London’s top luxury hospitality recruiter, The Change Group, is opening its first overseas operation in Hong Kong to support the growing demand for top level skilled employees in the Asian market. This will be the first specialist luxury hospitality recruiter operating in Hong Kong.
The Change Group has seen growing demand for skilled talent in Asia both as a result of the rise of local hospitality specialists in the region as well as to support the overseas expansion of UK businesses.
Suzanna Jones, who brings nine years of experience in top tier management search and recruitment in the region, will head up the new Hong Kong operation. She will be joined by local country manager Dan Lam, who has spent many years recruiting in Hong Kong. He has already spent several weeks based at The Change Group’s offices in London Bridge to become embedded in the operation, and he has met many of the company’s UK clients who already have a base in South East Asia or are planning to open there soon.
Having transferred from her native Thailand to the UK, a key aspect of Suzanna Jones’s expertise lies in the rules behind the transfer of talent around the globe. It is hoped that in addition to supporting growth in luxury hospitality in Asia, this new branch operation will also enable The Change Group to support the transfer of overseas employees to work in the UK’s thriving sector.
Asia is a growing location for world-class hospitality. There are now over 750 Michelin recognised establishments across Asia, featuring outstanding cuisine across a broad range of businesses, from street vendors to the most exclusive and luxurious restaurants in the world.
Tom Aikens is one of the many clients that The Change Group has already helped to recruit employees in Asia, in particular in Hong Kong and Singapore. Aikens said, “Asia offers a tremendous and exciting opportunity for our style of cuisine and opportunities for our employees which is why we set up The Pawn and The Fat Pig in Hong Kong. This has brought so many benefits to our team and opened up our eyes to a whole new experience and approach to hospitality. There is so much to learn from working overseas. The Change Group has been an important ally in our UK recruitment and we are very happy that they will now be there to support us in Asia as well, identifying the best local talent and enabling the transfer of employees across different locations. It’s a fantastic development at a time when hospitality is booming in so many parts of the globe.”
Nicolas Grounin, of Aqua Group in Hong Kong and Asia was placed by The Change Group in January 2017 as director of operations. Grounin said, “The opportunity to travel and experience different cultures was one of the reasons why I chose to work in hospitality in the first place. Food and service are all about culture and there is no better way to learn about this and to acquire new skills than actually working in another country side by side with people from other countries. Having worked in New York, London and Paris previously, the opportunity to work at Aqua Group in Hong Kong was a once in a lifetime opportunity which I had to accept. It’s been a terrific experience and I would advise anyone working in hospitality to consider working abroad at some point in their career.”
The Change Group’s new Hong Kong operation will provide talent from all over the globe for front of house, back of house and office support roles for luxury brands in Hong Kong and East Asia.
A dedicated team based in Hong Kong will ensure clients receive the same tailored service across East Asia as they have become accustomed to in the UK and Europe.
This move follows significant growth in the company’s UK operations, which grew its income by 20 per cent in 2016, and has seen a 18 per cent rise in the number of candidates registering for work over the past year.
Commenting on the launch of the new Hong Kong base, Craig Allen, The Change Group founder and director, said, “Over the past several years we have seen significant growth in demand for our services in Asia, in particular from our London client base but also from Asian businesses looking to recruit top calibre staff. It became apparent that we needed people on the ground in a central location to support growth in the Asian market. Given its close historic links with the UK and its geographical proximity to several gastronomic and hospitality centres, Hong Kong is the obvious choice for our expansion overseas.”
The official opening of The Change Group’s new Hong Kong business will be on 1 June 2017.