London-based specialist recruitment consultancy Hamilton Barnes has been recognised in the prestigious FT 1000.
In its seventh iteration in 2023, the list – published on ft.com – recognises Europe’s fastest growing companies. From recruiters, to gaming studios, electric vehicle leasers, lithium battery manufacturers, intelligent payment platforms and many more innovative organisations, it is based on comprehensive research by German data provider, Statista, into the independent companies that have achieved the highest compound annual growth rate (CAGR) in revenue between 2018 and 2021.
In this period, Hamilton Barnes didn’t just rise to the challenge of weathering the storm of the COVID-19 pandemic, which inflicted the most turbulent period on the recruitment sector since the 2008 downturn. In fact, it went far beyond this, cementing its position as the leading recruiter to the network engineering space. The number one supplier to BT, with other FTSE 100 companies including Sky and Vodafone amongst its roster of clients, the firm has grown its turnover by 276.5% (a CAGR of 55.6%) and its headcount five-fold, from 20 to over 100, over three years. It has more than 800 live vacancies globally and this has seen it rank highly among Professional, Scientific and Technological Services organisations, with the Financial Times and Statista noting its “remarkable recent performance”. The minimum average CAGR growth rate required to be included in the ranking this year was 36.2%.
Thomas Clark, Senior Partner at Statista, said, “Entering the FT1000 has always been very hard, given that over 50 million companies exist in Europe. For a British company to manage securing a position in this prestigious ranking during Covid and Brexit, I take my hat off. Congratulations to Hamilton Barnes, it is now clear that you have been an accelerator of the British and European economy. Well done and good luck for the future!”
Hamilton Barnes’s success can be credited to diversification within the sector and expansion into international markets. Co-founders Nick Barker and George Barnes have championed a strong entrepreneurial spirit amongst their consultants, resulting in the launch of internal divisions dedicated to sector niches such as Cybersecurity, Fibre, Network Security, Enterprise, IP and Contract. Meanwhile a US office, in Austin, Texas, is capitalising on the scale of the opportunity across North America, a relatively immature recruitment marketplace, and a launch in Malaysia in Q2 2023 will provide customers in the Asia Pacific region with a dedicated service. The firm is already planning to secure a further five US offices by 2025.
A culture of internal growth has also contributed to the growth experienced by Hamilton Barnes, with a firm-wide policy of only hiring at trainee consultant level. The leaders of these new divisions have all been promoted from within as they identified areas of growth in their specialist markets, including the company’s first ever employee, Antonio Costa. Now based in Austin and fronting the US expansion, Costa joined Hamilton Barnes on a university placement in 2014 and has progressed to company Director.
Furthermore, the firm also initiated a number of measures during the COVID-19 pandemic that guaranteed the job security of all colleagues, including a ‘rolling furlough’ scheme which saw every employee take furlough for four to six weeks, giving staff a break at a time of stress and providing them with reassurance of their positions with the business, regardless of their tenure. This strategy has since pay dividends in the form of a 90% retention rate among staff, a statistic otherwise unheard of across the recruitment sector.
Nick Barker, Co-founder and Director of Hamilton Barnes, added, “Since inception, George and I have made it our number one priority to treat our colleagues like human beings, recognising their challenges, and working closely with each and every consultant to offer extensive in-house training enhanced benefits – which include access to an in-house mental health and wellbeing expert and an independent financial planner who can assist with loans, mortgages, pensions and investments – a meritocratic career path and realistic on-going incentives that drive performance.
“A move away from the broken ‘hire and fire’ model of staff recruitment encourages entrepreneurship and our growth through COVID is testament to the vision of the team and desire to push themselves into emerging areas. By growing independent divisions, we are allowing consultants to craft their own specialisms, whilst still having the full support of the business, and broadening our offering to cement our position as the number one provider of talent solutions to the network engineering sector globally.
“With over 800 live roles across the team, we are not resting on our laurels, and the scope to grow globally – with the launch of new office locations imminent – gives us an exciting opportunity to partner with some of the world’s greatest telecoms companies, alt-nets, ISPs and more, to build a safer, more secure internet for everyone.”