Ireland’s leading hospitality recruitment company has opened its newest office in the heart of Galway city near the Spanish Arch

The opening of Excel Recruitment’s newest branch marks the third office outside of its Dublin headquarters, with established offices located in Kildare and Cork and plans in place to open a Belfast office in 2022. We spoke with Excel Recruitment’s Director Shane McLave to find out why the company decided to expand in such a precarious climate and to get his insight on the challenges that lie ahead for the hospitality sector.

Office expansion – why now?

“One of the inspirational things that our clients have shown us during lockdown is their resilience, creativity and desire to succeed. The hospitality industry has adapted its service offerings to meet the needs of their customers, despite facing many adversities; that just shows the industry’s ability for constant innovation.“

Explaining why the time was right to expand Excel’s office in Galway city, Shane said: “Plans have always been on the cards for Excel Recruitment to grow its nationwide footprint, as many of our clients operate on an all-Ireland basis and with no hospitality agency operating north and south of the border providing both temporary and contract recruitment services, we in Excel felt it was time to offer our service island-wide. Things are already in motion for opening an office in Belfast; our new Galway branch is just another step in the right direction. It allows us to meet candidates on the ground in a central location at a time that suits them, speeding up the time to hire in the West of Ireland and streamlining the recruitment process for both clients and candidates alike.”

McLave added: “We aim to have a physical presence in each province in Ireland to better service our clients. I am especially delighted to welcome our new team in Galway, headed up by Kate Skehan. Kate is a recruitment management professional, who brings a wealth of experience and local in-depth industry knowledge, having worked for many years in recruitment in the West of Ireland. This is an exciting period of growth for us and we look forward to a successful future in Galway and beyond.”

Challenges in the hospitality industry

In recent months, the shortage of staff in the Irish hospitality industry has been well documented. The contributing factors are numerous, along with the solutions, but Shane sees two main issues that need to be resolved:

  1. Uncompetitive salaries

“It is hard to fathom the commercial damage that Covid-19 caused the industry. Closed without revenue or open with diminished capacity, you can easily argue that businesses cannot afford to pay further increases in pay rates. However, with the staff crisis in full play, it is the hotel groups and contract caterers increasing their pay rates for entry-level positions that we find are attracting new talent to the industry.

“Low-paid sectors suffer from high staff turnover, including restaurants and bar staff. This imposes a significant cost as employers struggle to recruit, retain and train replacement staff. By introducing higher wages at an entry level, employers could considerably reduce these costs and if companies want to attract the best candidates when it comes to talent, then this should be reflected in pay increases right up the job chain. This may be hard to justify coming out of the pandemic, but necessary, nonetheless.

“In this current climate, employers need to set their employer brand apart from the competition in the same way that they differentiate their products and services.”

  1. Lack of trained staff

“Excel Recruitment has taken a number of innovative steps to help the hospitality industry and our expertise in this area has allowed the company to grow by 35% in a period of great change. Anticipating the staff crisis and that this would be most acute around trained staff when hospitality reopened, we designed, developed and rolled out an entirely original concept, introducing a blended learning course for accommodation assistants using a combination of eLearning and classroom-based training. We also provide free training days across our branch network, training up to 45 bar/wait staff and 15 accommodation assistants each week, preparing them for work in the industry. To improve efficiency, monitor training and compliance, we launched our ‘Excel Recruitment App’. This fully automated our recruitment process, linking together our training, recruitment and compliance platforms for a seamless collaborative solution, ensuring that compliant and qualified candidates can be rapidly sourced and mobilised on a fully nationwide level.

“We cast the net wide open when it comes to recruitment and it’s important for us to remain innovative as we move forward. Therefore, we’ve upgraded and redesigned our website and our branding to offer an improved navigational experience for both our clients and candidates and to highlight the broad range of industries we recruit for and positions we fill. The world of work continues to change and while our old mantra – ‘Placing great people with great Companies’ – served us well, we learned as our service offerings grew that really, ‘Our role is to help you Excel’.”

To discuss how Excel Recruitment can help you with your temporary or permanent staffing needs or to learn more about its training or hospitality programmes, please get in touch with our Operations Manager Emma Conlon at or call 01-8717676