Travel recruiters need to raise their game

Continuing our tour of the PCS universe, we stopped by to talk to Jean Rymer, who heads of Travel and Tourism for PCS in the Joburg branch.

Q: Jean, tell us a bit about yourself and your background.

Jean: I completed my BA Honours degree at Wits University and thereafter I went to the UK where I worked in country hotels for some years. After that I returned to South Africa and in October 2005 I joined PCS in the hospitality department.  At the beginning of 2012 I moved over to recruit for the travel department.  I now have almost nine years recruitment industry experience.

Q:  What is the state of the market in Travel and Tourism? Is it suffering from the economic downturn?

Jean: At the moment we are finding that within our industry there is a shortage of good, qualified, experienced and knowledgeable candidates.  As such we find that agencies and clients are vying for the same skilled candidates.  However I believe that if you can give a client excellent service and excellent value for money they are more likely to approach you to find them suitable candidates.  The same applies to applicants.  If they know you are working towards what is best for them, they are more likely to choose you as their preferred recruiter and refer candidates to you.

Q: What are some of the challenges you are facing in this sector, and how are you overcoming them?

Jean: It is a tough market.  Various agencies are competing for a limited pool of candidates that they can send to potential employers.  As such it is important to get onto preferred supplier lists with companies and in order to do so we need to offer them a good fee and top-notch service.  We need to ensure that we do all the necessary background checks on our applicants and that the people we recommend are going to be assets and add value to the company and perform well in the positions they are applying for.

Q: Do you, like other departments within PCS, find growing interest from skilled candidates to work outside SA? If so, why is this?

Jean: No, not much in our industry.

Q: What would you say is the outlook for recruitment in your sector over the next year?

Jean: I believe that there is a place for recruiters within the travel industry but I do believe that we will need to up our game even more.  I also believe that there will be a shift in the type of positions we will be recruiting for.  For example, we are already seeing companies focusing more on Business Development candidates as opposed to Key Accounts Managers.  The travel industry is moving online and we are going to have clients focus more on candidates with this experience or are willing to work in this type of environment.