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Emma celebrates ten years in hospitality recruitment

In June 2010, as England embarked on their World Cup campaign, Gorillaz, Muse and Steve Wonder headlined Glastonbury, Associate Director, Emma Tugwell returned from her travels and was embarking on phase two of her hospitality recruitment career at Search.

Little did she know, ten years later, she would still be here, having achieved no less than five promotions! We caught up with Emma to talk about her career and share her expereinces of an industry that she is passionate about. 

What was your first day like at Search?

It feels like a lifetime ago but I remember not only my hospitality recruitment team but the whole Crawley office being really welcoming. I was only 21 and I remember having to go round and meet all the different teams and feeling pretty nervous. I made friendships really quickly though and proud to say that some of those will be lifelong.

How has your role changed over the years?

I started as a Trainee Consultant on Hospitality and I’m now Associate Director of the specialism across the UK, so lots has changed! Being a Temp Consultant on a hospitality desk is hectic but  I absolutely loved how fast-paced it was. I would regularly go out and do shifts myself as well!

I found it really special how you can build such close relationships with your clients on hospitality and you almost become an extension of their own team.

As the years rolled on, I took a keen interest in coaching and developing and knew the management route was one I wanted to take. I was promoted to Managing Consultant in our Crawley office with a team of two that over time grew to eight.

In 2015 we opened Brighton Hospitality and from thereafter I was promoted from Managing Consultant to Senior Divisional Manager. At the end of 2018, I was promoted to Associate Director for Hospitality UK and I now oversee our Manchester and Leeds offices as well as our brand new London office which opened at the end of January 2020.

One thing that hasn’t changed is my love for the Hospitality industry. It’s so vibrant and fun to work within and I’ve met some truly amazing people over the years; clients, colleagues and candidates who all contribute to this amazing sector to work in.

What has been your greatest achievement in your career to date?

Getting promoted to Associate Director has got to be up there. It was a huge professional milestone and accomplishment for me. Almost like all my achievements over the past 11 years rolled into one. My hard work and determination had paid off! My family and friends were really proud of me and that’s a pretty special feeling in itself.

I also have to mention the countless promotions I have seen across my teams over the years.  Every time I attend a promotion meeting, I feel immensely proud of that individual and the part myself and my managers have played in their development. It’s such a wonderful feeling.

What do you love most about life at Search? 

Although it’s a big business spread across the UK, we are one big family, (cheesy yes!) I get to work alongside some truly talented people in this business and I love the fact that you have a great deal of autonomy over your day-to-day workload and that no two days are the same. It certainly keeps me on my toes!

Why do you think you have stayed at Search for so long?

The investment this business puts into your training and development is second to none. From day one, I felt extremely valued and I think my career path thus far with Search has proven how much we invest in our people.

I’m lucky I’ve had some amazing mentors over the years, and my Managing Director, Rich Westhead continually pushes me to be the best I can be.

How has recruitment changed over the years?

Recruitment technology has changed hugely. When I started I had a rolodex to call  my clients which held all their details and staffing requirements! Our marketing has hugely advanced as well as our presence on social media. We have so much at our fingertips now to reach out to both candidates and clients. We are using get-optimal to write our ads, and Paiger enables us to have the very latest industry news at our fingertips.

I can still remember the fight in the mornings to grab the local newspaper for the jobs section. How times have changed!

The recruitment industry’s ability to overcome tough times such as a recession, and now a pandemic hasn’t changed. It will be interesting to see how we will respond and to face the challenges ahead and seek out the opportunities available as we move towards the “new normal”.

A note from Rich Westhead, MD for Search Hospitality, Transport & Industrial and Technical & Engineering.

“Emma is truly exceptional at her job and a credit to the business. Her story is one of success. Starting out as a Trainee Consultant and working her way up to Associate Director, she has gained valuable experience of every role in-between.

Emma’s key strength lies in her ability to train and develop her team and move with the changing markets. She is an expert in Hospitality recruitment and is very close to the key performance indicators that are shaping her business.

I have loved working alongside Emma for the last few years and know how much the impact of covid-19 has had on the Hospitality industry which has tested Emma as her market grinded to a halt.

This market will bounce back very shortly, and I am looking forward to spending the next ten years working with Em and her team as we establish the Search Hospitality business as the number one  Hospitality Recruiter in the UK.”

Do you work in Hospitality? 

Has covid-19 affected you and your career, but are you ready to get back into work when things can resume? Or will you be looking for help in building a team when your establishment re-opens? 

If you would like to find out how we can help you as the country gets back on its feet, then Emma and our hospitality recruitment team would love to hear from you.  Get in touch today.