There is unfortunately little escaping the fact Australia’s liquor and hospitality industry has been hit hard in the months since the declaration of a pandemic and the Federal Government’s lockdown of venues across the country.

Since then people across the industry have been looking for the green shoots of growth and potential to show that we are, as a whole, getting back on our feet.

This did look like it was coming through June, but the second lockdown in Victoria saw shockwaves ripple across other states and territories. Now, although Victoria remains in lockdown elsewhere in the country is learning fast and adapting to a new normal, and thankfully those green shoots are coming back.

Off-premise retail has remained open and although social distancing does present challenges for both consumers and trade it is an area that is continuing to grow.

One area understandably hit hard by the pandemic has been recruitment, but industry specialists BrightSide Executive Search are seeing that there are some promising signs for the industry.

“We have seen a lot of HR teams pulled into other key areas as businesses restructure or pivot with COVID, so they haven’t had the resources or time to stay close to the market from a recruitment perspective,” said BrightSide Co-Founder Amber King.

“Because of this we’ve found our clients are reaching out for our help in finding candidates and we’re finding there’s increased demand in some key areas. One thing we’ve noticed is that highly capable sales professionals won’t stay on the market for long so it’s critical to know who this talent is and to be able to respond accordingly for our clients”.

Fellow BrightSide Co-Founder Sue Lauritz said that the off-premise has seen a surge in recruitment needs, which has been a positive especially in light of the hits taken by on-premise, particularly in Victoria.

“Retail sales professionals from face-to-face through to director level are still in demand and we have also seen a huge increase in suppliers and retailers creating or expanding their direct-to-customer online channel capabilities,” Lauritz said.

“With ongoing social distancing and increased online shopping, customers are increasingly looking for ‘safe’ service on top of the great digital experience that has always been important,” she added.

“This means it’s critical for businesses to communicate the right messages to the right customers and to also offer the right products. Positioning themselves so they form customer relationships that will continue once lockdown’s subsides is key. This is where the demand for candidates with ecommerce marketing skills comes into play including e-commerce, digital, SEO, category analyst and segmentation skills.

“We have also seen a demand for people with experience in path to purchase, planograms, shelf space management and category insights as these skills are even more crucial to the retail market at the moment, along with logistics professionals with many businesses ramping up online, and to ensure product delivery is keeping up to the new demands on retail.”

In order to put themselves in the position to respond to these new skill requirements BrightSide has stayed close to its candidates and been in regular contact with those who are on forced leave, reduced hours, JobKeeper, or whatever work changes the pandemic has thrown out.

King said: “We’ve made it our mission to keep qualified talent ready to go when our clients need them. What the pandemic has meant is that when our clients have gone to market there seems to be a lot more candidates available, which is actually taking up more of their precious time wading through so many more applications but when our customers have used us they are getting a full market map, not only available candidates. We can access the hidden talent and they can focus on other key business initiatives.

Lauritz added: “We’ve recently done quite a few mid to senior roles and have been able to deliver the shortlists in tighter timeframes, and with our reduced fee’s staying in place until the end of September we are here to ensure our clients get the best talent for all of their recruitment needs.”

If you are looking for sales and marketing talent or are in the market for a new role then you should contact BrightSide.

Click here to head to the BrightSide website OR email or

Andy Young

Andy joined Intermedia as Editor of The Shout in 2015, writing news on a daily basis and also writing features for National Liquor News. Now Managing Editor of both The Shout and Bars and Clubs.