Chef De Parties in Ireland, the rare breed in Irish Catering Recruitment
We’ve covered the shortage of Chefs in the Irish catering industry in an earlier blog post about the great chef shortage. Since then there’s been little improvement in the supply of chefs anywhere in Irish catering, whether directly to the hospitality industry or indeed to catering recruiters.
Yet not all aspects of this chef shortage are created equal. One position in particular is a persistent headache for anyone attempting to run any catering business right now. That position is, Chef De Partie and there is almost no one who’s been left unaffected by this shortage. Kitchens island wide are groaning under the strain with little relief on the horizon.
For catering business owners, catering managers, head chefs etc the scarcity, in an economy with close to 14% unemployment this situation is proving difficult to accept much less to understand. However failing to accept or understand the situation isn’t going to make matters any better.
We can theorize as to the causes of the Chef De Partie drought and this is a game everyone in the Irish hospitality sector can play. My own, current, pet theory is that the pay employers are hoping will lure candidates has now, in many cases, dropped to a level insufficient to tempt anyone already in decent employment to risk a move. Meanwhile many of those who found themselves surplus to requirements elsewhere in recent years have, by now, either emigrated, decided on another career path or calculated that they’d be better off on benefits.
Finding Irish Chef De Parties now a seven day a week task.
So Irish caterers are left with vacancies for Chefs De Partie, lots of them. As a chefs recruitment agency we’re now working seven days a week trying to solve our client’s problems. Because contingency recruitment is something we work very hard on we’re now reaching a point where to do right by our existing clients we’re having to turn away new clients (not something which gives us any pleasure).
Irish job boards, not the answer?
That all sounds counterintuitive in an economy with our levels of unemployment but we don’t think we’re serving our clients well by accepting every assignment which comes our way if all we’re going to do is paste the vacancy onto our TOPCHEFS Job Board, and/or perhaps one of the main job boards like jobs.ie or recruitireland and hope for the best. Our clients have most likely tried that already, and failed miserably, by the time they come to us. Taking assignments is easy, fulfilling the chefs positions is hard, that’s why a catering employment agency with 40-50 jobs on their job board is often less likely to get you the chefs you need than agencies advertising far fewer jobs.
Our strategy is to approach each assignment with the serious and sober expectation that we’ll find our clients the best solutions available. An alternative, and quite lucrative, strategy is to take every job which comes your way on the basis that having a jobs board with lots of jobs looks good and not to worry that you’ll only fill relatively few of them. 20% of, say, 50 jobs filled in a month is still a decent payday in many peoples eyes. The only difficulty is that a conversion rate of this order means that the majority of your clients are likely to have had their expectations mismanaged because many of them arrive to a recruitment agency expecting that this is the place to come to for sure fire results, or as close to sure fire as makes little difference.
As regards finding Chef De Parties what does this mean for clients of TOPCHEFS? Well it means that given market conditions we’re going to have to work very hard to meet our clients needs. One thing we do promise when we take on an assignment, whether the job assignment is for Chef De Partie or any other grade of chef, is that we will work very hard to solve the problem. Can we promise we will find you the chef you want? No! It would be unethical, in current market conditions, to pretend otherwise but we can say there’s probably no agency which devotes more man hours to each open position, and markets them as widely, than we do and that this results in a very respectable job fulfillment ratio.
Use the Irish Jobs Boards, when that fails do get in touch
It would be seen as self serving of us to advise Irish caterers not to spend money upfront advertising their vacancies on the Irish jobs boards, so we won’t suggest that. What we do suggest though is that if after a couple of weeks of advertising this hasn’t generated the type of candidate you need then that’s the time to abandon hope and get in touch with an agency. Of course if it’s chefs you’re looking for we suggest you call us but we recognize we’re not the only catering recruitment agency in Ireland who can, and do, get chefs so by all means get a recommendation for another agency and try them but do it before the situation becomes critical.
Photo by Kevin Cortopassi