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Service as a Profession

Why now is the time to pursue a career in services

There can be no getting away from the fact that our sector has faced an extremely serious recruitment challenge in recent months.

In its latest Quarterly Recruitment Outlook, the British Chambers of Commerce found that 83% of hospitality firms face significant issues, with construction the only other industry confronted with hiring challenges on a similar scale.

There are many reasons behind this, not least the departure of people from front of house, FM and other hospitality roles as workplaces and other premises were closed during lockdown restrictions.

Although the worst is behind us, uncertainty remains. At Portico, we typically receive around 35 applications per job opening, down from a norm of 60 prior to the pandemic.

Changing the narrative

However, we have seen a huge uplift in the number of appointments being made through internal referrals.

This not only shows that Portico looks after its people, but that our sector can and should be considered as a real possibility for anyone seeking a rewarding career.

There is huge scope for progression across a variety of roles. At Portico, we promote around 10% of our people into senior roles every year, with every employee working to a structured personal development plan to help shape and achieve career aspirations.

Our diverse client base also opens up a range of learning and personal development opportunities, ensuring that with the right personality and a can-do attitude, the sky really is the limit.

Hanna Barrett, now a director of operations at Portico, started her career by qualifying as a hairdresser. She had a natural ability to connect with clients, and spent five years in the air looking after customers of Ryanair.

After spotting a recruitment agency’s advert for a role at Portico in one of the inflight magazines, Hanna stepped into the world of FM. Starting as a receptionist for our financial services clients in London, she quickly progressed to reception supervisor before taking up roles as head of training and development and client services manager, senior client services manager and senior operations manager, and now director of operations. She also created a launched our learning academy for Portico which is now home to our award-winning pathways.

The academy, and our approach to training in general, is all about developing long-term employability. Our people get to learn how businesses work and pick up transferable skills that will serve them in a range of roles – indeed, many have gone on to thrive in other organisations covering positions in business support, HR and marketing, among others.

Now is the perfect time to join

With what we hope is the worst of the pandemic firmly out of sight, we can start to look beyond the uncertainty that has caused so many to leave the sector in the last couple of years.

Indeed, now is an exciting time to be charting a course in this field. With the return to work seeing workspaces reimagined to better cater to new normal processes, our roles too are evolving into more diverse and rewarding opportunities.

We are seeing a greater demand for community managers and floor captains – people responsible for delivering an unrivalled experience for staff returning to their offices. Front of house has taken on extra value, as well as opportunities to work with sophisticated technology and other service lines, all of which contribute to skills development.

If you want to be a key part of businesses’ value propositions to their employees and clients, now could be the moment for you to choose a career in services.