The private aviation industry is at a crossroads with its workforce.
There are numerous challenges and opportunities in this space.
Most of these challenges and opportunities hinge on the evolving demographics of the industry’s workforce. Somehow, the industry has yet to connect with potential workforce members in Generation Z and the Millennials. This has created a situation where workers who are aging out aren’t being replaced fast enough.
However, there are many as-of-yet under explored recruitment tools and methods that may help bring new blood to the world of private aviation.
Let’s explore the following in detail:
- How recruitment issues are largely based on demographics
- The underlying causes of workforce-based challenges
- How evolving military strategies relate to pilot shortages
- Potential recruitment solutions based on using the best tools
- …And the opportunities that come with these recruitment challenges
- Workforce Challenges Facing the Business Aviation Industry: A Note on Demographics
Pilot shortages are at the top of the list for problems facing the commercial airline industry. This shortage is largely driven by demographics. Somehow, the Millennial and Generation Z generations are not showing the same levels of interest in becoming pilots as their predecessors.
While larger airlines struggle with big picture realities that make it challenging to deal with the falling wages of pilots, business aviation spaces have opportunities to approach Millennials and Generation Z in a new way.
Wages aren’t the sum total of the decision making process when someone is choosing a career. Corporate travel’s number one attraction is the glamorous lifestyle it entails. It’s not just the cabins that are better. The cockpit is too. One reason pilots are looking differently at business aviation today is that this industry segment is now operating aircraft as sophisticated as the ones utilized by the airlines. Gone are the days where twin-engine piston aircraft and light turboprops. Today’s offerings have a variety of business jets have grown to include aircraft like the Gulfstream G650ER, Dassault Falcon 8X, and the Bombardier Global 7000. These marvels of innovation are capable of carrying a dozen people in comfort for up to 7000 nautical miles nonstop!
- Challenge and Solutions on Aviation Personnel Retention
One of the biggest challenges in personnel retention is the larger emphasis these Millennials and Generation Z place on having a work-life balance. While airline pilot shortages mean many working pilots, attendants, and more find themselves over-extended, smaller private aviation entities might have more flexibility to explore what they can offer pilots. The solution begins with knowing your mission is to combat a prevailing assumption that a pilot’s career can’t offer what it used to.
Corporate aviation has made incredible strides in salary, benefits, and schedules to attract and keep good pilots. With the demand for pilots so high, the time to join the ranks and consider a career path here. Corporate flight departments are a valuable business tool that allows companies to out perform their competition.
- Recruiting Pilots from the Military: A New Challenge for the Aviation Industry
The aviation industry can’t recruit pilots from the military as reliably as it could in the past. Multiple factors contribute to this. One is the new cap on the educational benefits of the GI bill. The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association has expressed concerns that veterans could not get the necessary training to become a pilot with the cap.
Not only that, an evolution towards using unmanned aircraft and drone piloting has reduce the amount of military-trained pilots available to both business and commercial airlines.
One potential solution is to emphasize any tuition reimbursement or paid training programs your organization offers.
- Opportunity: Recruiting New Pilots using the Best Digital Tools
Lifestyle products and services are faced with an incredible opportunity in the digital space. Influencer marketers can bring remarkable visibility to their brand with a simple share. Many private jet charters, flight departments, and charter operators aren’t recruiting using the best digital tools yet.
In terms of psycho-demographics, Millennials experience driven marketing tends to work well on Millennials. Becoming a private aviation pilot is exactly the type of glamorous role that flows into the type of lifestyle-driven marketing that has worked so well for many newer brands.
Not only that, digital tools feature some of the most sophisticated targeting systems available. Research on data and analytics could help you find large cross sections of people who make prime candidates for recruitment.
Digital tools also eliminate many obstacles of geography. Private aviation companies can reach and recruit people into their workforce from anywhere using digital as long as they have the right kind of profile.
- Opportunity: Recruit An Aviation Workforce Through the Power of Video
The explosion of the social media world has shown every industry that video is one of the most powerful outreach tools for recruitment, or any other purpose. Video is one of the easiest forms of media to consume. Private aviation is a highly visual industry. There are so many different directions this can take.
Videos for the private aviation industry can feature the luxury of the cockpits and cabins. They can cut to shots of the high-powered engines. Imagine graphics depicting routes to exotic locations all over the world, or quick breakdowns on how to become a pilot. Offer people lists of options for financing your license and education. Video is one of the most easy-to-consume tools for answering the logical questions a potential recruit would have.
One final note, most legacy aviation brands aren’t using the latest tools yet. The field is still open for a charter or flight department to be among the first to use a full suite of cutting edge, highly visual recruitment tools targeted by interest and age.