Business Aviation Insider nameplate

Protecting Aviation Maintenance Technicians From ‘Poachers’

While the issue of pilots leaving for “greener pastures” gets much attention, the practice of maintenance personnel being lured by competitors and opportunities in other industries also is a big concern. In fact, Christopher Broyhill, Ph. D., CAM and CEO of AirComp Calculator, LLC., learned that of the 271 business aviation operators he recently surveyed, one-third had recently lost AMTs.

Broyhill said that while the majority move on to what were described as “better” jobs in business aviation – or the airlines – an alarming number are leaving aviation altogether.

“Leaving the aviation industry is becoming an increasingly common theme today,” he explained. “AMTs can make more money and have better working conditions wrenching on BMWs or Porsches, and they don’t have the liability issues.”

This issue comes as business aviation is projected to grow, and competition for AMTs is expected to intensify in the coming years. A 2023 study by CAE projects some 74,000 business aviation AMTs will be required by 2032, to meet estimated industry growth.

Keeping Your AMTs Happy

Amid this challenging workforce environment, what can operators do to keep maintenance personnel from leaving? After all, the cost of recruiting, hiring and training replacement technicians is a significant investment.

“With poaching becoming a bigger problem, I think it starts with providing a pay and benefits package that is equal to what other operators or the airlines are offering,” explained a director of maintenance (DOM) for a major operator. “Job stability is another big draw.”

“Another thing some operators are doing is to put their technicians on salary rather than hourly,” Broyhill said. “That way, they don’t have to come in when the jet’s away just to punch the clock and look for something to do.”

It’s Not Always About Money

While it may be the overriding factor, money isn’t always why people leave. Sometimes, they just don’t feel like their efforts are recognized or fully appreciated. After all, broken biz jets aren’t going anywhere, and a well-placed “thank you” can go a long way.

“Operators can show more appreciation toward their AMTs’ contributions in many other ways,” the DOM said. “It can be flexible work schedules, increased professional development opportunities and improving their overall work environment.”

Greater Responsibilities

Another enticement Broyhill suggested is to provide senior AMTs with greater responsibilities and involvement in the operations’ day-to-day activities.

“Appointing them as the crew chief for a particular aircraft combines their technical knowledge with an increase in management or a supervisory role,” Broyhill said. “If they feel responsible for the maintenance of that aircraft, it builds their feeling of contributing to the operation’s success.”

For many employees, having a sense they are playing a vital role in their company’s success can be a significant ingredient for long-term job satisfaction.

Nov/Dec 2023

Maintenance: Is Your Flight Operation Ready for Winter?

You must to view this content.
Read More

Nov/Dec 2023

Business Aviation Maintenance in a Digitally Predictive World

You must to view this content.
Read More

Nov/Dec 2023

AMT Strategies for Maximizing Powerplant Lifespan

You must to view this content.
Read More

Sept/Oct 2023

Aviation Maintenance Technicians Can Aspire to Lead Flight Departments

No single path – pilot, maintenance or scheduling/dispatch – provides all the needed experience to lead a flight operation, say experts. AMTs aspiring to reach that goal should identify and address their knowledge gaps.
Read More