LIFESTYLE - CAREERS

Headhunters break away from the pack



Darren Robinson and Andrew Notter, pictured on 3 September 2019, co-founded Anderson Wise with Michael Mandic and David Kitzinger with a staff of seven Delano

Darren Robinson and Andrew Notter, pictured on 3 September 2019, co-founded Anderson Wise with Michael Mandic and David Kitzinger with a staff of seven Delano

A handful of headhunters have branched out on their own, after co-founding a new recruitment firm in Luxembourg.

Anderson Wise was launched on Monday in a private office space at the Silver Square complex in rue Glesener, just a stone’s throw from Badenoch & Clark, where all seven team members previously worked.

“It wasn’t supposed to be at the detriment to the previous company because the previous company for many years we developed, we grew, we were satisfied. It’s just a different stage in our lives to do something new,” Anderson Wise managing partner Darren Robinson told Delano on Tuesday.

The UK national, who has worked in recruitment since 1996, established the Badenoch & Clark offices in Luxembourg in 2005. He was joined two years later by fellow Brit Andrew Notter, who was later promoted to managing director at Badenoch & Clark before leaving in August. Now a partner and co-founder of the new firm, Notter explained the team will focus on financial services, a sector which currently employs around 50,000 people directly according to the CSSF’s 2018 annual report. The scope will expand into commerce and industry in November when the team is joined by an eighth team member.

“Luxembourg has attracted many new companies here and is developing the market. It’s an area in which we already had a track record of success,” the headhunter said. “Brexit has created a number of opportunities for the firms existing here and the ones that are planning to come here in the near future.”

According to research by EY published in March 2019, some 7,000 high-paid finance jobs were being relocated to Dublin, Frankfurt, Luxembourg and Paris and 2,300 new jobs were being added to respond to deal with the fall out on the financial sector of Britain’s departure from the European Union. The potential for recruiters is enormous, but the team have no plans to open a UK office.

“It’s not on the immediate horizon. I suppose it’s mainly that we don’t see an appetite for having candidates with a UK background or a UK experience coming directly to Luxembourg,” Robinson said. Notter added: “There’s a large need for understanding the regulatory market, the business sector here. A large amount of employers are looking for that experience.”

Finding that experience and talent in such a small market is not easy. One important element which feeds into the candidate pool for locally-experienced staff is the recruitment policies of the big 4 audit and advisory firms in Luxembourg. Each office hires up to 400 junior recruits annually, almost always from abroad. As staff progress their careers with other firms they carry with them a level of professionalism which is valued by local employers. “We’re fortunate the big 4 still have an appetite to grow […] The big 4 do a great service for many organisations in Luxembourg as a result,” said Robinson.

The new offices in the Gare district are ideally located close to transport hubs for staff and candidates, an important consideration for Robinson. He is keen to reduce inconvenience and flexibility is a word that comes up a lot in our interview. On the one hand, he says the team craved more flexibility in decision-making with their previous employer. One example of this in the kind of customer and candidate software they use. On the other hand, Robinson wants to give the team as much flexibility as possible. Generously, he’s offering an additional 24 days’ leave per year for flexi working with specific conditions.

The “vibrant” “entrepreneurial” space is, meanwhile, in-line with the new firm’s approach as an agile startup, able to quickly adapt to the changing market but with many years’ experience in Luxembourg. This sense was reinforced when they realised they were among three companies at Silver Square to launch the same day. “There’s a good drive, a good energy,” says Notter.

Robinson even comments that it reminds him of the early days at Badenoch & Clark. “It does feel like we’re back in the early days of developing the old company. However, we’ve now got 10 to 15 years’ worth of knowledge and experience to know what to do and what not to do in developing a business,” he explains.