Some CEOs are driven by life beyond the office – a life that nevertheless inspires and motivates them in everything they do. For CEO John Paris – who launched Broadwing Recruitment along with his partners in 2018 – that ‘life’ is sport, and it has been a permanent passion for as long as he can remember. In fact, John played waterpolo semi-professionally and is known to be one of the most successful players of all time, with stints at Exiles, Neptunes, Sliema and as a player coach at Otters, the only club in Gozo.
“When it comes to business, sport has been my motivation, but it has also opened many doors,” he explains. “A sport like waterpolo introduced me to so many people and they become contacts; contacts that are now also clients. Recruitment often comes down to who you know and the opportunities that you are aware of, and my background in both sport and business has definitely helped us to develop Broadwing at breakneck speed.”
And although still in its first full year of operation, Broadwing has established itself as one to watch within the competitive recruitment field in Malta. Among its many strengths, the company specialises in bringing foreign talent to the island, and operates across the sectors of accountancy and finance, legal and compliance, IT and gaming, sales, marketing and administration.
“More recently we have also successfully moved into hospitality and, specifically, catering,” John explains. “We understand the huge demands on these sectors when it comes to finding the right people to operate your business, and we have made good contacts with a partner in South Africa where people are eagerly looking for opportunities internationally. These candidates are usually a very good fit for Malta because they are highly-educated and have a fantastic command of English. In fact, I am proud to say that three of our latest placements have been with South Africans who have moved to Malta and everything is going very well for both parties so far. Beyond that, we have also built partnerships in other parts of the world, including the UK, all of which promise to align well with what our own market needs.”
And Broadwing certainly seems to be onto something thanks to its international model – a concept developed by John and his partners, Alan Cini, Ben Pace Lehner and Richard Padovani, all of whom bring something specific to the company’s skillset. John in particular has three years’ experience in recruitment, and also previously worked for an Icelandic credit management business that grew from 10 to 250 clients during his tenure. “From the role of Sales Executive to General Manager, I have been through thick and thin,” he smiles. “Creating Broadwing was the perfect match for where I am now and I do think we bring something unique to the table.”
As CEO of a start-up, John explains that his role is to pretty much run the whole show, with support from his partners (who each run other businesses too). “We’re currently at ‘building’ phase but am proud that we already have over 100 jobs and an ever-growing client portfolio on our books, which is fantastic for such a young company,” he says. “We take things very seriously and it is our policy to interview every single candidate on our books before we consider putting them forward to one of our clients. To me, this business is all about helping people – helping candidates to find a career they will love, and helping businesses find the right person for the role they need to be filled – and I am very passionate about that. I strive to be open, clear and genuine in every interaction we have, and to provide advice that will actually help them to achieve their goals. I feel we have already managed to do that for many people since we opened Broadwing, and that is what drives me to keep growing the business from here.”
Nevertheless, there is no denying that recruitment is a challenging sector – especially given the scarcity of good people looking for jobs locally. “Candidates have become picky,” John continues. “They know that it’s an employee’s market and not the other way around. The result is that they want to dictate the terms; some refuse options in Sliema or Valletta for instance, while others want to know about office facilities and benefits like health insurance. The result is that human resources has become a truly integral part of every business; companies need to look after their good employees if they want to keep them. And that is where we come in too, to offer good advice on how to find quality candidates, and then how to keep them happy long-term. There is a lot of give-and-take, and a lot to be learnt. Business doesn’t operate the way it did a few years ago when it comes to human resources, and companies have got to shape up.”
And with that in mind, John says that one of the biggest challenges faced by the recruitment sector in 2019 is finding enough candidates to fill all the vacancies available. “Companies have to be flexible and open. We need non-EU candidates because, often, they are the people looking for jobs and willing to work hard for them. By opening our eyes to that, we suddenly have a larger pool of candidates to choose from and good matches can be made.”
Looking to 2019 and beyond, John stresses that it remains to be seen whether Malta will keep progressing at the formidable rate it is now, and advises companies to bear that in mind and be prepared. “You have to think to the future of where your organisation will be in a few years’ time,” he says. “Planning ahead starts now.
“As for us, we are certainly thinking ahead and making provisions. We have a number of exciting projects in the pipeline, and will continue to develop online tools that attract both companies and candidates to try our service. I see us expanding further, and growing our portfolio of services to include workshops, training, courses, and so on. I truly believe there is a lot of potential in this market and, primarily, a lot of potential to help people realise their goals. Achieving that is definitely what gets me out of bed every morning.”
MaltaChamber.org.mt is proud to be serialising MaltaCEOs 2019, a high-profile publication consisting of 50 in-depth interviews with leading CEOs in Malta. Celebrating the most influential business minds in the country, two different interviews will be featured on this business news portal week by week. MaltaCEOs was created by Content House Group in collaboration with the Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise & Industry.