Executive Grapevine | Executive Grapevine International Ltd

What's it like to recruit in the South West?

Recruiting in Cornwall

Situated on England’s rugged southwestern tip, Cornwall is a popular destination for thousands of British holidaymakers each year. While tourists flock to the sandy beaches or historic landmarks like the Eden Project or Tintagel Castle, it can be easy to forget that it is home to over 530,000 people who permanently reside there. While this picturesque harbourside county has lots on offer for tourists, what does Cornwall have to offer on the recruitment scene? Acorn Recruitment’s Polly Layton - who heads up the firm’s Truro office - shares her experiences of recruiting in this beautiful part of the UK.

What do you enjoy about recruiting in Cornwall?

Developing long-term recruitment partnerships with both clients and candidates is central to our service. Cornwall is a small place and, as a lot of jobseekers and employers come to us based on personal recommendations, it’s imperative that we create value for everyone we work with to continue our growth and develop our reputation further.

Working in a small area with a small pool of candidates does mean we also have to offer a bit more than the traditional recruiter, such as insights on salaries and benefits that other companies are offering, so our clients are offering similar wages and perks to attract the best candidates. We regularly carry out industry research to monitor changes to salary expectations and the employee benefits being offered across a number of industries. We can therefore offer expert advice on what employers should be offering and what candidates can expect depending on their experience.

What challenges do you face as a recruiter here?

The key to becoming a successful recruiter here is a good understanding of the local geography. Many recruiters new to the area, or those in headquarters outside Truro, don’t realise how challenging it can be and often struggle with it. On a map of Cornwall, two locations can appear within easy commuting distance, but due to limited road access and the general geography of the area this is not always the case. The understanding of what is possible for candidates and employers is essential in an area such as ours, as offering a candidate who lives in Truro to a company that is based in Bude just won’t work. Those who are not from Cornwall may not realise that.

What do you see coming up in Cornwall’s future in terms of recruitment?

Overall the Cornwall job market is optimistic – we’ve certainly seen an increase in opportunities over the past few years within engineering, technical, industrial and commercial roles. Cornwall is also known for its buoyant food manufacturing sector, and there are plenty of roles available to those looking for work in the industry. Currently, EU nationals make up much of the workforce supplying this sector. Therefore Brexit uncertainty is a worry, with a number of EU workers leaving the UK and a decrease in the number of workers able to fulfill client needs. However, with the pilot phase of the EU Settlement Scheme officially open, Acorn is urging all EU workers to consider preparing applications for settled, or pre-settled, status.

What we do know is that being a recruiter in Cornwall means having long-term and meaningful partnerships with your clients. They have to trust that you can advise them on ways to attract the best candidates and that you are giving them the best candidates for the positions they have on offer – it really is full package, consultative and partnership recruitment that works best. It is good to see that Cornwall businesses have remained confident and their recruitment plans are not slowing down.