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Improving aviation talent acquisition

1 October 2022

Talent acquisition refers to how employers recruit and interview job candidates, as well as how they onboard and train new employees. It is usually a role shared by the human resources department and the hiring manager.

Aviation talent acquisition is often regarded as an early strategic step in talent management, namely how employers hire, deploy, train, and evaluate the performance and compensation of quality pilots, dispatchers, mechanics and other key human resources in the aviation industry. 

In a service industry such as aviation, where safe and efficient operations are key, sourcing and acquiring good talent takes on a whole new level of meaning for airlines and airports.

The Challenges of the Current Recruiting Environment

The Aviation industry has lost a great number of skilled personnel in the past two years. Retaining current employees and recruiting the right people to fulfill industry needs brought about by the economic recovery has become extremely important.

Since March 2020, the pandemic’s damaging effects on aviation, including employment, continues. Economic modeling from many academic institutions predicts the sector will continue to be impacted for several more years. Many factors drive employees to stay in their positions: compensation, benefits, work-life balance, and the company culture all play a role. While working remotely during the pandemic, employees have had time to assess these factors and prioritize them in deciding whether to remain in a job or move on. 

The perspective and demands of the latest generation to enter or remain in the workforce are significantly different than those of previous generations. Many are open to career paths that bypass college or university qualifications altogether, while others focus on issues of importance to them like environmental sustainability.

While recruiting talented employees into the aviation industry is now proving difficult due to a lack of qualified candidates, retaining current employees is another concern. Even though working in aviation offers many benefits (remember the travel perks?), the pandemic has added a host of health concerns that make traveling challenging to many.

Adopting an Appropriate Strategy

Understanding the employment motives of the targeted candidate base is crucial and key in attracting the right talent. Drawing a precise picture of the skillsets required and using this to inform candidate selection is a constructive first step. Regulatory requirements, personality and characteristics that complement company brand image and stakeholder needs will set up the proper standards of the role and enable hiring managers to evaluate each applicant against these standards. 

Positive candidate experiences save time, resources, and cost, and ensure a consistent interviewing process that engages top talent. For that matter, checking for understanding and clarity before advancing candidates to the next stage of the process is crucial. Assisting the prospective employee put their best foot forward before they meet with the leadership team is equally important.

Communicating with potential talent pools at the high school, university or college level, before career options have been finalized, can also provide important feedback on industry perceptions amongst young people of all ages and backgrounds. Connecting directly with students and making them aware of the nature of vacancies in the industry and, more importantly, the type of skillset in demand can prove very useful. Attracting the attention of candidates looking to pursue a career as a pilot, technician or engineer and nurturing this potential talent through their education until they enter the industry can lead to constructive and positive results.

AviaPro has been helping its clients to source and engage appropriate talent to fill key positions that advance mandates and objectives. To discuss your own talent needs, visit our consulting services page or contact us at

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