Patricia Taylor joins WM People as chair

We spoke to our new chair Patricia Taylor about recruitment trends and what AI means for the jobs market.


Patricia Taylor has been appointed chair of the board of directors of’s umbrella company WM People. She has years of experience in HR and as a Board Adviser and P&L leader. She has an established track record of successfully guiding executive teams within the software and services markets, with a focus on business to business software and services, recruitment, HR, payroll, and finance/ERP/ERM. She has also served as Board advisor for over 10 founder-based businesses and market advisory for five private equity firms in the past five years. But what motivates her and how does she see her role in WM People?

Q: What has motivated you in your business career?

Patricia Taylor: Most recently I’ve been motivated to understand the impact a business has on its clients, its employees and the general community and how this impact changes over time.  The value of a business is, in my opinion, reflected in this impact.

Q: Has that motivation changed over time?

Patricia: Well, I’ve been in business a very long time, so there have been many changes!  I suppose the greatest shift that I see is the rapid changes in talent requirements.  This is driven by technology and business developments, globalisation and shorter disruption cycles.  It’s hard for society to keep up as skills development takes time.  I think we are seeing the impact of this mismatch now and it will only grow in the future.

Q: Can you name a time in your career that has particularly stood out – good or bad?

Patricia: I love when I’m part of a leadership team that is in the right market at the right time with the right talent mix.  This combination creates a wave of growth and creativity in a business that is addictive.  I love where I am right now in my career, supporting founder-led businesses to achieve their ambitions.  Founders are gutsy, creative, determined people!

I don’t function well in fear-driven, top-down types of leadership environments as these tend to lead to “need to know” information hording rather than collaboration and sharing.

Q: What do you see as the key recruitment issues for companies today?

Patricia: The AI vs AI battles on the horizon will completely disrupt the recruitment market.  Most medium/large companies have already deployed AI-driven candidate curation tools.  Once candidates submit their CVs using AI, employers will be faced with algorithms that don’t work and a deluge of candidates.  Also, there are the skills challenges I mentioned earlier.  Selecting candidates based on potential to up-skill may be more critical, and effective “training as on-boarding” and “mature apprenticeships” in non-industrial job categories will start to become more prevalent.

Q: Do you think employers are thinking deeply enough about how they use AI in recruitment and retention?

Patricia: Yes and no.  Over the past five years, employers have spent time, money and intellectual power creating effective algorithms that matched their requirements when the tools were deployed.  My view is that the ongoing investment in maintaining a link between these algorithms and changing strategy and talent markets has not been forthcoming as the return on investment on these tools is reduced people costs.  Therefore the tools have been left behind in many cases.   Once AI kicks in on the candidate side, employers could be back to human-driven talent pooling as the only method to identify “truly” qualified candidates.

Q: You have been in business during a time of increasingly rapid change. What have been the biggest challenges for the businesses you have worked with when it comes to adapting to that change?

Patricia: The biggest challenge is understanding the difference between a compelling business strategy that makes sense from a data and analysis perspective and one that will work in the market as dynamics constantly change.  Leaders and investors can sometimes get “stuck” in their preferred models and ignore what the market is telling them.

Q: What do you think is the number one common error employers make when it comes to recruitment and retention?

Patricia: Retention is a challenge these days.  It used to be that as long as you had “promotion ladders” and grades etc on offer, retention was a given.  Today, given the rapid shifts in skills required as well as the myriad of factors that impact retention (career lattice rather than ladder, ethos-driven engagement, flexible working and a sporadic need for deep experts among others), it’s hard for an employer to know what will work and then rapidly respond.

Q: What role do you think SMEs like WM People have to play alongside the recruitment giants?

Patricia: WM People knows its candidate pool very, very well.  Its ethos and focus resonate with job seekers and they can “see themselves” in what WM People has to offer.  The giants don’t do this: Although they try, they lose focus and a genuine personal touch.  Employers have the opportunity to tap into WM People’s relationship with candidates to gain access to a truly curated pool of talent.  In addition, they can speak and listen to these candidate pools via WM People’s research and thought leadership.

Q: What do you hope to bring to WM People?

Patricia: Gillian Nissim [founder of WM People] and the WM People team are already on a pretty exciting path and I’ve joined to offer some forward-thinking strategies and support them in achieving their ambitions.  I admire what WM People offers and truly respect their clients and the challenges they face.

Q: You have worked recently on relocating Ukrainian talent since the Russian invasion. What did you learn from that experience?

Patricia: This experience fits in the good and bad category.  It is gut-wrenching to see talent you’ve worked with and their families have their lives put at risk.  The resilience of the Ukrainian people, their deep commitment to their country and their employers and their focus on getting things done, whatever the obstacles, is incredible.  Ukraine has a highly educated, extremely talented pool of professionals and a superb IT infrastructure.  This has enabled them to live and work “in war”.  They zoom from bomb shelters and WhatsApp while fleeing armies and deliver outcomes while they follow live-streams of horrendous scenes in their own backyards.  It’s harrowing and heroic.

*Read more about the announcement of Patricia Taylor’s appointment here.

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