Aviation Business


A closer look at avi­a­tion re­cruit­ment trends that will dom­i­nate in 2019

- Belarus · Austria · Iceland · Somalia · Ryanair · Boeing · Asia-Pacific region · Europe · European Union · Middle East · Belgium · Farnborough Airport · Farnborough

AVB: Could you start by shar­ing a brief over­view of how your com­pany has im­proved its ca­pa­bil­i­ties over 2018? Sam Sprules: One of our largest value-add to clients lies within our in­dus­try re­search and in­sights. We in­vest heav­ily to en­sure we un­der­stand the avi­a­tion re­cruit­ment mar­ket in its en­tirety. An­a­lyt­ics and re­search in­sights sup­port our work with clients to help im­prove their pack­ages, cam­paign per­for­mance and brand at­trac­tion, against com­peti­tors glob­ally.

In­ter­nally we have had rapid ex­pan­sion, ac­quir­ing ad­di­tional space at our head of­fice, based at Farn­bor­ough Air­port. With a grow­ing head­count, we have also adapted our re­cruit­ment pro­cesses to align with our ‘com­mu­nity’ fo­cus. One of these ini­tia­tives has seen our re­sourc­ing team be­come fleet-type spe­cial­ists, work­ing within spe­cific com­mu­ni­ties such as B737 or A320 flight deck. These changes have en­abled us to di­rectly im­prove our ca­pa­bil­i­ties to de­liver high-qual­ity tal­ent to our clients, quickly and con­sis­tently.

For our clients, part­ner­ing with mar­ket ex­perts is in­valu­able to help them at­tract the best tal­ent for their busi­ness now and in the fu­ture. It’s im­por­tant that the right can­di­date is in­vested with a busi­ness both at the start and in 10-years’ time.

AVB: What skill sets are be­ing pri­ori­tised by avi­a­tion or­gan­i­sa­tions in their search for ex­ec­u­tive tal­ent?

SS: The mar­ket is cur­rently can­di­date driven, with the pi­lot skills short­age be­ing a global is­sue. How­ever, al­though this is now a can­di­date-led mar­ket, em­ploy­ers are still look­ing for can­di­dates that align with their brand val­ues and grow with the or­gan­i­sa­tion.

One of the most at­trac­tive qual­i­ties for can­di­dates to pos­sess is re­li­a­bil­ity. All too of­ten can­di­dates have an im­pres­sive skill set of li­cense type, PIC hours and de­sir­able lan­guages, but un­re­li­a­bil­ity has been the cat­a­lyst for an un­suc­cess­ful of­fer. How can­di­dates con­duct them­selves through­out the process from ap­pli­ca­tion to start date is just as cru­cial as the in­ter­view and/or as­sess­ment. If you can’t com­mit to dates, fol­low pro­cesses, or hon­our prior in­ter­view ar­range­ments, then don’t ex­pect an of­fer based on your tal­ent alone. Em­ploy­ees are look­ing for some­body who will work in har­mony with the busi­ness and share the same at­tributes as their fel­low col­leagues. Equally the in­dus­try is very well con­nected, so main­tain­ing a good rep­u­ta­tion is cru­cial to a long and suc­cess­ful ca­reer.

AVB: What are some of the cur­rent trends as­so­ci­ated with avi­a­tion re­cruit­ment and how do they dif­fer from re­gion to re­gion?

SS: The largest is­sue across the in­dus­try is the pi­lot skills short­age. We have as­pir­ing pi­lots, but it is those with the cor­rect skills and suf­fi­cient hours on type that are in de­mand. The in­creas­ing pi­lot short­age man­i­fests it­self in a num­ber of ways, from ground­ing air­craft and flight can­cel­la­tions (we saw this re­cently with Ryanair’s op­er­a­tion suf­fer­ing greatly due to pi­lot num­bers), to putting strain and re­stric­tion on growth. The com­pe­ti­tion to re­cruit and re­tain qual­i­fied pi­lots is be­com­ing more ag­gres­sive, of­ten leav­ing the smaller air­lines and op­er­a­tors sub­ject to ex­ten­sive ‘poach­ing’. Every year air­lines plough thou­sands of pounds into re­cruit­ment, only to then see high at­tri­tion lev­els at the start of peak sea­son by those air­lines of­fer­ing more lu­cra­tive con­tracts.

We are also begin­ning to see changes to re­cruit­ment strat­egy, with the widely ac­cepted ‘self-spon­sor­ship’ method giv­ing way to air­line sub­sidised train­ing pro­grammes and cadet schemes. Where air­lines have pre­vi­ously had their pick of qual­i­fied and ex­pe­ri­enced can­di­dates, the labour mar­ket has turned.

