Empresaria Group plc is featured in July's edition of Recruiter Magazine

Empresaria back on expansion trail

Expansion is again on the agenda of multi-sector international recruiter Empresaria Group after several years of stabilising its existing portfolio.

With "bright rays of recovery" favouring the UK and the continental European markets, "we're now more confident about picking up on that 'buy and build' strategy", chief executive Joost Kreulen told Recruiter.

This year, Empresaria opened a Hong Kong office for its creative and digital brand Become, as well as bought a 51% stake in Middle East construction & engineering recruiter BW&P. Now Empresaria is in "a quite early stage" of looking at further expansion into Latin America beyond its existing presence in Chile and Mexico, Kreulen said.

At the same time, Asian cities such as Bangkok, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur and Manila - not generally the first choice of companies looking to expand into Asia - are proving to offer significant opportunity. However, he warned that companies seeking to move into those geographies needed to "be committed to spending a couple of years there to build up".

Locals should make up the most of the operations' workforces, with expatriates assigned there as managing directors "to train up and coach" new recruits, Kreulen said. "We're not looking for prima donnas [as expat MDs] who want to do the big deal."

In Kuala Lumpar, the first generation of local managers are now "ready to take over an office", he said. What Kreulen called the "Asia for beginners" cities of Hong Kong and Singapore are "saturated... The cost of launching businesses there has gone up. It's highly competitive", he added.

Latin America, Colombia and Peru - they are a bit more 'green field' in terms of markets", Kreulen said. "I think it's a good area."

Empresaria operates in 18 countries and has 20 brands.

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