Global growth driven by local talent

    Providing young people with the environment and culture to develop their careers has been key to Roc Search’s success over the past decade.


    When Conor Roughneen set up Roc Search in Reading in August 2007, only in his wildest dreams did he think that 12 years later he’d be heading up a global tech and engineering specialist recruitment company with nearly 200 staff.

    “I had previously worked for a big international recruiter for six years when I decided to start my own company at 28,” says the 40-year-old founder and MD. “I wanted to create a business and organisation that could support young people in Reading. At first, I thought that if I could get it to 30 or 40 staff, that would be an achievement. We now have seven offices in four countries – the UK, US, Ireland and Germany – and our high level objective is to hit 300 headcount and a £90 million turnover over the next two years. Longer term we want to have a presence in every continent.”

    As Roc Search grew its global footprint, Roughneen never lost sight of his Reading roots. “I was born in Ireland but my family moved to Tilehurst when I was five. I attended Saint Paul’s primary and then Hugh Faringdon secondary school, so I’m a Reading lad through and through. My aim when starting out was to provide ambitious and driven young people like myself with a platform to achieve their goals and have a place to stay for the long haul. The same people who started their recruitment careers with us in Reading have spearheaded the growth of our organisation, both in the UK and globally.”

    Hiring top talent

    With an ultra-modern office workspace in the White Building, the company’s Reading HQ remains the focal point of the business. “Reading has and always will be our HQ. It’s our largest office and home to key sales teams and most of the company’s operations teams,” Roughneen adds. “My big goal is to reach 130 staff here over the next 18 months – we’ve got the infrastructure for Roc Search to become a major specialist recruitment player in the Thames Valley region.

    With its thriving tech hub and excellent university, being in Reading has allowed us to partner with exciting companies and grow alongside them. The Thames Valley is a fantastic place for business.”

    But it’s not just about making its mark as a successful local enterprise. Roc Search takes pride in its work with the local community. “We’ve been sponsoring the Reading Santa Run since day one and also sponsor the charity of the year category at the Pride of Reading awards. We’ve supported charities such as Naomi House & Jacksplace, who do such fantastic work with children and young adults.

    Corporate social responsibility is important to me and as a business everyone really believes in giving back to the local areas we operate in.”

    Making it onto the Sunday Times ‘Best 100 Small Companies to Work For’ list is testament to the environment and culture at the company. “We’re extremely proud to once again be in the top 100 – in fact, we’ve been able to break the top 20 consistently for four consecutive years since 2016, out of 3,000 companies that enter. That shows that the work we’re doing is being recognised by our people.

    “This year was extra special as we received one of Best Companies’ five ‘Special Awards’ – Outstanding Learning & Development – for the work we do in supporting people throughout their careers with us. I never want to lose good people through lack of opportunities.”

    Asked about the secrets of his business’s success, Roughneen highlights four key areas, “Hire really well, invest in talent, treat everybody with utmost respect and trust people to do their jobs.” It’s proving to be a winning formula for Roc Search.