Aviation Talent Challenges in the Decades Ahead

December 4, 2020 Aon's Assessment Solutions

The aviation industry is in a difficult place at present. However, its future is surely positive. If we look beyond the confusion caused by the pandemic and air bridges, quarantine rules and safety concerns, and see the opportunity for increased connectivity and reach. In the future, innovation will reshape the industry – and consequently redefine the required talent.

Attracting New Talent to a Changing Sector

A career in aviation is synonymous with the roles of pilot or flight attendant. However, this is no longer the reality. Digital technologies, greater customer personalization of service and huge advances in engineering technology translate to a significant growth in opportunities for IT, engineering and technical-based careers. We expect there to be new opportunities as new technologies become established and new original equipment manufacturers emerge to design and build new hardware.

The challenge will be to define these future jobs and attract people to a career in aviation. Education and training routes will need a shake-up. Funding will need to be re-worked, especially pilot training. While the perception of being a pilot may suffer in the short term (perceived as a less secure profession to join) we believe it will change.

Aviation has always attracted disruptors to the market – and that looks set to continue. It makes for an exciting landscape within which to work.

Resourcing Expanding Markets

Asian markets are likely to see the biggest upturn in routes and passengers. Opportunities for talent to join new and established airlines will grow. With high volumes of applications, firms will need to be able to make fast and informed decisions about the best applicants.

An engaging and insightful candidate experience will be essential to keep the best talent. This may be hard to imagine now with redundancies and downsizing, but when the sector opens back up, it is expected that growth will be fast.

Talent assessment has changed – and will continue to change – beyond the online ability testing of yesteryear. Greater customization of the content and the look and feel to reflect the job and brand, and also more gaming elements make for an engaging experience. AI-supported video assessment helps to make quicker decisions. This will transform the hiring process.

Improving Diversity

The sector is aware of the need to be more diverse. This is a requirement made all the more pressing when you consider that so few pilots are female and the fact that pilot training is self-funded.     
There is much debate about how training fees can be financed to make it an option for more people, regardless of financial background. Initiatives to encourage more girls to learn about becoming a pilot are also in place and there is greater thinking about how to balance family life with a career in aviation.

Growing Internal Talent

When the sector recovers, it is likely to face a significant shortage of pilots, engineers and technical professionals. This means that, once recruited, firms will be keen to retain and develop their people. Therefore, HR leaders will need a two-fold talent strategy, both re-examining their internal talent development strategy as well as focusing on new methods for talent acquisition.

In our view, the aviation sector has a strong future. The challenge will be to adapt talent strategies to harness the opportunity. Contact to us to explore how we can work with you to rethink your next talent steps.

You can hear from Aon’s David Barrett in our Coming Through the Clouds series of roundtable discussions as he talks alongside Simon Witts, founder and CEO, Aviation 360, Jeffrey C Lowe, managing director, Asian Sky Group & Asian Sky Media, Petter Hörnfeldt, founder of Mentour 360 SC and Lambros Lambrou, CEO, Aon’s Commercial Risk Solutions.

About the Author

Aon creates smart measurement solutions with valid and innovative online assessment products. Aon is globally the preferred partner for organisations who demand the best.

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