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BBT March/April 2019 cover
March/April 2019

GTMC Column: Finding future stars

Adrian Parkes, CEO of GTMC

To help our industry prosper, our focus is on how best to recruit talented candidates and support apprentices

Whether I’m reading a consumer magazine, Sunday newspaper or even our own industry titles, there’s always one type of feature that I find particularly interesting – the in-depth personality profile.

I’m sure interviews with successful people have a universal appeal. What makes this company boss tick? What do they do to stay ahead of the game? And how did they make it big in the first place? It’s this last point that can be particularly fascinating.

Of course, not everyone can fulfil childhood dreams of playing for Sheffield United, or becoming an astronaut or ballerina, but looking at the leaders of today’s TMCs it can be intriguing to hear their stories and chart their paths to success.

That said, what of the routes available for tomorrow’s leaders and what steps as an industry should we be taking to safeguard its future?

First, it is vitally important that we promote the travel management industry as a career option, rather than just a job with a diverse wealth of opportunities available.

For any industry to prosper it must continually attract the best talent and do so by showing why it can be a long-term choice for recruits. For an industry like ours – one that operates across the globe and helps companies in literally thousands of sectors – that means having real diversity and ensuring we are doing enough to showcase those opportunities available for all.

TMCs are superb at training and development, with courses that lead to professional qualifications. The variety of specialisms mean that joiners can quickly carve out a niche in an area they are interested in, be it VIP travel, sports, offshore travel, data analysis, IT, supplier negotiations or account management.

For our part the GTMC has a number of focus areas to support new recruits to our exciting and diverse industry. These include working with higher education institutions to get business travel firmly established on the academic agenda and secure attendance at careers fairs. We currently run two strategy groups – People and the Next Generation – which have a remit to support apprenticeship schemes and new recruits. Our domestic conference later this year will also have a clear focus on recruiting talent and creating exciting career opportunities for the future. 

Such initiatives are designed to lay the foundations of a bright future both for the industry and for those individuals with the ambition to build successful careers that will no doubt make for interesting profile interviews in the years to come.

Adrian Parkes is chief executive of the GTMC, which represents travel management companies.


One area that needs to be tied closely to the future leaders pathways, is recognising that we need to ensure the workplaces promote positive mental health for them to be able to strive. TMCs are being pushed harder and harder by the suppliers and procurement to do more for less. When revenues/profits drop, its the staff that suffer.

There are some TMCs already building the processes, raising awareness and support to all staff at all levels. And these will be the ones who will recruit and retain the talent pool of the future.

The GTMC should encourage open dialogue around mental health and protect the wonderful people in the TMCs today and in the future.

Matthew Holman's picture
Matthew Holman (not verified)

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