Success Stories – In conversation with Doris Bernard

With over 30 years of international experience in luxury hospitality financial leadership, Doris Bernard is an industry icon. Doris is now Vice President of Corporate Finance for Kempinski Hotels, a role she has held for the last seven years, placed by FM Recruitment. Responsible for the senior leadership throughout the global Corporate Finance structure of the Kempinski Group, Doris is integral to the brand’s continued success internationally. Kempinski currently manages 79 hotels in 34 countries in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, China, South-East Asia and the Americas. 

A strong communicator and team leader, Doris joined Kempinski from Rocco Forte Hotels, where she held the role of Group Financial Controller, overseeing 13 properties in Europe and the Middle East. 

FM Recruitment continues to have a long-standing relationship with Doris, supporting her career trajectory, having placed her in several financial leadership roles with Rocco Forte Hotels, the Ascot Group, the Cliveden Group and the Conrad London. The collaboration with FM Recruitment equally extends to recruiting senior members of her team. 

In conversation with Doris Bernard 

How did you get into hospitality finance? 
First and foremost, there was hospitality – and ‘Grappa-Parfait’ – of which I made a lot when I started my hotel apprenticeship in 1986, with the first department to be covered being the kitchen (the hotel apologised and said, ‘Well, someone has to start in the kitchen…’). However, I loved it and did not want my time there to end. After the third extension, the ultimatum was given: Either I change the apprenticeship to become a chef or move on to the next department. I moved, and with my good instinct for numbers, logic, organisation and analysis, it was not a great surprise to fall for finance before long. And the rest, as they say, is history. 

What are the most important aspects of financial roles in hospitality and how has the role evolved over the years?
The evolution is that there is definitely a much more prominent space for and faster pace of analysis. Today’s availability of data inevitably leads to more options of analysis, which in turn lead to more demands, from internal and external stakeholders. The trick is to investigate and understand what the real question is that we are trying to answer. Based on this, finance should be able to offer the most efficient and repeatable/robust solution. This integrated understanding of the business, paired with the understanding of the capabilities of finance systems, is one of the most important aspects of today’s finance roles. In short: Any financial analysis has to have a purpose and not be analysis for analysis’ sake. 

What do you consider your biggest achievement so far and why? 
Being still here, in finance, in hospitality. Temptations to move out of the industry existed, but the most compelling factor to stay has always been the amazing teams I have worked with. Leading a group of people who have a can-do attitude, a strong sense of commitment and a passion for hospitality and are fun to be with is one of the most rewarding and invigorating things in my career and, in fact, my daily work life. I hope that I am right in thinking that I have continuously contributed to making such teamwork happen. 

What advice would you give to someone who is just starting their career in the industry?
Enjoy and commit to getting stuck in, roll up your sleeves, be curious and stay humble. Never stop learning throughout and engage with the very diverse workforce that you are likely to encounter. It will lead to a strong network of industry professionals and friends, which, if cultivated with sincerity and authenticity, carries you throughout your career. It is one of the best schools of life. 

What are the biggest opportunities in the hospitality industry as it recovers from the pandemic? 
The opportunity for a fresh approach, in a free spirit, to what hospitality is about. Offers that are interest-led versus the traditional guest segmentation (I very much like the Kempinski ‘Travel Your Way’ initiative). Basic human needs for belonging and community could be answered by hospitality through integrating local culture. A stronger desire for quality time with family and friends might come to the fore against a background of threats like the pandemic or climate change. We may see, for example, conference rooms used as co-working spaces to enable business travellers to combine remote working and extended family time. The inventiveness and flexibility that we have seen in many hotels when the pandemic hit are inspiring. I equally hope that the heightened appreciation for travel after the confinement creates a new buzz all-round.  

What would have been your Plan B?
When I started out, there was no Plan B; I did not apply for anything other than a hotel apprenticeship. Since then, I have sometimes joked that I would become a park ranger in a national park, taking care of footpath signage maintenance. I love walking and being out in the countryside and am fascinated by long-distance hiking paths (well signposted, of course). 

