Reed (company)

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A Reed branch office on a UK high street.

Reed is an employment agency based in the United Kingdom.[1] The company was founded in 1960 by Sir Alec Reed CBE, and is currently chaired by his son, James Reed. Reed also offers training and HR consultancy services. The company’s website,, was established in 1995 and doubles as a job site. In 2014 Alexa ranked as the no.1 UK employment agency website.

As of March 2012 Reed has more than 3,000 permanent employees working across 425 business units in 180 locations worldwide.[2]

Reed Group companies[edit]

The main Reed company sources and places candidates into temporary, contract and permanent positions, and provides a range of outsourced Human Resources. Reed itself is a specialist recruitment agency.

The group also includes:[3]

  • Reed Learning Ltd, providing learning and training services.
  • Reed in Partnership Ltd is a workfare spin off operating in the UK, Australia and Poland as a government sub-contractor.
  • Reed Online Ltd, launched in 1995, is responsible for Jobs on come from employers in the private and public sectors, recruitment agencies and Reed's consultants based in the UK, and the rest of the world.

Reed in society[edit]

Reed has a commitment to several social initiatives and charitable concerns.


The Reed Foundation is a charitable foundation set up by Sir Alec Reed. The Foundation owns an 18% share of the Reed group of companies. Funds go towards supporting charitable projects and one-off donations.

The Big Give is a Reed Foundation initiative that began in 2007 and aims to introduce donors to charitable projects in their field of interest. The website holds details of over 7,500 charities.

Ethiopiaid, founded by Sir Alec Reed in 1989, is a charity that works in partnership with projects in Ethiopia. Its aim is to create lasting and positive change in Ethiopia by tackling the problems of poverty, ill health and poor education through supporting local community projects.

The third charity supported by Reed is Womankind Worldwide.[3]

Social initiatives[edit]

Reed has a long history of supporting the West London Academy in Ealing.[4]

Advertising and sponsorship[edit]

Love Mondays[edit]

In January 2008, a nationwide advertising campaign was launched promoting The advertising introduced a new 'Love Mondays' message, with print and poster ads featuring a handwritten Post-It note-style device. Radio commercials also include 'Love Mondays' as their end-line.

Short Film Competition[edit]

In September 2009, launched its annual Short Film Competition with a top prize of £10,000. The competition, run via YouTube, invites film makers to submit a short film of no more than three minutes in length based on a specific theme.


In 2002, shares in the Reed Health Group (which had been demerged from the parent company in 2001) fell 25% after the surprise firing of the Chief Executive and Finance Director of Reed Health, a company demerged from the wider Reed Group in 2001.

Reed Health was initially well-received by investors, with the value of its shares briefly surpassing that of its former parent company. Shortly after demerger, the firm began a programme of expansion by acquisition, for which Chief Executive Christa Echtle and finance director Desmond Doyle were advised by James Wellesley Wesley at Granville Baird.

In May 2002, Reed Health used cash and shares to acquire medical employment agency Locum Group, following which Echtle and Doyle tabled a proposal at Reed Health's AGM that would permit Reed Health's managers to buy further companies without shareholder approval. Had the motion been passed, Reed Health would have the power to dilute the Reed family’s shareholding to the point where the family risked losing control of the company. The proposal was voted down. The Reed family then opposed the reelection of Echtle and Doyle as directors, effectively firing them during the AGM. News of the pair's departure took the City by surprise. Some financial commentators, such as Patience Wheatcroft of Management Today, criticised the firings and called for better corporate governance from Reed's board; two non-executive directors resigned in protest.

Reed would later cite the incident as shaping the Reed family’s decision to take the company private. In April 2003 the family launched an offer to buy back shares in Reed Executive for 140p per share, an 18% premium on the pre-announcement closing price; in 2005 the family regained control of Reed Health after a hostile bid. Reed companies are now privately owned and family-controlled.


  1. ^ Steve McCormack (6 July 2006). "A-Z of Employers: Reed". Independent. 26 September 2006. Archived from the original on 2006-09-26. Retrieved 2 March 2012. 
  2. ^ "About Reed". Reed. Retrieved 2 March 2012. 
  3. ^ a b "Reed is fifty in 2010". Reed. Archived from the original on 2 March 2012. Retrieved 2 March 2012. 
  4. ^ "Ofsted criticises London academy standards". Guardian. 7 March 2006. Retrieved 23 November 2011. 

External links[edit]