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Jobs market is picking up, says agency boss
Published 11/03/13

THE managing director of a recruitment agency in Henley believes the job market is about to pick up again.

Claudine Bush, 42, who joined Headstart in Newtown Road when it was launched 15 years ago and bought the company five years later, believes employers are starting to recruit again for marketing and sales roles.

She admitted technology had an impact on recruitment but believed there was still cause for optimism.

Mrs Bush, of New Street, Henley, said: “When I first started, 90 per cent of the jobs were for personal assistants but now it’s five per cent.

“Technology has changed how recruitment is focused. People have become more self-sufficient because of IT — you don’t need a hardback diary any more because it’s all on your iPad.

“Instead, companies are looking for people who can do the jobs behind the scenes, such as web-based roles. Other than that, jobs are pretty much the same and now the double-dip recession seems to be over, hopefully people will start recruiting again.”

Mrs Bush said marketing and sales jobs were the first to be axed during troubling economic times but these roles were now returning.

She said: “It’s always a good sign when marketing jobs are available because everyone cuts the marketing staff at the beginning of a recession as there is no budget but now everyone is recruiting again.”

Mrs Bush, who is married to TV chef Mike Robinson and has a son, Harrison, seven, joined the agency when it was based in Caversham after using it to try to find a job.

She rejected offers when Headstar’s then owners asked her to join as a recruitment consultant.

Mrs Bush then bought the company and has retained clients including Invesco Perpetual. Last year, Headstart filled 24 of the financial firm’s 50 vacancies at its Henley office.

Mrs Bush said the agency specialises in support roles, such as in customer services, sales, marketing co-ordination and executive assistants to chief executive officers.

She said: “We’re not a bums-on-seats agency — we’re not just trying to fill a job. We’ve had the same clients for more than 10 years and they come back again and again.

“We’ve been on a number of preferred supplier lists for a long time and that’s not to be sniffed at.” Mrs Bush, who works with two other staff, said she can often receive up to 500 CVs after advertising a vacancy.

She then selects the best candidates and interviews them on the phone and in person before submitting a shortlist to the employer.

Mrs Bush said: “By the time they get to the clients they should be at the second interview stage. It can take a long time to look at CVs and shortlisting so supplying candidates is a big job. Using an agency saves a client all that.”

Mrs Bush said her own business was hit during the recession as companies stopped recruiting.

She made four redundancies and worked on her own with a reduced salary for a short while but is now in recovery.

“Everyone had to cut their overheads and pray that their reputation would take them through it and for us it did,” she said.

Published 11/03/13

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