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That is the pattern that has emerged in a survey of clients carried out by Drummond Read, the first recruitment agency dedicated to the fine arts, six months after they launched the business.

Another finding is that a candidate’s ability to handle different aspects of the business effectively seems to be valued more than formal qualifications.

The survey, which highlights a number of priorities for those seeking either jobs or staff, also reveals that a clear career path is proving a stronger incentive to those looking for a move than money.

Statistics released show that almost all of the company’s candidates (96 per cent) are currently in employment, while those that are not tend to be fine art graduates who are looking for their first role.

The spread of job opportunities reflects the strengths of the markets across the disciplines, but there are also quite a few administrative roles on offer.

Salaries for posts being offered through Drummond Read start at £12,000 in the provinces for graduates and there are a select number of candidates currently earning in excess of £50,000 who are seeking new placements at a senior level. The male/female ratio is virtually equal.

The concept of building small teams is not restricted to auction houses. Galleries are just as keen to work along these lines, the survey states.
“We have found that the underlying requirement for clients in both auction rooms and galleries is to build small, more effective teams of multi-tasking individuals,” said Mr Read. “These individuals must not only be competent in their area of expertise but understand the need to win business and ensure a high level of customer service. The latter attributes appear to be more important factors than formal qualifications.”


Drummond Read have been building up an extensive database of candidates in their efforts to match people to vacancies. “By visiting every client and interviewing every candidate prior to any shortlisting we can ensure a productive meeting for both parties.”

As well as helping firms look for staff, Drummond Read have been approached by clients seeking equity partners and candidates wishing to invest money and offer their experience to a business. This has led them to set up Drummond Read Premier Recruitment for senior level placements.

Here the service includes a visit to each candidate within three working days of their enquiry to discuss their career aspirations and the subsequent opportunities available to them.

The firm’s director, Colin Read, emphasised the importance of confidentiality, both for job-seeking candidates and for firms looking to fill positions. Drummond Read’s role as intermediary, keeping the identities of all parties secret until they are prepared to commit themselves further in the process, is one of the most valued services in a profession where word can quickly get around about moves and changes.