For those who aren’t familiar with the story of Capt Lawrence Oates, he was an explorer, a gentleman, and owner of the most unassuming exit in history. During Robert Falcon Scott’s ill-fated Antarctic expedition Lawrence and a companion were trapped by a blizzard, low on provisions with certain death staring them in the face, the end looked nigh. Instead of going all ‘Donner Party’ like our trans-Atlantic cousins Lawrence in the knowledge that there were only enough provisions for one and not two made a bold move. On his 32nd birthday no less he stood up and declared his departure in a way that smacks of valour, gallantry and good old British stiff upper lip; “I am just going outside and may be some time.” With that, he was never seen again. I was first introduced to this story in primary by a headmaster who was very much of the ‘children should be seen and not heard’ school of thought but ultimately it is a story of selflessness.
Leaving the confines of the tent is a daunting prospect especially when certain death is waiting for you outside but we work in an industry where people are constantly leaving the tent and as it turns out it seems like life beyond the tent is a tundra consisting of lush greenery and all you can eat buffets. More and more people are choosing to cut ties from traditional recruitment with the aim of setting up their own agencies, and why not? If you have a strong network of candidates, good relationships with trusted clients and a history of working with integrity then it’s a bit of a no-brainer. Back in good Ol Blighty, the figures speak for themselves; Clearly PR and data obtained from Companies House under at the Freedom of Information Act show that 7,630 new agencies have registered since 1st January 2018. By the end of the year, that number should reach 10,000 which would be a record high for the industry and an obtainable figure with last year seeing the emergence of 9,001 new agencies. Paul MacKenzie-Cummins who is managing director at Clearly PR & Marketing Communications attributes this increase of entrepreneurialism to a few factors, factors which are seen in our market.
Firstly, the candidate pool. New Zealand’s population sits at around 4.8m compare that to the City of London which has a population of 8.7m. Simply put, there isn’t a lot of candidates here so the person with access to potential employees is in an extremely advantageous position. Secondly, access to off the shelf websites and cloud-based ATS and CRMs has made life so much simpler for would-be business owners. They even have the luxury of implementing a ready to go contract business with the aid of newly seen business in the local market like A Positive. Another reason to go out on your own is the obvious financial gain, taking 100% of a fee as appose to 10% or best case around 30% is enough for anyone to race over to Wix and draft out a website. In the local market, we saw a shift over to specialists with clients wanting to partner with agencies that live and breathe their industry. We see it a lot in Construction, more so than any other industry. The demand is there and there no shortage of suppliers. I personally applaud these agencies as Rice was born out of the same entrepreneurial spirit. Agencies such as Archway, Grada, Wilson Scott took the leap a few years ago and have gone from strength to strength and only this week we have seen the emergence of Lynx Recruitment as a new player in the market.
I think a point Mr. Mackenzie-Cummins neglected to site as a reason to start up on your own is something that is first on the ‘what do employees look for’ agenda; flexibility and autonomy. Nothing will measure up to the sense of freedom like being your own boss, so I’m told. To the agency debutants, I salute your chutzpah and wish you all the best of luck, just make sure your clients pay up as legal battles are both time consuming and financially draining 😊