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Catching Up With Sean Mackenzie, White Collar Sales Director

Catching Up With Sean Mackenzie, White Collar Sales Director

by on November 29, 2023

It’s been just over a year since Sean Mackenzie joined Payme as our White Collar Sales Director, so we thought it was time to catch up with him and find out all about his first twelve months.

Q: Tell us about your first year with Payme

A: It’s been interesting, to say the least! Recruitment agencies have gone through a very tough time recently and we know that the recruitment sector is down across the board, so it was a challenging time to change roles.

When I joined there were huge compliance issues within the umbrella industry because of the furore surrounding alleged skimming and the increase in Mini Umbrella schemes. A lot of trust had been lost and it’s damaged the whole of the FCSA-accredited industry. It’s up to us to restore that trust and to demonstrate that not every umbrella company is out to rip contractors off. 

I’ve brought on some top-quality agency partners and they are really seeing the benefit of just how, because we’re more adaptable, we can shape our services to fit their precise needs. Some of our competitors seem to concentrate on looking after the recruitment agencies they deal with at the expense of the contractors, but we’re not like that – for us both are as important. During the entire year that I’ve been here, not one of my agency's workers has been paid late, and I’m extremely proud of that. 

Payme now has a great service and range of benefits for both white and blue-collar workers with benefits such as private pension options and personal accident cover. We also have a great new website and our trust pilot score has increased to reflect the excellent service we provide. All things I have been working on in the last year. 

Q: Are lots of agencies still using non-compliant umbrella companies?

A: Unfortunately, yes. But a lot of agencies don’t realise that they’re still using them and we advise them what the implications and risks are for both them and their contractors. Recently, when we’ve seen increased HMRC activity, it might encourage more agencies to use compliant umbrella companies. And this is the crux of the matter really… if every single agency decided to use only compliant umbrella companies, the non-compliant ones would close overnight and everyone would benefit. However, it is sometimes difficult to spot a non-compliant scheme which is why a regular audit of the umbrella companies that are being used is so important whistle upskilling the recruiters on the front line. 

Q: Looking ahead, what do you think will happen in the umbrella market?

A: We’re waiting for the outcome of the government’s consultation. Outside of that the market seems to be picking up, and we’re starting to see inflation level off and interest rates pause, so hopefully we’ll see recruitment agencies grow and prosper. 

We’ll be helping our recruitment partners with their Preferred Supplier Lists (PSLs) over the next few months and highlighting the benefits that we can bring to them, such things as prompt payment and great service for contractors, as well as a personal touch for our recruitment agents. It’s astonishing that some umbrellas don’t actually offer this ‘minimum’ level of service as standard, but that’s what sets us apart! I have saved my agency partners so much time in payment issues letting them get back to doing what they do best knowing all their contractors have been paid on time and correctly. 

Q: What about working at Payme? Is it all you thought it would be?

A: Yes, it’s really good. I work remotely in the south of England and was a little worried that it might take longer to bond with the rest of the team as they are based in Yorkshire but they’re all so amazing that it hasn’t been an issue. 

We’re growing the team, having brought Claire Martin on board this year, and we hope to keep building on our success to bring on other team members in 2024. 

What I’d like to do more of in 2024 is training. I’ve been doing a lot this year, working with recruitment agencies to help them understand the umbrella market, how it can benefit both them and their contractors, and how to avoid partnering with non-compliant umbrellas. It’s all about instilling confidence in them so they know what the benefits and the pitfalls are, and so they can explain the benefits of Payme to their contractors in an informed way. 


Get in touch 

For more information on our White Collar Offering please contact Sean on 07947972662 or at