Co-founder of ghd Martin Penny launches a new recruitment business.

The Yorkshire entrepreneur has made a six figure investment in a new Leeds-based recruitment business aimed at professionalising the hiring of staff in the 'grey collar' and 'white collar' skills sectors.

Morgan King was launched in January together with Howard Slinger, a recruitment specialist with more than 25 years’ experience in the recruitment industry, particularly within the construction, rail and technical recruitment markets at senior and executive levels. Slinger’s vision is to get back to basics and build a recruitment business around people rather than relying on technology.

One of the three people behind the rise of ghd, Penny helped build the iconic brand before exiting the company in 2012. He has since founded a number of ventures including designer handbag label Jack French London.

"People are the most important part of every business, and in my experience the increasing shortage of certain skills in the market is matched by a shortage of really good recruitment partners who understand what people businesses need, and who are willing to look at the longer term rather than a sales driven model," said Penny.

"I wanted to work with a proven expert in placement and bring a service-centric model to the Yorkshire market. We aim to be an extension of the HR or management team that firms retain to improve the quality of their hiring process and to save long term HR costs.”

The firm will be based in City Square, Leeds.

Slinger said: "Having worked in the recruitment industry for over 25years, I understand how important it is for a recruitment business to be truly consultative and match the right person with the right position. This is an industry centred around people, however, too often, recruiters rely on technology to do the job and put forward candidates without really getting to know the people or business involved, instead of working to find the perfect fit. At Morgan King, our proposition is all about people, with clients and candidates being equally important. Fostering long-term relationships will form the platform for the growth and scale of the business.

“With the skills gap moving higher up the agenda for many businesses, there is a particular need for companies to find able people for what we term ‘grey collar’ roles, those between blue collar and white collar positions. With our expertise in recruiting for technical positions, this is an area we will be focussing on.”

Penny added: “There’s no doubt that recruitment is currently a hot sector. There have been a large number of private equity deals of recruitment firms over the last 18 months, a sure sign that value in these businesses is likely to rise over the next five years. I believe that Howard’s ethos of creating a business that is all about people will resonate with many employers, giving Morgan King a bright future.”