Why YOU need a Sabbatical from Your Recruitment Job

How many recruitment businesses do you think there are in the world?

In the UK alone, at the turn of the year there were roughly 23,980. So, in the world? Quite a few more than that.

At the vast majority of those agencies, asking your boss to give you six months off, while they continue to pay money into your bank would produce a raised eyebrow or two. Perhaps a P45. Perhaps just outright laughter.

A lot of recruitment bosses shudder at the thought of their staff taking holiday, let alone a longer period of time off.

Employees taking time out of the company means business will stop churning, right? What if the placements stop rolling in? What if this is the straw that breaks the camel’s back?

Well, to put your mind at ease have a read of this article instructing how to take holiday in recruitment. The benefits it will provide you are plentiful.

Life’s all about a balance. You have a life outside of your job that you’d probably like to experience some of. That’s why you’re in recruitment in the first place isn’t it? To make money, so you can have a better life?

Hunted’s main modus operandi is to help you make the most out of your recruitment career. And with that in mind, I went over to Hunted partner BRUIN Financial this week to speak about their hugely successful sabbatical scheme. An idea that will pique the interest of many…

Time off, paid for by your boss. Time off which will do both you and your boss the world of good.


Ellen Mulvey’s a Director at BRUIN Financial who recently returned from a six month stint travelling around the world.

Instead of leaving her job and taking time out, unpaid, she was paid to see the world. Without risking her mortgage, financial stability and leaving behind her long-time colleagues… Ellen’s come back to a job she loves.

BRUIN offers sabbaticals to their staff after just three years with the business. Which they estimate as the time a lot of Recruiters start to burnout.

If you take the offer after three years you can take three months out.

If you take the offer after five years, you’re able to take six.

This means ‘that life-changing trip’ you’ve always dreamed of taking, becomes incredibly real. Without you having to save money or put your life and career on hold. In recruitment that’s an extremely rare thing. But actually, one that makes a lot of sense. 

What happens to my commission? You’ll be thinking.

Well, at BRUIN, it’s worked out on a case by case basis. Most companies wouldn’t pay anything while on sabbatical, but there’s a middle ground that’s achievable and beneficial to staff and employer alike. It’s crucial to take account of each employee’s wishes and hesitations and create a system that works for all parties.

Any agency wanting to offer sabbaticals needs to think about this carefully. If the scheme doesn’t work for both employee and employer it won’t be a success.

Castle Lake


There aren’t many people who wouldn’t benefit from a sabbatical.

BRUIN’s sabbaticals aren’t just open to Director level staff, it’s an offering for absolutely everyone. So last year, the Office Manager took four months out to visit family in Canada and spent a large amount of time at home rejuvenating family relationships and getting some much needed relaxation.

Ellen’s experience was slightly different, and after leaving work on a Friday, by the Tuesday she was setting off on the adventure she’d always dreamed of.

She explored Singapore, Australia, Sri Lanka, New Zealand, Lao, Cambodia, South Africa and Mauritius.


“It’s the single best thing I’ve ever done in my life” is the response I get when I ask Ellen for her overall thoughts.

“In a normal setting, with a normal employer, it just wouldn’t have been a possibility.”

Not only was the experience of the trip a huge positive for her, but the after-effects were incredibly positive. And long lasting.

The return to work, to a great job, not having to start again, maintaining her yearly bonus, feeling full of beans has helped her career. And with it, helped the business she’s given lots of her time and efforts to over the years.

Backpacker Crest Mountain


The potential negatives of offering and taking sabbaticals are slim. Ellen’s in a unique position to offer a critique of it as a Director, and someone who took one.

I ask whether there were any pitfalls or anything she’d offer differently to other staff? Or, for that matter do differently herself?

“No, not one.” Is her instant response. BRUIN thought about work being covered quite carefully before her trip. The fewer numbers in the work force could obviously have an effect if not managed carefully. And strategically this is a potential pitfall for others. Making sure any work can be covered for the duration.

Personally and commercially, this is one of the best offerings I’ve seen in our industry. You get refreshed employees who are truly excited about their adventures, but equally loyal to the business.”

“From a personal perspective there was no negative. I had monthly pay days while on holiday for 6 months. It’s the best thing I’ve ever done.”


For recruitment businesses contemplating offering sabbaticals, the long-term commercial benefits are staggering. All work by the individual can be covered, and in reality the person in question is likely to be checking in frequently anyway. Especially if their finances depend on it.

The same comes for their return to the business. 

Why wouldn’t a Recruiter go back to a job they know, with money due? Why would they want to work for a company who doesn’t offer them this? There are no benefits to going to a different agency if the scheme is set up in the right way.

Advice for Recruiters thinking about taking one?

“Just do it, it will change your life.” There’s nothing to be wary of. You won’t lose any money, you can rent your house or flat out if you go travelling. You can get some of your own time back. Do those things you’ve always wanted to. Whether that’s seeing the world, or simply seeing your family more. Reconnect with your children. Renovate the house.

Whatever you decide to do, do something for you.

Take a sabbatical.

Oh, and if you’re current employer doesn’t offer one, work for one that does.