Career profile: Jonny Briggs, head of talent acquisition, Thomson Reuters

Written by
Karam Filfilan

30 Jan 2015

30 Jan 2015 • by Karam Filfilan

Basic details

Name: Jonny Briggs

Job: Head of talent acquisition

Current employer: Thomson Reuters (Intellectual Property and Science)

CV in brief:

  • Thomson Reuters – Head of Talent Acquisition
  • Coutts – Head of Resourcing
  • RBS Corporate Bank – Senior Resourcing Manager
  • RBS Group Functions – Head of Senior & Specialist Recruitment

A day in your life

Tell us about your job and organisation

We sell intelligent data in three main areas:

Life Sciences: to large pharmaceuticals to small biotechs

Scientific and Scholarly Research: to education and governmental institutions

Intellectual Property: to organisations protecting their brand or trademark

Who do you report into?

The global head of HR.

Tell us about your team

It is split regionally between sourcers, recruiters and on-boarders. EMEA has two recruiters, one sourcer and one on-boarder. The US has one lead recruiter, a sourcing manager, three recruiters and two sourcers. We also have one recruiter in Singapore for the Asia region.

What is the most rewarding part of your role?

The autonomy to manage the function without corporate bureaucracy.

What is the most challenging part of the role?

Innovating. Our organisation has mandated that everyone looks at ideas to improve how we work. It is a great opportunity, but requires considerable time. This is often difficult in the reactive world of recruitment.

What does a typical day look like for you?

I am very fortunate that it has huge variety. I spend a lot of time with my team and due to their different locations this gets split throughout the day. I recruit any roles for our executive leadership team so I will be speaking with them, our sourcers or an executive search supplier.  I expect my team to attend at least one external event each month (this could be an audio, but must be external) and being in London I am fortunate that is easy for me to do.

Why did you choose your current organisation to work for?

When you are a specialist it is important to get as much depth to your experience. My role with Coutts covered the UK, Switzerland, Hong Kong and Singapore. This role has given me the opportunity to have a more global remit.

Perks and downsides of your role?

The main perk is the autonomy of the role. The major downside is the reliance on LinkedIn, who are becoming far too greedy.

What skills are essential for the role you’re in?

Patience, interpersonal skills, influencing and listening skills.

Career path

How did you get to where you are now?

I have learned from all my experiences. Most have been great, others less so, but all experiences help. I don’t have a single role model, I have taken what I admire from many and what I don’t admire I leave.

Working in a recruitment consultancy develops resilience and influencing skills and I have benefited from that experience. I also got an excellent grounding at M&S, albeit relatively briefly.

I have historically relied on my managers to help me progress on success. More recently I have taken control.

What were your best subjects in school?

Maths. Later, I studied business economics at the University of Paisley.

What was your first job?

Marks & Spencer as a graduate trainee.

Have you followed the career path you set out to?

No, I have been lucky in that I have been able to make moves, when it has been the right time to move on.

What challenges have you faced along the way?

Working in a recruitment consultancy for a long time builds resilience and perspective, both of which have been invaluable to me throughout my career, especially at RBS and Thomson Reuters.

What advice would you offer to others who are looking to get to where you are now?

Take responsibility for your career and put pressure on your boss to help you.

What advice would you give to your 22-year-old self?

Have fun. I think this is really important, young people learning should not be too tied up in serious conversations, find out what you enjoy. Also, try something new. The world now demands innovation in all functions. So,  as a better person than me said “to predict the future – invent it!”


  • Coffee or tea? Coffee
  • Jam or marmalade? Neither
  • The Beatles or The Rolling Stones? The Beatles
  • Mac or PC? PC (Although Apple iMessage means my son gets my texts!!)
  • The Guardian or The Times? The Times
  • BBC or ITV? ITV
  • M&S or Waitrose? M&S
  • Morning or night? Night
  • Rain on snow? Snow
  • Sweet or savoury? Savoury


  • App: Sky+ – you can record any programme wherever you are
  • TV show: Fresh Meat – hilarious!
  • Band: Oasis
  • Song: The Farm – All Together Now
  • Book: Christopher Brookmyre – Quite Ugly One Morning
  • Sports team: Partick Thistle
  • Thing to do on a Friday night: gym, G&T, food, family, wine
  • Place to eat: La Famiglia, Kings Road
  • Holiday spot: Riva del Garda, Lake Garda
  • Piece of advice you’ve been given: Put things in perspective. Talent acquisition is not life and death!