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Stuart Hunter, CEO of Advance Global Recruitment Limited went from studying studied sports science at Napier University to running a £20 recruitment business.
What does Advance Global Recruitment do?
We specialise in the supply of personnel to the international energy markets.
What do you do there / what is your role?
I am the chief executive officer here at AGR. Thus it is my job to ensure we have a clear strategy and plan to succeed.
What is your background?
I studied sport science at Napier. Then joined NOW recruitment (working in the construction recruitment market) in 2008 and left them in 2011 to set up AGR.
If you started the company, what was the aha moment that led to the company founding?
I have always wanted to set my own company however after reading James Caans book, the Real Deal, I knew I had to give it a go!
Where did you get assistance when you started?
Cameron Taylor (my business partner) and I received no real assistance when we started. We begged, borrowed or stole office furniture and then made sure things happened with our hard work and charm 😊😊
Give us a brief history of the growth of the company
We started in 2011, initially working in the ROV market and in 2012 our staff of six moved into new offices.
In 2013 we opened an office in Dubai to service the large number of Middle East contracts, the following year we were up to 15 staff so we had to move office again. By this time we were supplying personnel to 45 countries globally.
In 2015 we saw a readjustment of the market, however, we manage to keep all staff and made no redundancies.
2016 was a record year for us – we increased out headcount and move office again.
In 2017 we open an Aberdeen office and had another record year with turnover reaching £13m.
We are on target to hit £20m this year with a staff count of 25.
Have you taken any external funding? If so from who and when?
No. We have a non exec Director who owns 10% of the business.
What’s the difference between when you started and now in your marketplace?
The market is very similar to when we started. There is a skill shortage now in the Oil & Gas market and it is very much candidate driven. This is like when we first started however the only difference is that we are far better positioned to take full advantage of this market now compared with 2011/12.
What is your target market – Who is using your recruitment service?
Oil & Gas companies: ROV, Survey, Inspection, Drilling, etc.
What are your goals for your business?
We are looking to continue to build the business and take AGR into new countries and truly work on a global basis.
What are your biggest current challenges?
Ensuring we continue to attract top personnel. Also, the oil price!
What has been the biggest challenge so far?
The end of 2014 and into 2015 the market literally reduced in half! This was a total shock to us and something that has made me a better businessman.
What do you know now that you wished you had known earlier?
Rome was not built in a day!
What’s the secret to good leadership?
Lead by example and treat people with respect. Give staff the autonomy to make the correct decisions.
Where do you see the company in five years?
With new offices in Rotterdam and Houston.
How can the Scottish startup/entrepreneur landscape be improved to help more businesses start up and grow?
First it has to be reduced Corporation tax – I believe that if you can demonstrate that you are investing the money into staffing your business this should suffice.
Stuart Hunter is CEO of Advance Global Recruitment Limited
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