19 March 2021

In The Pilot Survey 2021, conducted with FlightGlobal, we wanted to find out if those surveyed would choose a pilot career again if they had the chance. This year only 64% agreed in comparison to 71% in our previous survey. Those flying in North America (77%), South America (73%) and Asia-Pacific (66%) were the most likely to repeat their career choice. Those flying in China (58%) and the Middle East and Africa (59%) were the least likely.

We wanted to find out why over a third of pilots would not repeat their careers:

  • “I love flying but have found that being a professional pilot is far more stressful than I ever imagined. It has poor job security and there are frequent challenges to overcome.”

  • “Salaries have reduced continuously since I first started working as a pilot. The lifestyle has decreased, and job security has become more vulnerable.”

  • “If I would have known what this career entails and what kind of a sacrifice it demands in terms of health, sleep and family life I would not have chosen it even if the training had been for free.”

Taking this further we enquired whether they would recommend a career as a pilot to young people and only 46% agreed that they would. This has decreased from 57% in our 2020 survey. Those flying in Europe were the least likely to recommend a pilot career at 34%, whereas in South America and North America, 55% and 54% would recommend it, respectively.

To find out why this had also dropped significantly, we asked for more commentary:

  • “I still love to fly, but the attitudes of some CEOs break down the essence of aviation. Duty and rest time limits are considered as targets instead of limits. Together with the ticket prices that are becoming unrealistically low, this makes the investment young people have to make to become pilots impossible unless they have rich parents.”

  • “I would tell young people who want to be pilots that it is nothing like they imagine. There is no glamour to it. It is not rewarding. Flying through the night, constantly jetlagged, missed time with family, poor work/life balance, and ever-deteriorating employment conditions are the reality. If you want to fly, then do a trade, run your own business, and when you want to, fly privately, in good weather, with no schedules or stress.”

  • “I have two children who are pilots and what do they have now? They are concerned about tomorrow, financially unsafe and with no future. I feel I was a bad father. They followed my dream, but it becomes a nightmare.”

You can read the full Pilot Survey Report 2021 here

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Pilot Referral - GOOSE Recruitment

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