While I don’t particularly like it when someone says, “See, I told you so,” those words seem to be on the tip of my tongue today. (I’m referring my May 2021 and July 2021 articles, where I encouraged employers to recruit proactively, to get ahead of the return to business flying).
As predicted, many flight departments today are struggling to fill open positions. In fact, I spoke with one charter operator who has 65 jobs to fill.
Since the start of the pandemic, we’ve seen flight departments lose talent. This includes all roles, from pilots and maintenance personnel to flight attendants and schedulers.
The reasons are many, including:
• moving from business aviation to the airlines
• moving to another flight department for better pay or life balance
• resignations over COVID policies
The Great Resignation vs. The Great Upgrade
Like other industries, aviation has been affected by what’s being called the “Great Resignation.” And many flight departments chose not to refill those job slots until flying picked up.
But is that an accurate portrayal of what’s occurring?
The Economic Policy Institute is highlighting high quit rates across industries. But, the real story is about how many of those workers are leaving their jobs to accept better pay and better benefits elsewhere.
Hence, a new moniker that’s being referred to as the “Great Upgrade.”
One economist noted that “hiring exceeds quits in all sectors” of the economy. But the media, doesn’t appear to be reporting this important distinction. They seem to be stuck on proclaiming that we’re in the midst of a quitting spree. And that the “Great Resignation” is that and that alone.
But here in business aviation, I believe we are indeed experiencing “The Great Upgrade,” as personnel continue to shift jobs to meet personal and family goals.
Evolving Hiring Practices
At a recent industry meeting, several thought leaders addressed the state of business aviation. In part, they reported that flight activity has far surpassed pre-pandemic levels. Much of it, they say, is coming from new consumers of charter and fractional programs.
Many corporate flight departments have quickly returned to service, nearing pre-pandemic activity levels. And crewing flights is becoming a challenge. Yet, they haven’t scratched the surface with regard to resuming international flights. If they’re being challenged now, how will they meet the demand of longer and more complicated international operations?
It’s a fact that, in business aviation, the process of identifying and hiring talent has changed. Both for the employer and the employee.
For one thing, it’s accelerated, from a time perspective. For most hiring employers, gone are the days of many interviews drawn out over a long period of time.
In the current environment, an employer has to be very decisive. That means evaluating and moving to make an offer more quickly than in the past. And if a quality hire is ready to make a career move, keep in mind he or she will likely be “wooed” by several hiring managers.
While trying to get a candidate in for yet one more interview, two other competitive offers may have come in.
(Don’t) Follow the Money
But that scenario might draw job seekers down a perilous path. My advice? If you’re in the job market, it’s important not to get carried away by the gleam of competing offers for higher wages.
Today, anyone can find a company that will pay you more.
But what are you trading away to get that extra $10-20K? I’ve heard from more than a handful of people who’ve chased the money and are now unhappy in their jobs. It’s even worse with the relocation moves they had to make with their families to get those jobs.
In another five to 10 years, hiring managers will likely scrutinize the years from 2020 – 2025 on job applicants’ resumes. They’ll look to see what the candidate did during these rather unprecedented times.
Did the jobseeker make several moves? And if so, what was their rationale? Was it because a job left the candidate? Or was it due to career growth and advancement? Or was it to chase more dollars?
More advice to job seekers: Take a look at your career plan. Does your resume suggest that everything you’re doing is about you and more money? If so, there could very well come a time when that tack could come back to bite you.
“Go Fast” and “Go Slow”
So, my advice for employers is to “go fast,” as the hiring situation might demand. But don’t do so without being thoughtful and circumspect.
And, as for jobseekers, I would urge them to move slowly and carefully. Let’s not forget that in the employment world, the goal is a “win-win” for everyone.
And that careers are marathons, not sprints.