Established in Scotland in 1987, Orion Group has achieved consistent growth over the ensuing 31 years and is now an international leader in the provision of personnel to a number of industry sectors.

Today, Orion Group manages the placement of thousands of contractors and permanent personnel every year via their worldwide network of offices throughout Europe, the Americas, the Middle East, Asia Pacific and Africa.

Orion provide specialist recruitment services across a range of sectors including Life Sciences, New Energies, Oil and Gas, Construction & Infrastructure, Mining, Nuclear, Power & Utilities, Marine, Rail, IT, Finance and Office.

Orion has the market intelligence and the experience necessary to take a holistic approach to project delivery – managing manpower provision from start to finish.

Here, in a Q&A, Orion explain their scope of ambition for the future and how they are tackling the current coronavirus crisis.


  • Q: Orion's origins are in the oil and gas industry and this remains important to the company, but what other sectors do you now work with and are any of them becoming increasingly important?

Our origins in the oil and gas sector goes back to 1987, when fabrication work for oil rigs was in full swing and contract workers were discovered as an economic and convenient solution to the temporary opportunities that existed with the main oil and gas companies.

The same model for contractors exists in many other industries like Life Sciences and Renewable energies. Life Sciences is a particular growth industry and we have ramped up the size of our Life Sciences team in Cork to deal with the demand in Ireland and also opened a new office in Chicago.

The east coast of America is showing signs of being a highly developed hub for Life Sciences. While we are still very much a major player in Energy, we are seeing other sectors take on more prominence.


Q: Orion began life by providing engineering expertise, but obviously the services you provide and the needs of your clients have diversified since then. What services would the public be most surprised to learn you provide?

We now offer a range of jobs at all skill levels and across many sectors and industries now. We employ everyone from trade solutions through to senior executives, both on a contingency basis and also permanent hires. Engineering and oil and gas industry provided a ‘blueprint’ for contracting that exists today in many other industries.

In addition to recruitment, Orion Group are then often asked if we can provide things like Managed Service Contracts, whereby we become the ‘go to’ for all our client’s employees for a single source supply relationship. We also have a number of supplementary services that we provide for those contractors once they are employed, this involves things like global mobility support, arranging flights and in country pick-ups, payroll and services like drug and alcohol testing.

So, the ‘front end’ recruitment piece is rarely the end of the story. Perhaps our greatest example of how we have diversified is shown by the fact that we also supply commissioning software, which works out the complex manpower requirements for whole build projects.


Q: You also work with some of industry's biggest and best-known names. Are you able to give some examples and say what you do for them?


We have worked for all of the top 6 oil companies in the World (Shell, BP, Total etc) and have 30 plus years of successful business relationships with them. As well as managed service programs, where we are effectively the recruitment arm for an oil company working on a particular project, we can also put in place statement of works contracts whereby we are employing whole teams working on a particular project.

By providing our additional support services for contractors, this allows our clients to concentrate on their core businesses.

The fact that the UK oil and gas industry is viewed as perhaps the most mature and safety conscious, we find this drives a need for highly skilled UK workers who developed their skillset in the ‘UK Continental Shelf’ market and can now apply that expertise overseas on the latest discoveries around the world.


  • Q: Unlike many other recruitment specialists, Orion makes a point of continuing its relationship with clients after a post has been filled. How do you work with clients to ensure that you find the right person for the right job and someone who will also show a long-term commitment to the client?

On the contractor side we are used to maintaining a relationship with both the client and candidate as we move from recruitment through to onboarding, then inductions etc. This means we already had a long term view when we started getting into the ‘permanent’ side of recruitment. This goes against the traditional transactional world of permanent recruitment, whereby a series of recruitment companies are all chasing to fill a role in the quickest time, fill the seat, do the deal and move on.

Our OPRO (change management) and ‘PartnerPlus’ (technical permanent hire) offers to the market underline the collaborative aspects of working with clients on an ongoing basis.  This takes building a close and honest relationship with the client as we understand the particular company culture and get a real feel for the type of individual, they are looking to hire.


  • Q: Orion has more than 30 years of experience in recruitment services. How has technology changed the way you work and offer a service to your clients, and what future developments do you see in both your clients' needs and how you service them?

Recruitment has certainly moved more online and becoming ever more sophisticated in terms of targeting candidates and clients. Our local and central admin teams place a high emphasis on maintaining a close dialogue with the candidates and our local teams work on building these relationships through various channels of communication.

There is also a lot of competition now as the barriers to entry into the sector are fairly low. We find there is no substitute for having people on the ground and our global presence has always been useful. To be close to where our clients have their offices has always served us well as we find there is no substitute for being able to sit down and meet with clients directly. Recruitment has always been very ‘regional’. The market in Glasgow is different from the markets in Manchester and London, so there is no real way technology gets around that fact.


  • Q: How is Orion responding to the coronavirus challenge?

Like all companies we have had to change and adapt to meet the needs of the situation. The spread of COVID-19 or Coronavirus, is an exceptional event that has become a public and workplace priority. With advice from our specialist medical, safety, security, immigration and travel suppliers, Orion Group has been responding to this global challenge across our operational footprint and continue to monitor the situation closely.

Our priority remains the wellbeing of all our employees, contractors, clients and other business contacts, as well as continuing to deliver our services.

Orion’s established flexible working policies enable our employees to work remotely and support our key goal of protecting our workforce while minimising the risk to staff and business continuity., Orion are one of the few manpower providers that is British Standard for Business Continuity Management (ISO 22301) accredited, hence we were able to react quickly.

We have also taken all necessary steps to ensure services shall continue uninterrupted. Our contingency planning, adoption of best practice, flexible organisational structure and agility in response means that we can always ensure business continuity. All our staff have the technology to work remotely and continue to be contactable via telephone and email. All staff also have Skype for Business which will enable them to attend virtual meetings as required.  We are maintaining ‘skeleton staff’ arrangements at our Inverness HQ and have implemented a zonal system to ensure work colleagues stay apart and use separate facilities.