Aviation has long been one of those industries that many people aspire to be part of.  Up there with Hollywood, aviation is glamorised by its promise of international jet-setting travel.

Perhaps for this reason, employers, such as airlines and airports, have been comfortable in the knowledge that they have the pick of the best candidates.

However, the tables have turned, and now qualified airline and airport staff can take their pick of the top aviation roles.

AeroProfessional carried out a survey with over 1,600 candidates who work in the industry, and the results might surprise many.  They spoke loud and clear to aviation employers with one strong message – candidates are no longer clamouring for your job

You see, despite the recession, and major international aviation catastrophes, the industry is still growing.  Yes, such incidents may have made travellers momentarily worry, or reconsider visiting a particular destination.  But in general, people want to go on holiday, and still need to travel for business.  The sector is – and has been – on a continual upward trajectory.

As a result, there are more jobs than qualified, suitable employees.  And make no mistake, candidates are making the most of it.

More than 70% of candidates surveyed said that they have had more than one job offer on the table at the same time, with 34% confirming that they rejected a job offer after accepting it. Meanwhile, over half of respondents stated that they had left a job within a year of starting, with 18% staying in a role for just a month before moving to a better opportunity.

The survey results suggest that candidates are spoilt for choice, which is cause for concern for airlines and airports who still believe that they have their pick of the best staff.

Of course this will be news to employers.  Airlines and airports aren’t speaking to candidates regularly, and only really know what’s going on in their business.  They’re not aware of the bigger picture.  When we speak to aviation businesses, we find that many still believe that the industry has the covetable magic of old.

However, ignorance isn’t bliss.  The aviation recruitment process is lengthy and expensive.  For pilots, flight simulator training costs thousands alone, and for other roles a lot of time is invested in whittling down candidates, reference checking and processing applications. So airlines and airports simply can’t afford to ignore this trend.

So what can employers do, and what can other industries take from this insight?

Well, more money isn’t always the answer, the accounts department will be pleased to hear.  Our results revealed that work / life balance was stated as the primary factor in deciding between multiple job offers by 42% of participants.  This compares to 22% who answered salary and 20% who chose career progression.  Also, 21% of those surveyed stated work/life balance – or lack of – would be the most likely reason to reject a job offer initially accepting it, compared to 14% and 10% for salary and career progression respectively.

The solution is actually simple, but often overlooked.  Communication.  Keeping candidates informed of the process is vital, as they’ll feel like they’re more than just a number. Ask them about any reservations they may have about the role, and seek feedback if they do reject your job offer.  If you give them a positive experience, they’re more likely to give you constructive feedback, which will help inform your future recruitment process, and help save you time and money.

It’s time to see the aviation recruitment climate for what it is. Because if you fail to acknowledge the change, your rival will.

For the full report and further advice on how to address the issues highlighted, download ‘Why candidates don’t want your job’ at

With more than 12 years’ experience in the aviation HR and the recruitment industry, Sam leads a team of professional consultants who provide strategic HR advice and people solutions to airlines worldwide. Sam’s in-depth knowledge of cross border engagement, aviation skills, and large scale recruitment enables him to provide specialist industry insight, as well as comment on a range of issues affecting the HR and recruitment industry as a whole. Sam’s strong flair for business and sales saw him promoted to Director at AeroProfessional in 2013.