For support with your next career move or to improve your recruitment strategy, please contact FM Recruitment now using any of the below details: 

Office +44 20 8600 1160 I Email fm@fmrecruitment.co.uk
Chris Denison Smith +44 7775 711923 I Email chrisdenisonsmith@fmrecruitment.co.uk 
Andrea Shaw +44 7714 236469 I Email andreashaw@fmrecruitment.co.uk 

 

 

Why the role of Finance is pivotal for the recovery of the hospitality industry 

The Company Linchpin 

With the global economy currently undergoing a significant transformation as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the role of financial leaders in navigating businesses through these unprecedented times has been propelled into the spotlight.

The impact of the pandemic has been felt globally and by most industries, but perhaps none so severely as the travel and hospitality sector. Financial leaders are now in a position where they must not only address major setbacks but provide long-term confidence and strengthen recovery and growth prospects.

Financial chiefs have experienced downturns in the past, following the fallout of the 2008 global financial crash, the war in Iraq and the September 11th terrorist attacks, however, nothing compares to the wide-reaching impact of the pandemic. Hospitality Financial Directors had to move quickly to protect their businesses as much as possible; negotiate with partners to limit exposure, campaign for the government to support the industry through this crisis and make tough decisions regarding furlough and redundancy to ensure that the business survived. These financial crisis management strategies were activated quickly, to help support the recovery which is now underway.

Speed of response and flawless execution is critical in any crisis to reduce its impact and provide confidence to all stakeholders. Through effective financial planning, Chief Financial Officers have driven the timely execution of improvement initiatives to reduce costs, overhaul procurement, revisit pricing strategies, as well as spearheading process improvements and innovations that add value to the company.

“Working smarter, recognising and minimising risks and exploiting opportunities will mean having to be constantly creative”. Howard Field, founder of FM Recruitment commented as he shared his views on strategies for finance as the industry recovers from the pandemic

Maintaining Confidence in the Company

Financial Directors are required to instil confidence in all internal and external stakeholders.

Internally - With so many employees on furlough or made redundant during the pandemic, transparency and honesty were crucial to build trust in the long-term prospects of the company and to maintain integrity. Financial Directors who were able to highlight the challenges ahead with strategies to overcome them were able to help companies communicate and maintain engagement with employees, who could otherwise have chosen to move on. Many hospitality companies have been able to focus on retraining and cross-training employees, using the opportunity to develop employees to adapt to the challenges after re-opening. Businesses that have managed to retain key talent over the period of closure will be best placed to grow the business as we move forward.

Externally – For many customers, how businesses acted during the pandemic will live long in their memories. Financial leaders, under pressure to maximise revenues and reduce costs, needed to weigh up the short-term gains against the long-term prospects and introduce more flexibility. For the most part, customers were hugely understanding and opted for flexible vouchers rather than full refunds and now finance leaders have responded by offering more relaxed cancellation terms to remove barriers, offer flexibility and build confidence to encourage future bookings.

All of this activity is underpinned by increased investor scrutiny to cut costs, grow revenue, and ensure control, which means financial leaders have had to become adept at managing multiple stakeholder requirements to inspire confidence and lead the way with the recovery of the industry.

The Future of Finance – Nurturing the Pipeline of Emerging Talent

According to several UK universities offering courses relating to hospitality and related financial studies, the number of overall undergraduates in hospitality studies has dropped in the last year. With the true impact of Brexit also yet to be clear, it seems likely that hospitality will face some real challenges in recruiting and retaining top talent in the near future.

Undergraduates are reconsidering their options, often tempted into continuing their studies or shifting towards other industries with seemingly more secure prospects. Never has it been more important to guide and nurture those who are showing interest in the hospitality industry.

In a Forbes article from 2020, Robert Parsons, Chief Financial Officer of Exclusive Resorts made an important observation noting “Today’s finance undergraduates absolutely have the necessary hard skills and drive to be successful in the workforce of today and tomorrow. Besides, their ambitions are not curtailed by outdated notions of career trajectories. All they need is an opportunity and then some mentorship. My approach to recruiting and cultivating top talent is to look for the right attitude and core problem-solving skills over just the finance hard skills, and then create opportunities for career advancement.

As active members of HOSPA, Chris and Andrea at FM Recruitment dedicate themselves to mentoring young talent as they progress through their careers. Our guiding hand can help businesses and candidates to optimise skills, showcase the opportunities to progress and help the hospitality industry recover and grow in the post-pandemic world.

