2020 has been one of the most challenging years that the aviation industry has had to face. The aftermath of these times will create change in how aviation businesses and airlines operate in the future. It will impact how people in aviation are recruited, who will be in demand, what skill sets will be available in the market as well as navigating the new needs and wants of people.
Mark Charman, CEO and Founder of GOOSE Recruitment, shares his predictions on what the future changes in the aviation recruitment marketplace will look like in 2021 for both businesses and candidates.
Airlines and aviation businesses
Hiring with caution
The news of the COVID-19 vaccine in November 2020 spurred some optimism in aviation but I don’t see this opening the floodgates of recruitment. Whilst some forward-thinking businesses will start to hire new talent, this will be done more cautiously than previously seen. Hiring managers will be under pressure to choose the right roles to fill, at the right time, with the right people. With so much riding on these choices, caution will be etched into the minds of hiring managers – there is no room to make a mistake in this market.
Holding out for the perfect ‘plug and play’ candidate
Hiring managers will be very selective in their choice of new hires as they will need to feel certain before offering employment. ‘Wish lists’ for the perfect candidate will be long and employers will be comfortable holding out for longer periods in their hiring process to ensure that they hire the perfect ‘plug and play’ candidate.
There will be an increase in what we call ‘Stop-Start Recruitment’. A brief will start for a role with a set of requirements, a couple of months into the search the hiring manager will change their mind and the requirements will alter in the profile of the person they want to hire. Others will decide to cease the search for the role completely and brief a brand new role instead. The demands of the market will dictate what roles are needed, and hiring managers will need to react swiftly.
A surge in flexible employment solutions
I see a rise in interim, fixed term and contract employment solutions. Some businesses will favour a more flexible employment model over permanently employed people. These types of employment contracts negate fixed long-term investment and enable businesses to be agile with their people's needs as the market changes.
As we saw in 2008 during the Global Financial Crisis, market turmoil will shake out hard to recruit people that under normal circumstances, airlines and aviation businesses would find very difficult to recruit. Those businesses with a positive outlook and long-term view of the world will be snapping up these unicorn candidates. This is an opportunity to be building strong pipelines of talent for the future.
Global mobility will be different
The roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccine across the world will vary in pace and this will impact who will be able to and want to travel. COVID-19 has understandably had a significant impact on how employees view mobility and they are reassessing the support available from their employers, the risk to their health and the success that remote working has had. Some candidates will not want to relocate or travel significant amounts in 2021, just as we saw in 2020.
2020 was the year to find a safe port in a storm. As we enter 2021, I predict there will be an uptick in desire from employed candidates to explore the market. However, just like the businesses hiring, candidates will be moving cautiously in the marketplace. They will be thoroughly researching potential employers and rating them on employer brand, reputation, financials and how well they have fared during the pandemic.
Some skillsets are hard to hire
As we have seen in years gone by, 2021 will highlight the skills that are in demand in aviation that is not being met with the supply in the marketplace. I see that as new technologies, processes and aircraft are introduced those working in MRO and engineering will become one of the most desired skillsets. The competition will become fierce for experienced engineers and there will be pressure for investment in younger aviation engineers to enter the marketplace.
New mindsets on what is important
The pandemic has given people time to think about what they want from their career and their life in general. Whilst some will have become more ambitious than ever, others will be looking to balance their work-life and home-life for the better. This re-prioritisation will mean that many previously passive candidates will be looking for new roles that can offer more flexibility with remote working long-term, flexible hours and less travel.
People want to work somewhere else
Ex-patriates don’t want to be ex-pats anymore, they want to come home. We are hearing stories that being an ex-pat in a global pandemic is not the most enjoyable experience. The once attractive ex-patriate lifestyle has become unappealing in the face of lockdowns and restrictions. I predict that candidates will want in-country employment from their home country, amongst their family and friends.