"A whopping 98% of staff here say they laugh a lot with their team, so what have they got to smile about? Maybe it's the fun atmosphere with outgoing, like-minded people. Or perhaps the great career progression, inspirational bosses and excellent perks. Regular after- work tipples also add cheer.
Youth and enthusiasm permeate Pareto, still in its own infancy at just 10 years old. Shying away from the "recruitment company" label, it is a niche business that trains and places graduates in sales jobs. "It's a continuation of university, but with a salary," says Jonathan Fitchew, co-founder and managing director, who met partner Andrew Sawer on a corporate jolly. "We went on a trip up the Eiger, got boozed-up and decided we wanted to work together," he explains.
The future looks interesting, too; there are plans for overseas franchises and the company may be floated on the stock market. The ambitious staff enjoy being part of a stimulating environment; 95% are excited about where the company is going, and nine out of 10 think they can make a valuable contribution to its success. With headquarters in the well-heeled Cheshire town of Wilmslow, rents for freshly graduated, loan-heavy new starters might have proved prohibitive, but some employees rent flats from their bosses at affordable rates, establishing Pareto as a lifestyle rather than just a job. Such touches also cement the high regard in which the founders are held; 94% have a great deal of faith in the person leading the organisation.
Generosity is often referred to here. Salaries are good and there are monthly performance-related cash bonuses, while the most-appreciated employee receives a present (and wears a crown). Fancy dress, or undress, is popular: antics such as the self-explanatory ""strip cold-calling"" perk up what might otherwise be a trying task.
Promotion happens fast for those who show initiative and staff set their own targets for the coming year. They have a say in their incentives, too, which 24- year-old senior account manager Brian Whigan is very pleased about: "I've got the new Audi A3. I chose it," he beams.
There is also the company trip to Dubai to look forward to, although Fitchew bowed out of another jolly to Tenerife last year to spend time with his newborn twins. "I can't stay in the bar until 5am any more, though Andy can still lead from the front," he says. Sawer's bold efforts don't go unnoticed; 92% say senior managers truly live the values of the company. For a business of fewer than 60 staff, the benefits are impressive: company cars and mobile phones, private health insurance and a contributory pension scheme for all. Sales director Nicole Snook offers one of the reasons why the perks are so abundant. ""As a sales person going out to companies to place graduates, I would often be offered the job. We have to look after our staff because they'd get poached otherwise." A down-to-earth approach and a close pastoral eye from senior management help keep Pareto employees' feet on the ground, leaving the rest of their bodies otherwise occupied: "We've got some people who, if you cut them in half, they would say Pareto," says Snook.
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