What is SHL?

Saville and Holdsworth Limited (SHL) is an international company that designs personality, behavioural and ability tests.

It is one of the largest such providers globally, with products available in 30 different languages, accessible in more than 150 countries. 

These assessments help organisations identify employees with potential and develop them into leaders. SHL works with all major industry sectors and offers assessments for all job levels and categories. These include sales, IT, admin and leadership.

In addition, the company offers consultancy and management services via its TalentCentral platform.

SHL was acquired by CEB Inc. in 2012 (which is now a subsidiary of Gartner, Inc., a global research and advisory firm listed on the New York Stock Exchange).

SHL’s History

SHL was founded in 1977 by the psychologists Peter Saville and Roger Holdsworth.

Personality questionnaires were first used in the Second World War, to recruit personnel into the armed forces. SHL was the first company to develop tests for other organisations.

SHL was listed on the London Stock Exchange in 1977 but after a faltering share price performance, the founders were ousted from their positions. This move came after a boardroom war between the directors and CEO of the company.

In 1984, SHL's Occupational Personality Questionnaire was launched. This is now considered one of the most accurate psychometric assessments.

Who Are SHL’s Key Customers?

About 80% of the FTSE 100 companies and half of the Fortune Global 500 companies use SHL tests to find and develop talent.

Its customers include Microsoft, Heineken, Wills Group, County of Riverside, Financial Services Compensation Scheme, The Adecco Group and Sonic Automotive.

How is SHL Different from its Competitors?

  • It has a team of leading industry experts. The tests at SHL are developed by experienced I/O psychologists and scientists. They use more than 45 billion data points and advanced assessment science to create their products. Through analysing over 9,000 successful leaders, as well as collecting real workplace data, they have identified key traits that lead to success.

  • It uses scientifically proven methods. Instead of relying on intuition, the developers test their products scientifically.

  • It is over 40 years old. SHL has been developing, testing and improving its questionnaires continually over a far longer period than its competitors.

  • Its products are bespoke. SHL works directly with employers to create programmes that help them in specific areas of training and recruitment.

  • It has developed advanced software and technology. SHL’s technology integrates with clients' existing platforms. This reduces set-up costs and provides a better candidate experience.

Further Reading

You may be interested in these other articles on WikiJob:

SHL Tests: A Guide

The SHL OPQ Assessment

What Are Psychometric Tests?