Buoyant Glotel tempted to float

In an industry plagued by high staff turnover, recruitment consultancy Glotel stands out as something of a beacon. As many as 16 of the first 20 employees taken on by the company - now approaching its eighth anniversary - are still there.

And it is this ability to retain its best people that chief executive Andy Baker believes is a key factor behind the success of an operation that has grown from sales of just over pounds 2m in its first year to nearly pounds 50m last year. At the same time the workforce has grown from just himself and business partner Les Clark to about 200 internal employees and 1,200 external consultants - good enough to put it in tenth place in the latest Independent on Sunday/Price Waterhouse list of fastest-growing companies.

Glotel specialises in recruiting people in the information technology field, but has lately moved into the market for temporary accountants and accounting software consultancy.

Though the company has done well out of serving these niches from its base in London's Wardour Street, Mr Baker and Mr Clark soon realised that the British market offered only limited opportunities. Pointing out that there are about 3,000 competitors in the UK, with the biggest enjoying a market share of only about 3 per cent, he says that the organisation has sought to differentiate itself by growing organically overseas rather than by the more usual route of buying foreign operations.

The first foray out of Britain came in 1992, when Glotel set up an operation in Amsterdam that went so well that it soon found itself operating across the continent. Buoyed up by this, the company set off for the US. Conscious that the competition there was, if anything, more intense than that in Britain, it dipped its toe in the water with a small office in Atlanta - chosen because it was a hub for IT and was one of the US's fastest-growing cities.

Since then, it has become fully immersed in the US, with 10 offices there contributing about 45 per cent of the group's overall turnover. It is now moving in to what it regards as the exciting Asia-Pacific region, starting with Sydney and Singapore. Further expansion of an operation that now stretches across 23 offices in four continents can be expected.

The two founders still own the company 50:50, but are now considering flotation as the means of fuelling further growth and expansion into a billion-pound organisation. Hitherto, development has been funded by confidential invoice discounting, a financing system that effectively enables a company to pay its bills out of future income.

The method, long popular in the US, used to be regarded as something of a last resort but has become increasingly widespread. With the company's army of consultants having to be paid immediately, it offered the only way for the organisation to expand without building up a huge debt, says Mr Baker. "It's exciting, but it's a tough market. When things are good you've got to work even harder. The more markets you're in the more recession-proof you are," he says.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Sport
Ojo Onaolapo celebrates winning the bronze medal
commonwealth games
Arts and Entertainment
Rock band Led Zeppelin in the early 1970s
musicLed Zeppelin to release alternative Stairway To Heaven after 43 years
News
i100
News
Prince Harry is clearing enjoying the Commonwealth Games judging by this photo
people(a real one this time)
Extras
indybest
News
Richard Norris in GQ
mediaGQ features photo shoot with man who underwent full face transplant
Sport
Lionel Messi looks on at the end of the final
football
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
Gardai wait for the naked man, who had gone for a skinny dip in Belfast Lough
newsTwo skinny dippers threatened with inclusion on sex offenders’ register as naturists criminalised
News
Your picture is everything in the shallow world of online dating
i100
News
The Swiss Re tower or 'Gherkin' was at one time the UK’s most expensive office when German bank IVG and private equity firm Evans Randall bought it
news
Life and Style
Attractive women on the Internet: not a myth
techOkCupid boasts about Facebook-style experiments on users
Sport
Van Gaal said that his challenge in taking over Bobby Robson's Barcelona team in 1993 has been easier than the task of resurrecting the current United side
football
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Graduate / Trainee Recruitment Consultant - IT

£25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: Orgtel are seeking Graduate Trainee Re...

HR Business Partner - Banking Finance - Brentwood - £45K

£45000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: ** HR Business Partner - Senior H...

PA / Team Secretary - Wimbledon

£28000 - £32000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: PA / Team Secretary - Mat...

HR Business Partner (Maternity Cover 12 Months)

£30000 - £34000 Per Annum 25 days holiday, Private healthcare: Clearwater Peop...

Day In a Page

The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them altogether

Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them

Jonathon Porritt sounds the alarm
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on