“We encourage people to be inquisitive,” says Peter Ramsay, Managing Editor of Argus Media. “And to think – we love people to think. That’s what sets us apart from our competitors.”
Argus is an international business-to-business publishing enterprise reporting on the energy and commodities industries. It employs more than 700 people worldwide, 300 of them in London. Its centre of operations is Clerkenwell, an area long-associated with cutting-edge media enterprise.
Argus’s main focus is commodities journalism. “It’s all about shining a light on particular markets,” says Ramsay, who arrived at the company straight from reading Classics at Cambridge 16 years ago and hasn’t looked back since. Reporters’ skills are refined by training in three core disciplines: traditional journalism, data analysis and price reporting.
Taking care of business
“Essentially, you are constantly speaking to traders who are dealing in what are very often opaque, over-the-counter traded markets,” he says. “You’re finding out at what price people are buying or selling a commodity. Once you’ve identified a price, your job is to produce a market commentary around that price, exploring what happened in that market and why.”
Argus began bringing transparency to the oil market more than 40 years ago and gradually diversified. The company is still widely associated with oil, but its portfolio of interests has expanded exponentially.
“We are entrepreneurial,” says Head of HR Gemma Crozier. “We like to take the initiative, embrace ideas and move quickly. Everybody here knows what they are expected to contribute, but the company is growing so people have the opportunity to develop and progress. People like working here, because we value smart people and we treat them with respect.”
Ramsay is clear that this is a business for original, inquiring thinkers. “Doing the job is never as easy as phoning up a trader and saying: ‘What’s the price? Thank you, bye,’ ” he says. “We demand more than that. We encourage a proper give-and-take dynamic in our reporters’ relationships with the traders to whom they speak.
“You might say, ‘Hello, Mr Trader, have you heard that such-and-such refinery has upped its output of diesel and reduced its output of naphtha, because the price of diesel has gone up and the price of naphtha has fallen?’ Mr Trader then says: ‘Oh, really? That’s interesting. I hadn’t heard that, no – thank you very much! And by the way, had you heard…’ And so it goes.
“To be read and to be taken seriously is very rewarding,” he adds. “You are talking to people who are making strategic commercial decisions on a daily basis and there’s nothing like being treated by them as a peer. And that’s the bottom line: what you write will influence multimillion-pound decisions.”
Crozier agrees. “We like people with hunger,” she says. “It doesn’t matter what their background is – the ability to think is something we have found across a wide range of degree disciplines. We like data people, we like people who can write and people who know their history. Previous experience of the energy and commodity industries isn’t required – what’s important is finding people who want to learn and understand their markets.
“Our tag line at Argus is ‘illuminating the markets’ and so we need people with a passion and curiosity and a desire to communicate, whether they’re journalists or members of our growing consulting, data, technology, sales or marketing teams. We’re looking for bright graduates capable of building productive networks of contacts in the economically and politically influential energy and commodities sectors, in order to paint an accurate picture of the markets.”