Marks Sattin Managing Director, Matt Wilcox, celebrates his 15 year anniversary

Sarah Murphy our consultant managing the role

It’s not every day an employee celebrates 15 years working with a company – and certainly not every day that employee is the Managing Director of the organisation! To recognise our MD’s significant achievement, he wrote this piece about his career journey at Marks Sattin so far, how the recruitment industry has evolved, and his ambitions for Marks Sattin’s future. 

“Marks Sattin was referred to me by a friend, and I haven’t looked back”

I heard about Marks Sattin from a friend upon completing my business degree. I liked the sound of the company culture and was particularly keen on the idea of leaving Cheltenham for the bright lights of London. Despite having never considered a career in recruitment, I jumped at the chance to join Marks Sattin and started as a graduate, focusing on the part-qualified temporary market. 

“Marks Sattin – and in particular the temporary market - is a great place for anyone wanting to start their career in recruitment”

Despite taking the job largely as a way to get myself to London, I was soon embedded in the recruitment world. The part qualified temporary market was the perfect breeding ground for a successful career. The rapid pace and high volume of work taught me that you need a deep understanding of your market and the organisation to be able to operate with quality and at a high intensity, something I have carried on throughout my career.  My next move was to the qualified finance team, which I started managing after three years in the business, and within five years, I was Director for the London banking and financial services team and focusing personally on executive and interim roles. After identifying an opportunity to combine the interim and contract service offerings into one streamlined business area, I grew that side of the business before being appointed to Managing Director in 2016.

“I’ve enjoyed rapid career progression at Marks Sattin”

By my late 20’s I was running a 40-person division, and I put my success down to a couple of factors: as a fast-growing business, Marks Sattin presented many opportunities for career development, particularly within the financial services and banking space, which was an underdeveloped practice at the time for Marks Sattin.  Furthermore, I was very focused and determined about where I wanted to get to. As a big rugby follower I have always seen the value in teamwork and camaraderie to get you through the good and the bad times, something that rugby ingrains in you from a young age.

The Marks Sattin way is to promote based on execution and potential, not age or experience. If you deliver great results, uphold our values and have the ability to do more, we will always have a way of growing you and furthering your career.

“I’ve made many long lasting friendships along the way”

I always have, and still do have fun at work. We have a strong focus on company culture, and I have made friends for life throughout my time here so far. A good proportion of the current management team come from my early days with the company and two of my first team of three are still with the business today. I even met my wife Sarah through Marks Sattin!

“The recruitment landscape has shifted dramatically in the last 15 years”

One of the most significant changes I have seen is the move to more RPO models and direct hiring, plus the obvious technological transformation that has permeated every sector in the past decade.

Technology has had both a positive and negative impact on recruitment, with more data available to inform choices and improve lines of communication, this definitely boosts accuracy and efficiency. However the downside of digital is that it can create laziness on all sides of the recruitment equation. The industry’s best recruiters are still those out there building human relationships and making personal contact with candidates and clients, which is one of Marks Sattin’s strengths as a brand and one of the reasons for my own personal success. Barriers to entering the recruitment industry are low, which means many agencies come and go, and the strongest surviving companies are those that are willing to evolve with technology while still retaining that personal touch and building relationships.

“2019 was Marks Sattin’s first year under new ownership”

Marks Sattin was acquired by Gi Group in 2018, a move that has helped not just with the reach of our business, but also the services available. As well as leveraging each other’s client portfolios, the acquisition has allowed us to be part of a truly global full-service HR and Staffing business, using Gi Group’s expertise in executive coaching, training and career transition services to offer an end-to-end recruitment solution under one umbrella. With Marks Sattin now operating from seven different locations in Ireland and the UK, the scope of the business is much broader than the London-centric days of old, and the acquisition has certainly helped with this and will continue to support further growth both domestic and internationally.

“There have been a lot of learning curves since I began my professional career”

If I were to give a young professional some advice, (not that I’m very old!), I would say it’s important not to be intimidated by someone’s job title or seniority, even when you’re just starting out with little experience. Being open, friendly and polite along with acting with honesty and integrity is generally an approach that works with everyone, and it has stood me in good stead throughout my career.  

“2020 is a huge year for us, with even more growth expected”

2019 was a strong year for Marks Sattin and I predict that 2020 will be even bigger. We launched four new revenue streams last year (risk, compliance, internal audit and HR) and a new office location (Surrey), so this year we will focus on investing in these as well as looking at adjacent revenue streams to help grow the business.

As always, we will invest in our people. I am committed to growing offices and introducing teams and business lines where the demand lies. There will also be a focus on relationship-led recruitment, building on from 2019 when we hosted or partnered on a whopping 30 events across our offices. This is only possible when you have committed sales teams to do the work on organising events for their clients and candidates, as well as a fantastic marketing and support team.

“Our client base is unique and provides massive opportunities for us as a business”

Marks Sattin is not a business that relies heavily on just one or two major clients, which is unique within recruitment. Our largest client accounts for less than 3% of our total revenue, this is a testament to our stability and presents further opportunity for growth with existing and new clients.

“We know what we do is good, but we always want to improve”

While Marks Sattin has experienced great success in recent years, it’s important to always be evolving and look at ways to improve. We are proud that of our ten Directors, five are home grown graduates and across them the average tenure in the company is twelve and a half years, which makes us truly unique. Resisting the institutionalisation that can befall other recruitment companies we do also make a point of hiring from different backgrounds and businesses, gathering new ideas and trialling different ways of working.

I have big ambitions to take our business to new heights, as a team anything is possible, and we’ll support each other all the way.

Interested in joining a forward-thinking, relationship-driven recruitment company that genuinely cares about its people? We’d love to hear from you. Find out more about careers with Marks Sattin or get in touch to start a conversation. 












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