A global shift in demand for skilled labor that has exacerbated a lack of business aviation technicians is prompting some business aircraft operators to take a fresh look at how they recruit and hire maintenance personnel.
“In this new climate, where so many industries are seeking the same skills in hydraulics, pneumatics and electrics that we do for aviation technicians, it is prudent for recruiters to consider new tactics,” said Bryan Maloney, sales and recruiting manager at Jet Aviation Staffing.
“We need to not only prioritize experience and proficiency when recruiting, but also an eagerness to learn, a safety-conscious mindset and a value system that aligns with our culture,” added Maloney.
“In this new climate, where so many industries are seeking the same skills in hydraulics, pneumatics and electrics that we do for aviation technicians, it is prudent for recruiters to consider new tactics.”
Bryan Maloney Sales and Recruiting Manager, Jet Aviation Staffing
Business aircraft operators and aircraft repair stations must also evaluate their own culture to ensure they can attract and retain talent, noted Fern Campos, director of maintenance at The Walt Disney Company.
“One aspect of this labor shortage is that trained technicians are an attractive resource for other industries, as well as other business aviation operations,” explained Campos. “That makes it crucial for operators of all sizes to do what they can to retain their people while ensuring safety is never compromised.
“You can do that by making sure your operation is where people want to work,” continued Campos. “We are a tight-knit community, and reputation is everything. Good, professional cultures and places that work hard to build a relationship with their employees get known very quickly, but that also means that if you don’t have a good culture, that will be communicated quickly, too.”
Staff retention is also pivotal in mitigating the impact of the technician shortage, said Campos.
“Business aviation has to invest in our strongest resource: our people,” Campos declared. “We must embrace continuing education and training to keep workers safe and motivated, but we also must allow workers to develop soft skills to provide them with more career opportunities. Employers who commit to and value their employees are more likely to keep their people than lose them.”
The business aviation community must also educate a new generation of workers about the benefits and rewards of a career in this industry, said Stewart D’Leon, CAM, NBAA’s director of environmental and technical operations.
“Not only are we competing against airlines; we are also competing with employers in sectors as disparate as the automotive and oil industries,” noted D’Leon. “To raise business aviation’s profile, NBAA has launched, through its Maintenance Committee’s Workforce Development Subcommittee, outreach efforts at both the primary and secondary education levels to give students and their parents an informed perspective of what a career in business aviation truly means and how it will be an important part of the evolution in public transportation.
“We are a strong community, but it will take a collective industry effort to attract the next generation of professionals and leaders across every sector of business aviation,” D’Leon added.