We recently celebrated our 10-year anniversary and we have some exciting plans for the years ahead! Our team have gone from strength to strength, and although the journey hasn’t always been easy, it’s definitely been enjoyable. In this piece, CEO Ian Simkins reflects on the last decade, and provides insight into the future of Silven Recruitment. 

How have Silven evolved as a business? 

When Silven Recruitment was first established in 2012, there were no fancy systems (although I liked Filemaker!) and automation was practically unheard of, so we had to do everything manually. Having said that, there was still a lot more technology than when I started recruiting in the food industry in 1996! Despite this, we had loads of fun, and the business got off to a really strong start. In our fourth year, we won awards for the fastest-growing small business and overall business in the North West, which was completely unexpected yet fully appreciated. 

Our growth didn’t end there.

Over the years, we’ve been lucky enough to keep many of our clients with us, and our relationships are now stronger than ever. More recently, we’ve taken on household names including Baxters of Speyside, Premier Foods, and Little Moons. We’ve branched out across Europe with more in the pipeline, and worked with a significant number of businesses in the vegan market (I’m looking at you, Jack & Bry). I can’t wait to do more with the vegan sector (watch this space).  

We’ve also become more well known for managing big recruitment projects for multiple hires across a variety of functions. This is something we’ve done since day one, with Heinz being the first business to use our Teams as a Service (TaaS) product. Of course, none of this would have been possible if it wasn’t for our amazing team, so hats off to them!

Why do you think Silven have gone the distance? 

If I had to give one piece of advice to anyone looking to grow their business, it would be to focus on your people. Success starts with your team, and a company is only as strong as the talent it employs. We’re lucky, we have a tight group with some amazing individuals – many of whom have been with us since day one. This is a testament to the hard work they’ve put in over the years, and I’m incredibly proud of them.

I honestly think the reason we’ve been so successful is because the team thoroughly enjoy the niche market we’re in. When your career involves walking through food factories and seeing how things are made, it’s more of a vocation than a job. As a whole, we try to be the best we can be every single day, and we do it with a smile on our faces. 

How does it feel for Silven to be turning 10?

The rest of the team would probably agree with me when I say that the last decade has flown, but it hasn’t been without its challenges. Just a year after we formed Silven, Horsegate (the 2013 meat contamination scandal) took the food industry by storm. Then came the KFC chicken shortage, Brexit, IR35, and eventually, the pandemic. As with many businesses, we all worked from home during lockdown. This was probably the most difficult time in my career from a mental health and motivational perspective.

Naturally, we thought these unexpected events and challenges would cause a whole host of problems, but they turned out to be a good thing for the business. They enabled us to prove that we can continue to provide a successful service to candidates and clients, even during difficult times. Ultimately, the hurdles we’ve encountered over the last ten years have only made us stronger, and more successful.

How have Silven changed structurally? 

In the early days of Silven, everyone was doing a bit of everything. Now, our team have dedicated roles and responsibilities. If you’ve read my latest LinkedIn posts, you’ll know that we’ve recently made some significant structural changes within the business. 

Jeremy is stepping up as our Managing Director, allowing me to focus on our long-term goals. Gilbert is now our new Head of Permanent Recruitment, and Gemma and Keeley have both been promoted to Senior Consultants. I’m also excited to help Amy and Gilbert evolve as leaders of the business.

What does the future look like for Silven? 

Right now, I can confidently say that Silven are viewed as the main player in the food recruitment marketplace, across contract and perm. We’ve got big plans for the future, too. This year, we’ll cement our management structure even further, and explore different niches within our sector, such as the growing vegan market and Europe, with America in our sights also. I can’t wait to see what the next 10 years have in store for us.

Are you interested in working for a thriving business like Silven? Perhaps you’d like to learn more about how we can help you with your hiring in 2022? Get in touch with us today for details.