Interview with Scott Roberts, Managing Principal
Could you tell us more about the history of Cadden Crowe?
Originally a private company, Cadden Crowe was founded in 1996 in Sydney. A few years later the company expanded to Melbourne, Brisbane and subsequently to Perth. Each of the new offices were set-up as franchises of a common brand. In 2005, the owners sold to Rubicor, a company funded by ANZ and Turnball Investments established to purchase boutique recruitment companies to create a house of brands. Cadden Crowe was one of the first 5 companies purchased. In 2007 Rubicor was floated into the stock exchange and we are now an ASX listed company as the Rubicor Group. The Rubicor Group continues to evolve and Cadden Crowe is now one of 18 brands.
Cadden Crowe focuses its recruitment consultancy services in the resources, engineering and construction, utilities (water & electricity) and heavy manufacturing sectors. Most of the big names of industry you come across, Rio Tinto, BHP Billiton, Orica etc. are our clients. We have offices in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth, a partner office in Darwin and 4 offshore alliances. The Rubicor Group is one of the largest recruiting companies in Australia. Other brands of our groups are quite niche specialists, such as Dolman which specialises in international legal recruitment operating exclusively out of Sydney, or Ensure which specialises in the insurance and superannuation sectors. Other brands work in finance, digital media and we have a national blue collar brand – Challenge Recruitment.
Cadden Crowe recruits primarily for white collar and executive permanent vacancies. We also provide interim or temporary staff for short term assignments or projects, have well developed cost effective process for large scale recruitment drives, and we also provide organisational design, learning and development consultancy support.
Can you describe your personal background and your role within Cadden Crowe?
I studied a Bachelor of Psychology and Sociology at Monash University in Melbourne and later completed a Master’s degree in Industrial Psychology from the University of Hull in the UK. After completing my Bachelors I moved to Papua New Guinea where I spent 10 years working in government and mining. I have around 18 years of experience in mining in diverse roles ranging from Human Resources, Maintenance, Commercial and Business Support. After 10 years in PNG, my wife, our four children and I moved to Mount Isa, and for the next 10 years we experienced the outback life in the North West Queensland and in the Northern Territory. After leaving the mines I had my own consulting company specialised in organisation design and change, and then worked in adventure leadership and team development. My career move into the recruitment sector happened around 12 years ago.
After almost 5 years as General Manager John Davidson and Associates, I joined Cadden Crowe in 2006, which was then already owned by Rubicor. I came on board to take Cadden Crowe offshore. I have personal interest in the Pacific division thus I became Principal of the Pacific, this was then expanded to the Queensland Asia-Pacific division and during this time I established partner offices in Papua New Guinea, New Caledonia, Indonesia and we recently expanded into the Philippines. I have been Cadden Crowe’s Managing Principal since April 2009. I am responsible for overseeing the P&L for the brand nationally, and leading a team of 40 specialist consultants and support staff.
Do you think there is a specific way to do business in Australia?
Even though we are primarily based in Australia our offshore activity has been important to Cadden Crowe’s prosperity, especially after the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) of 2007 which saw our activity drop by 70% in Australia. The ‘Australian Mining Boom’ or construction boom barely enabled us to regain half of the pre-GFC level of activity. In this context, our dealings in the Asia-Pacific region have been very important especially for the Brisbane office. We have seen a change in the way business is conducted today in Australia and we are seeing a lot more emphasis being placed on price of services especially where the relationships with consultancies has moved from the HR function to Procurement functions.
Working in the Pacific is more like the way it was in Australia. However, even though Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands or Fiji, work within British influenced legal and business frameworks, the local cultural differences should not be underestimated. This is even more evident when we deal with a Melanesian Gallic-flavoured culture such as New Caledonia. When dealing with different cultures, it is important to take the time to get to know the people and the specific ways of their culture, especially in the Pacific region where the ‘Kastom’ is very much alive. Don’t make the mistake of blindly going into a new environment and expecting your business partners to adjust to your way. You must adapt. Cadden Crowe’s strategy consists in recruiting partners who understand both our culture and the culture we want to work with. Those people, with their knowledge of their country and often bi-lingual or multi-lingual abilities are invaluable! They understand where you want to be and know the steps that will get you there. It is important to invest in them in the long term. Developing strong relationships is key to this business.
How do you envisage the future of your company and how can FACCI help you achieve your new goals?
The current trend of the recruitment business is the commoditising of the person. Cadden Crowe needs to evaluate, change and adapt – or face the very real prospect of going out of business! I envisage that Cadden Crowe with Rubicor’s ongoing support will continue to work abroad trying and trialling new things, or becoming more niche-orientated or specialised through the introduction of upper-end products and or rebranding premium goods. I would like to see us have more cost-efficient processes that are less labour-intensive, and the opportunity to become more diversified by entering different markets and cultures.
FACCI is important to us as we would like to strengthen our New Caledonia connections, plus establish and maintain other French business connections. We would like to see why and understand how business is different in France, as well as to learn how to be successful within the French business culture. The opportunity to establish and help French companies in new places is attractive along with the chance to further understand the French language and culture.
For more information, please visit Cadden Crowe's website HERE.
Interview conducted on 16 May 2014 by Claire Dupré.
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