Our business model

We add value by being able to fill vacancies which our clients cannot fill themselves. There are different circumstances behind each client’s situation: there may be a shortage of specialist skills within their local area, tight time constraints on establishing a new business division or a high profile project which cannot be satisfied by direct recruitment.

Hydrogen’s success depends on the ability of our consultants to source experienced, high quality, hard to find professionals, no matter where they are in the world, to satisfy the demands of our clients. 

We concentrate on markets where there is a shortage of supply of suitable candidates and a clear demand for our specialist services. In this context, we are continuing to diversify into new sectors and build our contract business across practices and regions.

Our vision is to become the number one choice for specialist talent, matching our clients with the best talent available.

We place candidates at a mid to senior level of management, typically earning between £70,000 and £150,000 per year.

In a particular market where the candidate pool is low, candidates expect to be found. They often do not have the time to seek out, apply for and negotiate new roles and particularly may not know that the right role for them exists, but in a different country. We aim to build longstanding relationships with candidates so that we can help them develop their own career and provide access to a global range of opportunities.

Meanwhile, clients see their biggest hindrance to growth being their inability to source specialist talent at mid to senior level. We make it our business to understand our clients and their markets, so that we are able to advise clients on their resourcing needs as they develop or help them to deliver major projects on time and on budget. 

Our two operating segments, Professional Support Services and Technical and Scientific, address different market sectors. Balancing the two segments in terms of their share of our total Net Fee Income is part of our strategy to mitigate against the risk of overexposure to one particular section of the economy.

The Professional Support Services segment includes the legal, finance, technology and business transformation practices (including trading and advisory work). Technical and Scientific includes placements for oil and gas industries, life sciences and power projects.

Permanent/contract balance

We place candidates in both permanent and contract roles. The revenue streams and service requirements involved in filling permanent and contract roles are different. Maintaining a balance between permanent and contract placements helps to smooth the effect of fluctuations in the economic cycle. The permanent business allows Hydrogen to generate fast cash during periods of growth when there is an increase in demand; by contrast the contract business has a large working capital requirement and is cash generative in the first periods of a downturn. When economic conditions are less certain, clients are more likely to fill positions on a temporary basis and the volume of contract business increases. 

For permanent placements, Hydrogen typically charges the client a fee based on the salary which will be earned by the candidate. The level of fee will take into account the specialist nature of the skills required, the strength of local markets and the difficulty of finding the right candidate within the time and budget set by the client. 

Building and maintaining strong relationships with both high quality contractors and with clients, and excellent ongoing service levels, are particularly important in this part of the business. Hydrogen’s contract business is supported by a highly rated contractor care division and payroll solutions which save the client administrative time and effort.