For support with your next career move or to improve your recruitment strategy, please contact FM Recruitment now using any of the below details:

Office +44 20 8600 1160 I Email fm@fmrecruitment.co.uk
Chris Denison Smith +44 7775 711923 I Email chrisdenisonsmith@fmrecruitment.co.uk
Andrea Shaw +44 7714 236469 I Email andreashaw@fmrecruitment.co.uk

Will flexible working become the norm?

What is flexible working?

 

By definition, flexible working offers employees increased freedom –working from where they choose, flexible work schedules and fitting work around other responsibilities. Whilst flexible working has been increasingly adopted by companies over the years, it’s been accelerated since the start of the pandemic.

 

Research on the UK Government website shows that 9 out of 10 job seekers want increased flexibility, be it remote working (60%), flexitime (54%) or reduced hours (26%).

 

In March 2021, the Minister for Women and Equalities, called for flexible working to be “normalised” as part of the UK economy’s Covid-19 recovery, to capitalise on the shift in mindset triggered by the pandemic. Ministers are now preparing to make flexible working a permanent feature of British life post-pandemic, with plans to strengthen employees’ rights to work from home or ask for different hours.

 

Benefits of Flexible Working

 

Increase in Job Applications – UK Government-backed Behavioural Insights Team (BIT) and jobs website Indeed, shows offering flexible working explicitly in job adverts increases applications by up to 30%. The research, which analysed nearly 20 million applications and is the largest of its kind ever conducted in the UK, shows greater transparency in job adverts would create at least 174,000 flexible jobs to the UK economy per year.

 

Best of Both Worlds – Flexible working offers the freedom of working from home but access to the community of the office to drive increased collaboration. According to a recent survey of 2000 UK workers by Currys PC World and Canon, 37% identified a better work-life balance as one of the main benefits of remote working, with 54% citing not having to commute as their favourite part.

 

Increased Opportunities for Equality – According to the minister for women and equalities, “flexible working could help boost job opportunities for women (who are more likely to have to disrupt their careers as a result of caregiving duties) and reduce geographical inequality.”

 

Spreading the commuter coin – Whilst city-based businesses are reliant on the influx of commuters to city centres across the world, there has been a re-balancing of revenues, with more local businesses benefiting from the shift of working patterns. Over time, with a return to a combination of part office, part home working, it’s encouraging to see this wealth being spread across businesses both in city locations and in local communities.

 

Is flexible working here to stay?

 

It depends on many factors – there are many predictions that flexible working is here to stay but on the flip-side, the Centre for Cities think tank predicts the five-day office week will become the norm again within two years as featured in a BBC News article in June 2021.

 

Ultimately, it will be driven by individual businesses and employee’s wishes, and won’t be a one size fits all approach.

  

Sector Specific – A flexible working environment naturally suits some sectors more than others. For hospitality, the pandemic was a catalyst to introducing more flexible working practices which improved work-life balance. As the business of hospitality re-opens, naturally many roles are guest-facing so require employees to be present in their place of work

 

Hospitality, like many sectors, are aware of the importance of their employees’ wellbeing and its impact on performance and productivity, so have been adjusting their return to work policies to introduce a variety of measures to create a better work-life balance for their teams. Hybrid working for those working in non-customer facing roles and a four day week have been some of those policies being trialled currently.

 

Re-imagining of the Office – With changing working patterns evolving and a move to increased hybrid working, the office space will need to be used differently. More collaborative space, places where people can come together and create and innovate and a revised layout of desks are all some of the practical changes that businesses are adopting as they look to navigate the road back to the office.

  

At FM Recruitment, we work with clients across all areas of hospitality and associated industries to navigate flexible working. We work alongside our clients to showcase their company’s approach to work-life balance and its employee wellbeing focus to find the best candidate for the role.

We are specialists in financial recruitment at all levels in the UK and internationally. We belong to the Hospitality People Group who offer a wide variety of roles from c-suite level and everything in between.  For support with your next career move or to improve your recruitment strategy, please contact FM Recruitment now using any of the below details:

Office +44 20 8600 1160 I Email fm@fmrecruitment.co.uk   

Chris Denison Smith +44 7775 711923 I Email chrisdenisonsmith@fmrecruitment.co.uk
Andrea Shaw +44 7714 236469 I Email andreashaw@fmrecruitment.co.uk 

Success Stories – In Conversation with Michel Checoury

Michel Checoury is an industry veteran, with over 30 years international experience in financial leadership in luxury hospitality. Now Chief Financial and Administrative Officer for Kerzner International, Michel is responsible for the strategic financial planning and fiscal procedures across all aspects of the brand, supporting the company’s growth, profitability and performance.

