New doors opened: Robert Pronk on the growth of STAR Belgium

General news

At STAR we know the market. We are constantly trying to understand what will help our customers and specialists. Today, but especially tomorrow. There are so many exciting projects to be done,” says Robert Pronk, Managing Director, from Antwerp.


Huge demand
“The world after corona is busier than the world before corona,” says Robert. “The cards have been reshuffled. Projects have been halted or discontinued. Many organizations have had to let specialists go. People have also retired. Now that everything is picking up, the demand for staff is greater than before.”

A challenge, therefore, which the colleagues in Belgium have taken up with enthusiasm. “Not only did we fill the gap that had fallen during the corona crisis, we were able to do more. STAR’s model has now shown its potential.”


Rapid matchmaking
Robert recalls that the same thing happened during the financial crisis. “Where many organizations experienced a downturn, STAR remained fairly stable and after that crisis we were on the rise. History repeats itself: now you see it again. Here in Belgium, but also in the Netherlands and Germany.”

So what works so well about the STAR model? “The strength lies in our approach. Within a discipline, our consultants are in constant contact with the specialists working in it. At the same time, we have a strong connection with our clients. Matching the customer demand with the available specialists is therefore fast.”


Enterprising attitude
“When you go through a crisis, you can do two things. You are careful and you save, or you take the gamble: we invest now, because this crisis will soon be over. We were able to do that. During the pandemic, we hired six consultants and used the time to train them properly. This enabled us to switch quickly when demand picked up again. That is also a strength of STAR, that entrepreneurial attitude.”

“We have been active in Belgium for over 10 years now. Before the pandemic we were perhaps still ‘the little brother’ of STAR Netherlands, but now we are just as strong a partner and we work together even more to serve our clients. It’s great to see that the model is working so well. Meanwhile, new doors have opened for us. For example, we have started working more in Life Sciences. We are getting the trust of big clients, which is fantastic.”


Challenge for specialists
There are many projects coming up – and that in a tight labor market. “And so we need additional specialists,” says Robert. “It’s the same in the Netherlands. The nice thing is also that we can deploy specialists from Belgium in the Netherlands and vice versa. Or who knows, there may be opportunities in Germany. In that respect we think without borders. For us it’s about using the best available specialists on a project, regardless of where they come from. And as a specialist, that means extra variety and challenge in your work.”

Finally, what is Robert’s message for specialists? “Should you find yourself without work during the pandemic, I would say: don’t give up. There are so many exciting projects, something for everyone. Come and talk to us, and we will see if we can give you some direction. Even if you are just starting out.”