East Anglian recruitment firm to become employee-owned

Just Recruitment managing director Peter Foy with staff at the Ipswich office

Just Recruitment managing director Peter Foy with staff at the Ipswich office - Credit: Archant

East Anglian recruitment business, Just Recruitment, has announced its intention to launch a new employee ownership trust where future company profits will be placed into a trust fund for the benefit of employees.

The owners of the agency, which has over 50 employees across six offices in Suffolk and Essex including Ipswich, Sudbury and Colchester, say they want the business to become employee-owned in order to “secure the company’s long-term future and organisational culture”.

The new structure will take effect this December.

Currently, the business is run by shareholders Jenny Wrightson and Emma Kershaw, and managing director Peter Foy, who said the decision to move to an employee ownership trust came about as the board considered succession planning.

He said: “Over the next two to three years the existing board will stay in place but will change over time.

“But going forward all profits from the company will benefit employees and that may be in the form of payments to them to enhance their salaries or as new benefits for employees.”

He added that Ms Wrightson and Ms Kershaw would “realise some value” from their shares in the move to this arrangement but that it would be “much less than if they sold the business”.

Next year the company celebrates 35 years in business since Wrightson opened her first branch of Just Recruitment in the Essex market town of Braintree in 1983. Since then she has guided the company to be a £15m turnover business.

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She said: “Our company has experienced great success over the years due to our employees, and our move to employee ownership shows our gratitude to our employees for their service.

“Selling our organisation to another company, would have caused us to lose our team ethos, so was not an attractive proposition. Employee ownership retains and strengthens company culture and will ensure that Just Recruitment is always part of the local community.”

According to the Employee Ownership Association, 300 businesses in the UK are employee-owned by 200,000 employees.

Mr Foy said this structure has been made more attractive by new rules allowing employee-owned companies to pay employees some bonuses tax free.