A strong and innovative leader, Michel joined Kerzner International from Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts, where he held the role of Chief Financial Officer overseeing 85 properties in 27 countries.

FM Recruitment continues to have a long-standing relationship with Michel. Jillian Malone, our former Managing Director, placed Michel in his role with Mandarin Oriental in 2008 as Regional Director of Finance for EMEA and as a Regional Director of Finance with InterContinental Hotels Group in 2003.

Throughout his career, Michel has held many other notable financial leadership roles overseas and in his native country, France. These include Regional Director of Finance for Aman, overseeing Finance and Strategic Planning, IT and Retail across 31-properties as well as working with Jumeriah Group and Starwood Hotels & Resorts.

In conversation with Michel Checoury

  1. How did you get into Hospitality Finance?
    It was actually by accident! I began my early career as a Senior Auditor with Deloitte but at  the time had ambitions to work in the US. I saw an advert for an Internal Audit role with  Disneyland Paris, ahead of its opening in the 1990’s and I thought this would be a great  opportunity to work for an American company. Shortly after, I was approached by senior  management to take on a Financial Controller role at a hotel. At first, I was a little unsure  whether this would be the right step to take but I quickly fell in love with the job and the industry. Hospitality finance is so varied- there are many areas to consider from  accommodation to food & beverage, spa to maintenance, and all are operating in a  24/7/365 environment.
  2. What are the most important aspects of financial roles in hospitality and how has the role evolved over the years?  
    I believe that investing the time to understand all of the hotel operations; the challenges,  how it works and what support it needs, is integral to effectively manage the financials.  Whilst you don’t need to be an expert in all areas of the operations, you need to appreciate  how any decisions you take will affect the employees and the brand. Decisions, particularly  the most challenging ones you need to take, should be clearly communicated with empathy  to all stakeholders.
  3. What do you consider your biggest achievement so far and why?
    All of my successes have been attributed to a team success. Whether it’s getting out of a  crisis, managing to turn around a situation or a success to celebrate, it’s always been  because of a team rather than an individual effort.
  4. What advice would you give to someone who is just starting their career in the industry? 
    I can speak from personal experience with this as my son recently decided to pursue a  career in hospitality. I recommend taking the time, early in your career, to really get to know  the business of hospitality. That means working in the kitchen, housekeeping, front office,  night audit etc to really understand each area of the business and how they’re inter-linked.  My son undertook a number of internships with global hospitality brands as well as  specialising his education at some of the best international hotel schools. This foundation of  internships and studies will effectively prepare individuals for their career in hospitality,  whilst building credibility as their career matures.
  5.   What are the biggest opportunities in the hospitality industry as it recovers from the pandemic?
    I think the leisure segment will be the first to recover, accelerated by the ultra-luxury sector, who can charter a plane, rent a private island and aren’t deterred by the expense and logistics of PCR testing. They will be looking for exceptional experiences, exemplary service and exclusivity, in which top luxury hotels will reap the benefits. The corporate market will be the slowest to return in my view – we’ve all become accustomed to conducting business over video calls and working with our fellow colleagues through digital platforms so the justification for corporate travel, as it was pre-pandemic, will take some time to evolve.  I also think there will be substantial acquisition opportunities within the top niche of the hotel market, with some significant asset buy-outs and mergers on the horizon.
  6. What would have been your Plan B?
    I come from a family of accountants therefore I feel my path was quite set from an early  age! I’ve always loved my job and haven’t ever considered a Plan B.

For support with your next career move or to improve your recruitment strategy, please contact FM Recruitment now using any of the below details:

Office +44 20 8600 1160 I Email fm@fmrecruitment.co.uk
Chris Denison Smith +44 7775 711923 I Email chrisdenisonsmith@fmrecruitment.co.uk
Andrea Shaw +44 7714 236469 I Email andreashaw@fmrecruitment.co.uk

 

 

 

Is Relocation a thing of the Past?

