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Industry Luminary - John Harland

November 19, 2019

John Harland has been involved in recruitment in New Zealand and Australia since 1995 and is the director of ERG Recruitment Group, a RCSA member of 24 years - now a Life Member with many years of service to RCSA’s NZ Council. We take a look back at his experience and adventures during this time.


Not many people realise veteran recruiter John Harland’s (pictured right) beloved rugby union career lasted longer than his time in recruitment to date. Yes, his rugby career was not quite as stellar, but it has been a passion he has pursued through a career in recruitment that spans New Zealand and Australia.


His ambitions of being a professional rugby player had been dashed, though he had played the game since he was five and represented Wellington for three years at a senior second level, playing alongside and against players who became All Blacks.


Harland started his working career with the Reserve Bank of New Zealand, and after a 15 year tenure, where he had risen through the ranks to occupy the role of Principal Staff Officer and HR Policy Advisor, he knew he wanted a change, but didn’t quite know what that would be.


It was a chance meeting with recruitment industry veteran and fellow RCSA Life Member Malcolm Jackman that was to change his career trajectory.


“Malcolm and I were in class together at Wellington College,” John says. “I was working as the HR and Admin Manager for NZI Life at the time and Malcolm was working with Slade Consulting in Auckland. He suggested recruitment might be the right career for me given my experience.”


However, by the time Harland was ready to make the jump into recruitment a few years later, Jackman was in charge of the West Coast for Adecco in the US.


But then, in 1995, Harland saw a recruitment job advertised with Kelly Services, applied, won the role and so started his successful career in our sector. A career that saw him hold senior management positions with the likes of Manpower, Chandler Macleod, and later start ERG Recruitment Group in August 2008.


However, it’s his time with Manpower that Harland is particularly proud of. He started with Manpower in 1997, where he held a number of roles from being a contract temporary recruitment consultant to becoming branch manager in Auckland, the New Zealand National Operations Manager and finally with BDM Queensland, based in Brisbane. “When I first took over the Auckland branch, we were doing about 900 hours,” he says. “We relocated the business to South Auckland and within three years we were doing 7,600 hours and our temp workforce grew from 30 to around 250 on assignment each day. This was a branch with seven staff, three Temp Consultants, two Permanent Recruiters, an administrator and me.