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Travel job blog

The Pull of Dubai

written by James

We love analytics at Progressive; identifying what works best to attract travel candidates.  Before finishing for the weekend, as normal, we reposted the majority of our vacancies to the Progressive website.  Sitting with a coffee on Saturday (and watching the build up to the World's richest horse race, The Dubai World Cup), I noticed a huge spike in interest/applications for 1 particular position which happened to be based in Dubai.  In the space of 24 hours, the interest was phenomenal - unbelievably higher than similar roles we promoted with travel companies in New York and London.  So unbelievable that for every 100 applications for the Dubai vacancy we only received 1 for those in London and New York.

 Dubai skyline

Having lived there as an expat and now a regular visitor on business and pleasure, I began to question why such a difference.  In each location there are similarities in terms of the travel business, salary and how we wrote the advert.  So, why Dubai??

Personally, I continue to do business there as I enjoy the climate, the challenges of recruiting for the travel industry in Arabia and the relative ease of doing business there.  I also enjoy the melting pot of cultures/nationalities, but I can also relate to that in  New York and London.

Is it the relative ease of obtaining a visa regardless of your nationality, the tax-free salary, the culture, climate or the buzz of living/working in an ever changing destination?  So I am putting it out there and ask those of you already there or those looking to make the move to Dubai; what is the main attraction for you and if applicable, your family?

James Corden - How did he get the Late Show job?

written by Fiona

Having lived in Cape Town for the last ten years the steady but meteoric rise of the British home grown actor James Corden had passed me by, until one day at my friend's house I came across his biography on her shelf and asked who he was. Having literally just finished reading his bio, I see that he has landed a job that many American actors and comedians would give their 'eye' teeth for and are no doubt asking 'what the ...... how did he get the late show job'?

James didn't do well at school, but he knew that he enjoyed being the centre of attention and that he could act, sing and had comedic talent. He had to start at the bottom acting in theatre productions that were not that great and perform in the back rows of the chorus twice a day for long periods of time singing the same songs day in day out #monotonous.  He was overlooked for the main leading roles due to his size and looks.  So he took his fate into his own hands and he made his success happen.

He wrote roles for himself. He continuously put himself forward for roles he didn't think he would get. He was persistent and tenacious and believed in himself. He said and did some stupid things and there is media evidence of the slatings he got whenever he failed. But......he believed in himself. He knows that he is good at entertaining, he knows that performing is what he wants to do. He knows that the big jobs won't be just handed to him and he recognises  that he has to put himself out there and work hard and despite every producer that says no if he reflects on the feedback and learns from his mistakes and fine tunes his skills he will achieve his objective.

There is a saying 'you don't get something for nothing'.

James Corden didn't get this amazing opportunity in a foreign country for nothing. And win or lose you can't knock him for putting himself forwards where others would fear to and for being tenacious and over the next few weeks and months resilient enough to take all the critical reviews as learnings and the acclaim as development.

Good luck James, I applaud you for having those great intrinsic behaviours that create success

  • Resilience
  • Tenacity
  • Persistence 
  • Focus 
  • Drive
  • Determination

How do you present your personal brand when job seeking?

written by Fiona

Personal Brand Image

How do you present your personal brand when job seeking? Are you aware that every interaction online and offline, creates a brand message about you? Employers will judge you on your photos (easily found on Google), your recommendations on LinkedIn and your written and spoken communication. Your early arrival at interviews, your preparation, your interest, excitement and enthusiasm, are all measured and in a market that is saturated with candidates you can't afford to stand out for all of the wrong reasons.

I have worked in the travel industry both in the UK and overseas for 25 years and in that time it has never failed to surprise me how interconnected my acquaintances' are. This has allowed me to network and achieve a great many things and it can do the same for you if, you are aware of and nurture your personal brand.

Here are my top ten tips to nurture your brand.

