US wields axe at 'busy' Sapphire

'Fantastic' business IT recruitment company Sapphire Technologies didn't stop its US owners from wielding the axe.

Business may be be "fantastic" at IT recruitment company Sapphire Technologies, but that did not stop its US-owners from wielding the axe.

Staff numbers in Auckland will halve to four. The Auckland office will see the departure of senior consultant Amanda Van Ryn, plus three others. However, rumours that the Auckland office will shut down appear to be unsubstantiated.

Australia-New Zealand managing director Mark Chote confirms two of the other three going will be sales and support staff, but says there will be no cuts in the Sydney or Wellington offices.

Staff at Sapphire's Auckland and Wellington offices are baffled at the restructuring imposed by their American bosses, claiming both centres are doing well.

Van Ryn is using the restructuring as a chance to start afresh overseas, possibly in Hong Kong. "Sapphire Auckland is very busy," she says, "and we are committed to the Auckland market."

Over the Tasman, company insiders say the Brisbane office will close due to a slack government job recruitment market, though the official line is that it is "premature" to say what might happen in Queensland. This month's cuts follow other US-ordered "restructuring" last year.

Sydney-based Chote says Sapphire has to put its resources where they can give its shareholders the best return - Victoria and New South Wales. The recruitment industry in general is also reorganising. As for Americans directives: "Business has to be re-engineered to ensure targets are met," he says.

In New Zealand, former Wellington general manager Craig McCrory will leave shortly, though his successor Margaret Kennedy says his departure was happening anyway. Kennedy says the Wellington office is seeking two staff, adding to two other fresh recruits.

"We have a fantastic business. Last month was the busiest month for contracting for a year," she says.

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