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Travel and tourism industry resumes hiring, momentum to pick up from Q4

Following the lifting of travel restrictions, a steady pace of vaccinations and a pickup in leisure travel, companies in the tourism and travel space have gradually resumed hiring talent.

October 20, 2021 / 06:22 PM IST

The travel and tourism sector, one of the worst affected by the pandemic-induced lockdown and resultant job losses, is seeing a revival in hiring.

Following the lifting of travel restrictions, a steady pace of vaccinations and a pickup in leisure travel, companies in the tourism and travel space have gradually resumed hiring talent.

Alok Kumar, senior director at staffing services firm ManpowerGroup, said, “We are witnessing a slow but steady and positive recovery in job demand from the travel and tourism industry.” ManpowerGroup has seen an almost 25 percent month-on-month growth in new job demand over the last three months from this sector, he added.

Concepts like “stayacation”, “workation” and “work from anywhere” have given rise to personal travel. In addition, with companies increasingly returning to “work from office”, corporate travel is also likely to increase. And this will have a cascading effect on the entire ecosystem of the travel and tourism industry, said Kumar, adding that the increased pace of vaccinations and the government easing domestic travel restrictions are also contributing.

Online train booking platform ixigo is hiring talent across positions. Nupur Jain, vice-president, human resources, said, “We gradually opened our hiring process last year itself when domestic travel resumed. We are continuously adding roles in line with our evolving business plans.”

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Bus ticketing services provider RedBus declined to comment on its hiring plans.

Sekhar Garisa, CEO, Monster.com and chief strategy officer and president, emerging business at tech and business services provider Quess Corp, noted that hiring sentiment in the travel and tourism industry has improved. According to the Monster Employment Index, the last quarter showed a 20 percent growth in job postings in the industry, he added.

With the easing of the second wave of the pandemic and the vaccination drive, there has been a positive shift in travelling trends. “Staycations and revenge travel are acting as a stimulus for talent demand,” said Garisa.

Additionally, the government recently announced financial support for tourist guides and tourism stakeholders, which further helps growth in the sector, he added.

Ajoy Thomas, business head (retail, e-commerce, logistics and transportation) at staffing services company TeamLease Services, said, “It was expected that this (travel and tourism) would be the last sector to fully recover when Covid happened… While we have seen the trend that hiring has already been initiated for all the profiles where hiring didn't happen for as long as a year… I see this trend continuing and from the fourth quarter, the momentum will pick up big time.”

"The hiring sentiment in the travel and tourism industry has witnessed a gradual uptick from August 2021 after the initial de-growth and job losses amidst the second wave of the pandemic in the country," said Sanjay Shetty, Director –Professional Search & Selection Strategic Accounts, Randstad India. 

The industry has been experiencing steady and stable growth due to a sharp increase in luxury travel, demand for personalized experiences and travel to non-crowded destinations that offer ‘Transport/Travel Bubbles’ to passengers, he added. 

Roles in demand

Industry experts noted that companies have begun hiring talent across roles such as technology, customer support, customer experience and technology, among others.

Garisa said hiring is dominant across product and technology roles, followed by marketing and customer experience roles.

“Initial demand is for the technology, product design and customer support roles from the travel aggregator companies,” said ManpowerGroup’s Kumar.

This trend is reflected in the case of online train booking platform ixigo as well. “Some of the key open roles currently are senior software and quality assurance engineers, growth marketing roles, graphic designers and backend developers. These are all full-time roles,” said Jain.

Kumar however noted that hotels and airlines are still very cautious in their approach and most of their hiring is either need-based or in the form of short-term contracts.

But this does not hold true across the board, noted Teamlease’ Thomas, who noted that the hospitality industry has started hiring people to fill the roles of restaurant managers, bartenders and waiters. “Roles specific to aviation will pick up now that airlines are also running at full capacity,” Thomas added.

Commenting on the roles in demand, Randstad's Shetty said, "As domestic and leisurely getaways see steady demand in the country, we see the hiring of professionals in the Marketing & Communication, Sales & Business Development, Product, Design, Customer Experience, field-level roles like tour guides/operators and leadership roles increasing."

Many large players in the industry have expressed their intention to increase the staff count by 50% across divisions with more preference to IT professionals who can easily adapt to hybrid working, he noted. 
Shreeja Singh

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