The hospitality industry has long advocated the excitement and career benefits of international relocation. Many hospitality employees point to these experiences as being huge stepping stones in their development, but has the COVID-19 pandemic changed the way the industry will be able to offer these opportunities?

Re-location, Re-location, Re-location

In April 2021, international research conducted by Wakefield Research, revealed that candidates were now more willing than ever to consider relocation. “Eighty-four percent of workers say they would relocate for work when COVID-19 is no longer prevalent throughout the world, and nearly half (46 percent) would be willing to do so internationally.”

The pandemic has been the catalyst to a giant reset. Candidates are open to and taking opportunities that they may never have considered before. For so many, the last year has encouraged people to focus on their well-being and work-life balance. With the rise in hybrid working, there is a freedom to take risks and explore the options that may have been seen as a fantasy in the past.

In Microsoft’s 2021 Work Trend Index, 41% of those surveyed suggested that they would consider leaving their job in the next year. While this figure may be alarming in terms of retention, it is clear that there will be an international scramble to lure the very best talent. In a hybrid world, this talent is everywhere.

Re-location Roadblocks

However, whilst relocation and international opportunities are likely to be popular amongst candidates as the pandemic eases, there are likely to be some new challenges for employers looking to recruit candidates who need to relocate.

  • Employee wellbeing – There has always been a responsibility on the employer to ensure the well-being of candidates who are relocating, but there are likely to be additional considerations in the post-pandemic world.
  • Brexit – For relocation between the UK and the EU, there is now the points-based immigration system to now consider following Brexit, meaning that it’s harder for EU citizens to relocate to the UK.  This is having a huge impact for the hospitality industry, as applicants coming to the UK to work must be paid at least £25,600 a year. For entry-level roles across the hospitality sector, this is precluding many talented candidates the opportunity to relocate.

Even with these additional roadblocks, we are confident that relocation remains a popular and important factor in international recruitment – there are just new variables to navigate.

The team at FM Recruitment are specialists in international financial recruitment at all levels and we have strong relationships with international relocation partners, who can advise and support businesses.

For support with your next career move or to improve your recruitment strategy, please contact FM Recruitment now using any of the below details:

Office +44 20 8600 1160 I Email fm@fmrecruitment.co.uk
Chris Denison Smith +44 7775 711923 I Email chrisdenisonsmith@fmrecruitment.co.uk
Andrea Shaw +44 7714 236469 I Email andreashaw@fmrecruitment.co.uk

 

Are businesses taking too long to appoint their ideal candidates?

With a backdrop of remote hiring, which has been a mainstay of the past year, plus added complexities and sometimes bureaucracies of the recruitment cycle, many companies are taking longer to confirm candidate appointments. Meanwhile, the ongoing fallout surrounding the pandemic and Brexit continues to impact the intricacies of the recruitment process, with fewer available candidates in the market.

What is the optimum time between meeting a candidate and hiring?

With the average time-to-appoint across most industries around four weeks and a growing number of job seekers expecting an offer within the first week of the first interview, most companies are falling short when it comes to meeting candidate expectations. (Yello)

In larger organisations, the recruitment cycle is further extended. Layers of candidate assessment, screening, reviews, scheduling of various interviews all too often add unnecessary time to the process and risk the best candidates withdrawing in favour of a company that got there quicker.

Shifting expectations and demographics of the candidate market 

With the changing landscape of recruitment, accelerated by the pandemic and restrictions in the movement of talent, another variable for companies to navigate is the changing demographics of the candidate market.

At one end of the spectrum, we will start to see more of Generation Z entering into the marketplace. Their high-tech upbringings shape the way they approach employment, with many not even considering an application if recruitment methods are long and outdated.

At the other end, the fastest-growing segment of the labour force in the coming decade isn’t millennials or the newest band of Gen Z workers. According to Glassdoor’s UK Job & Hiring Trends for 2020, it’s aging Baby Boomers.

This demographic of age 65+ workers are healthier, engaged and more in need of retirement income than previous generations. In the UK, the 65+ population is expected to grow by nearly 60 percent over the next 25 years, faster than any other demographic group. The dynamics of the changing talent pool can leave companies with added layers to navigate, all adding additional time to the recruitment process.

