In 1990 Gary Elden began his career as a trainee recruitment consultant for an IT recruiter called Computer Futures. Fast-forward 26 years and Gary is CEO of SThree – the parent company of Computer Futures (and a further eight specialist brands).
His story is one of ambition, opportunity, and a lot of hard graft – supported by a business with a firm belief in a meritocratic approach to employee progression.
The need to succeed
Now in his third year leading the group, Gary is keen to give to others what he has benefited from – a career with no limits. “When I started here,” explains Gary, “I felt that the company [Computer Futures] really encouraged the entrepreneurial spirit; colleagues had been given opportunities and achieved success and that gave me the motivation to continue. I think that was, and still is, one of the USPs of SThree.”
Ambition is the name of the game – SThree’s mission statement is to be ‘the most respected, highly valued, international specialist staffing business’ and for a company that now employs 2,800 people across 15 countries, it’s well on its way to achieving that goal.
A meritocratic approach
“One of the reasons why I joined Computer Futures was because I honestly believed it was a meritocratic business,” says Gary, “to me that’s the key, it’s why I’m here still and why I’m sure many of the people who’ve been with the business for a number of years are still here - because you’re judged on what you put in.
“If we lose that, then we’ve lost what SThree is about.”
Employees are encouraged to believe that there’s no limit to what they can achieve at SThree and career progression is supported through initiatives such as the Mentoring Programme which partners employees from experienced people across the company to offer guidance, advice and insight.
Natali Jaafar, Associate Sales Team Manager, was a mentee, and tells us: “When I was applying for my promotion, my mentor helped me set out clear goals for my new role and advised me on how best to present my strengths to senior managers.”
The message is clear: dream big, work hard, and SThree will help you achieve your goals.
Coupled with its meritocratic approach SThree is passionate about embracing inclusion in the workplace, as Gary explains: “If you follow things through, demonstrate the right behaviours and you’re successful then you’ll get rewarded.
“You’ll get recognised – it doesn’t matter about your background, your gender, your religion or your politics. It’s about you as an individual.”
From introducing a behavioural based programme that supports managers to cultivate individual motivations and strengths of team members, to their Maternity Buddy Scheme, SThree is making great strides in its goal to be a fully inclusive business.
“When coming back from maternity leave,” says Amendeep Fakey, Partner, Banking and Finance, “SThree were so great. I found a balance which works for me in my career and in my home life.”
“What I love about SThree is the people”
“What I love about SThree is the people” comments Gary, “we take on likeminded people who want to be successful, from a variety of backgrounds. We work really hard but we also have some fun on the way.”
The company lives by its four key values: Energy, Rapport, Respect and Reward, and employees have certainly embraced them. In a recent Engagement Survey an impressive 93% of employees said that they would recommend SThree as a great place to work.
Gary explains, “I’ve been successful myself; my job now as CEO is to say ‘how do I bring in more successful people?’ And seeing people that I’ve known for 10-15 years succeeding, well – I get a buzz out of that more than anything.”
A career with no limits
Having experienced the benefits of a career with no limits – Gary is keen to ensure that all SThree employees have access to the same opportunities. So what does a career with no limits mean?
“No limits means that you could start your career in one role and then move into a variety of roles; from sales to operations or to marketing – anything. I believe that you could start in this company, and if you have the right core values that we’re looking for, and you want the opportunity then there are no limits to what you can achieve.”
“When I joined in 1990 there was basic training available, but it has evolved from sales-only training to the behavioural based programmes that we see today.”
SThree’s Velocity Career Programme is designed to maximise potential – identifying your skills, setting clear objectives and targets so you have a clear vision of what it takes to take the next step up the career ladder. Where you go – well, that’s up to you!
SThree will continue to evolve as a forward thinking company – there are no limits to SThree’s ambitions and in turn we offer our employees limitless opportunities to progress. If you’re ready for a career with no limits, then browse our most recent opportunities.