EXCLUSIVE – Expansion plans for Aberdeen recruitment agency following takeover

Jia MacKenzie, GEG Capital director

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THE future is bright for Aberdeen recruitment firm Cammach Bryant following its takeover from GEG Capital.

Director Jia MacKenzie has revealed plans to add new division to the business, hire more staff and move to a new office location next year.

The acquisition of Cammach Bryant, which has an annual turnover of £14 million, was completed earlier this month following conversations between Jia and its current managing director Susan Atkinson.

GEG Capital is based at GEG’s Henderson Road headquarters in Inverness and already owns two recruitment agencies, Global Highland and Be Personnel.

Jia said: “Through numerous conversations relating to our strategy for growth, we decided that we should have a branch in Aberdeen. We were in talks with Susan and we really felt the cultures both at Cammach and Global were aligned.

“There were definite and clear similarities between the current recruitment businesses, and also further opportunities that Cammach could bring to the group and also things that the group could bring to Cammach.  As conversations evolved it became really clear it would be an excellent partnership to get going with.

“Cammach Bryant is at the moment very oil and gas service related and they deliver an excellent service to both clients and candidates alike.

“With us having a relationship with the Global Energy Group, we can see some direct links into the Energy market, but also with the industries that we service in Global Highland and Be Personnel, we can add that supply into Cammach Bryant from an Aberdeen base as well.”

All 14 members of staff, including Susan, will stay with the Chattan Place based business.

Jia is very much aware of Cammach’s strength in the oil and gas sector and is keen to build on that.

She said: “We want to add another division to service construction, civil engineering and the onshore sectors separate to oil and gas and renewables.

“With that in mind, we are looking to bolster our recruitment team in Cammach Bryant that can deliver that service for us and we are also looking for a new office location within the city due to the additional service and expansion within the business.

“Cammach is really busy in the oil and gas sector therefore we do need to recruit experienced personnel who can bring in knowledge and experience in order to ensure we can hit the ground running in Aberdeen.  I feel confident we can achieve this as part of our business objectives.

“The Cammach Bryant brand is strong and we don’t want to change that.

“We are excited to see how things develop moving forward.”

One area they are keen to build on is renewables and Jia is keen to “get ahead of the game” when it comes to helping develop new skillsets.

She said: “Susan is very well connected in the oil and gas market and Cammach are really good at what they do.

“We have a division in GH which services the internal oil and gas request through Global Energy Group, therefore we felt we were very similar in those areas but also with the transition to renewables it would be really good to have Cammach on board with Susan’s knowledge.

“Susan will be vital in moving the business forward so that we can keep the oil and gas brand strong within Cammach but evolve together for renewables.

“The market is transitioning and we want to be ahead of the game. As we continue to transition into sustainable energy markets it is the development of skills that is fundamental to the future of our business.

“With regards upskilling, we need to line up with schools and universities.

“We know there’s going to be a gap.  You’ve got all these people in oil and gas at the moment that are going to need upskilling or re-skilling for renewables and other sectors. And we also need to attract people into these industries from a standing start.  As a group, we have got a big focus on that at the moment.”

Jia started her career in recruitment back in 2007 as a trainee with the Orion Group, based in Inverness, before going on to join Global and work her way up through the ranks before becoming managing director of both Global Highland and Be Personnel in 2018 and in 2019 became board director of GEG Capital.

Jia, who is in charge of 40 staff across the three companies, is proud of the career progression she’s made in a largely male dominated industry.

She said: “One of the challenges has been fighting my way to the top as a female being in a mostly male environment.

“But my passion and desire to get there has outweighed that. It’s just great to get round a table with other directors, whether they are male or female, and have a voice.

“When I started my career in recruitment did I see it coming? Absolutely not because it was very much male dominated.

“But I definitely see that things are changing now and if you’ve got the passion for it then anybody can get there.”

Speaking about the impact of Covid-19 on the group of businesses – it’s been a better year than forecast.

Jia said: “Our year has been a good one. When COVID first hit us along with the drop in oil price and construction sites closing, we thought it would be a very difficult year for the group of businesses.

“But we have actually grown, probably 30% more than what we had budgeted, and I think that is because people have been furloughed or made redundant and employers have had to get certain projects completed so they draft in temporary people to do that.

“The market is recovering.  Companies have been operating very lean latterly and with projects put on hold that are now starting the demand for personnel is increasing.

“During the downturn we met with a number of candidates that were well placed to assist with contract and permanent recruitment needs.

“Things are moving but I think they’ll be a level of cautiousness and we are just trying to predict what that might be and work with it in the most efficient way that we can.

“The industry that we have seen come to us most is hospitality. They have been hit really hard so we’ve tried to offer them to come to us so we can place them into positions leading up to the Christmas break.

“I don’t know how some people will be able to recover from it.

“It’s heart breaking seeing what some people are going through and how they can get out of it at the end of this, whenever that may be and the recruitment businesses have pledged to help both candidates and clients as much as we can.

“From community initiatives, to coaching programmes offered to people looking for employment.”

 

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