• Our Story

Today, HR GO is a £90m business made up of specialist companies dealing with many aspects of recruitment, an outcome that may have been hard to foresee on one fateful day back in 1957.

Lucky escape

Lucky escape

Our company was born out of tragedy and a lucky escape.

Betty Parkinson usually caught the 4.56pm train from London Bridge Station after a busy working day as a temp secretary.

But on a foggy December 4 late afternoon in1957 her boss let her go home early and she caught an earlier train to Dartford.

Imagine her horror, tinged with relief, when she heard the 4.56pm on which she would have been a passenger had ploughed into another commuter train outside Lewisham. Ninety people were killed, and 173 injured.

Betty was thankfully back at home safe and sound. But her husband told her never again to catch a train to London.

An Entrepreneur was born

An Entrepreneur was born

The damaged train lines meant Betty couldn't get back to her job in Tooley Street anyway and so she found a temporary job in the Telegraph Paper Mills, Dartford. The firm needed more staff and Betty, working initially from her home, recruited nine people, charging 50p a day for each.

This early success fuelled Betty’s ambition as an entrepreneur and she founded Parkinson Staff Bureau, later known as PSB Recruitment.

From those humble beginnings and its first office in Dartford our business has grown into a £90 million operation, now branded HR GO plc. We have several specialist businesses, more than 30 offices and some 300 staff with circa 2,500 temps out in the field every week. We are Kent’s largest and longest-established recruitment business.

Family business

Family business

Since 1957, our companies have placed thousands of permanent and contract workers, and we are proud of the fact that since the very first day, we have made it a priority to pay our temps on time, every week. Indeed, in that first year, Betty cancelled the family holiday to ensure she had enough money to pay her temps on time.

When turnover reached £9,000 in 1960 Betty was able to open her second PSB branch in Chatham in 1968.

Betty’s son Jack joined the business in 1977 and worked with his mother to grow the enterprise to the major plc it is today.

He pioneered joint ventures as a successful way of growing the business while leaving entrepreneurial managers with a stake in the operation. The first JV, Refrigeration Recruitment, was formed in 1977, capitalising on Jack’s refrigeration and air conditioning expertise.

Creating millionaires

Creating millionaires

Jack’s own dream was to create dozens of millionaires – and he succeeded.

Since the group’s inception, through its various ventures and enterprises, we have facilitated hundreds of millions of pounds being earned across the UK

By 1980, turnover had broken through the £1 million mark and eight years later the number of PSB branches had risen to 18.

In 1990, turnover had jumped to nearly £22 million, with six JVs by 1995, a figure that leapt to 36 by the turn of the Millennium when sales stood at £51 million.

Betty’s legacy

Betty’s legacy

Sadly, Betty is no longer with us, but she was a director well into her eighties and enjoyed joining Jack to cut a 40th anniversary cake in 1997.

Today, HR GO has specialist companies dealing with many aspects of recruitment and is continuing to open new offices and created new specialist brands across the country.

HR GO’s sponsored hot air balloon has been a prominent sight over the towns, villages and countryside of Kent.

While some companies in the recruitment industry struggle with cash-flow issues, HR GO is proud of its reputation for reliability, high-level performance and a proven track record of delivering for clients and candidates.

The tradition continues

The family tradition continues with John Parkinson, Jack’s son and a skilled web-developer, becoming the newest member of the family working in the business.