Travel recruitment in 2023 – and why 2022 was just TOO busy

After a monumentally busy 2022, travel companies are recruiting less in 2023 – here's why that's actually a good thing

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2022 was a fantastic year for travel recruitment – the most successful in C&M's 25 year history. But it was always going to be an anomaly. Cut to halfway through 2023 and activity levels are roughly where we were before the pandemic.

Vacancies and placements are both down compared to last year of course, but this is no surprise. Many companies – especially TMCs – cut their headcount so deeply during the pandemic, they had to do a colossal amount of rebuilding and hiring last year.

They recruited so heavily in 2022 that they simply do not have the capacity or budget to continue at that pace in 2023. Expecting anything else would be unrealistic.

There's no reason to worry about this and it is no indication of where the year is going.

The truth is, for us at C&M, last year was actually too busy. Our team were almost firefighting – they were manically busy, trying to react to the huge demand. They were working far longer hours than we would like and were stretched to capacity trying to fill all of the roles that we had on. It was our busiest and most successful year ever, but you can only maintain that level of activity for so long.

With fewer vacancies this year, it means we're able to focus on each client and manage each role much more thoroughly. And, importantly, it means our Consultants have more time to advise and guide our clients through every step of their hiring process. Although not at the level of 2022, we're still placing a large number of candidates in new travel roles every week – and we're now able to do it more efficiently with even better service and dedication.

Salaries going up and up

Wages in the travel industry have increased by around 11 per cent from the first half of 2022 and this is great news. It's long overdue but they need to continue rising as they have been historically low for far too long.

Quality candidates are still in short supply. The best were receiving four or five offers last year, with some companies even getting into price wars over certain applicants! However, with vacancies falling and candidate numbers rising in recent months, this imbalance is now less pronounced and is beginning to rectify itself.

With wages increasing across the whole industry, there are now lots of attractive travel jobs sparking the interest of both active and passive job seekers. These factors should combine to mean that companies will hopefully begin to have a bigger talent pool to choose from in the near future.

Widen your horizons

Of course, not all of these candidates will have the appropriate experience or qualifications to be the right fit for each specific role. But more and more of our clients are listening to us about broadening their requirements and looking outside of the industry for talent – and, we're glad to say, many are finding great success with their hires.

For any companies thinking of hiring later in 2023, we would advise them to do it now. Summer is always a quiet period for travel recruitment with normal pre-pandemic seasonal variations, but from September onwards things really heat up.

That's when all companies resume their recruitment…and they all fight each other for the best candidates! So for any travel companies that have the resources and time to recruit straightaway, we would advise them to jump ahead of the competition and secure the top talent before their competitors have even written their job adverts.

By Barbara Kolosinaka, Managing Director at C&M Travel Recruitment