As we progress into 2023 people strategies have continued to dominate conversations in aviation. We remain focused on monitoring the trends in the employment and recruitment of aviation professionals from both a candidate and client point of view.
This aviation recruitment update covers:
What are candidates doing?
The activity of aviation professionals is typically one of the first indicators of upward or downward trends in recruitment in aviation. We wanted to provide a closer look at what aviation professionals have been doing in the last six months.
Not applying for jobs
We have seen candidates becoming increasingly passive in applying for jobs in the last few months. The sheer number of roles in the market has meant that the situation has become increasingly candidate-led.
Feeling more confident
The pandemic feels very much in the past. Candidates are feeling more confident that they can seek a new role now and no longer need a safe port in a storm.
Waiting to be approached
Aviation professionals know they don’t need to be active in searching for roles as they will be approached by headhunters and talent acquisition teams. Many are waiting to hear about the best roles in the market and are remaining passive to look for roles themselves.
Needing to be persuaded gently
The approach of headhunters and talent acquisition teams is becoming key. Many candidates are on the cusp of deciding to change jobs. We affectionately call this group of candidates “tip-toers” and they are becoming the dominant group in the marketplace. They will already have a good job but are striving for a better one. This group of candidates need to be persuaded gently, forming relationships with the approaching individual and understanding the value proposition of the potential role and employer.
Attending multiple interviews
Good candidates have their pick of jobs and many are using the opportunity to interview with multiple clients in a short space of time. It is now unusual to speak with a candidate who is not interviewing for multiple positions. On top of the number of opportunities available, with clients embracing technology like video interviewing, it has made it easier for aviation professionals to fit in multiple interviews.
Counteroffers have become increasingly common, but what we have particularly seen recently is how aggressive these counteroffers are becoming. Clients know that replacing people is going to be costly and time-consuming. Creating these aggressive counteroffers is now a well-used strategy with varying results. Counteroffers are not only coming at the resignation stage but further along in an employee’s notice period too. This is creating issues for some clients with new employees dropping out of the process close to their start dates.
Losing patience for bad recruitment processes, preboarding and onboarding
Aviation professionals have lost patience. Bad recruitment processes, including decisions, job offers, and employment contracts being severely delayed to enduring poor interview experiences will not cut it anymore. They want recruitment timescales and excellent regular communication.
On top of this, if either the pre-onboarding or post-onboarding is not up to scratch, we hear about it. Candidates want to feel engaged with their new employer from the interview to the job offer to their first day and beyond. Receiving no communication between an agreed start date and their first day can leave them in doubt about whether they are valued coming into the business.
What do candidates want?
Understanding what aviation professionals want can be crucial to getting the recruitment process and job offer right and ultimately being successful in hiring.
Great job offers
The expectation of job offers is higher than ever. We are past the times when making an offer that only includes a salary is enough. People’s expectations have changed and accelerated, they want to see a package, not just a salary.
We are now seeing offers that include annual leave entitlement, healthcare provision, pension, death in service, working styles and other value-adding benefits. The best hiring managers are presenting offers that include professional development and in-house training information too. This is an innovative and simple way to show potential employees you are invested in them right from the start.
Inflation and the price of goods have been going up and are often not in line with the percentage of pay rises people have been experiencing. Many were understanding through the worse part of the pandemic that pay rises and salary reviews were off the table and sacrificed pay and benefits for the good of their business. This goodwill is not holding out today. A new job is a perfect time for many candidates to try to secure a higher salary. They don’t just want a new salary to match the uptick in the cost of living. Many want a new salary to ultimately improve their lives and advance their opportunity to better things.
For many people, it can be important that their job offers more than just an occupation. Many want a job that offers a rewarding career and the opportunity to continuously progress
A sideways step is not what the candidates we are speaking to are looking for. On top of a great package, they also want a role that is developing their career for the better.
Employers who are doing things differently
We hear genuine excitement from candidates when we talk to them about a job with an employer who is doing things differently. Whether this be their business purpose, their employer value proposition or how they are approaching the market, candidates are looking for employers who are doing things just that little bit differently.
What are clients doing?
We have continued to see our clients favour in-country hiring over the last six months. Particularly in Asia where mobility has been slower to recover since the COVID-19 pandemic. In Europe, Brexit has also made in-country hiring more favourable as issues around the right to work have become more prevalent.
Many clients are using counteroffers in their retention strategies, in many cases very aggressive counteroffers. We are seeing variable results, but it is making more candidates think a bit longer and harder about whether they want to stay with their current employer or start afresh somewhere new.
Reviewing their employee benefits
Clients are increasingly asking us about benefits other businesses are offering. Bonuses, private medical care for themselves and their family plus flexible and hybrid working are becoming increasingly popular with candidates.
Some clients are creating menus of benefits for their employees and letting them choose the ones that they value as individuals, rather than offering a standard package that won’t fit all requirements.
We have seen an increase in demand for salary surveys and benchmarking reports to help clients determine how their compensation structures measure up with the wider sector. Utilising salary interquartile ranges (the middle 25-75%) is becoming increasingly common to support clients in their strategic decision-making on new salary scales.
What do clients want?
It is important to understand what clients want and whether this correlates with what the people they are recruiting desire too.
Diversity in aviation businesses is becoming increasingly important. It isn’t just about trying to change the gender or ethnicity profile of their teams. Clients are now desiring to see candidates from different backgrounds too.
Whilst having someone who fits with their culture and aligns with their values is still key, what clients don’t want to do is stall change by limiting diversity. Many clients are embracing that this isn’t just about hiring different people, but also means they need to hire differently too.
Plug and play
Without a doubt, our most popular hiring request is for experienced aviation professionals that clients can plug and play into their business. These candidates need less training and supervision and show their value very early on.
Loyalty and longevity
Our clients don’t want to continuously rehire for their positions. When you lose an experienced employee, you also lose their knowledge and experience. Our clients want people who are going to be loyal and be with them for the long term. We are seeing different strategies to make this happen.
No sector or discipline operates in silos and many market influences are impacting the employment and recruitment of aviation professionals.
Global pressure on salaries
We cannot escape that we are potentially on the brink of a global recession or at least a downward economic situation. The cost of living has increased exponentially, along with the rate of inflation and energy prices. This is putting pressure on all employers to relook at their remuneration strategies and how they can help their employees through this difficult time. We have never been through a period where so many clients are seeking advice on remuneration in all parts of aviation.
Making aviation attractive and competitive
This isn’t a new trend, but it is becoming increasingly urgent. The pressure on the aviation sector to not only remain attractive and competitive to young people but to also do enough to keep people within the sector is at an all-time high. The world is continually changing, and as other sectors develop and prosper, there are more career options than ever available. The Institute for the Future (IFTF) predict that 85% of jobs in 2030 have yet to be created. With AI technology such as ChatGPT out in the market, the media is starting to share and question the continued validity of some job roles.
New generations – Generation “C”
There is the potential that Generation “C” is going to have a huge impact on recruitment and employment in aviation. C is for COVID, C is for Carbon, C is for Climate and C is for Choice. This generation’s experiences over the last few years mean that they going to potentially have different needs and wants than any other we have seen before. This is the generation that will be in our workforce in 2030 and they are going to have a huge impact on employment and what sectors and disciplines are attractive.
Our mission is to continually add value to our customers and also the sector. We are honoured to share our thoughts and findings with the aviation community, and we take our responsibility very seriously.
We appreciate feedback and so if you would like to discuss any part of this recruitment update, we’d love to hear from you.