Business aviation continues to experience a personnel shortage, and many of the industry’s young professionals (YoPros) say recruiting new young talent is the key to longevity of the industry. But what will it take to attract these people?
YoPros are not driven solely by monetary benefits; many are motivated by quality-of-life factors and feelings of personal satisfaction. So how can organizations attract and retain young professionals?
Be passionate, say several YoPros.
“We have to show up differently than the airlines or other aviation professions. The younger generation is looking for shared passion.”
Jordan Scales Corporate Account Manager, Jetex US
“We have to show up differently than the airlines or other aviation professions,” said Jordan Scales, corporate account manager at Jetex US. “The younger generation is looking for shared passion.”
This means exposing students to business aviation in meaningful ways. Design new events or participate in existing successful ones, such as Auburn Business Aviation Days, NBAA Collegiate Connect events and regional group events, such as the Arizona Business Aviation Association Business Aviation Career Day.
YoPros also say an inclusive workplace environment is critical to this generation, not only in terms of ethnic diversity, but in terms of experience and background. The next generation is looking for a workplace that mirrors the rest of the world.
Additionally, be mindful of qualification minimums for entry-level positions.
“There’s a gap in the industry right now where even entry-level positions require five years of experience or other qualifications,” said Jamie Gibson founder of Flightess, LLC. “How does a young person get that experience?”
Gibson and other YoPros encourage employers to focus more on the professionalism and motivation a person can bring to a team and less on the number of years they have in the industry. Employers also must provide opportunities for real contributions and growth in order to recruit and retain young professionals.
Will Leveille, founder of Auburn University’s Business Aviation Day and a pilot for the school, says recent graduates and others joining the industry want to be part of a team and feel like they’re making a difference.
New hires also want to make contributions from the start. Employers that demonstrate they value young team members are more likely to retain them.
More important is an opportunity to grow, which can be challenging in smaller organizations. This generation needs the opportunity to “stretch,” says Gibson. “In today’s environment, there’s no need to be stagnant if a position isn’t challenging.”