What makes some aviation jobs so hard to fill?

April 10, 2017 in News for Clients

What makes some aviation jobs so hard to fill?


Some aviation jobs just feel like they’re impossible to fill right now. This is causing HR and other hiring staff a serious headache, and even leading some airlines to scale back their operations.

But, what’s happening behind the scenes remains a mystery to many. We’ve prepared this handy guide to introduce you to the factors that are putting serious strain on conventional aviation industry hiring.

Industry growth

What’s bad news for recruiters and HR staff is good news for the aviation industry as a whole, which is experiencing rapid growth.

25,000 additional commercial aircraft will take to the skies over the next 20 years. The ICAO estimates that 350,000 new pilots and 480,000 new technicians will be needed to keep these planes operational.

Approximately 3 –5teams of 4 – 16cabincrew would also be required for each of these extra aircraft.

Growth is far from even across the industry. While some traditionally buoyant markets are starting to nudge past pre-recession levels, the fastest rates of growth are being witnessed in developing regions, such as India, Africa and South East Asia.

Skills shortage

5% of the national workforce (1.4m people) have been identified as having a skills gap. But, this trend is even more pronounced in aviation.

This is due to a whole range of factors, including:

  • Fewer people entering aviation overall
  • Competition with other sectors
  • Expensive and disjointed educational and training pathways
  • Lack of opportunities to transplant existing skills by moving between aviation disciplines
  • Insufficient interest in STEM subjects, most notably among women

The recession fundamentally changed the aviation landscape, causing many skilled staff to switch industries and settle elsewhere. Retirement is also starting to bite. By the end of 2015, 73% of ATCs in the US had reached retirement age.

Bodies such as Aviation Skills Partnership are taking innovative steps to start satisfying this skills demand. But, it will take some time before we see the current situation begin to balance.

Changing attitudes

It might be hard to hear, but – for many people – aviation jobs just don’t scream glamour in the same way that they used to.

Students and others who might have considered a career in aviation are beginning to look past the sleek uniforms. They see a career that has the potential to be immensely rewarding, but is also likely to mean long hours and difficult working conditions.

Job-hunter attitudes are changing too. Millennials have a different set of expectations – they’re highly mobile and put quality of life ahead of remuneration. They’re also willing to look further afield to find an employer who’s willing to meet these expectations.

Remaining candidates are keenly aware that they’re in a candidate-led market. This enables them to cherry-pick the best job offers and be more maverick in accepting work or switching between airlines.

All this means you need to be savvy with your hiring strategy and gain every advantage possible. A specialist aviation recruiter can help you overcome these challenges and give you access to a predefined pot of skilled, motivated and vetted applicants.

Want to know more about the factors that are making aviation jobs hard to fill, and how you can keep your staffing levels optimised long-term? Download our latest white paper to get the full AeroProfessional take on this topic.

Find out how you can make your business adaptable to industry trends and get the support you need to minimise aviation job vacancies with AeroProfessional.


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