A global industry, recruitment industry sales in 2015 grew 9.6% and topped £350 billion. There are 260,000 recruitment agencies, employing 1.7 million people last year, in almost every country in the world.
The biggest firms in the world are the agencies Adecco, Randstad and Manpower, but the highest growth comes from the specialist sectors in “Search & Selection”, placing 17.7 million people. As the OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurria said “Skills have become the global currency of the 21st Century”. Brightwater places skilled people.
Brightwater is an incredible company, and it is different from any other in Northern Ireland. Our philosophy starts with “we are a Recruitment Consultancy, not an Agency”. Our goal is to be business partners with our Candidates and Clients (our customers) and to do things the right way. Our stated aim is The Best in Ireland. That doesn’t necessarily mean the biggest, the richest, or the loudest, what it means is doing things the right way every time. That is hard to accomplish, but there are over 90 people in Brightwater and almost 20 have been with the company over a decade. They are incredible people who thrive, and are themselves dedicated to the pursuit of excellence.
We understand that the above is a firm and clear way to explain about Brightwater, but if the above sounds tough and unrelenting, the truth is that Brightwater people are the nicest, most caring, fun, loyal, adventurous, proud and well-meaning people you could ever meet. I think the truth of the matter is that we can only be totally relaxed and happy when we are achieving excellence.
Set-up in a small office in Dublin in 1998, the company were clear and firm in our objectives. We were specialists, and we would only take on assignments we could complete. Part Qualified and Qualified Accountants appreciated our excellence and in 2002 we expanded into Banking, then Legal… Engineering, IT, Sales, Office and the rest followed, but always with the same philosophy. We opened offices in Belfast and Cork. Sales, respect and opportunity flowed and in 2008 we were looking to buy a big group in Australia until July 2008, when it was announced that Ireland was officially in recession.
By the end of 2009, 2/3rds of the recruit industry in Ireland was gone. Fortunately many have arisen again, but Brightwater withstood the downturn. Sales dropped from €20m to €5m, we closed our office in Cork and we consolidated from 100 staff to 40. At the same time Brightwater became a voice for the remaining industry. The company were asked to speak at many events, meet the Troika, were frequently interviewed on radio and TV, including a weekly slot on TV3 Breakfast to discuss the Jobs Market. The company were also asked to interview the candidates at Semi-final stage of Irish TV’s The Apprentice for 3 years in a row.
Sales have grown every year since 2010. Sales in 2016 will exceed €15m and we are looking to reach €17m in 2017. We have reopened in Cork and we now have 90 staff, growing and optimistic. The market is not the same as 2007 and nor are Brightwater. Many people have described the Celtic Tiger years as crazy, and there is much to be said for that. While growth and margins have been less frenetic, it feels far more sustainable.
The Board of Directors and the Operations team decide the direction of the company and we are all committed to the same goals. The long-term pursuit of excellence, and the continued growth of Brightwater nationally, then internationally. The company has been profitable every year bar 2009 and the balance sheet is very strong. We are here for the long-term.
The key to the future is having core strength, humility and adaptability. Charles Darwin said: It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change. We aim to maintain and continue to grow an outstanding operation in Ireland so that in 2018, we will have everything in place to bring our brand of excellence to a major new market.
“We will consistently and conscientiously strive to make our customers the focus of our attention, to understand their needs, to meet their expectations and to provide them with full value through professional, personal service”.David Bloch, MD.