Betty Parkinson usually caught the 4.56pm train from London Bridge Station after a busy working day as a temp secretary.
On a foggy December 4 late afternoon in 1957 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.
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.
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.
Since Jack Parkinson joined the company, the HR GO Group has grown considerably. Consisting of 2 branches in 1977, and £750k turnover, the group sought greater expansion plans looking to cover more of the UK and eventually establishing offices overseas.
In 1995 our most successful joint venture company, Human Engineering Ltd, saw a gap in the market and decided to set up office in Australia. The company was highly successful and since then our sister company, RHL Recruitment, has set up a new office in Sydney's CBD.
In the mid 2000s, the global expansion continued with our tech company, Eclipse, expanding it's offices from Hurley, Warwickshire to Wroclaw, Poland. Not only was this a strategic move for the group, it also provided a bridge to do more business in Europe and provide new jobs in the local area.
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