Earlier this year, a survey carried out by Fáilte Ireland revealed that there were 40,000 vacancies in the tourism and hospitality sector. While the cost-of-living crisis may have seen this number fall somewhat as a result of businesses scaling back and even closing, demand for talent looks set to remain strong in 2023.

“We are expecting the same level of recruitment activity as 2022, if not more next year,” says Micheline Corr, director of specialist hospitality recruitment consultancy The Firm. “While there have been some closures in the sector, we are seeing new businesses opening up all the time.”

Demand for culinary skills is particularly high, she notes. “Demand is very strong for head chefs, and we are still getting candidates from overseas applying for jobs here,” she notes. “Where people do decide on a change there are multiple choices open to them, such is the level of demand. We work with career developers and changers. The new year always brings fresh thinking about careers. It can be around changing working hours or locations. Location is quite a big issue now due to the increased cost of travelling to work.”

Other areas in demand include sales and marketing, events planners, and finance. “Anyone in food and beverage, bar or other traditional service management has lots of options open to them as well,” Corr points out.

Competition for talent is driving some interesting trends. “We are seeing businesses spending a lot of time improving their employment offers,” she adds. “They are now offering things like health insurance, increased time off, days off on birthdays, dry cleaning and suit allowances, and gym memberships. Candidates are looking more closely at the entire package and businesses have really improved their offer.”

Money comes into it too, of course. “We are now seeing signing-on bonuses being offered to candidates. When they identify the person they want for the job they are willing to put money on the table to get them. We haven’t seen it for many, many years but it’s definitely back now.”

The result is that 2023 looks like a very good year for people changing roles in the sector. “The future is bright for anyone planning to change job in the hospitality industry,” Corr concludes. “It’s very much a candidates’ market. But multiple offers and the range of different packages on offer can be quite confusing, and people should always get independent professional advice before making a decision.”