionals have always used transcription facilities (rather than typing documents themselves).  It makes profitability higher, especially where there are high charge outs (or salary rates).

Recording of Candidate Interviews

Some headhunters record candidate interviews (whether face to face, via telephone or teleconferencing options), thereby reducing the need for someone else to be on the call to take notes.  This frees up the time of another member of staff and therefore makes the process more cost-effective.  It also allows the headhunter to concentrate on the call. If he or she were taking the call and making notes at the same time, it is likely the call would also go on longer.  There could also be room for error in the notetaking process as well, meaning the headhunter has to contact the candidate again – which recording the call eliminates.

2. Gives You Access to Highly Experienced Transcriptionists When You Need them

At OutSec we believe in having highly experienced Executive Search transcriptionists. Indeed, we have been providing transcription services to this niche market since 2002.

Our transcriptionists truly understand the importance of client confidentiality and accuracy in their work.

This makes OutSec’s HR, Recruitment and Executive Search Team, one of the best in the industry and they are available to you at the touch of a button.

Are you:

  • having issues recruiting in your area?
  • struggling to find a transcriptionist with the right experience?
  • struggling with a backlog of work?

Then why not use OutSec!

3. Reduces Costs

When you employ staff you must pay: monthly salaries, PAYE costs, National Insurance contributions, offer a pension scheme and pay a certain percentage of tax per employee.

You also have other fixed costs such as desk space and office costs per employee and infrastructure costs like computers, telephones, workspaces, etc.

Unproductive Time

What most employers forget is the indirect costs of employment such as “unproductive” time.  Recent research suggests that:

“In an eight hour day, the average worker is only productive for two hours 53 minutes”.

Clearly, by outsourcing your transcription needs, you eliminate any unproductive time.  By using OutSec, you pay per minute of recorded dictation (rounded up to the nearest minute) which means you are not paying for any unproductive time.  Therefore, you are not paying for your transcriptionist to make a cup of tea or coffee, to have or make a snack or lunch, or indeed have an office chat – all of that is eliminated!

Reduces Expensive Office Space

Obviously, by outsourcing your transcription needs, you can reduce the amount of office space you need.

According to Business Matters Magazine: “The average cost to rent an office space per person, per month is between £650 and £1,500” in London.

This means that the cost of desk space in London is therefore somewhere between £7,800 to £18,000 per annum.

Just on this cost alone you could approximately have somewhere between 6,500 and 15,000 minutes of dictation typed up by OutSec instead!

Reduces HR Costs

Hiring, training and supervising your firm’s secretarial staff can require an investment of your HR Manager’s time.  There are costs involved in advertising for qualified transcriptionists.  By outsourcing, you never have to worry about any of these HR-related costs.

Sickness Absence

According to the National Office of Statistics, an “estimated 141.4 million working days were lost because of sickness or injury in the UK in 2018, the equivalent to 4.4 days per worker“.  The most common reasons for sicknesses were:

  • Minor illnesses;
  • Mental health conditions;
  • Musculoskeletal problems.

Outsourcing eliminates these costs.

Holiday Pay

Whilst statutory paid holiday entitlement in the UK is 28 paid holiday days, most employers in the UK give considerably more holidays to their employees.

Indeed, “the average UK holiday entitlement including public holidays is 33.5 days – that’s more than a week above the statutory minimum”.

Clearly, by outsourcing your transcription needs, you eliminate this cost to your firm.

Changes a Fixed Cost into a Flexible Cost

Many Executive Search firms recognise that replacing a static fixed cost with a flexible skilled outsourced provider has many positives.  If your typing requirements are low, then the costs are low. This also enables upscaling support as the firm grows or in times when workloads are high.

Consequently, OutSec can offer support by either acting as a complete, secure, outsourced solution or as an overflow, allowing your Executive Search firm to keep up with the demands of your business.

4. Business Continuity Planning

In 2020, businesses around the world had their business continuity plans truly put to the test, as Covid-19 swept the globe.

Whilst some businesses were forced to close their doors when lockdowns came into effect, OutSec continued to operate as normal.

OutSec continued to be able to support our clients and those that needed our help, during this difficult time.  As one of our clients stated:

“We are so glad that we have you as it certainly makes it less stressful not having to worry about getting typing completed.  I know some firms are really struggling if staff cannot get in”.

Using OutSec affords your firm a business continuity solution to enable your business to access typing support, that expands (or contracts) with your firm’s specific needs. You can also use OutSec for upscaling support as the firm grows, without the need for employing additional typing staff (or indeed, any of the employment costs or risks thereof).

5. Eliminate the Need for Temporary Staff

As any manager knows, the need for temporary transcriptionists or secretaries can easily fluctuate over time.  We know that staff are likely to take the majority of their holiday entitlement in the summer months. Unfortunately, it is harder for firms to predict unexpected illnesses. We can, of course, predict that in the winter months someone may come to work with a cold (and in a matter of days, everyone has come down with it!). This is especially true for those who work in open-plan offices. Environmental factors such as snow, or other extreme weather events, can also result in staff being unable to make it into the office.

By using OutSec, you can access typists in times of absence, whether it is through illness or extreme weather, reducing the need for using expensive temporary staff to bridge the gap at a cheaper cost.

About OutSec the UK’s Leading Online Transcription Company

OutSec is the UK’s leading online transcription company whose business has grown substantially since 2002. We are one of the most successful transcription companies in the United Kingdom.

OutSec are both ISO 27001 and Cyber Essentials certified.

If information, data security and confidentiality are important to you, do not just cross your fingers when outsourcing your Executive Search dictation to meet your transcription needs.

Therefore, if you are agreeing a contract that deals with sensitive data demand ISO 27001 and Cyber Essentials compliance.  They are more than logos! These information security standards set the bar high.  It takes constant review, challenge and action to receive and retain them. They therefore also provide assurances that OutSec is indeed GDPR compliant.

Why not open an account today. What do you have to lose?

Why not visit our HR, Recruitment and Executive Search Division’s web page here. Alternatively, you can contact Mark Hope (the author) on 020 8123 3422 (direct dial) or on 020 7112 7527 (via Head Office).