Today, in the first of a series about people working in print, PrintTrends talks to Barry Harding – MD at Blazye Unguem – a Recruitment Consultancy specialising in Print & Packaging.
How did you get involved in the print industry?
Having spent 15 years in sales leadership roles in the Electronics, Automotive, Banking & Media Industries, I took on the challenge of stepping into the print arena in late 1998, when I was approached to join an ambitious B2 commercial printer as Sales Director just as it was acquiring & integrating a long established web offset business.
They were bold enough to accept that traditional print sales methodology had to change and in the next three and a half years, we refocused and repositioned the business, driving growth by over 50% to nearly £24M.
Why did you decide to get involved in print recruitment?
Having worked with a number of the well known ‘Recruiters’ during my tenure as Sales Director, it was obvious to me that few in the recruitment business had a true working appreciation of the print industry, it’s challenges and it’s staffing requirements.
I could see the opportunity to create an agency with a deep understanding of the print business and a far more professional approach to delivering value in an important industry.
Understanding the Print Industry and providing an unmatched professional service was always the value proposition for Blayze Unguem and it remains so today.
What is the biggest change you have seen in print in recent years?
Not so many years ago, print was considered something of a ‘dark art’ with frankly some strange and inefficient work practises. Many print companies had changed little in decades and the UK print industry was lagging behind other sectors.
Competition from online has meant the industry has had to innovate, become more efficient and invest in the equipment and personnel required to run a lean, modern business.
Today, the print industry is much more professional and the best companies are world class in terms of production, sales and client services.
How do you view the outlook for the print industry in the UK over the coming years?
The UK print industry is incredibly resilient and remains a wonderfully vibrant and innovative arena to work in.
The industry continues to evolve and change, but it has worked very hard at re-shaping it’s capability to listen, innovate and deliver enhanced ROI to it’s clients. New technologies and materials mean that print can offer products and services that could not previously have been imagined. Digital print technologies offer great opportunities for personalisation and customisation, while efficiencies in workflow and working practises means the industry today can deliver more value for clients and faster than ever.
Print is still a big part of the UK economy and a significant employer. The print industry is worth over £14bn pa in the UK and there are about 10,000 print companies employing around 130,000 people.
I’m very confident that print will continue to be an essential part of the marketing, communications and manufacturing fabric of current and future society.
What are the hot skills companies are looking for in the print industry today?
At Blayze Unguem, we are currently seeing high demand for Professional Sales (intelligent, strategic & skilled), Cross Media/Brand Marketing (understanding & delivering true Client ROI), Lean Manufacturing (World Class Manufacturing & Process re-engineering) and QHSE (Professional Quality, Health & Safety establishment & management).
In terms of technologies, litho print is still a major presence, but there is growth in all things digital. Improvements in manufacturing speed, inks, substrates and finishes mean that wide format is a vibrant sector and even older technologies like dye sublimation are being revitalised by technological innovation. Beyond traditional print, 3D printing is growing exponentially and there is huge potential for organic and printed electronics.
However, things have changed dramatically in recent years and the industry is now keen to recruit external academic & manufacturing talent. In addition to traditional print skills, there are great opportunities in sales and marketing, design disciplines, programming and database management, content management and even social media.
At Blayze Unguem we think opportunities to flourish and progress within the print arena are greater now than ever.
If you were looking to progress your career in print, what would you be doing right now?
Naturally you need to develop a strong and broad technical awareness of the various print manufacturing techniques and their capabilities.
However, I believe the key to driving success – as an individual or as a business – is the capacity to communicate with your clients about their brand, their challenges and their overall strategy/objectives. Print is no longer simply about an insular part of their marketing collateral production – you have to understand the client’s business.
As with every industry these days, continuing professional development is a must to be able to keep up with changing technologies and new opportunities.
We’ll never see the paperless office/society – so print, in all it’s diversity and forms, is as key a part of our future as it has been our past.
Why should print companies use a specialist recruitment agency?
As the Industry becomes more serious about how it is re-engineering its capability and value proposition, it is becoming more serious about the talent that it needs to engage.
Great people make great businesses – but finding, securing and retaining top talent isn’t easy.
As a specialist Headhunter and Business Consultancy, Blayze Unguem provides an unmatched ability to source and deliver the talent that is otherwise unseen or un-approached and at the same time we work tirelessly with our clients in helping them retain their greatest assets.
As a specialist in print and packaging, at Blayze Unguem we know ‘who is who’ is in our industries and we know who will be the best match not just for your role and requirements, but also the right fit with your existing or desired culture.
Some of our best relationships are with clients who have ‘tried and failed’ with their former ‘do-it-yourself’ approach to recruiting or indeed have used one of the big name, general recruiting companies.
All of our Consultants have a background in the sectors that we work in and we’ve been building our talent base and candidate relationships for well over a decade.
So at Blayze Unguem we understand your business and we know how and where to find the great people that you need for the evolution of your Business.
When you partner with Blayze Unguem we work tirelessly in your best interests, matching you with the best talent and supporting you with value added services that you just can’t get elsewhere.
At Blayze Unguem we are passionate about forming long term relationships with clients and candidates where we can deliver value again and again.
What is the best thing about working in print in 2014?
The strong state of positive flux as the print sector continues to evolve & re-position it’s technology, service offering and solutions makes print a constantly challenging, engaging and enjoyable arena to work in.
Undoubtedly, it’s people who make businesses and the UK print sector has a fabulous array of characters.
Many people think print is old-fashioned or boring, but those of us who work in the industry know just how exciting a business this is, not just in 2014, but the many years ahead.
With constant innovation and new opportunities appearing all the time, no two days are the same and that’s what makes working within the print industry as exhilarating today as it was when Blayze Unguem began this journey over a decade ago.
About Blayze Unguem
Blayze Unguem is a dynamic and innovative UK and International Executive Search Consultancy providing clients with unparalleled levels of service and knowledge in their search for the best talent.
For over a decade Blayze Unguem have been partnering with clients in the print and packaging industries to source, secure and retain exceptional talent.
Combining over 50 years of experience across the diversity of the print industry, the Blayze Unguem Print & Packaging team have an intimate understanding of the challenges, demands and responsibilities faced in recruitment by modern print organisations and their personnel.
We’d love to talk to you about your recruitment requirements – call Blayze Unguem now on 0845 11 22 828 for a confidential, no obligation chat.
Find out more about Blayze Unguem on their web site.