Companies in other sectors are recruiting staff from travel and tourism who have digital, finance and HR skills.
Millions of jobs in the travel sector have been lost or affected by the Covid-19 crisis and there are now fears of a brain drain, a WTM Virtual debate heard.
James Nally, Senior Manager at recruitment firm Michael Page Group, told the panel at WTM: “On the digital side, there have been interesting discussions in the FCMG [Fast-moving consumer goods] and automotive space, looking at the talent within travel.
“Other skill sets are transferable too, such as finance professionals and HR, but the digital space has been an interesting conversation…picking talent away from travel.”
Adam Jones, Aerospace Bristol’s Marketing Manager, agreed that digital skills are in great demand.
“It’s something that you constantly have to train in, just to stand still, let alone get ahead,” said Jones, who is also Tourism Ambassador for the Chartered Institute of Marketing’s South West regional board.
He advised job hunters not to forget the “softer side” of their skills, such as networking, and less formal learning via podcasts, reading and conferences such as WTM Virtual.
Also on the panel was Niki Zoli, formerly Director of Social Impact at Marriott International, who recently lost her job because of Covid-19.
She said many travel firms are helping employees find work or volunteer opportunities elsewhere with other business partners.
After leaving Marriott, she spoke to someone at Amazon about a Covid initiative and found herself working as a volunteer on a food waste project and liaising with hotel groups.
Nicola Sadowski, HR Consultant at Kuoni Travel, advised employers to carefully consider how they handle the redundancy process, especially as experienced, talented staff will be needed when travel recovers.
Kuoni helped its departing staff with CVs and career counselling, and created the Kuoni Talent Finder website to promote their skills.
Nally urged jobseekers to use their networks, saying: “This is the time for references and testimonials from your employers.
“Talk to people you have previously worked with: ‘follow the footsteps in the sand’ and ask for advice, connections, books or webinars that they can recommend.”
He added: “Speak about this [travel] industry with passion; it does not put employers off.
“Your passion about the industry will spark a conversation that will lead to common ground.
“Write about it, blog about it, do something creative. Talk about the success you had and how you added to the business.”