A failed management buyout, recruitment issues and a pandemic – hardly an ideal start for any entrepreneur.
But despite a ‘hell of a journey’ over the first three years of trading, Gareth Allen’s recruitment business is now turning over millions, is on track for a Transatlantic expansion and has a new UK headquarters at the North East Business and Innovation Centre (BIC).
Gareth set up Superior Recruitment Group in Washington in 2018 after a management buyout at a former company fell through at the eleventh hour.
He said: “At the time, the failure of the buyout felt like the end of the world. But then I thought about it and asked myself what was stopping me from starting my own company from scratch instead. It’s been a hell of a journey so far but one that certainly keeps life interesting and I’m pleased I took the leap.
“We had recruitment problems of our own in year one and then Covid hit in year two. But we stuck to our refreshingly honest approach with clients and were rewarded with several large contract wins in the first quarter of 2020, meaning we finished our financial year in a much stronger position.
“We’re really proud to have helped people into jobs in 12 countries around the globe and now we are preparing to open our first offices in Texas and Florida in the US.”
Superior Recruitment specialises in placing candidates in core sectors including oil, gas, engineering, commercial and executive, and aims to become one of the leading renewable energy recruitment businesses in the UK.
Gareth said the business turned a corner after relocating to the BIC at the end of 2020 and moving into a self-contained, mezzanine office with space to provide Covid-secure working to the team.
He said: “It really felt like a fresh start for us. It was like drawing a line under the tough stuff we’d gone through and the beginning of a positive new chapter. It immediately felt like home and we could see the possibilities stretching out ahead.
“We were amazed by the options available when we took a tour of the site and we fell in love with our unit as soon as we saw it. We’ve been able to configure and customise it just how we want it – as a hybrid model that can accommodate the whole team, with a boardroom upstairs.”
Superior Recruitment aims to open up to five US offices over the next five years while further UK recruitment also takes place. And Gareth believes the BIC’s convenient location and services will help attract new talent to the Sunderland base.
He said: “It’s notoriously difficult to find good recruitment specialists so our new office will help us to stand out. Employees are looking for ways to strike a good work/life balance and the BIC is positioned beautifully for riverside walks and shops at lunchtime and handy facilities like postal services and a café make life easy. We’re really looking forward to a future of growth at the BIC.”
The BIC’s Centre Manager Donna Surtees said: “Superior Recruitment is a perfect example of a new tenant that has joined us during Covid-19 as a way of future-proofing their business. Gareth has ambitious plans for growth and knows he can simply move around the site as his business needs change without any hassle and with our team’s support behind him. Offices are ready for businesses to just plug in and go.
“We know times are especially challenging for companies right now and we are committed to doing all we can to make life as easy as possible for business to flourish.”