What is the impact of a prolonged recruitment process?

When it comes to acquiring top talent, companies need to have the resources in place to act quickly, hire fast and provide a positive candidate experience. For recruiters, a prolonged recruitment process takes time away from nurturing relationships with candidates on behalf of their client’s company.

Contacting every stakeholder involved in interviews and juggling schedules should be streamlined.  On average, ⅔ of the overall hiring process time is spent confirming the interview schedule. The back and forth to finding a time that works for everyone slows down the overall process and risks signifying to the candidate that a company simply isn’t organised and risks losing quality candidates before they’re even able to confirm an interview.

All of these challenges ultimately have a knock-on effect in the market and impact all stakeholders. A poor candidate experience for job seekers affects their confidence in the company’s brand and affects recruiters’ ability to fill future roles quickly and efficiently.

What can be done to optimise the recruitment process?

Review the multiple layers of candidate screening and benchmarking exercises that companies feel are required to identify the right talent and safeguard companies from the expense of hiring the wrong candidate.  Interview schedules should be agreed upon with your recruitment partner at the commencement of the process meaning key stakeholders then have the interview dates in their diaries for the recruiter to fill with appropriate candidates. This is where the benefit of having a dedicated recruitment specialist helps take charge of much of this activity and streamline the whole recruitment process.

FM Recruitment is perfectly positioned to support businesses to enhance their recruitment process, helping to reduce the time to appoint the right candidate. We have been established for over 35 years and have an exceptional network with proven experience to attract talent from tech-savvy Gen Z and millennial workers to experienced seniors.

At FM Recruitment, we are here to support both businesses and candidates to navigate the world of hospitality recruitment. We are specialists in financial recruitment at all levels in the UK and internationally.

For support with your next career move or to improve your recruitment strategy, please contact FM Recruitment now using any of the below details:

Office +44 20 8600 1160 I Email fm@fmrecruitment.co.uk
Chris Denison Smith +44 7775 711923 I Email chrisdenisonsmith@fmrecruitment.co.uk
Andrea Shaw +44 7714 236469 I Email andreashaw@fmrecruitment.co.uk

Success Stories – In Conversation with Howard Field

Howard Field, hospitality icon and industry stalwart, speaks to FM Recruitment to share the story of his life-long career in hospitality, what inspires him most about the industry and what advice he’d offer someone just beginning their professional journey.

With a career in the hospitality industry spanning over 55 years, Howard’s first major appointment was as Finance Controller for the Royal Garden Hotel, London. He progressed to top financial roles with multiple hospitality companies – including the Carlton Tower, Commonwealth Holiday Inns of Canada’s European division, and The Savoy Group (now the Maybourne Hotel Group), and as an industry consultant.  In these roles, he experienced first -hand, the challenge of sourcing and hiring good finance professionals which led him to found London-based FM Recruitment, specialists in financial recruitment for the international hospitality industry, in 1985.

In addition to his consultancy and advisory activities, he currently serves as Chair of the Savoy Educational Trust, and is a Visiting Fellow of Oxford Brookes University. He has been for many years been a mentor for undergraduates and masters students.

Howard is the author of guides to a number of finance-focused reference books for the industry. His best-known work is A Practical Guide to the Uniform System of Accounts for the Hospitality Industry.

Howard was a founding member and a HOSPA Lifetime Achievement Award winner, and also the recipient of top US 2012 Paragon Award for significant and lasting contribution to US-based HFTP and the Hospitality Industry worldwide.

