Written on the 18 January 2011

NOV 2009

Age: 31 and 28
Business Est: 2006
Number of staff: 19
Growth: 5 per cent
Turnover: $2.25 million

IN an industry where jobs mean everything, Skye Recruitment made no redundancies in the last 18 months, leading by example on the back of a strong cash position and staying close to clients.

Principal Sophie Macdonald says the technical and engineering recruitment firm faced a tough task as employers cut back jobs, but having weathered the storm she now plans to hire up to 10 new staff this financial year.

“The odds were definitely against us because as with any time when there is a downturn and economic uncertainty, the first thing that companies do is say ‘let’s hold back on hiring’,” says Macdonald.

“We had a sense that it was coming as the market was too buoyant, salaries were at unprecedented heights, it wasn’t sustainable – but our cash position was positive so we had a bit of a buffer for the downturn.

“What was able to see us through was diversifying in different sectors – the first sector to get hit was civil engineering, while oil and gas fared better. “

Macdonald founded the company with her Australian husband Kye Macdonald who worked with her in recruitment in the UK, before migrating to Brisbane.

They started Skye Recruitment working from home in May 2006 but within a short time they moved offices twice to accommodate the extra staff needed to keep up with growth.

“We’re still getting a bit of a feel for it but we’ve found our feet in a way. We have everything in place with our processes and the way we’ve set up, but there are many things we want to do and I hope that in
five or 10 years time we still are able to identify opportunities where we can do better.”

She says the best entrepreneurs need to enjoy what they do and be themselves, but the prospect of failure is always the toughest part.

“A lot of people have good ideas but they’re perhaps afraid to go into it and commit wholeheartedly — you need to know your passion for what you do overrides all else.

“The toughest thing is to put your dreams on the line – you face the prospect in the corner of your mind that maybe it won’t work out and you may lose, but the driver for success for an entrepreneur is to give every resource you’ve got.”

Sophie was a finalist at the Telstra Queensland Business Women’s Awards.






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