THE jobs market is changing and in world of low unemployment and an uncertain economic background “candidate is king”.

Hilary Roberts, founder of HRC Recruitment, said the type of work available in future is expected to shift further away from manufacturing towards people-based employment, for example with a greater emphasis on healthcare set alongside an ageing population.

The Glasgow-headquartered firm works under the ethos of striving to create a company to be proud of, and she says they “walk the walk in terms of trying to position ourselves as a great place to work” with agile working and career development being core to her business.

She said a low unemployment rate has reshaped the market, and the emphasis has moved from the position where the candidate was the product to a place where the candidate is central to an extended and more involved process.

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Business now need to sell their proposition to potential employees, nurture new workers and create and maintain a pool of talent, says Ms Roberts.

The uncertainty of the political backdrop has also discouraged people from moving job, with it estimated that Brexit has put significant brakes on the employment market.

The firm is moving to tackle the shortage by helping professionals resume an interrupted career called Back in Business .

The direction of the company has been honed by Ms Roberts over more than two decades, and it celebrates a quarter century next year.

She said: “I started the business in 1995 out of Glasgow. Having been in the recruitment industry for about four years up until then, I saw opportunity to do things a wee bit differently.

“Back then, it was a really transactional market and I thought, if can do things that are really based about by putting the customer at the centre of everything we do, then that will allow us to stand out from the crowd.

“So we’ve gone from having me and my secretary to having 70 staff across three branches, so that’s Glasgow, Edinburgh and Dundee and it’s been an interesting, and challenging, and fun, and sometimes very difficult journey.

“In terms of what we do, we deliver professional services and recruitment services to many leading businesses in the Scottish market. We are what I would call vertical specialists.

“So what does that mean? That means I’m really having an in depth knowledge of the verticals that we work in. So whether that’s insurance, or whether it’s legal, whether it’s customer service contact centre or whether it’s manufacturing.

“My view is that in order to offer the right kind of a service to candidates and clients, we need to have a great insight into the market and be well-networked in the market and really understand what is going on in their area of specialism.

“So that’s how I built the business. It was never about being a generalist. It was always about being specialists and having industry insight and expertise. Our teams offer a range of services from high volume recruitment campaigns to specialist assignments, which might be about putting a full leadership team in, which is one of the things we’re working on at the moment.

“We work very much in partnership with clients and candidates and it’s all about relationships and relationships are built on trust.”

The company has a broad range of clients which include in financial services and consultancy Virgin Money, Morgan Stanley and EY, and in whisky industry William Grant and Whyte & Mackay, but we also work with Glasgow University and across the legal sector including Thompsons Solicitors, Addleshaw Goddard and Burness Paull."

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Ms Roberts says: “In terms of the legal side, we will work with anybody from paralegal right up to partnership level. So we’ve got somebody focusing on exec search at partnership level and we’ve got a team of five in the legal market so we can offer everything and it’s more about expertise within the vertical.

“So again in the drinks industry, that will cover everything from packaging and bottling to actually the manufacturers of whisky.

“We would put in anybody from a chief executive to run one of those businesses right down to a CNC operator on the floor.”

The company is set to celebrate a £12 million anniversary turnover. “Our profitability is working out about 10 per cent of our net revenue, so we’ll come in about £600,000.

“The last three years, I would say we’ve had really good success rates. We’re continuing to grow our teams very well. We’re managing to attract great people from our industry and at the moment that is serving us very well in terms of being able to deliver our level of expertise to our customer base.

“The recruitment market, since I started, has changed beyond recognition.

“When I started out, it was all about the client. Everything was based around your customer was your client and your candidate was your product, whereas now, the candidate is king.

“Purely and simply it is down to unemployment rates 

which are at their lowest since 1974. As a result, we now need to be really well-networked, we need to really understand our markets.

"It's not a transactional market from a recruitment perspective anymore. It's much more about delivering a consultancy service to, at the end of the day, our customers are two- well actually, I see it as they're threefold: they're our clients, our candidates, and my team."

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"But as far as the clients are concerned, what we're finding is we're spending a lot more time delivering consultancy-type services, which allow people to really understand the fact that this is a candidate-driven market and how can they position themselves and their employee value proposition.

"How do they put themselves out there in the market to be the client of choice? Because candidates have so much a choice, that they can decide who they want to work for now.

"So one of the products that we've they launched recently is something called Build Your Brand, which is about helping businesses build their employee value proposition. It's really through marketing and positioning them as a great place to work.

"But it's also about trying to encourage people, you need to be on the front foot with this, you need to build your talent pools. You need to be out there marketing your business as a brilliant organisation because with the likes of Glassdoor and social media, where candidates can go in and actually find out lots of things about the companies that they are looking at. They really do have the pick of the workplace at the moment and I don't see that changing."

Mr Roberts said: "In terms of the impact of Brexit, one of the things that that's done is it's maybe made people a bit more reluctant to move."

She added: "Looking at the issue of immigration, that's something I'm very interested in, because I think it's not just about having the greatest and the best coming through, you need to be making sure you've got a workforce and a talent pool that has the right skills for what our needs are going forward and actually restricting access to foreign workers may well hamper our ability to fill jobs, because some of the jobs that we need done, we just don't have the skills set for here.

"Whether that's technology, or carer jobs, actually."


Q What countries have you most enjoyed travelling to, for business or leisure, and why?

A Travel for business has been mostly limited to Scotland, but my favourite places to visit for leisure are:
Italy -– for the history the food, the scenery and the people. France – for skiing, scenery, food.
Spain – as I like to do a bit of cycling - so Majorca is a given!
Q As a child, what was your ideal job?

A I wanted to be a vet and I was addicted to watching James Herriot’s All Creatures Great and Small – which now seems insane as I am really squeamish.

QWhat was your biggest break in business?

A Winning a big piece of business for Scottish Power – back when call centres were the next big thing, we were appointed their main supplier for recruitment.

Q What was your worst moment in business?

A 2008/2009 – the recession. We had a lot of emphasis at the time on the financial services market and the crash hit us really badly.

Q Who do you admire most and why?

A Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg – she just gets it. 
Her observations and advice on the challenges of being a working mum in the business world and right on the money.

Q What book are you reading, what music are you listening to? What was the last film you saw?

A Book – I love crime fiction and am currently reading two books - Unto Us A Son is Born by Donna Leon and Philip Kerr ‘s Field Gray. 
Music – I love a real mix. 
It ranges from popular stuff like Bastille and Avicii, to Country and Western or music from musicals like The Greatest Showman – anything I can sing along to!
Last film – The King – it was fabulous.