In terms of how this looks across con­ti­nents, the pic­ture is slightly dif­fer­ent, though no less moun­tain­ous. Boe­ing has pre­dicted the need for 790,00 new pi­lots by 2037, the largest need in Asia-Pa­cific re­quir­ing 33% of the to­tal, shortly fol­lowed by Europe at 18%. Look­ing at the Mid­dle East specif­i­cally, this is es­ti­mated at a de­mand of 64,000. While this seems ‘lit­tle’ in com­par­i­son to other re­gions, it

is still a tall or­der that needs to be met to con­tinue sup­ply­ing air travel de­mand.

AVB: In ad­di­tion to the lack of tal­ent en­ter­ing the in­dus­try, what are some of the other ma­jor chal­lenges that you’re find­ing in avi­a­tion re­cruit­ment?

SS: From a broader per­spec­tive, we need to har­ness the power of tech­nol­ogy to max­imise the lev­els of can­di­date reach and at­trac­tion in to­day’s glob­alised so­ci­ety. Reach­ing out to new de­mo­graph­ics will be vi­tal to plug the skills gaps.

Air­lines are now find­ing that it is not enough to rely on brand iden­tity to both at­tract and re­tain can­di­dates. The next gen­er­a­tion is look­ing be­yond brand and salary to find more thrifty ben­e­fits, such as pro­gres­sion and a work-life bal­ance. By 2015 the mil­len­nial gen­er­a­tion will make up 75% of the work­force, pos­sess­ing many trans­fer­able skills. It is there­fore im­per­a­tive that air­lines ad­just their strate­gies by look­ing at the big­ger pic­ture to en­gage with this gen­er­a­tion. Ad­just­ing the pack­ages on of­fer to ac­com­mo­date de­liv­er­ables such as de­vel­op­ment will be para­mount, given that 65% of mil­len­ni­als ac­cepted their last job based upon this fac­tor. Equally, air­lines need to adapt their at­trac­tion strat­egy to find these peo­ple, in­clud­ing a so­cial me­dia pres­ence, web­site func­tion­al­ity, ap­pli­ca­tion process and so on.

AVB: The Mid­dle East has for the last cou­ple of years fo­cused its ef­forts to­wards cul­ti­vat­ing lo­cal tal­ent. To what ex­tent has this pre­sented a chal­lenge for re­cruit­ment agen­cies, and se­condly, is this fo­cus ex­clu­sive to the re­gion?

SS: The Eastern mar­ket, par­tic­u­larly the Mid­dle East, has been at­tract­ing tal­ent at a good rate com­pared to the Western mar­ket. The lure of at­trac­tive job op­por­tu­ni­ties in the East has caused a surge of Western pi­lots to leave the EU, par­tic­u­larly since 2010. This trend shows no sign of abat­ing - ev­i­dent in the short­age de­mand men­tioned ear­lier. In 2016, we found this so ap­par­ent that we con­ducted a sur­vey ti­tled ‘Where are the Western Pi­lots’, to iden­tify the at­trac­tion of the Eastern mar­ket, with a per­spec­tive from em­i­grat­ing pi­lots them­selves.

Our find­ings de­tailed that 43.2% of par­tic­i­pants (the largest per­cent­age) moved from the Mid­dle East, fol­lowed by Far East Asia at only 22.5%. We wanted to un­der­stand the top in­flu­enc­ing fac­tors for Pi­lots mak­ing this de­ci­sion. Our re­search showed that pro­fes­sional goals were the main driv­ing force be­hind pi­lot re­lo­ca­tion. 81% of re­spon­dents high­lighted that work out­side the EU of­fered a bet­ter salary and ben­e­fits pack­age than work in­side the EU. Given the op­por­tu­nity to select three de­ci­sive fac­tors, 32% also cited the ad­van­ta­geous tax im­pli­ca­tions of leav­ing the EU.

The chal­lenge it­self lies more with the op­er­a­tors/air­lines, rather than with the agen­cies. Agen­cies have a re­spon­si­bil­ity to ed­u­cate their clients in pro­vid­ing this re­search and sum­maris­ing the fac­tors that need to change to in­crease pi­lot at­trac­tion and re­ten­tion. It is then ul­ti­mately the de­ci­sion of the client as to if they are able to ac­com­mo­date these fac­tors in a bid to ac­quire skilled pi­lots.

The lure of at­trac­tive job op­por­tu­ni­ties in the East has caused a surge of Western pi­lots to leave the EU, par­tic­u­larly since 2010.”

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 ??  ?? Sam Sprules, di­rec­tor at AeroPro­fes­sional.
Sam Sprules, di­rec­tor at AeroPro­fes­sional.

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