BJSS creates hundreds of new jobs despite Covid disruption

Technology and engineering consultancy BJSS recruited hundreds of people across the company last year as it forged ahead with plans for international expansion despite the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.
The BJSS Academy supports apprentices, graduates and undergraduates.The BJSS Academy supports apprentices, graduates and undergraduates.
The BJSS Academy supports apprentices, graduates and undergraduates.

The Leeds-based firm, which carries out complex technology and engineering projects for the likes of the Co-op, the NHS, the Home Office, and BP, said it was focusing on huge global opportunities as well as those in the UK.

Since May it has recruited 500 staff across its 14 offices, including 225 people at its Leeds headquarters and Sheffield office. The total headcount is now more than 1,500, including 480 in Yorkshire.

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Last September, BJSS said it had ringfenced 80 new roles, a mix of apprentices, undergraduates, and graduates, which will be filled by the end of the current financial year. Forty people will start next month.

New recruits will be supported by the company’s existing BJSS Academy learning and development infrastructure, and will follow a programme of internal, external and on-the-job training in consultancy and delivery.

BJSS chairman Glynn Robinson said: “It’s quite odd recruiting people during a pandemic so we’ve actually put more effort into that recruitment than we’ve ever done before but it’s gone well.”

The company has recruited 24 apprentices through the academy so far and it is an area of recruitment it intends to grow.

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Managing director Stuart Bullock said: “We want to make sure that there are opportunities for apprentices in all divisions, which will provide a good breadth of apprenticeships. It’ll be interesting to see how we can push that because I think there’s a phenomenal opportunity there.”

BJSS, which recently filed its latest accounts at Companies House, grew revenue and profit in 2020 despite the challenges posed by the pandemic. Revenue increased by 17.5 per cent to £164.8m in the year to the end of April, while adjusted operating profit grew 13 per cent to £33.1m.

The company, which already had an international presence in New York and Houston, launched two more offices in Lisbon and Melbourne. “International expansion is a big part of our strategy going forward,” Mr Robinson said.

The unfamiliarity of the 2020 pandemic created a high degree of uncertainty during the fourth quarter of the financial year. However, the company said that by taking steps to maintain financial controls, deploy new ways of working to support remote distributed teams, and expand the business globally, BJSS presented a solid set of financial results.

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It also relocated its Leeds headquarters in the final quarter of the year, with environmental efficiency as the main driver.

Mr Robinson said: “Some of our clients were hit hard early on but we saw growth come back very strongly from June/July, initially in the public sector and on the health side with NHS Digital but in the last few months in the private sector too.”

He added that the company had seen an acceleration in artificial intelligence and the use of data and analytics as its customers increasingly look to personalise their online services.

Meanwhile, Mr Bullock said remote working had also helped to fuel the growth of the business and enabled the company to provide a better skill set for its clients. “Lisbon’s growing at twice the pace we would expect it to grow because we can bring people in and get them working on projects regardless of where they are,” he said.

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He added: “Before, someone might have said: “I need 15 people to work in this particular office. That means the pool we have to fish from is quite small.

“We can put a much stronger team together now because we’ve got a pool of 1,500 people around the UK and Europe and in the US. However, it’ll become a bit more complicated when everyone returns to offices and moves to a hybrid model.”

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