Jason Hill Jason Hill

Displaced talent ‘hunkers down'

An increasing number of travel and tourism personnel who find themselves out of work are ‘hunkering down’ and offering contract and part time services to get through the crisis, says the managing partner of a company that specialises in employment in the sector.

‘We are hearing from senior executives who are saying they can’t see themselves working in another sector and they are prepared to wait things out,’ says Tourism Talent’s Jason Hill. Tourism Talent launched a Gig Connect service recently to match people with specific skills to companies that may not be in a position to retain or employ full time staff but still need expertise in roles such as finance, sales, marketing or planning. ‘I think a lot of businesses have used this time to figure out how to be agile and they are cutting costs on things that historically they may have thought were essential, or that they hadn’t really thought about. This includes permanent office space and unfortunately can also include employment.

‘Many sectors embrace the gig economy and employ expertise where and when they need it but travel and tourism hasn’t really embraced this approach. At the moment many people are in survival mode but this is something they will need to consider in the rebuild.’ Hill says when borders do begin to open and businesses in travel and tourism start advertising for staff, they are likely to be faced with a different sort of challenge. ‘Many people will be applying out of desperation and will not necessarily be qualified or suited to the role. We have a database of talent that we can filter and deliver in an efficient way, thus saving time but also ensuring the position is filled by the right person.’

Hill says that while there is understandably despondency and uncertainty in the marketplace there are also some anomalies – like regional centres which have traditionally relied on backpackers and other temporary visitors to fill positions now seeking locals to fill roles to satisfy the needs of domestic tourists. On another positive note, Tourism Talent is operating a Maori Tourism Academy in Northland with support from the Ministry of Social Development. ‘We did the first one in Kaikohe in February and now we have a second intake. It is inspiring young people to take opportunities that are available in their local community.’ https://www.tourism-talent.com/

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