Consultant Corner – Louise Harman

What will you new role with Foundation Recruitment entail?

My new role as Director of Business Services with Foundation Recruitment is a very exciting one and one that is three fold including:

  • Account Management/Business Development – Working across all areas of the business including general practice property, shopping centre and venue management and facilities management, I will be working with clients and our consultants alike making sure that we are providing the highest quality/value added services across all of the business streams to make sure that we are completely aligned to our clients and the services that they are looking for us to provide.  As a business that was set up during the recession, we have really identified the need to establish a partnership approach to working with our clients, we get the know the business and the types of individuals that work well within them as well as the skill set that they are looking for.  Knowing the businesses as well as we do this puts us in a unique position to be able to work across a number of business streams.  I will also be looking at our performance as a business for our key clients to really understand where we are seeing the successes and where there is room for growth.
  • London General Practice – the vast majority of recruitment experience has been working with London based property businesses including consultancies, fund managers, property companies and private equity businesses.  I am therefore continuing to work with a number of clients and with our Head of General Practice, Michael Ashworth to increase our exposure across existing and new clients.  With the obvious number of businesses that are based in London this is a key area of growth for Foundation Recruitment and will be a strong focus for us in 2014.
  • Operational Management – I have responsibility for some of the operational and financial management of the business.  This includes working with individual consultants and teams, looking at performance measurement and making sure that we are monopolising the opportunities given to us.

Give us a brief overview of your career to date:

My interest and exposure to property has been throughout my life, my father had a career in construction and my brother is a Surveyor so it seemed a natural decision to work in someway within the property industry.  My career in property started at the Estates Gazette, too many years ago to admit to.  Working within the recruitment advertising team I started to build strong relationships with human resource professionals and hiring managers across a diversity of businesses within the property industry.  After three and half years I was looking for a new challenge and started my career within property recruitment working for one of the niche property recruitment consultancies, within their General Practice team in London.  Working on behalf of a diverse range of clients particularly fund managers, property companies and private equity groups.  I quickly progressed to managing the London General Practice team before leaving to relocate to the North West.  As a Director of Foundation Recruitment I am now at the forefront of our business development activities and provide a senior point of contact for clients and candidates alike as well as looking at opportunities to work with clients across all of our business streams.

What are your thoughts on the current state of play within the London property market?

There is certainly an air of positivity around currently, and at the start of 2014 there is definitively a desire to see growth this year with an increase in the number of transactions than we have seen recently.  Clients are now looking to start bolstering their teams again and plans for 2014 are ones that are involving recruitment growth not just looking to replace when individuals move on.   This recession has been longer and deeper than anyone could have imagined but it is refreshing to hear the more positive sentiment.  There is an increased amount of competition for strong assets and high calibre candidates alike. So with the increased levels of transactions, tenant demand, albeit steady increases and increased competition the tide definitively seems to have turned for the positive.

With the RICS capital value has seen the last two quarters have a positive net balance and the IPD capital values data for Q3 2013 recorded the highest quarterly growth rate since 2010 so it looks like there has been a return to positive growth rather than retraction.  There is obviously still an element of caution but the positive comments now seem to be outweighing the negatives.

This positive sentiment translates through to recruitment, we have seen an increase generally in the number of vacancies which includes the transaction based opportunities (something that we did not see for sometime) but also candidates having a number of opportunities to consider at any one time as well as individuals been counter offered by their current firms once they have handed in their notice.  As much as this can be a frustration for employers so it a definite sign that people are feeling more buoyed by the market that they have the confidence to explore new opportunities and that there are a number of prospective employers.

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