 In conversation with Howard Field

  1. How did you get into Hospitality Finance? Originally by chance, having completed my chartered accountancy professional exams, and being assigned to assist at what was the newly opened Royal Garden Hotel while awaiting the results. I was offered a position there.   Having almost accepted an offer for my next position with a manufacturing company, I saw an advert for a position at the Carlton Tower – and from then my whole career has been within the hospitality industry.
  1. What are the most important aspects of financial roles in hospitality and how has the role evolved over the years? Perhaps the key consideration is that it is a fast moving, people-centred industry, where the finance function has to balance control with supporting operations to provide consistent standards, as well as profitably.  Hotels are capital intensive businesses to own, and need to operate at high levels of occupancy and efficiency to meet their commercial goals.  From the control aspects, hotels are 24/7 operations, and systems and information flows require financial managers to understand the business dynamics and be capable of contributing at senior management level. The greatest change that has occurred over the years is the separation of property ownership, brands and management, and the need for financial managers to understand and deal with the resulting complexities.
  1. What do you consider your biggest achievement so far and why? Establishing the first professional recruitment service focused on financial and related management functions within the hotel industry – that is still flourishing 36 years later is certainly the highlight. You say ‘so far’; I feel privileged having the opportunity to continue contributing to the industry in other ways after so many years.
  1. What advice would you give to someone who is just starting their career in the industry? Seek advice from experienced professionals at all stages, including from recruiters, to be aware of how the industry and career opportunities are constantly changing; network; and if possible, connect with one or two mentors on the various programmes available to support career development.
  1. What are the biggest opportunities in the hospitality industry as it recovers from the pandemic? Perhaps ‘challenges’ would be more appropriate than ‘opportunities’.  Many historic standards and performance measures will no longer be appropriate as the industry re-awakens and markets re-open.  More than ever, working smarter, recognising and minimising risks and exploiting opportunities will mean being having to be constantly creative.
  1. What would have been your Plan B? I have thoroughly enjoyed (and still do) my career in the hospitality industry that has encompassed many aspects, made me many friends, and spanned a period during which there have been so many fundament changes.  It evolved without a clear plan, and I am not sure that I would want to have changed anything.

For support with your next career move or to enhance your recruitment strategy, please call FM Recruitment on +44 20 8600 1160 or contact Chris Denison Smith or Andrea Shaw on fm@fmrecruitment.co.uk now.

 

Why a new job is like buying and selling a house

It’s a significant investment, a long-term commitment and affects so many areas of your life. Getting a new job is all of the above, just like buying a new house. On the other side of the spectrum, for businesses appointing a new employee, it’s an equally large commitment with bearings on resourcing, team dynamics and corporate culture.

It’s a symbiotic relationship – just like buyers and sellers of houses. They both need each other, but they also need someone in between to ensure they are getting the best for both parties.

As a central component in the recruitment process, we share our top tips for a successful appointment.

For Candidates

Invest time when it comes to your next career move to really consider the full effect of a new job on your life. It’s often the case to think the grass is greener and take a leap of faith without perhaps considering all of the variables.

Just like moving home, a new job can bring with it a new lifestyle; an altered commute, a different childcare requirement, a new group of colleagues to get to know and to work alongside.

But it takes time to search through vacancies, shortlisting, interviewing, negotiating and deciding to take the plunge into a new role. This huge investment in time and energy can be even more challenging if you’re already in job.

Finding your next role is something that requires research, diligence and strategic planning. It may feel a little daunting and overwhelming and this is where the insights of a specialist can really add value and help offset the burden.

For Businesses

Whilst many businesses have well-connected in-house teams to support with recruitment, working closely with a specialist recruitment consultant brings pre-qualified relevant candidates to the table, who are open to new roles and often outside your current network.

The benefit of having access to experienced resources to share intelligence of the candidate market is valuable for businesses to make highly informed decisions, leading to long-lasting candidate appointments.

  • Which candidates will accept offers, and if not, why?
  • What other roles are candidates at?
  • What is the role worth in the market, compared to what competitors are looking for?

These are some of the many insights that can be shared to optimise the time and effort dedicated to this crucial process.

At FM Recruitment, Andrea and Chris have often been likened to the Kirsty and Phil of Financial Recruitment, and not just due to Chris and Phil’s similar hairstyles!  By helping candidates and businesses to navigate the recruitment process they can offer support and advice, honed from their long-standing expertise in the industry. Their extensive knowledge of the market will ensure both parties can save time, money and ensure recruitment isn’t just filling a gap, it’s creating longevity in the relationship.

For support with your next career move or to improve your recruitment strategy, please contact FM Recruitment now using any of the below details:

Office +44 20 8600 1160 I Email fm@fmrecruitment.co.uk
Chris Denison Smith +44 7775 711923 I Email chrisdenisonsmith@fmrecruitment.co.uk
Andrea Shaw +44 7714 236469 I Email andreashaw@fmrecruitment.co.uk

 

 

I love it, but the paragraph in yellow is a bit long and wordy but I am not sure how to fix it…. do you want to have  ago? [AS1]

 

Hi Andrea, I’ve tweaked this text and spaced it out using bullets. Hope thats better 🙂 Thanks [GU2]

Where are all of the candidates?

