PRG ‘hungry for growth’ as sales soar to £4.5m

SPECIALIST recruitment firm PRG is looking to expand into new lines of business after almost doubling sales in the first half of this year.

The Fireworks Concert at the Edinburgh Festival is sponsored by Virgin Money, which is one of PRG clients. Picture: Rob McDougall

The company, owned by chief executive Steve McCutcheon, is setting up an IT team in its Edinburgh office after launching technology recruitment from its Glasgow headquarters last year. PRG is also looking to add new sectors – including procurement, human resources, office support and possibly marketing – to its existing divisions.

The Edinburgh IT team and a procurement division are expected to be up and running by the end of this year. Other new lines of business are likely to follow in 2015. “They might happen before Christmas, but it is not critical,” McCutcheon said. “It is really important to us that we don’t sacrifice standards or quality.”

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PRG began in 2002 as a specialist recruiter in accountancy. Serving some of Scotland’s biggest financial employers – clients include Lloyds, Standard Life, Virgin Money and Clydesdale Banks – the firm expanded into areas such as tax, treasury, operations and corporate governance. This drove growth up to the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2007.

The company continued to do well during the first couple of years of the downturn, as demand for contract staff in the financial services sector soared.

However, trading became difficult as the recession ground on. “We had a couple of flat years,” McCutcheon said.

“We didn’t shrink, but we were flat, and by that time we were ten years old, and I started thinking, OK, what about the next ten years?”

The answer was to branch out into three new markets: IT, construction and the oil and gas sectors. Launched in July last year, they now account for about one-third of sales and have helped drive renewed revenue growth.

Sales in the first half of this year were £4.5 million, up from £2.6m during the first six months of 2013. Revenue for the year as a whole is forecast to reach a record £10m against last year’s £5.8m.

McCutcheon said the firm, which employs about 60 people across its two offices, is “hungry for growth” in what has become a recovering ­market.

The recruitment industry across the UK is worth more than £26 billion, with increasing demand for both permanent and temporary staff. PRG is active in five of the top six categories where demand for permanent Scottish staff is most acute.

Roughly half of the posts it fills in the oil and gas sector are based overseas, but most of the activity in its other divisions centres on Scotland.

McCutcheon said every part of the business is growing and every division hiring.