Reflecting on 18 years of Pure

Pure Directors

In September, Pure celebrated 18 years of providing professional recruitment consultancy to the eastern region. Considering everything currently happening in the world, we have had the opportunity to reflect on the past 18 years and to consider what we have learnt over this time.

18 years ago the world was a completely different place than it is now.  The high street still had Gap and Woolworths. Mobile phones were just beginning to become popular, social media wasn’t a thing and it was common to get the newspaper delivered daily. The internet was still fairly new and accompanied with a dial-up tone. Google was only 4 years old.  It was a time when you rented movies from your local Blockbuster and Zoom was a noise that children made when playing with toy cars.

Heraclitus, the Greek philosopher said, “Change is the only constant in life” and this is true in our experience. How people and organisations have had to adapt and change over the past 18 years has been incredible, and there have been significant changes alone in the past 6 months. 

I asked the founders of Pure, for their reflection on the last 18 years:

Gill Buchanan, COO

“Over the past 18 years, we have seen significant change. Life is always changing. When I started Pure, my youngest son was 10 months old. This autumn, he is starting his first year at University.

Seeing our company grow and establishing a collaborative culture has made me proud along with working with and developing a great team of people. I remember having a client who would only work with me. I had to take a call from this client urgently and had to ask Caroline Batchelor to sit in the car with my 3 year old and a 10 month old, while I went into the office to take a call from the client – this was before we had mobile phones.

In 2002 it felt like a much more formal world in business - we wore suits. Our launch photo in the newspaper shows this. The world of work now seems much more informal. The types of roles we recruit for has changed which reflects the types of skills that organisations now need - social media roles did not exist in 2002. 

It was a world before online job boards, where jobs were advertised in the classifieds section of the newspaper. The evolution of technology has really influenced and changed how we deliver recruitment.

Recruitment is ever evolving, and the only constant is change. The 2008 global financial crisis, significantly affected recruitment.  We have always focussed on our values and being a trusted recruitment company providing a quality service and during times of change, this enabled us to continue to support our candidates and clients whether it was through redundancies, business transformation or dealing with higher volumes of candidates looking for new jobs. This has some parallels with the crisis we are in today.

What I am most proud of is how we have supported our teams, our candidates and our clients through both work and life challenges. For me, it all comes back to people. The energy from our people has enabled us to survive and thrive over the ups and downs throughout the past 18 years and will enable us to support our clients and candidates as everything changes again in the future.”

Ian Walters, CEO

“Reflecting on the last 18 years, I am most proud of how we have helped people.

Over the past 18 years, we have helped over 27,000 candidates find new jobs. This has always been what has driven me in recruitment. After 20+ years in recruitment, I still get excited and take great pleasure in placing people in new roles and seeing them thrive.

It has been amazing to see how our team has grown and developed both professionally and personally. We still have a number of people who have been with us from the very beginning and I am very grateful for the commitment and loyalty that our people give to our business and us. We have worked hard to offer flexibility to support our people to live a full life. I am also very proud of the people who have worked with us then gone on to have careers elsewhere. I was talking with a former employee recently who has gone on to have a career in HR and I am pleased we are still in contact and can offer further support. This makes me proud to know that we are having a positive impact on the region.

Technology has hugely influenced how we do business, but one thing that has not changed is understanding and engaging with people. Communication and relationships with people are so important to us and have got us through the highs and lows of the last 18 years.”

Lynn Walters, Executive Director

“Since we began in 2002, we have been very clear about our values and how we wanted to run our business. I am incredibly proud of what we set out to achieve and what we believed in still bears true today.

Pure has given us a great opportunity to make a real difference to people and businesses across the eastern region. I am proud of the lasting impact of our first initiative Best Employers Eastern Region that has become the ‘go-to’ on employee engagement. This has enabled us to showcase great practice and innovative ideas that have inspired and raised the bar for our region's organisations. In January 2014, we launched our Women’s Leadership Programme, which has supported over 100 women to develop their careers.  In March 2018, we launched our latest initiative, the Board Ready Talent Programme with Cranfield Business School which has enabled us to help our region's businesses to develop their leaders of the future.

We pride ourselves on personal service, going the extra mile and building long-term relationships and the initiatives have meant that we are more than just a traditional recruitment company. We are committed to the development of people and businesses across our region, providing support, advice and connecting people. Our team, our relationships and our culture have enabled us to adapt and survive through challenging times. 

We have also been able to support our community and although our impact has been less than normal this year, I look forward to having the opportunity to do more in the future.”

Caroline Batchelor, Director

“I am super proud of the number of people we have found jobs for in 18 years and how we have made such a difference to people’s lives. I love it when I hear my colleague Nick talking to a Finance Director who I placed in his or her first clerical finance role. Many of our candidates have stayed with us throughout their careers and we have supported them at every step. Many of our team have long service at Pure and it is great to work with a great bunch of people who actually like each other!

Over the years, we have won awards for being a great place to work, for living and breathing our unique culture by encouraging our team to be individuals and by encouraging ideas. I am always pleased to hear feedback from clients, friends or family about the service we provide and how we stayed true to the values that we have believed in from the beginning.

Being involved in our Women’s Leadership programme has been incredibly important to me. Through the programme, I feel privileged to have learnt from many professional and aspiring delegates.

Since 2002, we made a commitment to support the communities that surround us. I have had the best time raising money for charity by completing the Inca Trail, climbing Kilimanjaro, walking the National 3 Peaks and Yorkshire 3 Peaks.  I am pleased to have had the opportunity to do this and to actively encourage our people to make a difference.

I have been given fantastic opportunities since starting Pure in 2002, setting up divisions, the charity work, the WLP and now my coaching. It cannot get better than working for a business that has allowed and encouraged me to grow. The pandemic has been a difficult time for many, but we have continued to support our clients and they like using us because we have built up strong relationships with them over the last 18 years.”


2020 has certainly presented challenges for recruitment and for our business and we recognise there will be tough times ahead. Whilst the future remains uncertain, reflecting on the past 18 years has shown how resilient we are and how much we have achieved.

What we do know is that things will change again, both personally and professionally. 

For us, helping people through these times with jobs and personal development is our reason for being.  No matter what changes, we know that things will change and they will be all right in the end.

 Judith Pugh profile picture

Written by

Judith Pugh

Judith joined Pure in 2017 and is responsible for marketing the business, building our marketing strategy and delivering campaigns. Judith’s worked in marketing for more than 20 years across a range of industries – from health and fitness, horticulture, GIS software, education and now recruitment.

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