Meet our leadership team: Stefanie Cook – An international contractor management specialist

Stef Cook - International contractor management specialists

19th April 2021

Following her recent promotion into her new role as Sales Director at 6CATS International, we caught up with our own Stefanie Cook, a shining example of just one of the successful women who have been promoted into senior leadership roles in the business in 2021.  Here’s what she had to say about why she loves what she does.

An interview with our new Sales Director, Stefanie Cook

Talk to us about your key professional milestones in recruitment…

I’ve been in the industry my whole career so I’ve spent around a decade supporting the recruitment sector. I started in the umbrella company space, before I moved to Personal Service Companies (PSCs) for seven years. I joined 6CATS just over three years ago where I began what was my first introduction to the international market, having previously focused purely on the UK. I’ll admit it was certainly a huge leap for me jumping into international and it wasn’t easy. However, the variety and experience you gain are phenomenal – I cannot recommend working within the international sphere enough. I started off on business development at 6CATS, building my key accounts, before being promoted to Head of Business Development and here I am now as Sales Director.

What are the main differences between the UK and international markets?

First and foremost, the variety of work is significant but perhaps more important is the complex queries that you have to deal with internationally. For the UK, clearly you have to only be concerned with UK law whether that be PAYE or taxation for a limited company PSC. At 6CATS, we cover 75 countries with different tax legislations for the contingent workforce. So one minute you could be handling a query from Italy, the next India. As I’ve said, it’s not just the variety but the sheer complexity, so you have to build your knowledge and understanding of every country that we can support with. You can imagine being handed a matrix of 75 countries when I joined – it can be quite overwhelming! But I love having these different conversations with clients about compliance matters in different geographies and territories and pulling on the expertise we have within 6CATS and our in-country specialists – that’s what so exciting about such a global specialist role.

Why are tax compliance solutions so business critical for recruitment agencies?

It’s the most important thing and it’s in our name 6CATS – Compliance, Advice and Tax Solutions for independent contractors. Our focus and mission, the very essence of what we do is educating recruitment agencies on why compliance matters so much to their organisation. For a long time, it perhaps wasn’t at the forefront or top of their business agenda and was overlooked, but the risks of this are extensive for any staffing company working within the international contractor market. But that’s where we come in – highlighting not just what it means for each individual agency but also the risks involved in non-compliance and what that might look like across borders. Each country has its own unique risk profile and staffing companies need to adhere to the nuances of each. And, of course, UK companies have to be so much more prudent since the passing of the Criminal Finances Act in 2017.

What do you like most and least about international contractor management?

I love the sector and working with recruitment agencies. We are able to make a real impact, especially for those agencies that are new to the international market and need global expertise on compliance risks and how to manage contingent workers. You’re making a difference to their business and that’s the thing that gives me most satisfaction. In terms of the more frustrating parts of the job, then that would be when despite telling a client of the importance of compliance and the potential risks, your advice isn’t taken on board. That said, we always strive to work with agencies who share our values. We live by our core values and want our clients to be likeminded, so we appreciate that sometimes things might not work out which can sometimes be disheartening, but we will always remain committed to adhering to and driving best practice.

Recruitment as a whole is consider male dominated – Has the gender balance shifted now?

I’d like to think so! Things have changed for the better. If you go back ten years, it was much more of a male dominated industry, and it wouldn’t have been so common to encounter young women looking to break through and make their mark. But I speak to female recruiters every single day now, whereas five or ten years ago it might have been a handful per week. Some of my biggest accounts are with female leaders and recruiters, so there have been dramatic improvements.

What would be your one piece of advice for young women entering the recruitment industry?

I would say being determined and thick skinned. You must not take things personally – it’s very easy to get offended. Never give up, be resilient and just keep going. If you want it enough, you’ll get it!

If you’d like to find out more about 6CATS International and its expert people, contact our team of international contractor management specialists today.

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