Scarborough's Castle Employment named in UK's top 100 female-led businesses

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A Scarborough recruitment agency has been named by investment banking giants J.P. Morgan as one of the UK's top 200 'female powered businesses'.

Scarborough s Castle Employment was ranked 100th overall and is just one of only five companies from Yorkshire and the Humber to be included in a list heavily dominated by companies in London and the South East.

The survey, carried out by J.P. Morgan and information provider Beauhurst, aimed to highlight the key role women entrepreneurs will play in helping the UK economy to ‘build back stronger’ after the Covid-19 pandemic.

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Founded in 1966, the company is now with its fourth female managing director.

Castle Employment's Suzanne Burnett, left, and Managing Director Kerry Hope.Castle Employment's Suzanne Burnett, left, and Managing Director Kerry Hope.
Castle Employment's Suzanne Burnett, left, and Managing Director Kerry Hope.

Kerry Hope, Managing Director at Castle Employment, said: “This is a fantastic accolade for Castle and recognises not only the strength of the business, but the immense amount of work everyone in the team did during the pandemic – and continues to do as the economy recovers.”

J.P. Morgan’s top 200 ‘female powered businesses’ was headed by Starling Bank, and included other household names such as Pension Bee and pre-paid debit card provider gohenry.

Less than one per cent of the companies in the UK hit one of the performance criteria J.P. Morgan required for inclusion in the survey.

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“We’ve been gradually moving towards flexible working and working from home for some years now,” Kerry Hope said. “Even so, nothing could prepare a business for the sudden impact of the pandemic. The key challenges for us were not just helping our own staff through problems none of us could have imagined, but helping our clients as well, as many of them turned to us for advice on HR issues, furlough and flexible working.”

Ms Hope is Castle Employment's fourth female managing director, following Hannah Levy, who founded the business, Anne Pike and then well-known local businesswoman Suzanne Burnett, who was managing director for 20 years before Kerry Hope took over in 2017.

“We feel this is a real victory for Scarborough,” Suzanne Burnett said. “To be 100th it shows you don’t need to be in London – or in a city – to succeed in business. It’s also recognition of the hard work of the Castle team throughout lockdown, when many of them were juggling work, a family, a home and elderly relatives they couldn’t – or didn’t dare – visit.”