Travel staff made redundant or fearing for their job security as a result of the Covid-19 crisis are ‘not alone’ and should not give up hope of re-employment in the sector.
That was the message from a panel of experts on the C&M Travel Recruitment Candidate Webinar, the first specifically focused on UK travel industry employees since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.
C&M Travel Recruitment director Barbara Kolosinska admitted the start of the pandemic had led to a “dire” situation for travel recruitment.
“It has been the most challenging three months of my career. We went from 1,000 vacancies to zero,” she said.
But she said the situation was now starting to improve, with positive signs of recovery in the jobs market, particularly in domestic and luxury travel.
She said: “We are beginning to see small signs that companies are beginning to bounce back; we are seeing the domestic and luxury markets return.
“There are jobs out there and they are beginning to trickle back. I am hoping the number of redundancies will start to reduce as air bridges are introduced and the quarantine gets lifted.”
But travel management companies and companies specialising in longhaul could take longer to recover, she warned.
Travlaw partner and head of employment Ami Naru said employers were in a difficult situation because many did not want to lose valuable staff, and had put employees on furlough for that reason.
She said: “I think it will get worse before it gets better….[but] employers are desperately trying to keep staff.
“A lot of people [on furlough] have taken it very negatively but they have been put on furlough because employers don’t want to get rid of them; they want to keep them in the workplace. While on furlough you are still an employee.”
Decisions around redundancies were “not being made lightly” by travel companies, she added.
HR specialist Claire Steiner, UK director of Global Travel and Tourism Partnership, urged employees not to give up hope.
She said: “No employer wants to do this [make redundancies]. It is not personal to you, it’s about protecting the business. We will get to the stage of rehiring.
“Because of situation we are in with Covid-19, you are not alone.”
She added there would be new opportunities and encouraged employees to “be brave” and take chances to try new jobs they may not have thought of doing previously.
She said: “Opportunities come from adversity. You might have to leave the industry; we hope you will come come back in. Your skills are transferable.
“There is a war on talent out there. Our wonderful industry is just on pause; we will need good talent [in future]. Please take heart, there will be opportunities going forward.”