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.