Spotlight on: Matt Roach – Client Relationship Manager at Carbon60

Spotlight on: Matt Roach – Client Relationship Manager at Carbon60
Ian Davies

5 minutes

Spotlight on: Matt Roach – Client Relationship Manager at Carbon60

Hear from Matt Roach, Client Relationship Manager at Carbon60, as he offers insight into his career in recruitment, the future of the industry and much more.

For the latest edition of Spotlight, we spent some time with Matt Roach, Client Relationship Manager at Carbon60, to learn about his role and his career so far; hear his thoughts on recruitment, engineering and client-recruiter relationships; and to get his advice for anyone looking to follow in his footsteps.

Q. What is your current role? And what does that entail?

A. So my current role at Carbon60 is Client Relationship Manager, and I primarily focus on building relationships and creating business for our Engineering Division.

I actually haven’t done any direct recruiting per se for a few years now; my job is to is to identify prospective clients and connect them with our teams, with the objective of winning the client’s business and providing them with our services and the solutions they need.

Then, in conjunction with the delivery team, I also make sure that we deliver on what we’ve promised, overseeing the project from a programme management perspective.

Q. Tell me a little bit about your background and career so far.

A. I’ve been in recruitment, working in various roles, for about 20 years now, with most of that spent in engineering recruitment.

When I first joined Carbon60 a few years ago, I was tasked with starting a new division centred on automation and controls, but soon moved into an Operations Management role. I’d always leant toward the sales side of the role however, which is a big reason why I am in a more sales-focused position now.

I actually took on my current role just before the COVID pandemic, so there have been plenty of challenges and changes to navigate along the way, with the recruitment landscape constantly evolving. But it’s these challenges that make my job so interesting, varied and rewarding.

Q. What are your thoughts on recruitment at the moment?

A. The recruitment industry is starting to settle down a bit now, following a COVID boom of sorts. During the pandemic, demand for talent was high, markets were competitive. Oh, and so were salaries! As companies looked to rebuild workforces, offers were probably 20% higher than the pre-pandemic norm. Counteroffers were up considerably too.

Now though, in line with trends we see across all industries, markets have levelled a little. Cost of living is up, and so is the cost of business too. So, recruiter-client relationships are a bit more ‘normal’ again now, with a return to a more aggressive approach to finding and hiring talent.

Q. Is there anything in Engineering that particularly excites you right now? Are there any trends to look out for?

A. The way technology is influencing engineering right now is very exciting. Tech has always had a bit part to play in the sector of course, but new technologies seem to be infiltrating the space at a pace.

Artificial Intelligence is an obvious one. In my experience, I’ve always found manufacturing and engineering companies to take an old school approach to the way they do things. But A.I is driving them towards a more automated approach. Workforces are embracing the power of A.I and the benefits of working with it, rather than against it.

I think it aligns with the demographic of today’s workforces; many of the people who fill skill gaps in engineering have recently graduated, and have hands-on experience with the latest tech. What’s more, existing workforces are being encouraged to upskill, learn how to use and benefit from such technologies.

Q. What would you say makes a great client-recruiter relationship?

A. I think all relationships are built on trust and understanding of what’s required and how we’re going to achieve what is required.

Before COVID, recruitment was very transactional. Now it is much more solution based. So, recruiters work closely with clients, identify their requirements, and adapt their solutions accordingly. It is for the recruiter to deliver on what they offer, and for the client to trust in them to deliver.

It really is about collaborating and working together. It benefits both parties, and makes for a more successful project.

Q. What advice would you give to any clients and/or recruiters? Any ‘must do’s’?

A. Be prepared and ready to work harder than anyone else. The market is hard. For everyone. There aren’t as many roles out there, not as many clients are recruiting. And it would be easy to make excuses. But those who don’t and focus on making the most of any opportunities out there will be successful.

The key is to continue to harvest and build on existing relationships. They are your foundation. You can take key learnings from those and put them into future relationships and projects, to make yourself stand out in such a competitive space. I firmly believe in the power of repetition and repeating good habits. And hard work, of course!  

Q. Do you have any tips for anyone starting in recruitment?

A. Above all, have realistic expectations. Many companies will sell you the world, talking up earnings of six-figure salaries within a year. The reality is that such things are highly unlikely, especially in the current economic climate.

Be ready to start from the bottom and put the hard yards in to get to the top. Failures will perhaps trip you up along the way, but that’s the same for everyone. And there is no shame in that.

I’d suggest breaking your career beginnings into a 3-to-5-year cycle. If you’re settled into your career within 3 years, and progressing by 5, you’ll likely be in it for a long and prosperous period.

Q. What about for anyone looking to start a career in – or find a new role in – engineering?

A. Technology is such a big part of engineering, so I think one of the most important things to do is to keep a finger on the pulse when it comes to innovations and trends. We’ve already seen how important A.I has become, but in a few years – or even months – the next big thing might have come along, changing the game again.

So, it pays to be really well researched, well versed, and willing to invest time in constantly learning.

Q. Finally, do you have any funny stories/experiences from your career so far that you could share?

A. Ah, yes. So, I won’t mention any names, but a few years ago myself and a colleague were booked to attend an all-day event in Ireland. Everything was all sorted. Well, so it seemed. When we arrived at the airport to fly-out, it turned out that said nameless colleague had printed out the wrong boarding pass and couldn’t get through security.

So off to Ireland I went. Alone. And then attended the 7-hour-long event. Alone. I met loads of stakeholders, having quite intense conversations all day long, answering questions and promoting our business. Once again, all alone.

Finally, absolutely shattered, I got to the hotel we were booked to stay in, only to find my colleague sitting comfortably at the bar, relaxed, and enjoying their second pint having got a later flight over.

Alright for some!

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