I was thrilled to be joined on the A Better HR Business show by Professor Peter Saville of SHL, Saville Assessment, and 10x Psychology so we could discuss his life and many business successes.

A sad note: Peter Saville passed away in January 2022.

You can enjoy this interview in video and audio formats.

Peter Saville is arguably the best known, most successful, and highly acclaimed Psychologist within the Business Psychology Profession.

“As a skilled psychometrician and visionary leader, Peter Saville has made a significant impact on professional psychology in the UK and beyond. The widespread use of his tests by major companies and public bodies is testament to his remarkable ideas.”

The British Psychological Society

With a usage of some 50 million of his measures of ability, personality, motivation and talent annually, Peter has been described as “One of the most influential Psychologists of our time”.

Peter founded SHL in 1977 where he developed the Occupational Personality Questionnaire (OPQ) and the first commercial Big 5 Personality measure.


Peter floated SHL on the main London stock exchange in 1997 for £240 million.

In 1999 Peter was cited as the only Occupational Psychologist in the list of Britain’s Top Ten Psychologists.

In 2001 Peter’s portrait hung in the National Portrait Gallery, London, after being presented with the British Psychology Society Centenary Award for Distinguished Contributions to Professional Psychology.

Peter went on to found Saville Consulting (now Saville Assessment), where he developed the Saville Wave questionnaire. The company was acquired by Willis Towers Watson in 2015 for £43 million.

Already a Fellow, in 2012 Peter received the highest BPS award, Honorary Fellowship, in recognition of his work in “Flying the flag for Britain for objective assessment” and “Creating the global gold standard for psychometric tests”.

In 2014, Peter was awarded Academic Fellowship of the CIPD, their highest honour.

Peter has written over 200 publications and spoken in over 60 countries worldwide.

Peter was Professor of Psychology at Queen’s University, Belfast and is currently Professor of Leadership Studies at Kingston University, London.

His memoirs ‘Testing Times: Psychologist at Work’ will be published in 2020.

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Topics Covered In The Discussion

I asked Peter about the following:

  1. SHL: Starting with Roger Holdsworth, product/service development, being ‘salesy’ in a field that was not supposed to be salesy, marketing & branding of what might be seen by outsiders as dull products (including, your brother and your father both helping with design).
  2. The OPQ: Overview, your innovative way to fund its development, its impact on clients and on SHL.
  3. Woodstock House > The SHL Management Centre: A big step, a big investment – why did you do it and how did you feel? (Negotiating with the Boilermakers’ Union!).
  4. Acquisition & Exit Strategies: Purchase of Landy and Jacobs in the USA. SHL Floatation: Why float as opposed to retain or sell? (Boardroom battles). Any advice to business owners planning their eventual business exit?
  5. After SHL: What led you back into the game to launch Saville Consulting (now Saville Assessment), where you developed the Saville Wave questionnaire?
  6. 10X Psychology: What is 10X Psychology and what are your plans? (Future of machine learning, tech platform).
  7. Advice: Any advice to other business owners in the broad Human Resources industry on how to grow a successful HR-related business?
  8. The Book: Testing Times – Psychologist At Work.

Ok, over to Peter (thanks Peter!) . . .

Professor Peter Saville of SHL, Saville Assessment, and 10x Psychology

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About The ‘A Better HR Business’ Podcast

I write the Get More HR Clients blog on marketing for HR consultants and marketing for HR Tech companies as a former HR professional who has moved across to the marketing side of business.

In my HR marketing podcast, I talk with different HR consultants and HR tech companies from around the world to learn about what they do and how they keep their businesses healthy and moving in the right direction.

If you have questions you want me to ask me about growing an HR consultancy or marketing for HR tech companies, just let me know or visit the HR marketing services page.

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Enjoy the show!

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