2020 was a year of uncertainty, with no business or industry being safe from the impacts of months worth of lockdowns and a long list of restrictions put in place by the government.
And it was the same in the world of recruitment.
Thousands of closures led to millions of job losses for people across the country, meaning recruitment had to take a back seat in replace of keeping businesses up and running.
Even those able to continue with a relatively normal business operation were too worried about the risks of investing in new employees throughout the uncertainty of the first lockdown period.
Which is why a recent ONS survey revealed that, between June and August 2020, at least 1.5 million were labelled as unemployed in the UK, and by October the figures had continued to grow.
But, as we enter the new year, with new hope in the form of a vaccine program and an influx of businesses learning to adapt to this ‘new normal’, there’s a more positive outlook in the recruitment sector.
Towards the end of 2020, statistics recorded a quarterly increase of 144,000 to 488,000 job vacancies in July to September, showing that businesses were already beginning to kick in their recruitment plans as 2021 approached.
And as recruitment experts in the Midlands, we’ve also seen businesses begin to restart their hiring efforts to secure the top talent to help aid their growth.
And, being home to some of the fastest-growing businesses in the country, the recent ‘Fast Track 100’ league table from The Sunday Times has shown just how the Midlands has fared against the rest of the country in the past 12 months.
Here are the top five Midlands businesses in the Fast Track 100 list, and how their employment plans are looking as we enter the new year:
Landing at number 4 in the Fast Track 100 league table, as of 2020, Safe Fence is the top Midlands business in the list, recording an annual sales rise of 182.33%.
Located in West Bromwich, around 5 miles from Birmingham city centre, Safe Fence is referred to as the ‘UK’s premier specialist supplier of temporary fencing, construction site hoarding and crowd control barriers’.
Launched in 2016 by sales analyst, George Melhuish, the business has seen incredible growth over the past few years, hitting sales of £8.9 million in April 2020.
Throughout the pandemic, the firm has provided fencing to several NHS Nightingale hospitals and test centres to allow for social distancing.
They have also continued to supply products to their 20,000 customers, including Network Rail, and to the general public, who were improving their homes and gardens during lockdown.
After growing its warehouse space to accommodate this growth, the team is also looking to invest in new talent, highlighting many new vacancies on their website this month alone.
From marketing assistants to product development specialists, Safe Fence is currently recruiting across a range of seniority levels, allowing job seekers to be a part of this already successful company’s future growth.
Since founding the lingerie brand in 2016, husband and wife team Daniel and Melanie Marsden have seen global growth for their Solihull-based business.
Being spotted on celebrities and models from across the world, their approach to creating the most comfortable and fashion-forward underwear has cemented their appeal to the younger generation.
With another mention earlier on in the year in the Fast Track’s ‘10 Ones To Watch This Year’ list, the Lounge team has certainly lived up to its reputation, hitting revenues of £13.8 million in March 2020.
And according to the team, with sales tripling throughout 2020, they were able to recruit 30 new staff members since April, back when the pandemic first began.
With many new roles available on their website as of January 2021, it looks like the team is continuing to recruit to its marketing, creative and finance departments to allow the brand to go from strength to strength.
Easily one of the largest and well-known businesses to come out of the Midlands in recent years, Gymshark is known as the fastest-growing fitness apparel brands in the world.
With gyms closing their doors throughout the lockdown period, you would have expected the Solihull-based online retailer to have struggled in some form due to this unprecedented event.
But instead, the Gymshark team stepped up. From broadcasting live workouts on social media to creating the ‘sweaty selfie’ campaign, the team raised around £180k for the Birmingham Women’s & Children’s hospitals during lockdown to help out however they could.
In 2020, the company sold a 21% stake to General Atlantic, investors from the US, which means the business is now valued at more than £1bn.
Now selling to around 180 countries, the team continues to put a focus on its global recruitment, with its Solihull headquarters now being home to around 215 employees, which continues to grow each month.
A family-run business since 1980, brothers Luke and Elliot Benton run MNB Precision together, continuing on the business in their grandfather’s footsteps.
The business specialises in making parts for the oil and gas industry, and in 2018 they also expanded to create a new automotive engineering subsidiary named, ‘i8’.
Although the industry was hard hit during the lockdown period, the business supported Sir James Dyson in his project to provide ventilators for Coronavirus patients.
The firm also boasts a 36,000 sq ft factory in Coventry following a successful three year period, where the team increased its sales by 76%.
And as the business continues to grow, they are also in the midst of a recruitment drive for a range of roles including CNC turners, CNC millers and EDM machinists with the relevant experience.
The parent company of a range of e-commerce and online retailers, the Stratford-Upon-Avon based business saw a huge uplift in sales during lockdown.
With homeowners spending months at home and having plenty more free time to get involved in DIY projects, Sixty Stores saw its sales double from March to June, recording £23.3million in August.
Set up by school friends Will Letterese, Ben Styles and his father, Adrian, in 2011, the small startup has grown to operate seven websites ranging from garden furniture to custom fridges.
With big-name customers such as Pepsi and Adidas, they have since had investment from Swedish private equity firm, ROKO, who acquired a 60% stake in the business.
And after clearing one year’s worth of stock during the first few months of the lockdown period, this unprecedented growth has allowed the firm to continue to build its team with new appointments.
With roles in web development and positions across their showrooms, the business focuses on encouraging growth, hence its position in the Fast Track 100.
With the Midlands being a hub for an array of different industries, it’s great to see that the region is also focused on offering various job roles to support their local communities.
And at Nelson Permanent Placements, we are also now seeing many other local businesses in need of new staff members to help support their growth as firms look to progress post-pandemic.
With businesses adapting and learning new ways to cope during the pandemic, we’re here to help both clients and candidates find their perfect fit.
Although there is still a way to go before the market is back to what it was, if you’re currently looking for a new role and would like support from our expert in-house recruiters, please get in touch with us on 0121 796 2474 or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.