Thomas Cook staff facing redundancy have been told not to give up hope of finding new jobs in the industry.
Recruitment specialists say they are already receiving calls from Thomas Cook staff and employees of its different brands and are keen to reassure those whose jobs are under threat that there are "plenty" of opportunities within the travel industry.
The travel giant announced yesterday it would be axing 2,500 jobs, including 902 shop staff, as part of a major business restructure.
C&M Recruitment, which places candidates in roles ranging from retail sales consultants to product, commercial and specialist travel roles up to middle management level, said the number of vacancies on its books is up by 15% on this time last year. It currently has 500 openings at companies across travel.
Sales director Barbara Kolosinska said: "We know the number of agents on the high street is reducing but I believe there will always be agents out there. There are plenty of alternative roles from homeworking, to business travel, online travel agencies, tour operators, call centres and cruise and luxury specialists. All these companies are crying out for people with good product knowledge."
She admitted it was unlikely all retail shop staff affected would find jobs in other high street travel agencies near their homes but said employees should remain positive based on the fact the recruitment market is more buoyant.
"The difficullty will be location or if for example, they work part-time, but staff should not panic as long as they flexible with their expectations," she added. "It's unrealistic to say there are 900 vacancies out there on the high street but there is more confidence because employers are more confident about the economy."
Travel Trade Recruitment sales director Claire Muge agreed Thomas Cook staff should remain positive.
"There are companies out there that really are thriving, especially independent agents and operators, and the market is quite buoyant," she said. "A lot of people have been at Thomas Cook a long time and have good skill-sets and could look at alternative roles."
Her company, which places candidates in all roles from travel consultants to more specialist and management positions, has also received calls from staff at Thomas Cook looking for new jobs.
Meanwhile, Advantage Travel Centres head of business development David Moon said the consortium had already had several calls from agents interested in buying their shops from Thomas Cook with a view to running them themselves as managed service agencies. This allows agents to focus on sales and marketing while all their supplement payments, bonding and systems are run by Advantage, he said.
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