Recruitment firm Maxwell Bruce to double profits

Roddy Donaldson, the MD of Maxwell Bruce. Photograph: Steve Walsh
Roddy Donaldson, the MD of Maxwell Bruce. Photograph: Steve Walsh
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CONSTRUCTION, industrial and engineering specialist Maxwell Bruce will double profits in 2015 following the Glasgow-based recruitment firm’s decision to re-establish its presence in the capital.

After an absence of three years, Maxwell Bruce returned to Edinburgh in August with an initial staff of three which has since grown to seven. Managing director Roddy Donaldson said that has helped to drive a year of further growth at the business, which was hit hard by the financial crisis and credit crunch that crippled the construction sector.

“Edinburgh is an area where we have a strong background, so we are finding it very easy to get back into that market,” Donaldson said.

Group turnover is expected to be up marginally on last year’s record of nearly £13 million, but profits are set to double as the firm has moved into higher-margin work by filling more technical and professional posts. It also picked up a large government construction contract during the year.

“Those areas are more profitable than where we have been before,” Donaldson said. “They come with higher salaries, and so the fees are higher.”

Maxwell Bruce employs 23 people across offices in Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow, and anticipates adding at least ten members of staff in the coming year. Four of those are expected to be appointed in Edinburgh during the first quarter.

Its first foray into the capital was in 2008, just as the financial crisis started unfolding. Maxwell Bruce was eventually forced to shed its base in Edinburgh, and had been servicing clients there from an office in Dunfermline which has now been closed.

The recruitment industry as a whole is on the up, with shortages of skilled staff in sectors ranging from accounting and engineering to finance and IT. Various commentators have described the shortfalls in construction as “chronic”, leading to a fierce scramble for talent.

Despite this, Donaldson said Maxwell Bruce has taken a far more calculated approach to its latest move into Edinburgh.