Space Executive opens Hong Kong office as part of ambitious global expansion plans

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Specialist recruitment agency Space Executive has opened an office in Hong Kong as it looks to bring its boutique service to a new market.

The agency is one of the fastest growing multidiscipline recruiters in Asia, and has expanded to 25 staff, generating revenues of more than SG$8 million a year, since it was first launched just over 3 years ago.

While Space Executive already has a considerable international reach, placing candidates in 16 different countries last year, the opening of the Hong Kong office marks the first time it has had a base outside of Singapore.

Marek Danyluk, Managing Partner at Space Executive, says: “Hong Kong will have the same growth agenda as Singapore: we want to outperform the market and raise the bar when it comes to recruitment as a service and partnership.”

As part of its ambition to offer more holistic coverage in Asia, the multi-award-winning firm aims to have 15 to 20 experienced recruiters working out of Hong Kong by December next year. But Space Executive’s ambitious growth agenda does not end there, with the firm also planning to open offices in Tokyo in 2019 and London in 2020, before launching in the US.

Despite its global expansion plans, Danyluk is clear that Space Executive will remain true to its original vision of being a specialist recruitment boutique. He explains: “Being boutique enables us to have more touchpoints with the client, and provide a more consultative service, rather than a transactional one.

“We want to build the business as a boutique in each country, but with a footprint globally.” The firm focuses on the interrelated disciplines of finance, technology, change and transformation, marketing, and legal and compliance. “We believe that globally, these are the verticals that are going to continue to be in high demand for highly skilled people,” Danyluk says.

“Ultimately, the goal of the business is to have 150 people around the world within the next six-and-a-half years, and to become known as the market-leading boutique agency supporting mid-to-senior executives across the globe.”

Another motivation behind its expansion is that Space Executive is keen to help candidates access opportunities in different geographies as their careers progress. “We believe very strongly in the mobility of talent, and we want to make sure that we are giving our candidates opportunities globally, rather than just in country,” Danyluk says.

“The world is changing, and people are much more mobile, especially at the senior end and we want to be in a position to support that mobility.” Hong Kong was an obvious place in which to start this expansion.

Danyluk explains: “Hong Kong is an exceptionally dynamic market and it is experiencing significant growth. It is also the gateway to China, and we view the China market as very much the future.

“We are seeing an increasing upward trend in Hong Kong in terms of embracing all things digital. The financial services sector is buzzing again and, for digital, Hong Kong is the location of choice.”  Space Executive is excited to have recruited Nick Lambe as managing director of the Hong Kong office.

Lambe has an impressive track record, being the youngest person to be promoted to managing director at recruitment consultancy Morgan McKinley in 2010, where he went on to be a top five global biller, while running a team of more than 20 consultants. He also headed up the top-performing office in Asia in 2014, bringing in around HKD50 million in revenue.

Danyluk says: “There are specific nuances with hiring a leader in Hong Kong. They have to have a very deep-dive understanding of the Hong Kong market, which has its own complexities, and it is imperative they also understand Asia.

“Nick has one-and-a-half decades of experience, successfully leading businesses in Hong Kong at the highest level. By proxy of that exposure, he is a very rare find. His track record speaks for itself.” The ambitious growth plans are made possible because of the way Space Executive is funded.

Alongside the recruitment business, there is an incorporated venture capital business, called Space Ventures, into which a proportion of Space Executive’s profits are reinvested.

Danyluk explains: “Initially, the fund was to reinvest profits from Space Executive, rather than pay out dividends to the partners, so that the company had funds available when it wanted to expand.

“Then, we thought it would be a valuable proposition to the team to allow staff to come in on the same investment, so we conceptualised Space+ which enables people to invest their commission into the VC.”

The VC, which predominantly invests in fintech opportunities, operates as a five-year investment, after which staff can either cash out or reinvest their money.

Danyluk says: “We take the fact that we are investing people’s commission very seriously.  The group also puts a lot of resource and infrastructure behind the fund to make sure it is managed very effectively.  ‘It is something that is pretty unique in the market,” Danyluk says.

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