Congratulations to Ashley Dunbar, our newest Director!
Today is a proud moment for us at Austin Fraser, we’re really pleased to announce that Ashley Dunbar has been promoted to Director. We speak to Ash about how he got to this point and to get his advice for others with ambitious career goals!
How long have you been with us at Austin Fraser and what did you do before you started?
I joined Austin Fraser eight years ago as a Trainee having returned from travelling in Asia and Australia. I’d previously worked as an Estate Agent and within sales for ten years but I was starting off in recruitment for the first time.
How did you find recruitment to begin with?
Tough, I didn’t have much success when I started, but I worked hard to build up my market knowledge, a great candidate network and build strong relationships with clients. I knew the biggest influencers in my sector and set about winning them over. In my second year this all contributed to me climbing up the boards quickly and getting promoted to Senior Consultant.
What market did you work within when you joined us?
I built the Microsoft Contracts desk from scratch and developed a network and knowledge in niche sectors. It was really important to me from the start to add value to my relationships and to be able to offer genuine consultancy skills to my clients and candidates.
What was the next stage in your career?
As our team grew it made sense for the IT Contracts team to split into three. I started to grow a team around me and it’s fair to say that my management journey also tested my resilience to the maximum too. Other teams grew more quickly which meant some of my peers were promoted before me, but my effort and commitment to the cause never wavered.
How did you push on and progress?
I focused on hiring quality people and giving them the skills to build their markets, embedding standards across the team whilst encouraging individuals to play to their own strengths. It was in 2015 that all this work started to pay off as the team became more successful and I progressed through the Team Leader, Sales Manager & Profit Centre Manager thresholds within 12 months. My long-term goals moved ever closer and this motivated me even more.
As we entered 2016 I had a clear goal to try and achieve a Director level performance and 2016 turned out to be a great year for me and my team. The Contracts team grew by about 36.67%. I established a perm team from scratch which began to regularly contribute to the overall billing. I also managed to develop a number of highly regarded Principal and Senior Consultants.
What has been the most rewarding part of your career so far?
Leading a contract team from having the lowest Weekly Gross Profit to the highest within the company over a two year period. This was a key achievement leading me to win “Manager of the Year” at the last Annual Sales Meeting.
What has been the most challenging part of your career so far?
Transitioning from being a biller to a Team Leader. Consistently, stepping outside of my comfort zone to drive ideas, challenge behaviour and create an identity and team standards.
How have you found building a team and managing people in this environment?
This is a team sport and not about one individual. I am proud to be part of some exceptional performances and progression of people around me, I hope I’ve helped others exceed their own expectations. It will be an extremely proud day for me when I can personally promote someone to Director within Technology!!
What advice do you have for aspiring recruiters?
This career isn’t for the faint-hearted. You will be challenged, you will feel the pressure. The rewards are good for the effort and commitment required to be successful. If you don’t back yourself and believe you’ll succeed, I suggest you throw the dice again.
How has Austin Fraser supported your career aspirations?
Firstly, I was never the best biller, though I knew I demonstrated the values that AF are driven by. It was obvious to me from the early days that this company could take me where I wanted to be, these beliefs were also endorsed by my managers. I never lack ambition or shy away from a challenge and developing my career and skills are key for me. AF has provided me with the perfect balance of vision and grounding about what I need to do to move onwards and upwards. AF have always believed in me and I believe this is a great company, this has created the perfect environment for me to succeed.
Derek Simpson, our CDO concludes…
“All of these things Ash has mentioned led to a brilliant financial performance last year, culminating in Ash winning the Manager Of The Year Award at the ASM and ultimately hitting the Director target given to him at the start of the year! As we move forwards with our new structure I know that Ash will continue to develop his skills and help the growth of our combined UK Technology team. Brilliant work mate and I look forward to celebrating this promotion with you and no doubt, more success in the future.”