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Working for a ‘Global Recruitment Business with a heart of a Boutique’

Having come from a small village in the north of England, I had dreams of bigger things, which led me to one of the world’s largest recruitment agencies. Although this gave me a great foundation to my career and opportunity to move across the world to Singapore, there was lots of red tape, which hindered the entrepreneurial spirit and potential to grow, try new things, make mistakes and learn from them.

When I interviewed with Morgan McKinley Singapore, I was told by the MD, Gurj Sandhu, that Morgan McKinley was a ‘global recruitment business with the heart of a boutique’.

It sounded lovely but I still wasn’t sure what this really meant.

My first experience with this concept was during a conversation with the APAC Managing Director, Vanessa Harding, based in Sydney, where I was telling her about some of the projects that I wanted to implement.

I remember saying to her, ‘I know I need to walk before I can run, but I get so excited’, and her reply was, ‘no, you can absolutely run.’

It hit me in this moment that this was a company where I could really make a difference, because the red tape I had faced before, didn’t really exist.

Below I aim to explain the benefits of being a global business with the heart of a boutique. Of course, some of these advantages would apply more broadly beyond the recruitment industry and I also want to pre-warn that some generalisations have been made.

Benefits of being part of a global recruitment business

●   Clear structure and transparency of career progression opportunities

There is a clear Career Pathway, with a formal appraisal system in place to ensure you have the support you need to reach your goals. This can get lost in a smaller boutique with less structure.

●   Support functions to add expertise and/or strip away tasks outside of the core recruiting role.

For Morgan McKinley this includes Marketing, L&D, Finance, Contract Administration, Talent Acquisition and more! Some of these functions are locally, regionally and globally run. For those who aren’t used to this luxury, some examples of what this means in practice include:                      

  • Our global marketing division is constantly upskilling us on how to build our personal brands and add value through our insights (blogs, events, partnerships etc.)
  • Global and local learning & development specialists and tools (Online e-learning platform, comprehensive classroom training program, and emerging leaders program to name just a few).

●  Brand reputation

As we are well known in the market, talking to new clients becomes slightly ‘warmer’ as they’re likely to know who we are and what we do. This can go a long way in helping to win new business.

●  Large numbers of existing clients

With a large number of Preferred Supplier Agreements and Managed Service Provider accounts, a lot of roles come in without us having to hunt for them, which is a fantastic platform to leverage off. However, there is of course always room to grow the business and every division still has the need for new business development.

●  Global mobility

Many people across our business have taken advantage of the opportunity to move abroad. Within my first month of working for Morgan McKinley I saw a consultant transfer from Singapore to London, and in fact several of our leaders have made transitions from the UK to APAC.

Once you have been a consultant with us for one year, you are eligible to be considered for opportunities in most of our global offices.

●  Stability

I believe it’s important to note that whilst 2020 was a very challenging year for businesses globally, and continues to be challenging in 2021, particularly in Europe, being a global business meant that we were able to support struggling businesses and share the hardship across all countries.

Benefits of having ‘the heart of a boutique firm’
●  Flexibility

Flexibility is seen across many aspects of our business. The first that comes to mind is flexible working, both in terms of hours and working from home, which Morgan McKinley Singapore are able to offer. Larger, more traditional businesses, often have more stringent routines and processes, making it harder to offer flexibility.

●  Agility

2020 was a very challenging year for the economy, and many recruitment businesses were affected. We had the ability to change and adapt our structure and focus, without lots of red tape that is often present in larger organisations, to ensure we moved with the changing economic climate.

●  More exposure to senior leaders, more frequently.

It makes logical sense, the smaller the business you’re in, the more time you get, and therefore the more opportunity you get to learn from the senior leadership. None of the leaders in Singapore have private offices, they spend time having one-on-one catch ups with consultants, they lead focus groups, lead training, and are on hand to offer advice with day to day recruitment.

●  More visibility and broader opportunities

In a large business with hundreds of recruiters, sometimes thousands, it’s easy to get lost in a business. However, with smaller businesses and with MMK, you have the opportunities to be involved in more activities and strategies, such as focus groups, internal and external events, creating and running new initiatives, mentoring peers, or leading an exciting project. This also provides more visibility to senior leaders, linking to the point above.

●  Feel more connected to the purpose of the organisation.

It can be hard to feel as connected to an organisation’s purpose when there are umpteen layers between you and the decision makers, whereas typically in a boutique firm you would be more quickly informed of strategic plans and better yet, consulted and involved in the decision making process itself.

●  Tailored career progression and development plan

Whilst we have a structured career path, there are often individual cases which may not fit neatly into this. Therefore, as an office, we have the ability to continuously adapt our career paths and offer tailored learning & development programs to suit the people we have in our business.

●  Better commissions schemes.

In most cases, higher percentages will be paid out in commission for the same billings. Within Morgan McKinley we are certainly known to have a very competitive scheme. 

●  Collaboration, rather than competition.

Although this is very generalised, I have witnessed it myself and spoken to many candidates for which this is true, that in larger businesses people can become selfish and see their colleagues as their competition, holding onto both clients and candidates. In contrast, smaller businesses tend to have an attitude of ‘all being in it together’ and will work closely to win deals. For us, collaboration is one of our key values and it’s at the forefront of everything we do.
A small amount of Morgan McKinley context to wrap up:

Morgan McKinley was founded in 1988 in Ireland and has continuously grown. We now have offices in Ireland, UK Singapore, Australia, Canada, China, Hong Kong, India, and Japan. Despite our global footprint we are still only classed as a small to medium sized business, with a global team of over 800 recruitment consultants and here in Singapore a team that totals around 50.

Hopefully it goes without saying that I believe we possess all the best of both worlds outlined above and I’d be more than happy to share any further insights with anybody keen to join #TeamMMK or just find out more.
Reach out to Steph Croxford on now for a confidential discussion.

  • Feb 02, 2021
  • Careers , Singapore
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Stephanie Croxford

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