Technology recruitment has always been a lucrative business, with demand for tech professionals showing no signs of slowing down. Before starting his own recruiting business, Tom White was earning huge sales commissions, reaching a record £500,000 in one year.
Now he has a different view of the industry and as the founder of a recruitment agency specializing in IoT and video placements, his goal is to make working in technology a positive force. White’s first company, Paratus People, was launched in 2016 and relaunched this year as: 5Values. With a renewed sense of purpose, her mission is to discover the brands that support, find and showcase the tech talent, making technology a force for good in the world.
As a youngster, White’s interest in technology led him to study Computing for Real-Time Systems at university. But when his interest in a full-time career in pure tech waned, he switched to a degree in business and real estate. After graduating, he embarked on a successful sales career, selling mobile phones to companies, and was soon sought by a rec2rec firm for a position seeking exceptional technology talent.
In 2009, he joined another recruiting firm on a commission basis, as the global financial crisis had made hiring with standard salary packages scarce. White undauntedly continued to hit his best year ever, earning £500,000 in commissions, a sales record for the company. He also generated over £5 million in fees for the company, and by the time it was sold to the Manpower Group in 2015, he had entered into an equity partnership. After we left the company with capital, it was time to go it alone, focusing on the two in-demand technical areas of video and IoT.
He says: “By the end of 2015, the transition from linear to non-linear content streaming, or video anywhere, was a key feature of the tech landscape. Amazon acquired Lovefilm, Netflix gained prominence and the shift from set-top box to OTT (Over the top Video) created a demand for a new generation of tech talent to help companies usher in this digital shift.”
In 2016, he launched Paratus People, which achieved a turnover of £2 million at the end of its first year of trading. But White wanted more than a successful tech recruitment company. The transition to the current 5Values brand began with his desire to create a corporate charter based on the principle of being a positive force in the world of digital transformation, which is reflected in the new name and ethos.
He says: “Our five core values underlie everything we do. Isaac Newton once said: ‘If I’ve seen further, it’s by standing on the shoulders of giants’ We really liked this. The five values reflect Isaac’s name: Inclusive, Sustainable, Considerate, Authentic and Considerate.”
Video and IoT remain the focus of the company’s core services. While there has been some video consolidation, instant gratification from streaming media is on the rise, especially for the younger generation. IoT concepts such as Digital Twin will evolve and provide more measurable activity in the digitization of real-life events and the analytics and more important predictive outcomes that can be achieved to save lives, not just money.
White says, “Over the past two years, we’ve placed an increasing number of engineers improving the development of electric vehicle infrastructure through a major national supplier of EV charging stations and one of the largest U.S. suppliers of EV components. We’ve built teams for technology companies with advanced machine learning, data and robotics to improve the waste management and recycling industry. This contract area has grown by 35% for our company over the past year.”
5Values is also involved in several software development projects to make audio content more accessible and inclusive for everyone. This follows the US Food and Drug Administration’s deregulation of “over-the-counter” prescription hearing aids.
“The company was able to provide critical candidates for companies to develop a broader range of this fast-growing technology,” said White. “Not all of our clients’ ‘North Star’ aspirations create technology as a force for good, but we hope to educate and inspire them as they journey through our work.”
by his IoT Podcast, 5Values shows companies that have built devices to detect wildfires, such as Dryad, NTT Data, which uses digital twins to save the planet, and Deloitte, which uses IoT to improve the sustainability of food production and Pangea, which provides healthcare remotely enhanced by 5G technology.
White has also launched initiatives that reflect the business ethic for its 35 employees, including the 100 Hours Initiative. Employees get 100 hours, paid outside of their holiday pay, so that they can give back to the community, for example by supporting job seekers with career advice, health and wellness and learning and development. 5Values is working on B Corp status.
The company is on track to turn 10 million pounds this year. With offices in the UK, the Netherlands and Germany, expansion to the US is planned for 2023.
Ultimately, for White, what matters is the purpose of his company. He says: “The pandemic has changed us; it changed me and made me think about who I am, the company I want to grow and the direction I need to go. Over time you realize that if you don’t help solve the problems, you are part of the problem. We realize that profit is for good, but it is nothing unless it has an impact.”