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Market Leaders Pick Their Market Leader: Who's just the job in recruitment?

Richard Martin

Chief Executive

Adecco Alfred Marks

THE RECRUITMENT industry is all about building relationships with people in a strong sales environment. We aim to enable clients to get through their employment peaks and troughs and we help our customers - the people who contact us in search of employment, be it temporary or permanent - to build a career through the placements we offer them. More people are seeing recruitment agencies as a route to developing a long-term career. The size of our industry and its contribution to the overall economic activity of the country are under- estimated. We are working hard to make people realise what an important part we play and include us in legislative decisions. Another thing we are aiming for is to grow as a company within an industry which is rapidly expanding but to retain the personal service we are proud of. As for people I admire, Aled Morris of Office Angels has very high business standards and is a good model in terms of his relationships with clients and temps.

Charles Walker

Communications Director

Blue Arrow

THE EMPLOYMENT industry is becoming more professional and more service- orientated. It is growing up. To shine in the industry you need to be able to demonstrate the ability to innovate and prioritise well. Ultimately, this is a people business and people respond well to enthusiasm and motivation. Traditionally, people came to work in recruitment from recruitment. Now people want to recruit people from specialisations, because that will help us to get the right fit every time. That's how you get ahead. The people I admire are those who are our stiff competition - high street agencies such as Reed and Adecco Alfred Marks. We are all competing in many of the same market places and to lead the market we have to strive to have the most attractive packet.

Christine Little

Chief Executive

Federation of Recruitment

and Employment Services

ONE OF the more dramatic changes in the industry over the years has been its move from dealing primarily in secretarial and clerical placements to specialising in all manner of niche markets. It has also become far more sophisticated in marketing techniques, client-relation building and the technology. We have to make sure we keep ahead of all these developments. Lots of people have the idea that recruitment consultants have a nice time sitting behind their desks talking about other people's careers. In fact, it is very much a sales- and marketing-orientated job. There are many people I admire, particularly in those organisations which have set up training schemes to add value for their clients. One company which has done this particularly effectively is Mayday in London which has set up the schemes and is busy helping low-skilled people and long-term unemployed back to work. I admire those companies which are trying to put something back into the market and industry.

Fintan O' Toole

Managing Director

Securicor Recruitment services

I ENJOY the mix and variety this young and dynamic industry throws up every day. It is developing so rapidly, in part because the demography of the workforce is changing - people are looking for more flexible working patterns. To excel you probably need to be resilient more than anything. A sense of humour also helps and you should also be determined to deliver quality service and lead by example. Christine Little is the very impressive chief executive of the Federation of Recruitment and Employment Services (FRES) who is helping us all to speak with a united voice in this time of impending legislative change. I'm a new boy in the industry so it's not easy to pick anyone in particular out but Charles Walker from Blue Arrow is an impressive character. He has a clear view of the issues facing the industry and doesn't shy from speaking his mind.

Grahame Caswell

Managing Director

Kelly Services

CONSOLIDATION IS the key word in the recruitment industry. We are one of the larger corporate account suppliers and so consolidation suits us. The customers are getting more sophisticated and buy more cleverly from us because they know where we should be able to reduce costs. This may make life more difficult for us but it does mean our organisation becomes more efficient. It is a cut- and-thrust business, so people who are confident, commercial, determined and who want to win tend to get ahead. I respect people and companies who have been in the business some time and who have built their business organically - Reed for example.

Sue Smith

Chief Executive

Institute of Employment


THIS INDUSTRY has experienced massive growth. This has brought with it increased professionalism and an overall raising of standards. Another change has been in specialisation. Increasingly, large companies are creating specialist divisions and small companies crop up to cover niche divisions such as education. What clients are beginning to recognise is that they need to leave selection - specialist and general - to professionals. It is expensive and time-consuming for companies to do their own recruiting and we understand the clients' needs and their language so we can respond effectively and rapidly. It works to the candidate's advantage too, because they know they have more chance of getting the job they want if they go to an agency.

To succeed in recruitment, you need good interpersonal skills and a sound knowledge of your sector and the law. I'm impressed by companies using progressive and innovative methods such as Adecco Alfred Marks which used research to find out what its clients and what its candidates want. I'm also impressed by Eden Brown which does a great deal in the public sector - it is busy forming partnerships with industry bodies. Greater co-operation and collaboration will work for everyone's benefit.

James Reed

Chief Executive

Reed Executive

THE CUSTOMER is becoming more demanding and it is our job to meet those demands as best we can, to retain our place in a very competitive market. That is what interests me and that's what I enjoy, competition. The recruitment market in the UK is the world's second-largest and it's highly fragmented, unlike France with only a few agencies. All the agencies in Britain are competing for the same people and we are trying to be the leader of all these agencies. This makes for stimulating days. The competitors I would be wary of are those spotty youths in a garage who are thinking of new ways of doing things - the Bill Gateses and Steve Jobs of the recruitment world. But the Select group, led by Tony Martin, was one of the outstanding success stories of the Nineties.