The Change Group, the UK’s leading niche luxury hospitality recruitment agency, is celebrating its 10th anniversary with the launch of the first specialist website dedicated to luxury hospitality recruitment.
The website, which went ‘live’ on the 4th March 2015 and can be found at www.thechangegroup.com highlights the two distinct divisions of Change’s business: high end hospitality recruitment (front and back of house) and luxury support recruitment both for permanent and temporary positions
According to Craig Allen, Change Director and Co-Founder, “Change is the only UK recruiter where luxury hospitality and luxury support recruitment is a speciality.”
Change’s luxury hospitality clients read like a roll call of ‘who’s who’ in the hotel and restaurant world; from 5 star hotels like The Ritz, Connaught, Claridges and Cafe Royal, to Michelin star and Rosette restaurants, gastro pubs and independents. Change also provide staff for celebrity chef’s such as Jason Atherton, Tom Kerridge, Tom Aikens, Pierre Gagnaire, Helene Daroze and Gordon Ramsay, and reputable, flexible talent for ‘countless’ creative events and catering companies.
Its luxury support division is no less impressive, with Audi, Christies, Conde Nast and Virgin amongst the high-end clientele relying on Change’s knowledge and contacts to seamlessly supply Office Support, Marketing, HR and Accountancy and Finance staff.
And, with over 80,000 candidates on its books, 20,000 of whom are classed as ‘actively seeking’ employment or a change in employment, it’s not surprising that the Clerkenwell based company has become the go-to place for both candidates and clients in the luxury hospitality sector.
As well as securing the best talent in the luxury hospitality sector Change has also gained a reputation for being an employer of choice and secured industry recognition when it was selected as a finalist in the ‘Recruiter Awards’ as one of the ‘Best Recruitment Companies to Work For’.
At the time of writing, the team had just returned from a four night ski trip in Vaujany and it’s obvious from talking to Craig that he’s as passionate about investing in ‘his people’ as he is about his business. “We couldn’t do what we do without an extraordinary team,” he says.
Change also offers its staff a ‘Change Bank Holiday’ on those months without official bank holidays, giving its 25 (and growing) employees a very generous 37 days holiday allowance a year.
For 2015, Change plan to open its first international office in Singapore.
How has luxury hospitality recruitment changed over the past ten years?
The size of the industry has grown dramatically as clients’ needs have significantly broadened and the UK, London especially, can now rival almost any city in the world for its luxury service standards.
The other major change has been the introduction of LinkedIn, job boards and other online recruitment outlets. Whilst these new search tools have allowed some of the larger hospitality outlets to move recruitment in house, it’s more usual – and cost effective – for companies to use recruitment agencies in addition to their own recruitment drive, not as a wholesale replacement. If anything, the introduction of job boards has made the search for talent more, not less, fierce and ‘traditional’ consulting skills are as, if not more, valid in today’s ever changing digital world. Recruitment agencies will always have a greater candidate following than hospitality outlets, have much greater access to passive candidates and be able to source talent over a much wider range of functions.
What’s been Change’s biggest achievement in the last decade?
As co-founders, Jim O’Brien and I set out to start our own recruitment consultancy, one that challenged conventional methods of doing business and managing employees. Today, as a niche recruitment provider, we have become THE go-to company for high calibre talent for the most important luxury hospitality players in the industry, not just the UK market, but also Europe, Middle East and Asia which is an achievement we are very proud of especially in a recessionary global market. The fact that we also have what we believe to be the lowest employee turnover in the industry is also something we’re extremely proud of.
What are the biggest challenges currently being faced by the luxury hospitality industry?
Dealing with the shortage of quality staff in an ever growing market. Changes in immigration make it even more challenging and unless we deal with the culture of how hospitality jobs are seen in this country, the growth of the industry (and service levels) could be damaged. The lack of training being delivered to hospitality staff is also a significant challenge facing the industry. Without investing in hospitality training for staff, there is a very real risk that demand for skilled chefs, especially, will outstrip supply in the not too distant future. If the British government want the UK to compete with New York and Tokyo as a pinnacle food and tourist destination, they’d do well to consider this when deciding on the BHA’s (British Hospitality Association)proposal of cutting VAT on tourism, something which could significantly impact on employment, the industry and the UK economy.
How has the internet changed hospitality recruitment over the past ten years?
Massively. When chefs like Marco Pierre White and Gordon Ramsay got their first jobs, they did so by knocking on restaurant doors. In the digital age and particularly with the advance of mobile technology, candidates have much greater access to positions advertised online rather than having to rely on personal networks and word of mouth. The upside is that it’s increased candidates options. The downside, for clients, is that it’s also significantly increased staff turnover. This is where we as an consultancy become a vital partner to businesses as it’s our job to understand the needs and desires of candidates a kin to clients requirements to establish a pipeline of talent that is has the same goals and expectations.
How many people have you placed in luxury hospitality recruitment over the past ten years?
I’m not sure of the exact figure, but it’s in the several thousands. What hasn’t changed, though, is that each time we find a candidate for a client, it’s just as fulfilling as making our first placement a decade ago.
What’s the strangest jobs you’ve recruited for over the past ten years?
Sheep herder for a very wealthy family estate in Scotland. We were also once asked to find a team of Frog Divers, but that’s a different story.
For more information, quotes or to arrange an interview, please contact Rebecca Scrase, Change PR on t. 01449 677033, m 07985 973973 or by e-mail at email@example.com
“Change have been great for us at the Firehouse. The quality of candidates has been consistently strong both FOH and BOH, and the service and support from Craig and the team second to none.”
“I have been working with Change for one year now, and they have seen me through successfully staffing my restaurants. They always provide me with quality chefs and front of house candidates for both my restaurants. They’ve never let me down!”
“In ten years you’ve achieved so much and became one of the leaders in this mad industry.”
Gordon Ramsay Holdings
“I just wanted to take a quick moment to thank you for the amazing service you have not only been to the group but to me personally over the many years you have all been associated with the group.”
“I have always found Change to be a fantastic help in our financial recruitment. The team always listen carefully to the precise requirements of the role and present top calibre candidates, which match the specification very closely.”
Change was founded in 2004 by Craig Allen (Managing Director) and Jim O’Brien (Operations Director).
Change’s business has two distinct divisions: high end hospitality recruitment (front and back of house) and luxury support (providing luxury hospitality clients with Executive and Personal Assistants; Accountants and Finance staff; Marketing & Sales Assistants, Executives and Managers; HR Assistants and Manager and; Reception and Clerical Assistants).
Change HQ is located at 10, Laystall Street, London, just off Clerkenwell Road.