Secure Skilled Talent for an Expanding Industry

February 14, 2020 Aon's Assessment Solutions

David Learmount, Consulting Editor for Flightglobal, outlines what he sees as the single biggest issue facing the aviation sector; attracting and hiring the talent needed for the forecasted industry growth.
This is, as David comments, “an issue” for the industry as this talent “cannot be generated overnight” as these “skilled people cannot be trained quickly” and talent is needed at every skill level.

What does this mean for the practice of HR and talent decision makers within the aviation industry?

Increase hiring talent for all roles – even those for non-traditional aviation roles

The aviation sector needs to attract talent in all roles to meet the forecasted growth in the sector. Clearly, there is a need for more employees in passenger-facing roles such as cabin crew, ticketing agents, those on the flight deck and the ground ops team. Additionally, airlines now also have a need for more digital, technical and engineering roles – and this is where the aviation sector is competing with more obvious, digital companies for the best digital talent.

Part of the solution can be in education of potential applicants; showcasing career paths to those following STEM subjects and reaching out and engaging with talent.

Attract more women into the industry

A snapshot survey at an Aon Talent Summit for Aviation showed that no more than a handful of delegates had considered a career in the aviation industry when growing up and today only around 5% of pilots are women.

Lack of awareness of opportunities is no doubt a contributing factor. Even in the early years at school, aviation is rarely talked about. Typically, pilots are only seen as men – and men with a certain look. Airlines and those across the aviation sector need to consider how best to extend the talent pool by attracting female talent. Simple actions such as talking to young girls about becoming a pilot, looking at career opportunities of flight crew with a family, addressing the work-life balance can all play a part.

Revisit the funding of pilot training

Discussions around the funding of pilot training continues. As long as the most readily option available to those wanting to train as a pilot is to self-fund, only the current and very specific candidate profile will make up the talent pool. To increase the numbers of people training as pilots, a larger net needs to be cast bringing in a more diverse applicant pool.
The profession needs more talent and the debate continues how best to open up training.  

Assess for potential

Competence to be successful as a pilot is not just about the qualifications and skills attained; behaviors, motivations and cognitive abilities all play an essential role. Qualifications and skills can be demonstrated, and flying hours measured but to understand if a candidate has the potential to behave and react as a successful pilot, other measures are needed. Valid and robust talent assessments are such measures.
Using such assessments can help predict those candidates or applicants most likely to succeed as a pilot and positively impact the talent growth plans of airlines.
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