Hanish Trivedi, 2024

Company Hiring Models

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This page will showcase the various strategies that companies in aviation around the world are implementing to help attract and retain employees. While not all strategies are one-to-one applicable to every part of the industry, many programs can be modified to fit the needs of the particular role or area. Insights can be gained from the examples showcased on this page and the goal is to provide some fresh ideas into how companies in the aviation industry can attract new talent and retain current employees. The pages detailing attraction and retention techniques can be found here: 

Major Factors Affecting Attraction and Retention

There are many factors affecting the ability to attract and retain staff in the industry currently. The two major factors this page will focus on are the costs associated with entering the industry and the changing societal values of younger generations.

Costs Associated with Entry to the Industry

One reason the industry is having such a hard time with recruitment is the cost of studies and training for certain positions. A perfect example is becoming a pilot. Obtaining a commercial pilot’s licence can cost upward of $125,000 CAD and on top of that pilots need to gain a certain number of hours before they can earn a salary. According to Dave Frank, Executive Director of the BC Aviation Council, there is very little financial support for low and medium income students pursuing a career as a pilot. Because of the lack of financial support and the potentially many years required to recover training costs, a large number of candidates are turned away from a career as a pilot. A CBC article quoting Transport Canada stated that in a typical pre-pandemic year 1,100 pilot licences were distributed on average in Canada. In 2020, that number fell to 474 and has fallen dramatically every year since. 

Reducing the up front costs for aspiring pilots and other aviation professionals needs to be a major focus for the industry in the coming years. With the rising costs of living, careers in aviation are becoming unrealistic for a large number of people. Aviation companies and the federal and provincial governments will have to step in with funding options and subsidized training programs otherwise the number of open positions will continue to increase, with fewer professionals to fill them. The industry is already struggling to keep up with demand and the shortage of trained personnel is only expected to get worse.  

For the full CBC article please visit A shortage of pilots is making travel chaos in Canada even worse.

Changing Societal Values and Lifestyle Expectations

In addition to the need for more affordable and accessible programs, employers have to address the changing values and expectations of younger generations. Many pilots, for example, no longer want to be away from home for extended periods of time and value flexibility in schedules.

The ‘Risk in Context Podcast: Human capital shortages impacting the aviation industry and beyond’ mentions solutions that can be implemented relatively quickly in many airlines to accommodate the values and expectations of employees, including shifting attraction tactics to focus more heavily on younger generations and collecting data on employee preferences and values. Younger generations tend to put more of a focus on health and well-being, meaning airlines, and other aviation companies, need to make sure that they are emphasizing the benefits that come with the job.

WORKFORCE RETENTION: What more can business aviation operators do to increase job satisfaction and retain their staff in the long term?’, an article focusing on strategies to retain current staff, mentions that employees will have differing values so taking inventory of staff wants and needs is important to show employees that employers are taking their specific interests into consideration. Designing benefits packages with different rewards, for example, allows employees to choose a bundle based on their needs. 

One point raised in the Risk in Context podcast is that employers need to think broader than just compensation and benefits. Some employees are happy to show up, do their work, and go home, while others are interested in career development so offering additional projects and training may lead to greater job satisfaction for some. Fiona Cochrane, Human Resources Manager for the McLean Group (parent company to Blackcomb Helicopters), explained that Blackcomb Helicopters allows its employees to be on different shifts, “…we try to allow our employees to work schedules that work best for them, within reason of course. For some, the 2 on/2 off provides them with more work/life balance, while for others, being able to eat dinner with their families every night is a bigger priority.”



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