Mark Atherton and Paul Donovan founded Key People in 1994 as an information-technology recruitment firm for the space, defence and telecommunications industries. With such specialised disciplines, there were few rivals, making it possible for a smaller agency to get preferred status with blue-chip clients. Contractors were initially hard to find as they had to fit demanding criteria, but once sourced and placed, they were rewarded with extended contracts. This has led to a high ratio of repeat work for the St Albans company. Key People’s sales have risen 80% a year, from £2m in 1996 to £11.5m in 1999. A Paris office opened in May and further expansion is planned.
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