Engineering Manager - Operating Company

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The Client

Our client is a very successful operating company in a period of dynamic growth due to them being acquired, as a franchise, by a large international transportation organisation. As a result of this acquisition, and a large increase in the network, the business was more than doubling in turnover and manpower. The business was also in a transition period in terms of its culture and overall business strategy, the appointment of a brand new senior management team and increased focus on revenue and customer service were just some of the elements designed to take the business from a £20m turnover ‘family feel’ business into a successful, forward-thinking part of the overall group organisation. 


The Business Challenge

Despite having been successful in the recruitment of most of their new senior management team, our client was struggling to attract a high calibre Engineering Manager. Salary levels, location and a general lack of engineering talent in the marketplace were some of the challenges our client faced in filling this post. They identified the need for a headhunting approach, to attract people who would not be actively looking for a new opportunity. 


The Role

Given their changing environment, our client was keen to attract candidates who were experienced leaders and motivators as well as very highly skilled engineers. The successful candidate would also be involved in setting the strategy for their division as well as being actively involved in overall company strategy, therefore it was crucial for candidates to have the right experience and skillset to be a key part of the management team. 


Our Solution

As with any senior engineering post, we knew that it would be a challenge. We mapped out all of the operating companies in light and heavy rail and started our approach. After 2 weeks it was clear that the client’s salary range and benefits package was not enticing enough for the real talent in the sector. We presented our market research to the Managing Director and HR Director and explained what we felt would need to be offered to secure the right candidate.

On the back of Collingwood’s advice, the salary and package on offer were increased and the search was re-commenced. As with all of our assignments, Collingwood conducted first stage interviews on our client’s behalf. 


The Result

Despite the challenging nature of this position, Collingwood provided our client a very strong shortlist of 3 candidates. The Managing Director and Human Resources Director were keen to make a relatively quick decision regarding this appointment. After conducting in-depth first-stage interviews, coupled with Collingwood’s detailed interview notes from our meeting with the candidates, an offer was made to their preferred candidate. The offer was made within 8 weeks of commencing the search and the candidate joined our client in March 2014.

Both Collingwood and our client were extremely happy with the outcome. 


About the author
Doug Mackay
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Having started his career in Executive Search in 1998, Doug set up Collingwood in 2005 alongside his wife, Claire Mackay.

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Doug Mcckay

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