CJ Invest, Hotels and Development, News

Sarah New on Recruiting for Hospitality and Construction in the Caribbean

By: Caribbean Journal Staff

Even amid the pandemic, the Caribbean construction industry is ploughing ahead, with more and more projects underway, particularly hotel projects. And that means it’s more important than ever to find the right people for the right jobs. The same is true in the all-important Caribbean hospitality industry, where placements are still needed for all aspects of hotel operations. To learn more about the state of recruiting, Caribbean Journal Invest talked to Sarah New, managing director of New Recruits International, which specializes in Caribbean placements.

Recruiting for people to work and live in the Caribbean sounds like it can be a challenge. What is it like?

Yes, sourcing the correct candidates to match the location and client’s requirements can be challenging. To be successful, careful consideration must be given due to personal logistics, geographic location, family requirements and the expectations of the role. Having a good work-life balance proves to be successful with our placements. We have a wide network and in-depth database that allows us to source the right candidate. We believe that this is key to achieving best results.

How has the pandemic affected the recruiting and job demand situation in the region?

Whilst hiring demand has clearly been impacted by the pandemic, we see hiring for upper management. Many of our key clients have been faced with taking steps to protect their businesses and employees. We continue to work closely with our clients helping to assess their current and upcoming hiring demands based on market trends.

We normally travel throughout the Caribbean meeting our clients in person. The pandemic has limited this approach for now. To adapt to this new normal, we have invested in the latest communication technologies, which has proven to be invaluable to our day-to-day operations.

You recruit candidates for construction and hospitality. Those are broad fields. Do you specialize? 

The construction recruitment is not limited, catering to a wider range of sub-sectors such as energy, marine, residential, industrial, and commercial construction.

By specializing in the supply of hospitality and construction professionals our clients use our services from the start of their construction process throughout completion. This is where our hospitality division provides staff for all departments to maintain daily operations of the resorts and hotels. We find these two industries to work hand in hand making it a seamless process being involved from start to finish. 

Your company is focused on the Caribbean region. Why?

I was hooked from my first business trip and one of our never-ending goals is to set up an additional office in Barbados, as this is an island I am truly in love with.

We have found working in the Caribbean to be very welcoming and having a great support network has been the real foundations of our business. We also cover the United States and LATAM allowing continuous growth internationally.

Where have you placed candidates in the Caribbean?

Our recent placements have been in Antigua, Barbados, TCI, BVI, Netherlands Antilles and Guyana.

Are you working on any Caribbean Projects right now? Can you tell us about an open position or two?

Yes, we are currently working to fill the positions of Villa Director, Revenue Manager, Maintenance Manager & Operations for the Hospitality division. On the construction side, we have opportunities for Quantity Surveyors/Estimators, Construction Managers.

What do you see in the pipeline for Caribbean construction?

We see a positive pipeline as projects have now resumed alongside new developments that are currently breaking ground within the Hospitality, Commercial and Energy sectors.

Investors continue to be active by inputting plans together for new development programs within the Caribbean & LATAM region. We are seeing businesses having to consider and preparing to constantly adapt and innovate to meet new challenges and achieve their development strategies.

You have partners that can assist with financing. Tell us about that.

Our business partners operate successful property investment and construction businesses across the United States. While we cannot go into specific details, they are looking to build partnerships with suitable qualified and experienced investment groups.  

Do you see any new trends in hospitality?

We are noticing that guests are becoming increasingly concerned with environmental issues and would like to know what sustainable practices have been put in place prior to booking. This has been one of the most noticeable hospitality trends of recent times, with a growing number of hospitality businesses promoting their eco-friendliness.

What do you see on the job front one year from now and what’s possible 5 years from now?

From our candidate’s perspective, we foresee continuous improvements to public health, resulting from the rollout of the national vaccine programmes throughout 2021. With boarder restrictions being eased for those traveling on essential business enabling operations to continue to recover.

For the midterm five years, I foresee continued economic recovery driven by national investment stimulus programs in public infrastructure projects such as airports, roads, and cruise ship ports. We believe this will bring recruitment opportunities for both Construction and Hospitality professionals, alongside positive trends by offering one year work permits allowing professionals to live and work in the Caribbean boosting local economies and increasing trade.

For more, visit New Recruits International.

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