  1. Lock down your Facebook- your personal photos are exactly that 'personal' and can be kept from Google by changing your Facebook privacy settings
  2. Professional pictures on LinkedIn- are very important, they present your 'work brand', a picture of you at your wedding or with your children won't impress a future employer.
  3. LinkedIn Recommendations are like gold -word of mouth has always been and will always be the most powerful form of advertisement - ask your customers, colleagues, ex Managers to refer you by providing a recommendation that supports the work that you have completed
  4. A 3 or 4 page CV is sufficient- recruiters and employers have a vast amount of candidates to choose from and those that waffle will be over looked both verbally and in writing. Any positions non relevant to the role / over a number of years prior, should be listed as employer, role and dates only.
  5. Only apply for positions that you want- there is no point applying for a job and then changing your mind about it and not responding to the recruiter/employer. They will remember.
  6. Be honest about what you can and cannotdo - if a position requires a skill, don't pretend that you have that skill. During the interview you will be competency tested and it's embarrassing for all if you can't back up what you have stated on your CV.
  7. Communicate, communicate, and communicate- if you are going to be late, if you change your mind, if you are no longer looking for work. Have the common courtesy to advise the recruiter/employer. Once again remember you want people to talk about you for all the right reasons/ People will always talk about bad behaviour online and offline.
  8. Prepare to fail and fail to prepare- there is a reason for this saying. Employers want people who want to work for them, who show interest, excitement and enthusiasm for the job. If you have done your homework it ticks a big box.
  9. Arrive early- Plan your journey to the interview so that the chances of you being late are highly unlikely and can only occur due to reasons out of your control i.e. delayed train/bus. If this happens communicate with the recruiter. Don't leave people wondering where you are.
  10. Look good and smell good- clean, smart, tramlines on shirts and trousers, you can only be over dressed for an interview in a dinner suit or a ball gown and a tiara. Dress to impress.

Ultimately, when you leave the room, ensure that your personal brand is one that people remember for all of the right reasons.

Travel Recruitment in South Africa

written by Fiona

With the South African Rand weaker than many currencies and salaries relatively low in comparison to the rest of the world, South Africa continues to be a popular country to start a company for any entreprenurial business person.

Travel and Tourism is one of the most popular subjects to be taken at the higher and further education colleges around the country and as South Africa is a mecca for tourists and because South Africans love to travel, the Business, Leisure and FIT travel industry is booming and travel and tourism candidates are widely available.

Whilst this all sounds amazing, operating a successful business is absolutely dependent on recruiting the right talent. This is when working with a Travel Recruitment Specialist that has broad ranging experience both as recruiters and managers within South Africa is important.

We understand all of the following very important areas and we will discuss these with you whilst we help you find the best travel talent for your business ;

  • Employment Equity Act (EEA)
  • Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA)
  • Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF)
  • South African Qualifications Authority Act (SAQA Act)
  • Skills Development Act (SDA)
  • Skills Development Levies Act (SDLA)
  • Employee background checks

Contact Fiona Morrison-Liebenberg our South Africa Account Manager to find out how she can help you.



You don't really hear of internships in the UK travel industry; which is strange as they are commonly available and seen as beneficial to the travel industry in continental Europe and other parts of the World.  There is a wealth of untapped talent out there who are extremely keen to get some travel industry experience.  I can't count the amount of times we have to politely turn away strong candidates who are looking for that opportunity in the industry, so the list of benefits in hiring interns might persuade you to start an program:

  1. New perspectives on processes/challenging the norm. Interns challenge processes and bring fresh, new ideas to the company and potentially to the travel industry.  I recall my first travel industry job back in 1997 in the sales & marketing department of a large international airline and questioning why we are not emailing our frequent flyers rather than sending out expensive print - the rest is history!

  2. Technologically advanced. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIN, Pinterest - Young professionals have grown up with social media and computer programmes.  Whilst you might think you are a dab-hand yourself, you can always learn from the Y generation.

  3. Help with projects.  I know I have an ever growing list of 'must-do' projects but due to time constraints they are always lingering at the bottom of my 'to-do-list'.  The potential intern is wanting meaningful experience that they can add to their CV.  With the correct guidance, they can help you close off more projects than you might imagine.

  4. Opportunity to assess a potential employees suitability. An internship is a fantastic way to see how much potential they have in the your travel business. In addition, you can see how they work with your company culture and interact with others in the organisation.  Many interns become permanent employees so this allows you to assess their skills and work ethic before you take that step.

  5. Fresh blood. All too often with recruitment assignments, we are told candidate must have experience in their given area of the industry.  Many experienced candidates from other industries are looking for a career/industry change and these individuals can bring to the table new and fresh ideas that could help improve your business and potentially the wider UK travel industry.

  6. Brand advocates. Hiring an intern can possibly spread the word about your company, not just as a potential employer but also an advocate for your product.

Tips- Know the legal bits - for the finer details relating to the employment rights for interns in the travel industry visit -

If you are looking to recruit an intern, please feel free to get in contact with James Roberts @Progressive Personnel - /uk/team/

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