Recruiters defy pandemic to get top Scottish listing in sector ‘bible’

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A PROGRESSIVE recruitment firm has been identified as the sector’s fastest growing Scottish-based company by a highly-rated industry bible.

Core-Asset Consulting has been named as one of the Recruiter FAST 50 – an exhaustively researched annual list of the UK’s best performing recruitment companies, prepared by the international financial consultancy, Clearwater International.

The firm, led by founder Betsy Williamson, is one of only two from Scotland to make the list commissioned by Recruiter.co.uk and it is the highest placed from north of the border. The listing sees Core-Asset rated as the 26th fastest growing recruitment firm in the UK, with revenues of £14m.

Betsy said: “After an incredibly tough year it is nice to get some recognition for the team and all of the sheer hard work they put it to see us through the pandemic.

“We had to make some tough decisions during that time, the most difficult was to reduce our headcount. Painful though it was, it was necessary to protect the business during a time of profound uncertainty.

“Given the background and circumstances, we’re not exactly celebrating. But this is still a nice accolade. I’ve been using it to remind our team that, despite all of the knocks, we have come out the other end stronger.

“We’ve shown our resilience, we’ve demonstrated flexibility and totally embraced remote working and all of its challenges. Now we are totally focused on building back as positively as we can.”

Core-Asset Consulting is Scotland’s pre-eminent recruitment and headhunting agency dedicated to financial and professional services in Scotland. Formed in 2005, it works across the entire financial services sector, from the smallest boutiques to the biggest global player.

The latest FAST 50 report, published at the end of July, praises the performance of Core-Asset and the other firms which make the list by putting it into the context of a sector devastated by Covid-19.

It pointed out that the average growth rate for recruitment firms was at its lowest level in five years and added: “For the first time since March 2011, the number of UK recruitment agencies decreased.”

However, Core-Asset’s strength in depth in Scotland’s financial sector has proved a key strength, with the FAST 50 report pointing out that specialist agencies have fared comparatively well during the pandemic.

The report states: “This year’s constituents of the FAST 50 almost exclusively focused on organic growth strategies, doubling down on core sectors and selectively entering new attractive verticals. “

And it goes on: “It is incredibly encouraging to see progressive independent recruitment firms continue to report such high levels of growth despite the challenges and a real testament to the agility and entrepreneurialism of agencies who were able to rapidly pivot to a fully operational remote set-up.”

As well as being the specialist recruiter of choice for the Scottish financial sector, Core-Asset has also become renowned for its own annual salary guide report, Core-Asset Consulting’s “Industry Trends and Salary Guide”.

Now in its sixth year, it is a forensic review of industry trends across Scotland’s financial services sector. Uniquely, all of the data is entirely Scottish and the report sets expectation for those who are awarding salaries, allowing them to benchmark against competitor organisations.

The guide is also a gauge of market sentiment and activity, as well as the themes that are impacting financial services across Scotland. Major issues this year include diversity, ESG, Brexit and culture.

Betsy added: “I believe a major reason we have weathered the pandemic in reasonable shape is because we practice what we preach. Every year the team listens to thousands of candidates and they have been telling us what is really important to them.

“We’ve reported those views in our annual Salary Guide, advising those who listen that the world of work is changing. Modern employees want equality, more flexibility for working parents, better work life balance and to know that their employer has a conscience, particularly on environmental issues.

“We’ve worked hard to embrace all of those ideals at Core-Asset. I firmly believe that has helped us to attract and build such an excellent team and steered us to the relatively healthy position we find ourselves in.”

The full FAST 50 list and explanation of the methodology used to compile it can be found here – https://recruiter.co.uk/depth/2021/07/fast-50-2021-return-multi-sector.