When I started Astute I had a real interest in international growth and now, especially after the pandemic, is the right time.
2023 is a great time to expand!
We’re in a very strong place in what we do, we’ve built up a fantastic brand in the UK in the core areas of where we recruit – Power, Renewables & Nuclear, and rather than spread that wider in terms of broadening out into sectors we don’t know too well, we’ve decided to focus on what we do well and take it somewhere new.
We can speak the same language to candidates and clients in terms of jobs, sectors, technology, so that’s why Astute is Coming to America.
Why choose America?
We’ve chosen to expand to America as there’s no language barrier and the East Coast time zone difference is around five hours, which is far more manageable than, for instance, Australia.
There are big growth opportunities for us in America, especially with anything to do with power generation, renewables and nuclear and there’s a huge emphasis in the US on investment in green technology and the size of the power market is much greater than the UK.
In all, it means there’s a great opportunity for us to become established there.
For me, it feels like the right time!
This year has been great in terms of investing in our people, creating a class leading culture, resulting in a very successful start to the year.
We’ll initially drive business from here with a dedicated team focusing on the US.
We have a clear goal to achieve ambitious targets in North America, which means the US and Canada, and I’m feeling very positive about all of the strategic plans and foundations we’ve already put in place.
Energy Recruitment in the US
What I’m really excited about is how open people are in the US to good communication.
Whether that’s people in the recruitment industry or energy sector leaders, the willingness to share knowledge and insight has been fantastic.
From a recruitment industry perspective, there’s been a real openness to sharing information with us about the marketplace, more so than there would be in the UK where you could be seen as a competitor and people are typically less willing to share.
In terms of clients, we’ve already managed to build up some excellent relationships with industry leaders who have shared with us the current state of play and, America, like much of the world, is going through a major talent shortage at the moment in our space, which is another reason the timing is right for Astute’s launch there.
Astute in the US
We’ve set up a business called Astute People Inc., and have a virtual office in Uptown Charlotte, North Carolina.
In the future that is where I would like to set up a physical office.
It’s on the East Coast, the time zone difference works well for us and I undertook a lot of research on places in the US that are attractive for businesses, and Charlotte ranked highly.
It’s a very up-and-coming city, attracting many new people to it and has a young demographic with the average age of 36.
It offers a better cost of living than many of the bigger, established cities and has a good climate and if anywhere could embrace a good UK-style work-life balance, then I believe this is the place.
We’ll be looking to employ people in Charlotte next year and offering them the same sort of benefits we offer our people in the UK and South Africa.
These sorts of benefits are not the norm in America, but we’re happy to be leading the way.
For a market that’s five or six times the size of the UK in terms of number of people in the labour force, there are fewer recruitment agencies in America, which means there’s less competition.
This results in less undercutting and devaluing of the service offered.
UK and US labour laws differ hugely, in America, with ‘At-will’ employment in the US.
This means recruitment companies have to move quickly to fill roles, and therefore relationships between clients and recruitment agencies tend to be far more collaborative due to the high pace.
Astute Coming to America
Finally, I have a personal ambition to take the business to America and to be able to spend more time there.
Growing up in the 80s, all of my favourite TV shows and films were American.
Whether it was Night Rider, the A-Team, Airwolf or Eddie Murphy films like Beverly Hills Cop and Coming to America, I was always fascinated with the country.
I’m really excited about Astute’s future in America, and the opportunities it will bring not just myself but the team.
Long-term we’ll be offering people the chance to have secondments in America and experience living and working in the US.
My military/Royal Navy background enabled me to travel the world while working, and that’s something I’m keen to give others the chance to experience.
To find out more about Astute's plans in America, or to enquire about how we can support with your recruitment needs across the US and Canada, get in touch with us today via firstname.lastname@example.org