manchester made

The recruitment industry

has over 500,000 consultants working for around 7000 different recruitment organisations across the UK. We attended the Insider’s Made in Manchester Breakfast to develop a ‘under the radar’ understanding of Northwest businesses, with a particular focus to those businesses that fell within manufacturing and engineering sectors.

With so many recruitment companies in the UK it was interesting to hear Leanne Holmes, Director of Operations at CPI (Crane Payment Innovations) announce that recruitment was the biggest issue CPI faced due to location. David Brimelow, owner of Duo UK who was also present at the event voiced a similar view, which talked more around the difficulty in finding individuals with the right aptitude and talent needed to enter a rapidly growing organization. Brimelow also commented “There simply aren’t enough young people who will consider careers in engineering and manufacturing”.

From the recruiter side of the fence it was fascinating to hear business leaders talk about their recruitment issues and problems in a public environment however nothing was said about what they had done to counter these concerns. Listening to both Holmes and Brimelow present their different interpretations on recruitment in the North-West was thought-provoking and I felt from my ‘young person in the recruitment game’ perspective, I had observed things myself which if improved, could make a difference in the future.

I would firstly like to address the problems that David Brimelow identified. Growing up through primary school, high school, college and then university, I never really had any fixed idea on what I wanted to do with my career. Of course, numerous educational facilities can provide career advice but until I became a recruiter and started trawling though CV’s I had no clue of what positions were available in the manufacturing and engineering market. There are certain jobs I have come across, particularly in engineering which if I had known about in my younger, schooling years I could have perhaps chosen to pursue.  I think that many young people think of manufacturing as boxing something up at the end of the line, or welding something together in a dirty and physically demanding environment.

I personally believe that for a positive North-West engineering and manufacturing future it is important to give young people exposure to these environments and positions. By opening up these vast industries, young people could use this to determine where in engineering and manufacturing they would be best placed.

Medicine, Law, Business to name a few are not for everyone and I feel that the stereotypes drawn towards these industries takes the limelight of manufacturing and engineering which can be a progressive and lucrative industry to be a part of.

Secondly I would like to tackle Leanne Holmes’s statement. Location can be a huge factor when recruiting for our clients. The company could be fantastic and so could the salary however if the area does not hold a strong pool of candidates it can provide businesses a huge problem when looking to expand or strengthen their work forces technically. This issue provides countless opportunities for recruiters to prove themselves and stand out more than the other 7000 agencies available and can also remove large proportions of a businesses budget which could have otherwise been invested in site development, staff training, bonuses and culture improvements.  Ultimately this scenario is great for a recruiter and not so great for a business.

I operate in the executive search and selection market and have been chosen to head up this division. Perpetual Partnerships are owned by engineering and manufacturing group of businesses called The Cygnet Group. This has enabled me to understand recruitment from 2 angles: The Recruiter side, and the engineering/manufacturing business side. I speak to many clients and candidates on a day to day basis and one thing has become clear. Yes role and money are all important factors when it comes to choosing a position and a company to work for however the most important thing that overrules all of these factors is the culture of the business and what a business does for its people.

Most recently I have been recruiting a senior and technically niche position in an extremely difficult part of the UK. So far this company had done little to advertise its culture and show to people why it is a great place to work. I advised current employee testimonials go on their website, amongst other various effective culture information which enables an external candidate to get a real feel for the business ahead of interview. After significant amounts of time has passed prior to me working this position, the candidate was found, offered and accepted and to this day, business culture was the dominant reason for the employment move.

I recently asked a certain client of mine to speak at an event we are looking to host which will be discussing driving this culture implementation and change.-  My clients response was this: “ My (probably incorrect) view is if it doesn’t come from you, you shouldn’t do it at all- you’ll just end up like someone else’s business”.

I personally believe that if a business invested more budget into culture and it’s people, in the long-term it will pay dividends.  Recruitment organizations will always be necessary and through synergy, both engineering/ manufacturing businesses and recruitment organisations are both likely to be more successful. The reason I work for Perpetual is the culture of the business. I use this with all clients to then understand every aspect of their business and site before even attempting to work any of their positions.


We have a unique and intricate understanding of the technical recruitment market. We are focused on quality of service rather than on sales and KPI’s.


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