In the last (but most certainly not least) of our recruitment specialist spotlight series, we talk to Paul Gilley FIH, Managing Director and founder of PJ Search.
We were delighted to hear that the London Hospitality Festival you put on with your son James is back on this September! Tell us more!
Wow what a year and the thought of organising a party to celebrate coming out the other side of that is very exciting! We really want everyone involved in the sector, pubs, cafes, restaurants, hotels caterers and the whole spectrum of suppliers that have also had their lives on hold, to come together (rules permitting) to party, to play and really enjoy the fact that we have stayed safe, survived and since the reopening worked our socks off!
Sunday 12 September in Chiswick and its free to join us for a beer or an ice cream and enjoy the sunshine and music.
Book early if you want to bring a football or softball team!
Tell us a little more about yourself and your career to date.
Started as a Bellboy at the Royal Garden Hotel, had a terrific time at the Goring Hotel and travelled the world working in hotels. 20 years ago I started PJ search, recruiting for hospitality across the world, and then 12 years ago started the London Hospitality Festival.
I became a Fellow of the Institute five years ago and had the pleasure of being on the Supervisory Board of IoH for the last three years.
Has your recruitment company always been hospitality-focused?
I suppose hotels were my strength because of my past but work across every department within hospitality across the country. And now of course we have found more frontline staff than we have management.
What makes your brand so different to others in your sector?
I think we are more about relationships than just filling gaps, we are not very proactive searching for roles simply because we keep busy with clients and friends that know and trust our ability.
Staff shortages in hospitality are making the news right now… what do you feel can be done to rectify this?
I feel we have an opportunity to pay better rates, to invest more in our staff and get rid of the stigma that hospitality is not a career choice but something you do as a stop gap. We need to demonstrate that we care and support our people. Of course, there are many amazing examples of this across our industry and those are the companies that will prosper at this time.
How are you preparing to restart the recruitment industry now that we are coming to the end of the pandemic?
Firstly, a party! A Festival! Let’s celebrate.
The restart, to advise my clients on the importance in investing in their people, their wages, their well being. I actually feel we have real opportunity, not just with the pandemic but also Brexit, we MUST reinvent how we recruit, support, train and nurture people within hospitality.
What is your hope for the hospitality industry as the year progresses and for the beginning of 2022?
Sadly we will have lost many friends over the last 18 months, either closing or returning to homes across the world but my hope is that organisations like IoH can really tell the world that we are open and ready for business.
What do you think makes the hospitality industry so special to work in?
I guess I don’t have much to compare against because I have been in this all my life. It feels to me like we care more, we work hard together and then play hard together, our colleagues become our friends.
What made you join the Institute of Hospitality?
Simply it is another part of the support network, it offers the resourcing, the networking and regardless of experience, the constant learning. Thank you.
Which elements of Membership did you use most during lockdown?
I became a Mentor last year and have a terrific Mentee, if I had not had the spare time I don’t think I would have done this but it is extremely rewarding, in fact I think I have learned as much from my mentee as she has learned from me…
Do you have any advice for people considering joining the Hospitality industry?
Do it, sign up and get involved, the more you put in, I guarantee you will get more out.
Tell us three things about yourself that no-one else knows!
- Today 4th June I have been part of releasing a single in the charts with Tony Hadley of Spandau Ballet and others! That is one less thing on the bucket list…
- I support Southampton FC, be nice!
- I am third Generation Hotelier, with my Grandfather opening the Cotswold Hotel in Southampton.