Grafton Banks’ Director Nigel Jeyes on his formula for success in the South East
PUBLISHED: 15:15 04 March 2016 | UPDATED: 15:15 04 March 2016
Following his move from London to the South East, director of Grafton Banks Finance Recruitment Nigel Jeyes has not only survived but thrived since 2008. Here he discusses the South East, the UK economy and his formula for success.
After more than 26 years in finance recruitment, predominantly along the South coast, why do you think the Hampshire, Surrey and Sussex markets are so successful?
The South East is very attractive to businesses because of its close ties to London and comparatively cheap office space. The area has excellent transport links and contains numerous wealthy areas along the commuter belt.
It is a nice place to live and work, with places like Brighton providing a thriving SME sector, an entrepreneurial hub, and advanced business clusters.
We hear a lot of mixed messages on the UK economy. How do you gauge economic health from your role in the financial industry?
The financial recruitment industry is a great bellwether for the UK economy: if we are busy it is a good sign of a healthy economy. Though there remains a good deal of doom and gloom in the press, the strong demand for finance professionals that we are currently experiencing, tells a different story. Furthermore, good candidates are getting snapped up quickly by businesses, which points to a very positive market.
According to ONS data analysis, accountancy is one of the most recession-proof sector professions. Do you agree with this statement?
In my experience, accountancy is not completely recession proof but it is one of the most stable professions simply because all businesses need accountants. We set up Grafton Banks at the start of the recession in 2008 when many senior finance professionals experienced unemployment for the first time. However, as the years have passed, accountancy roles and their responsibilities have shifted: they are now expected to be more strategic, vocal and influential to steer a business forward.
The idea that in-house recruitment is simple can be a misconception. What benefits does Grafton Banks provide that businesses may struggle with in-house?
Firstly, we don’t charge a fee unless we are successful in placing somebody. When we do, it is a one-off payment which is more cost effective than hiring a salaried team. We have built up a database of financial professionals seeking work so we can respond very quickly and efficiently when we receive enquiries. We have met all of these candidates and are aware of their motivations so we recognise their skills and culture fit. Companies often find themselves swamped with applicants. We shorten this process and make sure every candidate is dealt with appropriately.
What is your formula for startup success in the South East?
Research your market as thoroughly as possible. Consider the challenges you might face and be ready to tackle them. Focus on professionalism and exemplary customer service. Hire staff carefully and aim to provide an appealing working environment for your workforce.