For most employees, career progression is important. Not many want to stand still in their career, they are motivated to climb the ladder and achieve their full potential.
But for some, company career progression includes a move into a completely different area, a move that represents - initially at least - a horizontal progression. Many factors come into play with this decision. Sometimes, that factor is a personal one.
How James took control of his career
James Maltby, a languages graduate who joined SThree after university, was invited to set up SThree brand Huxley’s first European office over a decade ago. Having begun the process in London, in 2002 he moved out to Amsterdam to continue the work. After two years, James made his first career move, from sales consultant to business developer, something which represented a natural progression:
“Some people are motivated by closing the deal, others are motivated by going out and winning the business from clients; I was driven by the client side. The role I moved into was about developing existing relationships and it meant that I could develop some big accounts.”
However, James’ relationship with his girlfriend was becoming serious, and living in different countries was becoming an issue. James requested a move back to the UK without a change of role – but another offer landed on the table:
"I actually got invited to apply to head up the London IT banking account management team. The UK was managing some pretty impressive clients and they wanted someone to head up that team and look after those key clients.”
What many employees find a benefit at SThree is the open-mindedness of managers to listen to the ideas of employees, and to provide an open door to conversations about their careers. A couple of years into his new role, James was thinking about taking a complete career break:
“I had a moment of thinking where’s my career going? I wasn’t in any way falling out of love with SThree or Huxley, I was just working out how to develop my career.”
For James, being able to have this conversation with his managers actually led to a three-day-a-week consulting role, helping SThree to input and embed a new software system. This led to a variety of increasingly strategic roles, and ultimately, another full-time job in the company:
“They needed people who understood how the business works and to help guide the implementation of the software system. I pretty rapidly got quite into it and the role went up from three days to four days. Then I sat down with our IT director and asked if we could make it a full-time, permanent role, and we did.” James is now Head of IT Strategy and currently involved in leading the new system implementation project, a job he loves doing.
Why Laura is loving her job, 100%
Laura Goettner is currently Sales Operations Manager in Munich, but she didn’t start her career there. Her journey to SThree began after three years combining her university studies with a placement at a large multinational engineering and electronics company in Germany, and a further year in full time work in its strategic HR department. SThree was an exciting proposition for all the reasons that her previous employer wasn’t: they were a young, dynamic company:
“My previous employer was a huge company,” says Laura. “Over 300,000 employees, so it felt like there was always someone that had been waiting longer than you to progress in their career.”
Laura spent two years as a consultant with SThree brand Computer Futures, before realising that, while she didn’t miss her former company, she missed the strategic role she had. She approached her immediate managers to discuss the situation, and found them to be very supportive:
“They asked me what I thought I could offer, what my strengths were, and where I thought I would best fit. My strengths are in strategic working. I told them I wanted to improve our processes and make them more efficient and I saw the opportunity to do this in the DACH region.”
Serendipitously, someone in a similar role to the one that Laura wanted left the company on the same day as she approached her managers. She applied and won the role.
Gaining transferable skills
Laura loves her job, but she couldn’t have done it without the years she spent as a consultant. “My main task is to get the sales process as aligned and as efficient to both the candidate and client needs. It’s vital to have had experience on the sales floor in order to be able to do this. I know what their challenges are, what they’re like and what their difficulties are.”
James agrees: “It would be really hard to come into a strategic role in a company like SThree without really understanding the business and what consultants go through on a daily basis - it can be quite an emotional job.
“Recruitment gives you so many skills. It’s completely underrated, you’re doing the same things as someone running their own business – you’ve got to keep existing relationships, develop the accounts, network, negotiate, basically everything!
“One of the things that you really learn from the sales side is a work ethic and a sense that the effort you put is the output you will get. I think it’s quite easy to start a job feeling entitled and expecting things to fall into place. You really have to actually make things happen!
“As a business we recognise that just because you’re not enjoying a particular role or not performing it doesn’t mean you aren’t right for the company. We really put value on loyalty and the contacts you make in the business. We’re encouraged to have conversations about career development, not just specifically as a manager but in terms of what can we offer and to encourage people to explore their interests in other departments - it’s about getting the right people in the right jobs and not losing that knowledge and experience.”
Laura concurs: “Everyone has the opportunity to go into a different department and into a different role. Of course, there has to be a business need, but the point is that you can have those conversations. I like our culture, you can talk to everyone, and it doesn’t matter if it’s team leaders, managers, the MD… They are always nice, open, interested in your ideas. I’m loving my job, 100%.”
In case you were curious, James has since married the girlfriend he came back for.
If you want to find out more about what our employees like about working at SThree, consider browsing the 'Why SThree' section on our careers website.