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Back in 2004 we knew that there was a gap in the market for a different kind of agency – one that provided a consultative approach and focused on placing quality candidates in quality roles, rather than pure volume. I can’t believe that was 18 years ago in July when with the full support of Rob, I initially opened our spare bedroom door to start Bond Williams. We very quickly experienced phenomenal growth, outgrowing three offices in central Bournemouth and earning an enviable reputation for our service and specialist sector knowledge among clients and candidates across the region. Over the years it has been a roller coaster of a journey, many highs both business wise and in the lives of our fabulous team – we have had record years of growth and success, toasted many births and marriages; but there have also been real lows including the losses of many loved ones, a recession and of course Covid-19. We have supported one another through thick and thin, laughter and tears, both as a team and individually.

Today, Bond Williams is a successful, highly respected and reputable recruitment agency specialising in five sectors and operating across three offices in Bournemouth, Southampton and Oxford. We are still able to offer the service levels of an independent consultancy whilst having the impact of a corporate agency and with over 250 years’ combined experience. Our talented team boast a diverse range of specialist industry knowledge and are highly recognised for building strong and long-lasting relationships and delivering exceptional results.

The recruitment marketplace has changed considerably over the years since we opened. With the impact of modern technology it became so easy for candidates to apply for roles that ad response numbers could be huge, but in many cases lacked quality. At other times applications can be few and far between due to market skills shortages.

And today there are different challenges, with a strong job market has come the aforementioned candidate shortages and competition for talent attraction. Big salaries are being offered around the country, candidate demands are increasing and some businesses have been inflexible with requirements and demands. For many workers flexible working has become their number one requirement (one many are not prepared to give up now, unless offset by a large pay rise!).  Job seekers are taking jobs with companies outside of their area offering flexibility, sometimes for lower incomes over higher salaries with less flexible employers locally. Workers are being pulled back into the office, which for some will cost them more than working from home with cost going up on public transport, petrol and general costs of living, leaving workers to consider changing jobs to counteract that. Recently, in-demand skills sets are seeing sharp pay rises as labour shortages continue in some industries. Whether the market can justify and hold these high pay rises and those being offered these hike in salaries are worth it and employees can ‘deliver’ at those levels remains to be seen. Candidates do tend to move for money especially when it is considerably higher. My advice would be if you can offer a work life balance coupled with competitive pay you will be best placed to retain employees. Re-engage the employees you have, if you don’t someone else will. You can’t do now what you have always done and expect the same result. The market has substantially shifted.

And finally, what’s my biggest takeaway over the past 18 years? When you have the right team by your side, they are often stronger, adaptable and more resilient than you think.  We aim to recruit the best people for ourselves as well as our clients and we have strived to create a culture and environment that brings out the best in those people, where they can thrive! I continue to be amazed by their loyalty and support and we have grown stronger through both the challenges and successes we have encountered. As a business we have reflected and adapted over the years and we too are offering more of a work life balance to our team.  Myself and Rob would like to say a huge thank you to our amazing team for their loyalty and support, our clients, many of which have been with us since the beginning, and to the thousands of candidates we have placed over the years.  As a team we continue to go the extra mile, every day, for you. Thank you!

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