Concrete conversation with Alan Derry

Headshot of Alan Derry
Alan Derry, managing director of Technical Resources

We had the delight of interviewing Alan Derry, the managing director of Technical Resources.

Technical Resources are specialists in Contract and Permanent recruitment of Telecoms, IT, Networking, & Fire & Security Staff at all levels. Founded in 2000 Alan and his team have worked hard to become specialists in this niche market, read on to find out more…



IM What is your role within Technical Resourcing?
AD So, I’m the managing director.
IM And did you set the company up yourself or did you take over as MD?
AD I set the company up myself, just me on my own, and that was in April 2000.
IM Nearly 20 years then! What type of company structure do you adopt?
AD Well we are split into contract and perm divisions and within those, we are split into specific markets, so different industries, we make it quite niche.
IM And before you set up the company what was your background in recruitment?
AD I started working in recruitment in *pause [how old was I] I think 1987. I started as a consultant, worked my way up to being a team leader then as a manager, then our company got bought out by a big company and I ended up becoming the operations director there, then becoming the MD of that company and then I set to set up my own in December 99’.
IM When did you make your first hire?
AD What I actually did was I took on a temp person, I used to spend all day selling trying to bring jobs on and I then got someone to work for me from five o’clock to nine o’clock, we went along like that for you know about 6 months, and then my first hire was someone who used to work for me before that wanted to come in and start up a specific division.
IM At the moment what is your current headcount?
AD We are 40 people today.
IM Is that consultants or employees?
AD Employees, so that’s not just consultants, I mean I rounded it up it’s about 37 and I would say about 8 of those are admin, compliance and the rest have sales functions but are different, we have traditional 360 recruiters, not many of those. What we generally do is start a market and when we start a market we would have a 360 recruiter but then as we get established we would break it down into three jobs. So, you would have a resource, an account manager and a new business person.
IM And that’s how you tend to structure your recruitment process is it?
AD Yeah, right, when we get into a market that we are established, like cybersecurity and engineering and also within structured cabling in our teams we will break it up into those three categories.
IM What would you say was the hardest part of becoming established in those markets?
AD I must admit we were quite lucky in the point of view that either myself or people I had working for me had worked in those markets before and what we did was start off small and stayed very niche and what established the market was getting good candidates and selling those to clients. Having said that there are cycles in recruitment that I believe that changes completely, just after the last recession, sort of 2009 it wasn’t the candidates that were in the market it was more the clients and were pre-recession we were selling candidates after we were going back to try and establish relationships with clients because there were a lot of candidates in the market.
IM Would you say that’s still the case now?
AD No not at all I would say as we have gone back into the case of skill shortages. I mean they are only going to get worse and there are certain industries where there are certain people are leaving school or going to uni and going into what I would say attractive markets, where there are I would say older markets where people aren’t going in and being trained any more. Talking about all the construction markets and traditional construction jobs and engineering jobs, where the skill shortages are high.
IM Following from that Simon Girling had also mentioned the effects of Brexit. What’s your view on the impact this may or may not cause?
AD Okay so I think that we aren’t really going to know until it happens but my idea would be that we will start getting a lot more people from everywhere else in the world rather than just coming from Europe. So, while we have been in Europe there have been controls on how many people can come into the UK and even if they are skilled there is a controlled cap on the amount of people able to come from the rest of the world and that’s already had an effect as I’ve seen within the news recently that because there is a cap we are now not getting the amount of people through Europe, but that cap was actually hit quite quickly. The government can now talk about lifting those caps which they are going to need to if we are going to fill all of our jobs.
IM Saying that then there seems to be a rise in the number of construction recruitment startups which indicated there is a large amount of jobs, do you agree would you say the industry is doing well?
AD I think that the construction industry is a good barometer of how well the country is doing because in times of recession the construction industry almost closes down, and when the country is doing well the construction industry is booming, and you only have to look at the number of cranes in the London skyline to know that the construction market is booming, and I think that’s the reason why recruitment agencies are opening up. When you’ve worked in recruitment as long as I have there are times when you hear “oh no I don’t want to work in construction anymore” it’s a dead market and then all of a sudden everyone wants to get back into it as the cycle changes. Right now, it’s very very busy in that market.
IM If you could give any tips to a new recruitment startup specialising in construction?
AD Well as you’ve just said there the word specialisation is very apt, don’t just specialise in construction specialise in something that’s quite a niche within construction. Whatever that is whether it be, quantity surveyors or site managers or even ground workers, whatever it is I think start off by specialising because where there is a skill shortage I believe you could actually do well. A lot of people may shy away by I think if you go and talk to people that are working for recruitment agencies you can find out what they don’t like about the recruitment agencies they are working for maybe they aren’t being treated as well as they ought to be and then find out what money they are getting and then go and market those people to prospective clients.
IM Brilliant, thanks Alan I think the points you’ve made have been very valuable. And thank you for taking the time to speak with me!
AD No problem, it’s been a pleasure you take care.


To find out more about Technical Resources visit:

Comment your questions to be answered in the next concrete conversation.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *