Specialist recruitment agency Staffing Match has pushed forward, despite working in some challenging Covid-impacted sectors.
Working across the aviation, industrial and driving sectors means Staffing Match has seen its share of challenges in recent months. But before the pandemic struck, the firm was on a fast-track to exponential growth. In fact, since its inception in 2013, the company has gone from strength-to-strength and now boasts 24 offices in the UK. As Covid restrictions begin to ease the business is certainly getting back on track.
Salman Iftekhar and Michael Gadsby, two of the company’s directors and its initial founders explain their journey: “Salman and I both had prior recruitment experience in other businesses, but we reached a point where we wanted to be able to do things our own way and be more responsible for our own success without any limitations,” explains Michael. “We were told a few times that if we want to change things and run desks our way, then we should start our own business – so we did.”
While both founders have a prior recruitment background, Salman began his career in the industry at an early age. “I started out in recruitment as soon as I could, landing my first job in the profession when I was 17,” he says. “From day one I’ve focused on working my way to the top and I got there on my own merit, driven purely by my motivation and attitude, rather than my education or previous experience.
“Much of myself and Michael’s experiences in our own careers have become part of the Staffing Match culture. We don’t focus on developing a particular USP, instead we centre our attention on delivering results – whatever they may be. As a business our attitude is very much about adding value as a business partner and simply ‘getting stuff done’ for our clients.”
“With the specialisms we support, we have to ensure that we adhere to all industry regulations and laws throughout our business therefore giving our customers confidence and peace of mind. But we also empower our staff to be passionate about what they do. We don’t like to have the traditional client and supplier relationship. If there’s additional support we can provide, we’ll do it.”
Introducing training to the remit
This attitude has driven the evolution of the business and while in 2018 the firm had already grown exponentially, there was one particular gap in the market that needed to be filled – training. “We found that from discussions with our clients there wasn’t just a need for recruitment solutions – training new staff was also a challenge that they often simply didn’t have the capacity to manage in-house. While there are elements of training for some roles that needs to be outsourced, we have the connections and knowledge across our divisions to be able to provide an additional service that benefits everyone – including the candidates themselves,” explains Michael.
“As a result, we set up a dedicated training arm of Staffing Match, supporting our clients and candidates with everything from apprenticeships to niche upskilling needs such as food manufacturing management and MHE training in busy distribution centres. The key to our success isn’t to say we can’t solve a problem our clients and candidates have, but rather look at how we can develop a solution.”
Facing the challenges
Running a staffing company is certainly no easy task at the best of times and the last few months have been unusually tough for the Staffing Match team. As Salman explains: “The global pandemic hit everyone hard, but for Staffing Match we faced a significant challenge. The aviation sector is a huge revenue stream for us and facing an overnight shutdown was without doubt a concern.
“On top of that, we were already facing an issue with Brexit set to impact our candidate pools. But while jobs were down, they weren’t completely out. Our driving division, for example, saw a real uptick in demand through the last 12 months and we re-focused our attention on these areas as a result.”
However, this did lead to a step-change for the business, as Michael highlights. “While in aviation we faced a sudden wealth of candidates and reduction in jobs, our other divisions faced quite the opposite dilemma. In some instances last year, we saw an increase in numbers of driving and industrial jobs, but the number of applicants didn’t grow at a similar rate – despite national and local concerns that unemployment levels were set to increase.”
Staffing Match did however utilise its extensive candidate base to deliver recruitment solutions for its clients beyond the usual industry streams: “While there is an imbalance between the availability of and demand for driving and industrial workers, with other people working in sectors including aviation being displaced as a result of the pandemic, we had access to additional resources that could be transferred across where job requirements allowed.”
Salman adds: “While as a business we were able to adapt to ensure our clients had un-interrupted access to the workers they needed, it was definitely disappointing to see how difficult it was to encourage people from beyond certain industries into a new career path. The pandemic has really shown just how valuable our key workers are – including those that keep the supply chain moving such as our drivers and warehouse staff. It may have taken a global outbreak to really highlight it, but the stability of these sectors even in tough times makes them highly attractive in our view – that’s why we work across these specialisms!”
What lies ahead
While uncertainty remains a hot topic for the sectors Staffing Match operates in, the future is looking promising for the business, with the aviation division noting an increase in demand ahead of the potential re-opening of travel which, at the time of writing, was still set for 17th May. “We’ve already started to see demand across aviation increase which is certainly encouraging. But as a business overall, things are certainly looking promising.” Michael explains.
“We’re slowly getting people back into the office again and it’s been great to get the teams back together in person where it’s safe to do so. Since we set up the business we have taken the approach of putting our people at the forefront of our services. We pride ourselves on offering ‘service with a smile’ – but to do that we need to ensure our own staff are happy. We’ve taken every step we can to put our staff first during the pandemic, but we’re all certainly looking forward to being able to get together again in person!”
Salman adds, “We’ve also recently invested in a brand-new head office in Watford – taking over the historical Frogmore House – a Grade II listed that is over 300 years old that legend has it comes with its own ghost! Looking to the future, we’re continuing to grow as a business and we’re always on the look out for more people with the enthusiasm and passion to take their career further. Whatever the future holds for us, after the year we’ve had, we feel ready to tackle it head on!”