Hiring Frenzy Leaves Aviation Firms in a Race Against Time

Hiring Frenzy (Q3 -- Anson Newsletter)

STS Aviation Group has internal positions that we are struggling to source, and given that a significant piece of our services’ group is based in recruitment process outsourcing, that’s a problem; not only for us but for the aviation staffing industry as a whole. I’d even go out on a limb and say that this is one of the tightest labor markets in the industry that I’ve seen in 30+ years, and the rest of this article will attempt to uncover why that is.

Recruiting has become a bidding war for employees, and only those employers who are on top of their game stand a chance.  When we find an excellent candidate, our recruitment team(s) must work with customers in an effort to move immediately. In this market, when we allow a period of time to pass between the initial contact and the final offer, the door swings open for our competitors to come in and swoop the candidate out from under our feet.

Compensation packages are continuing to increase and positions that were once easy to fill and fill quickly are left open for extended periods of time. The old-school mindset that once afforded recruiters the ability to vet a candidate over the course of several weeks is long behind us. Now, when you see a candidate that fits the needs of your client, agencies like ours must make an offer before the candidate decides to work with another firm that moved faster.

Unfortunately (or fortunately), this isn’t going to change anytime soon. The aviation industry as a whole has gone from famine to feast in short order.  This is great news for our businesses but it has also created a talent shortage.

Being an engineer, pilot or mechanic requires years of expensive training and experience, and we are seeing the pool of experienced employees continue to shrink because of retirement and / or losing talent to other industries.  For quite a while now there have been less people entering the aviation workforce than there have been leaving; thus shrinking the candidate pool year after year.

This trend has to stop, and the solution is not a quick fix.  Each and every one of us needs to do our part to help recruit new blood into our industry as well keep the talent it has from leaving.  Something that might help involves the use of transition programs where technical, non-aviation employees are trained and moved into aviation positions. For starters, we have a great pool of these candidates in our veterans, and our company is proud of its commitment to help them parlay their military experience into life-long careers built around the knowledge and skills we are able to provide.

Please do your part in helping to solve this problem. The future of our industry depends on it.

Philip Anson

P.J. Anson is the Chief Executive Officer for STS Aviation Group.

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One thought on “Hiring Frenzy Leaves Aviation Firms in a Race Against Time

  1. Dear Philip,
    One of the main reasons companies are experiencing a “talent shortage” is because of the requirement for an A&P (Airframe & Powerplant) license JUST to be considered. There are aviation jobs, such as electricians and/or avionics, which have absolutely no reasonable requirement for an A&P, yet any given company requires one. Because of this, the companies short themselves out of good talent that wants to work.
    Take myself as an example: I was trained on F-14 avionics systems, with cross-training in electrical, airframe, line, final-check, etc. I sent a resume to a company back in 2001 who was willing to bring me aboard and send me to A&P school in return for a 2-year minimum contract. But as of September 11, 2001 that game IMMEDIATELY changed, and companies no longer offer programs like that. It’s hard for someone like me to afford A&P school with a family of four on an income of one. I’ve been doing this off-and-on for twenty years. I’m also able to repair Aviation Support equipment as well as automobiles. Additionally, there is not enough industry stability to incentivize people like me to spend $30k+ to get an A&P if we’re only going to be laid off.
    Perhaps if more companies weren’t so concerned with “looking good” by being able to boast that their entire staff holds A&P licenses (including the receptionist who will never use hers), and were more concerned about loyal, hard-working, quality people who are looking for a career with a company they admire and trust-instead of merely a “job” with a company who sees them as a number, those companies might find themselves much better off.
    All that said, I wish you the best of luck in all your future endeavors, and I hope you find a viable solution to your problem that is mutually beneficial for both your company and the people who make it run.

    Very Respectfully,

    Matthew Sparling

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