What did you study at Southampton, and why did you choose this course?
I studied BSc Marine Biology with Oceanography; I chose this course based on my interests at the time. I was intrigued by Ocean Sciences and saw it as a chance to grow my science knowledge in a tangible subject.
What did you enjoy most about your time at Southampton?
I enjoyed the whole experience of being at University, from the sports I got involved in to my course. I met people I would never normally have crossed paths with, and I also met my closest friends during my time at Southampton.
How did your studies and experience at Southampton help to shape your future?
Without a doubt, I wouldn’t be where I am today without my time at Southampton. Although I don’t work in the technical discipline of my degree subject, I work in a very data-driven industry, particularly at senior level, and my studies taught me how to analyse and act on that data in the correct way.
The University’s environment also taught me the valuable social skills required to flourish in a people-focused industry like recruitment. I’ve travelled around the world for work and my experience of meeting people from different cultures and backgrounds at Southampton has allowed me to adapt to those environments quickly.
How has your career developed since you left University?
My studies have certainly given me an edge when it comes to building relationships with clients and candidates. I started working in recruitment straight after graduation, so my focus has always been within the energy industry, primarily placing people with an Engineering or Earth Sciences background.
Recruitment is a results-driven sales industry, and I’ve been lucky enough to progress quickly through the management ranks based on my success in earlier roles. I joined Spencer Ogden in 2012 and lived in Singapore for three years, building our business from zero to 120 staff in four locations, with £30m revenue.
In 2015, I returned to London and took on responsibility for our European region (comprised of five offices), and in January 2017 I succeeded the owner of the business to take over as Group CEO.
Can you tell us a bit more about what your role as CEO at Spencer Ogden involves?
In a nutshell, I’m responsible for looking after our 400 talented staff and setting the strategic direction of the business. We’re a fast-growing business, having only been founded in 2010 with backing from two well-known entrepreneurs, so I’m tasked with continuing that high growth and leading us into new markets as we build our client base.
Almost 75 per cent of our business is overseas, with the USA and Australia being particularly fast-growing areas for us, so I travel a lot to meet our staff in those locations and interact with key clients. I’m also responsible for promoting our business externally, which means meeting with potential investors and speaking at industry events to increase awareness of the company.
What are some of the challenges you are facing in your sector?
Like all industries, we’re in the midst of a technological revolution. With the introduction of artificial intelligence, I have a responsibility to make sure that we’re ahead of the curve on using all the tools possible to enhance our service.
What are you most proud of, and what motivates you?
This is a difficult one to answer, but I’d have to say I’m most proud of our business. Just eight years ago, we had no staff or sales, but now we offer fast-growing careers for both our own staff and also for the 5,000 people we place every year with our clients. That is something to be really proud of, and it’s this growth and success that motivates me. We talk internally about building a legacy with our business, and I think we are well on our way to doing that.
Finally, what advice would you give to students starting a degree at the University of Southampton?
Enjoy it, give something new a go, and push yourself out of your comfort zone!
To find out more about Spencer Ogden, you can contact Bradley at email@example.com