The International Air Transport Association (IATA) published the results of a global survey of Human Resources professionals in the aviation industry highlighting key challenges in talent acquisition, training and retention:
- More than 73% of respondents expect the major areas of job growth to be in ground operations, customer service and cabin crew.
- 48% report that finding new talent is a challenge, both because of the lack of availability of candidates with the right skill levels and qualifications as well as, in some cases, salary demands of new applicants.
- In addition to the salary and benefits package of each employee, the HR professionals identified career progression opportunities (49%) and development and training (33%) as high priorities in job satisfaction and retention.
- Only 28% of respondents reported that current training is effective, with many organizations seeking to complement their in-house training with external partners to improve the effectiveness of the training.
Safety and customer service skills are priorities for hiring managers across the industry. While technology is indeed changing the customer service role, it is not replacing it.
- Approximately 75% of respondents expected an increase in customer service, ground operations and cabin crew jobs over the next two years.
- That is higher than the 65% of respondents that expect growth in security jobs and 63% that expect growth in regulatory positions.
A number of airlines contributed insights into the report, including Qatar Airways Group, whose Vice President, Talent Development, Brendan Noonan, said “As an airline, we need to find out where the new touchpoints are that we can bring in customer service to support and complement technology to make the overall customer experience quicker and more enjoyable. There is an expectation from customers and we have to meet that.”
“It is an exciting time to be in this business,” said Guy Brazeau, IATA’s Director of Training and Consulting. “We were really looking forward to receiving the results of this industry survey and we hope it can be helpful to guide HR professionals in their decisions regarding staffing planning, training opportunities and areas to focus on as our industry grows to unprecedented levels.
The forecast growth in passenger traffic will necessitate careful planning in the appropriate staffing levels across many job categories in the industry. IATA commissioned market survey experts Circle Research to learn more about how HR decision-makers were managing the retention, training and recruiting of skilled professionals to fill the anticipated job gaps. Respondents were from airlines, airports and ground service providers, spanning all geographic regions and representing a range of organizational size.