With a surge in vacancies as hospitality reopens, the expectation that there would be a plethora of quality, available candidates in the market hasn’t materialised. Recruiters and businesses are all crying out for candidates, but where are they?

Despite the huge influx in vacancies, job seekers are remaining hesitant to apply for roles in the hospitality industry after the turbulence of the past 13 months. There are 335,000 fewer people employed in the hospitality industry compared to last year, according to the ONS.

Whilst the recent re-opening of indoor hospitality has resulted in an increase in hiring, with job adverts for hospitality roles running above pre-pandemic levels for the first time since the start of the crisis and the total number of vacancies close to 1 million*, recruiters and businesses are struggling to fill vacancies. (*Adzuna)

Why are there fewer candidates in the marketplace?

A cocktail of Brexit, a decline in confidence of job security, talent returning to their home countries, deciding to remain in their roles or being attracted to roles in other industries have resulted in a perfect storm for the decline in available talent in the hospitality industry.

A recent survey of 15 large hospitality brands, including InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), Compass Group UK and Ireland and BaxterStorey, by the charity Springboard found many are facing major recruitment challenges.

As reported in The Caterer, one in three respondents noted that they do not have enough employees to manage re-opening indoors, 80% said there was a lack of skilled candidates, almost 90% are struggling to recruit for kitchen and back of house positions despite reduced capacity and over 30% are unable to fill senior management roles.

The Brexit Effect

Brexit, compounded by the pandemic, has seen hospitality lose many employees and future candidates as they return home overseas and are prevented from returning to the UK due to the introduction of the points-based immigration system.

Under new rules, applicants coming to the UK to work must be paid at least £25,600 a year, which for entry level roles across the hospitality sector will preclude many talented candidates, who would otherwise be nurtured into a career in hospitality.

The financial and administrative challenges associated with visa sponsorship present many challenges alongside severe penalties for employers who are found to be non-compliant. This is likely to lead to many employers electing to not hire overseas workers, which would add to the candidate shortages due to the recent uncertainty surrounding Brexit and the new immigration system.

The Saviour of Furlough but Masking the Reality

As furloughed employees (across all sectors) fell from about 5m at the end of March to around 3m by late April 2021, the reality of employee shortages became realised. Whilst furlough was the saviour for many businesses, allowing them flexibility to manage their work-force and protect more than 11 million jobs since the pandemic began (BBC), it often masked a true representation of the situation in hospitality, which has now been unveiled.

Perceived Confidence of Job Security

Vacancies are drawing fewer interested candidates than pre-pandemic with some candidates noting a decline in the confidence of job security as a reason for looking for a new position in hospitality. This has led to many candidates choosing to remain in their existing roles, or those who have been offered a new role, employers often engage in bidding wars for candidates, offering them attractive salary increases to remain with their company.

The Transferable Skills of Hospitality

The transferable skills developed whilst working in the hospitality sector can be easily applied to other industries and this has been seen with candidates choosing to pursue careers in other sectors, retrain or setting up their own businesses as a result of changed circumstances.

Where do we go from here?

Whilst there remains a number of challenges, there are encouraging initiatives across the sector to invest in training, development, wellbeing and accelerating careers.   Developing hospitality at the grass-roots level by working with colleagues, university students and graduate programs to produce talent for the industry will also be essential.

Springboard charity is spearheading this movement and has launched an initiative called Springboard to 2022, which is aiming to train 10,000 young people to work in the sector by December 2022.

At FM Recruitment, we are here to support both businesses and candidates to navigate the world of hospitality recruitment. We are specialists in financial recruitment at all levels in the UK and internationally. We belong to the Hospitality People Group who offer a wide variety of roles from c-suite level and everything in between.

For support with your next career move or to improve your recruitment strategy, please contact FM Recruitment now using any of the below details:

Office +44 20 8600 1160 I Email fm@fmrecruitment.co.uk
Chris Denison Smith +44 7775 711923 I Email chrisdenisonsmith@fmrecruitment.co.uk
Andrea Shaw +44 7714 236469 I Email andreashaw@fmrecruitment.co.uk

 

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