pilot epaulets - talent shortage - job seekers

There’s little doubt we’re in the midst of the long anticipated talent shortage. And this shortage applies to nearly all disciplines within aviation—be they in maintenance, pilot, cabin crew or leadership. Its widespread impact affects Part 91, 135 and 121 operations alike.

Simply put, this situation is very good news for aviation job seekers. But it’s not great news for employers.

In fact, some of the biggest brands in business aviation are struggling to find the right cultural fit. In this September 2016, Business Aviation Insider article, “Is a Staffing Shortage Looming?” In it, I discussed the lack of qualified, professional aviation candidates. Here’s an excerpt from my comments:

“Before, you’d post a job and you’d be flooded with quality resumes in no time. Today, the resumes are still coming in, but there is less potential in those candidates.”

The fact that we’re seeing less-qualified candidates for our client projects, though, is, once again, good news for those who are qualified. This is your time to stand out and shine.


Passive Aviation Job Seekers: It May be Time to Move

For those who are employed and find themselves happy and/or content in their current role, now might be the best time to consider making a move.

Why? Because as a “passive aviation job seeker” you’re more attractive to employers, precisely because you’re in a position to be more discerning about career moves. As such, you’re only going to make a change for a truly compelling opportunity, which often results in longevity.

So what should you do, even if you’re not actively looking? For starters, consider your ideal role. Take the time to reflect on your wants, needs and qualifications. What would you be doing if location, money and title were no issue?

Next, update your LinkedIn profile and resume with your latest awards, achievements, training, education and references. Update your API Registered Professional™ profile, too.

Then review the market at your own pace for opportunities that may be a fit for your future. Is there anything that sparks your interest? Do you have the qualifications, and are you truly prepared for those roles? If so, you just might be motivated to start taking steps toward a move.

A word of caution: I’m always surprised by the number of aviation job seekers who feel they’re ready to seek out a leadership position, yet they haven’t taken steps to advance themselves and prepare for such a role.

It’s important to remember that tenure alone doesn’t automatically equate to successful leadership. For more on this topic, learn how to prepare for future leadership roles.

To set yourself up for a leadership role, consider getting involved in the industry by:

  • Earning your Certified Aviation Manager (CAM) certification
  • Volunteering for additional collateral duties within your current organization
  • Engaging with your local regional group and network with peers in leadership roles


Active Aviation Job Seekers: Step Up Your Game

If you’re actively seeking employment, be mindful not to interpret the talent shortage as a “sellers’” market. Although the demand might be high, the caliber of talent required is no less.

And this is not the time to become complacent or lackadaisical in your job search. Active job seekers must be diligent about composing informative, succinct and well-written resumes. You have to be discerning in your pursuit, and research the companies to which you would like to apply.

Although it might be tempting to blanket the market with your resume, it’s a far more effective strategy to identify opportunities that would be a fit for and benefit from your skillset, and then apply only for those.

Channel your energy into presenting the most competitive package to those employers. To learn more tips like this one, check out “10 Surefire Ways to Stand Out During the Hiring Process.”


Battling Burnout? The Grass is Greener (Sometimes)

If you do happen to be a dissatisfied aviation employee, the grass truly can be greener on the other side. So now may be an enticing time to test those waters.

But as I mentioned earlier, just because there’s a high demand for talent, make sure you’re not feeling overly confident. Job dissatisfaction—coupled with overconfidence—can be a recipe for even further unhappiness in the future.

It’s natural to want to make compromises and be easily “wooed” by prospective employers when you’re dissatisfied. But it’s likely that we all know an acquaintance or colleague who swapped one ill-fitting job for another.

If you’re disengaged at your current place of employment and aren’t feeling assured about your future, you have to be even more conscientious and deliberate in your search.

Ask yourself: “Why am I dissatisfied?” Be honest when reflecting on what might be your own culpability for being disgruntled. Other questions to ponder: “Is there something I need to change? Have I become negative? What do I need to change going forward? Is my job really the problem?”

If you answered yes, to some of these, what aspects of your job do you find unfulfilling? And what might you do in your next professional role to overcome this?

It’s important to truly reflect on these questions before seeking out new employment. After all, prospective employers will easily sense any negativity you might be harboring. That means you must reach some state of contentment before turning that searchlight on.

To learn more about tackling burn out and job dissatisfaction, check out this post.


To sum it up, despite—or perhaps because of—the impact the talent shortage is having on aviation employers, it might be the perfect opportunity to make a move. Especially the gainfully employed passive jobseeker, the unemployed and/or merely dissatisfied aviation professional.

I’d like to leave you with one last bit of advice: Remember that “fit” is important for both you and your future employer. After all, business aviation isn’t about planes, “It’s all about people™.”


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