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​North East Now & In The Future


9th September 2020

#NorthEastNowAbz

Karen Molloy was living and working in Hong Kong when her husband received notice that he'd be relocating to Aberdeen. She had no idea where the city was and could never have imagined how it would impact their lives.

Within a few months of moving to the northeast, Karen was running the Aberdeen office of an international recruitment firm. It's there she met Judith Thorpe, who one day audaciously suggested that they should quit their jobs, set up their own recruitment business together and take on the competition.

They faced a battle to secure start-up funding, being perceived high risk because of their age, lack of track record and, maybe, because they were women. Two years later they had turned over £1 million, employed 12 staff and Karen was pregnant with her first child.

A year in to their entrepreneurial journey they were joined by a graduate, Amanda McCulloch, and together the three women have built an award winning business that turns 23 years old this month.

Karen explains how their dynamic works, "For the first few years Jude and I did what every small business owner has to do, we worked very long hours, doing everything from painting the office to running the payroll as well as trying to build customer loyalty. We recognised that commitment in Amanda. We're very different people but our relationship works because we respect each other's points of view and, 23 years later, we remain passionate about the business."

Starting out as Accountancy & Finance recruitment specialists the business is now the leading authority on accountancy resourcing in the north east and has developed into a multi-specialism agency, working across 10 different disciplines.

There have been many life affirming events. Karen continues, "Although neither myself, Jude or Amanda are originally from Aberdeen we all love living and working here. It's not just the place where we've grown our business but we are raising our families here too."

Aberdeen......is not just the place where we've grown our business but we are raising our families here too.

Judith Thorpe reflects on the ups and the downs, "The hardest thing about being in business is not the starting out, but growing and then sustaining the growth. Blind-sided by events out with your control is particularly tough and despite all our experience, it's fair to say that Coronavirus didn't factor in our scenario planning.

"In reviewing our business plans we've had to look at things from a different perspective, focusing on new possibilities, and that's leading us to explore entirely different opportunities and re-consider how we can contribute to the city's future prosperity."

Managing Director, Amanda McCulloch, agrees, "We've always adapted to the needs of our clients but have been consistent in our high quality service delivery. During the last 6 months employers have had to absorb the fallout and adopt completely new ways of working. While the pattern of recruitment activity has changed, we've provided a consultative service.

"From our experience of the 2016 downturn, during the recovery phase clients will ask themselves, Do I have the time and resources to do recruitment really well? Does talking to a specialist sound like a good place to start? Hiring for the right behaviours and aptitude, as well as skills and experience, will be so important because the way in which workers manage remote working, flexible work patterns, technology adoption and continual skills development will shape business success.

"By constantly evolving to meet the needs of our market and never being complacent, we hope to be working and supporting our clients in Aberdeen now and for many years to come, making a positive impact across the region."

#NorthEastNowAbz

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