A Review of 2023: Gareth Tomkins

For Linear, 2023 has been another extremely busy, productive and at times, challenging year as we grapple with inflation, higher interest rates, salary/wage increases and a continued candidate skills shortage. Generally, 2023 has been a testing year in the labour market with permanent hiring dropping and temporary hiring flat. In the Construction Industry permanent hiring has experienced the steepest rate of decline out of all sectors and there has also been a decline in temporary hiring in the industry.

However, although it has been a challenging year at Linear, we have actually bucked the trend. Our perm fee billings have increased by 6% on 2022 and in the construction sector, temp fee margin has increased by 15%. This is testament to the hard work of our amazing employees, not only this year, but in previous years. We also are working with quality clients, both long-standing and new and we have an extensive database of loyal, hardworking and reliable candidates to call on which has all contributed to the positive performance.

From talking to our clients many believe that next year they will be coming back into the labour market or increasing activity. There are signs the construction market is starting to move in the right direction and a recent rise in planning approvals indicates this. As a company we are feeling very positive about next year. We have just completed our budgets for 2024 and we are forecasting a 15% growth in gross margin which is basically coming from current operations. The expectation is that come January we expect to be extremely busy.

As a company we are always looking at how we can improve, whether that be technology, people or working methods and this year we have made improvements on all fronts. One major project is the introduction of a new CRM system. As well as a substantial monetary investment the implementation has taken up a vast amount of man hours from all our staff but going forward the new system will make us more efficient, improve our working practices, make the registration/job application smoother for candidates, and take our marketing function to another level.

We have also invested in our wonderful teams this year. In Manchester we recruited a new Branch Manager in Gary Jones who has since recruited new staff to add to his team, we also have a white collar perm and contract Consultant starting in January which will compliment the trades team that we have in the North West. The future of our Manchester office is a really exciting prospect. The Architecture team has also grown this year and we have exciting plans in place for further expansion next year and beyond. Our Rail | Power | Infrastructure division has increased in numbers from five to eight, enabling the division to cover more areas in the sectors that we work in. The Company has also added to the construction teams in Newcastle and Sheffield and also our Industrial division. This puts us in a strong position to push on next year and again grow as a company whilst serving all our clients’ and candidates’ needs as we do.

At Linear we work with local charities and also give back to the community by sponsoring a number of sports teams. This year our annual charity event was a fantastic success. All our staff were involved in a cycle challenge which resulted in us cycling a combined 2000 miles in five working days and raising £2000 for two charities: TOFS and Daft as a Brush. You can read more about this on the next page.

Another success story has been the EOT. This is the first full year that the company has been owned by the EOT which enables staff to have a say in the running of the company. They have successfully implemented a number of changes this year, from working hours to an increase in recycling. The EOT really enables the staff to buy into the company and enables us to give something back to our wonderful people.