By Jess Caire
Conversations with Jane Carey from Edge Recruitment
Meet Jane Carey, South Australia’s property industry’s No. 1 recruiter. Starting Edge Recruitment almost 20 years ago, Jane has certainly seen the market change. Jane is a trail blazer, and certainly a change maker, her knowledge of the property market and recruitment means she is one sought after lady! Jane, is a wife, a mum, and a passionate advocate for the career development of women in the property industry. It was such a huge honour to meet Jane at one of her fabulous women in property events, she is calm but you know she sees the big picture – appealing qualities. I just knew we had to have her on Conversations with Jess!
You started Edge Recruitment almost 20 years ago – so much must have changed! What was it like starting out? And did you ever envisage you would be where you are some 20 years later?
Looking back, I was so naive when we started the business – but that naivety meant that I worried a lot less than I do today! We started with a second-hand desk, in a bedroom working on a computer that I used in Year 12 at school. I worked another job on the side and was studying a HR degree full time at Uni at the same time. Employing our first staff member was a big milestone and we have had steady growth ever since. I never imagined that we would still be in business after 20 years, but I always knew that I wanted to manage people and run a business.
You have had many highs in your career (member of TEC, finalist in the Telstra Business Women’s Awards), what has been your most memorable achievement?
Running a profitable business for such a long time in an extremely competitive industry is the biggest achievement. Especially surviving the GFC and subsequent fall out. Many recruitment agencies closed at that time. I was also thrilled to be nominated as a finalist in Young Business Women’s category of the Telstra Awards. It was an affirmation for me that I could match it with some other amazing business owners that I looked up to at the time.
We were speaking (or I may have been speaking (too much!) after lots of bubbles) about the challenges mothers have when trying to achieve work life flow. The landscape must have changed a lot in your 20 years, are you hopeful for “equality” for mothers in the workforce?
There is a much higher level of acceptance around flexibility for working mums than 10 years ago. In our own business, we have had a great stability of staff with long tenure as we work hours and duties around what suits the working mums in our team. Unfortunately, we still see discrimination through the work we do, but astute employers have recognised that great employers are too valuable to lose and offer flexibility to attract and retain mothers in the workforce.
You are a huge advocate for the career development of women in the property industry (an industry has been historically male dominated), what advice would you give to women wanting to get into the industry?
Work hard, be confident and network like crazy. In the Adelaide market, it is often more about who you know than what you know. It can be invaluable to find a mentor to get the inside info on the industry who can act as a champion for you. In a male dominated industry woman need to be strategic about gaining the right skills and contacts to keep moving up the career chain.
Being in business can be tough, how do you stay motivated and driven?
I co-founded Edge Recruitment with my husband, so we offer each other a high degree of support. I have realised over the years that you just must ride out the cycles the economy but it is relentless at times working in such a competitive industry. Being able to find someone a fabulous new job, or help a client fill a difficult role is such a buzz it is great motivation to keep working hard. I also have a great team who motivate me with their energy and dedication. My favourite saying has always been the harder you work the luckier you get! I am big on setting personal and business goals and celebrating when I reach them, and having at least one great family holiday each year is part of the reward for the effort I put in.
Best piece of business advice you have ever been given?
I had a fantastic mentor earlier in my career who had a big impact on me. She told me to be successful in business you must make it a priority to invest in yourself – whether that be professional development, business coaching, a cleaner, a nanny or a few days away from the business. Freeing up time allows you to concentrate on the most important tasks at work, but also to prioritise family time. Investing in professional development has built great networks for me and I have learnt from business people who are already at the level that I aspire to be.
You LOVE SA, what is your favourite spot for a meal?
Singapore House in Frewville is a firm family favourite – it is always consistently awesome!
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Love, Jess x