STAR has expanded its key sectors by adding energy transition, life sciences and infrastructure. Seconded experts have been involved in pharmaceutical projects in the past year, including in the construction of new plants and laboratories for companies such as MSD, Bayer and the COVID-19 vaccine manufacturer Janssen. Other specialists have been involved in constructing new power plants, high-voltage systems and cables to expand the electricity grid, and in the construction and maintenance of wind farms and offshore power stations for renewable energy. STAR also supplied engineers for various major infrastructure projects in the Netherlands and elsewhere, such as high-speed rail lines, freight rail lines, data centres, motorways, locks and tunnels.
Staff shortages are set to increase in the coming years. Population ageing means specialists will retire and because engineering and technology still has an image problem, the numbers entering the profession from education remain low.
“Nonetheless, companies working in this sector will have to change fast. Gigantic projects are being launched to make industry more sustainable. And to do this, there is a need for the right knowledge and the right people. We want to lead the field in this. Our focus is truly on modernising industry,” says STAR’s CEO, Sil Hoeve.
The technical staffing firm supplies engineers and other specialists who will help to make these major changes possible from the inside out. STAR not only finds the right people for a project, but also ensures that they are given further training at the company or through its own academy. In addition, it coordinates and aligns the projects with clients such that they complement each other and specialists can move straight from one project to the next. By doing so, STAR is able to supply sufficient technical personnel despite the current shortages and can maintain its delivery reliability.
STAR is a subsidiary of The Specialist Group (TSG). Since its launch in 2001, the technical staffing firm has grown exponentially to reach annual revenue of 190 million euros, and only suffered a brief, minor dip during the coronavirus pandemic. There are now 1900 STAR specialists involved in projects in the Netherlands and internationally. The staffing firm has offices in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany, and has plans in place to expand into other European countries. To draw attention to its new focus on enhancing sustainability and the energy transition, STAR introduced its new logo and new website on 29 November 2021.
The staffing firm is still the market leader in the oil and petrochemical sector but Hoeve is aware that the appeal of that industry is decreasing among young talented specialists. “The oil and chemical industry will not disappear, but it will have to become more sustainable. Our people can achieve a turnaround there too. We say to young people: if you want to play a part in enhancing sustainability, these are the companies you should go and work for to change them from the inside,” he says.