Module Code: MGT4013

Module Subject: Human Resources Management

Length: 1000 words

Assessment Task: G4S and the London 2012 Olympics

This assessment is a written short answer report, to be prepared individually. Successful completion of this report is required both for this module and because it counts towards the CMI diploma.

G4S, an international security firm, gained the contract to provide security at all Olympic locations. G4S contracted Wave, recruitment marketing specialists, to run the recruitment campaign. It was projected in 2010 that 2,000 security staff would be required, but by late 2011 this had risen to 10,400. Wave appeared to run a very thorough recruitment campaign and in May 2012 it appeared that everything was on track for the increased number of guards. However, suddenly in mid-July G4S admitted that it could not fulfil the whole contract and 3,500 soldiers were drafted in to cover the shortfall. Nick Buckles of G4S, interviewed on BBC Radio 4, appeared to lack information about the detail of the recruitment/training/vetting processes, could not explain what had gone wrong and was unable even to confirm that all potential employees spoke fluent English.

G4S found there was a dropout of acceptable candidates when they realised the realities of the job but, even more importantly, there was a shortage of licensed security guards, and the company recognised that it would have to recruit inexperienced staff and train them in order to meet the new target. Such candidates had to provide a lot of data about themselves and be vetted and screened, then trained for four days in order to acquire the necessary skills, and then meet the criteria for a Security Industry Licence before they could begin their employment. The sheer scale of this task defeated the organisation, and it accepted that it had underestimated the challenge.


  1. Why was it important for an organisation such as G4S to conduct a process of workforce planning? What problems could have been avoided if this had been in place?
  2. The chief executive of G4S only found out that the firm could not fulfil the contract in mid-July which was very close to the start of the games. What steps could have been taken to ensure a more effective process to counteract the problems they encountered?
  3. How might communication have been improved within G4S, and between G4S and Wave, and how might this have helped the planning process?


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