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Recruitment career path

Abbie Soutar on her recruitment career path from consultant to Associate Director

Abbie Soutar joined Search in January 2022 to lead the growth of our North West Professional Services business, heading up teams across both Manchester and Liverpool while on her recruitment career path. From the first time you meet Abbie, you’ll immediately notice her ambition and drive, which is also showcased in her accelerated career progression. We recently caught up with Abbie to find out why Search and discuss her aspirations for the business.  

Why did you choose to join Search?

 “I chose Search because it is a private equity-backed business, and I had seen first hand from recruiting into that space how those types of environments really support career development. These businesses encourage learning, autonomy, and provide competitive packages which aid a fulfilling professional career for those who truly want to be entrepreneurial. Working in this space equips me with detailed knowledge, which helps me to have even more detailed conversations with clients and candidates who are looking for opportunities in this area.

Q2) After a succession of promotions, you have quickly progressed from a Recruitment Consultant to Associate Director – how did you get there? 

“Beyond hard work, I would say that one of the things that have allowed me to progress most quickly, is that I have tried to be as consultative as possible in my career. I take the time to understand my customers and their businesses, and to represent them in the marketplace accurately. Candidates trust me implicitly with their careers. I feel that I’ve been a true business partner, both externally and internally, and have always delivered on what I’ve promised. Having climbed the career ladder fairly quickly means I’m uniquely positioned in my current role. I’m still very close to the grass-root operations but equally, spend a lot of time looking at the bigger picture and our strategic plans. I love meeting candidates as much as I love building out our business offerings.”

Q3) What motivates you, and why?

“I think it’s the fear of being mediocre. I worry about waking up one day, when it’s too late, and feeling as though I’ve had a mediocre life, relationships, and career. I want to look back on what I’ve achieved at the end of it all, and feel like it’s been epic!

There are a couple of reasons ‘why’ – firstly, it’s for experiences: travel, food, and spending quality time with family and friends. Importantly, it is also for my Mum. She raised my sisters and I as a single parent, and I hadn’t really understood how challenging that must have been until my adult life. She probably never imagined that my sisters and I would have the professional careers that we have, and it’s only been possible with her unwavering support and belief in us.”

Q4) What do you enjoy about working at Search?

“The people, without a doubt. Everyone here is extremely entrepreneurial. You can see wholeheartedly that they love the challenge and opportunity to build a business. They’re hardworking, commercial and good fun. I have genuinely been welcomed with open arms, and I am very grateful for that.”

Q5) What would you say to someone considering a career at Search?

“If you are someone who is looking to kick start a career in recruitment and are looking for a business that can support your level of ambition, please reach out to Search. We have an exceptional Talent Development programme, which is supplemented by ‘on-desk’ training from the best operators in this business. If you’re somebody who gets out of bed in the morning and wants  to ‘win’, and just need the right support and tools, then we might just be the right business for you.”

Ed O’Connell, UK Managing Director on Abbie’s appointment:
“We’re at a unique stage of our journey. Backed by a leading investor and having made significant investment across the board, there couldn’t be a better time to be part of our growth journey.

In line with this, I am personally delighted to welcome Abbie Soutar to the UK Professional Services leadership team. Abbie brings proven expertise in the mid and senior market, working with CFOs and Heads of Functions across the North West. A proven leader from a FTSE listed enterprise, Abbie has a pivotal role in developing our operations whilst manging the investment and growth of our Accountancy & Finance business.

Since the start of 2021, our Professional Services business has grown exponentially and Abbie’s appointment is timed perfectly to accelerate this further.

Would you like to join Abbie and the team in our Accountancy & Finance division and grow your own recruitment career path, or perhaps explore another area of Search? We’re always on the lookout for talented consultants who know their market. Contact our internal recruitment team today ( for an informal chat on the opportunities available.

Contact the Talent Team at Search if you have a question.
We will endeavour to answer all queries within 2 business days.