A new IATA study says that significant growth in aviation jobs is expected, and skilled staff are hard to find.
The International Air Transport Association has published the results of a global survey of Human Resources professionals in the aviation industry highlighting what it says are key challenges in talent acquisition, training and retention.
While the survey does not address the forecast shortages of pilots and maintenance technicians as this issue has already been widely covered, it does say that more than 73% of aviation companies expect the major areas of job growth to be in ground operations, customer service and cabin crew.
About half, 48%, say that finding new talent is now a challenge, both because of the lack of availability of candidates with the right skill levels and qualifications as well as the salary demands of new applicants.
In addition to the salary and benefits package of each employee, the aviation HR professionals surveyed identify career progression opportunities (49%) and development and training (33%) as high priorities in job satisfaction and retention.
Only 28% of respondents report that current training is effective, with many organisations seeking to complement their in-house training with external partners to improve training effectiveness.
Safety and customer service skills are priorities for hiring managers across the industry. While technology is changing the customer service role, IATA says, it is not replacing it.
About 75% of respondents expect an increase in customer service, ground operations and cabin crew jobs over the next two years.
That is higher than the 65% of respondents who expect growth in security jobs and 63% who expect growth in regulatory positions.
The forecast growth in passenger traffic will necessitate careful planning in the appropriate staffing levels across many job categories in the industry, IATA says.
For the survey, IATA commissioned Circle Research to learn more about how HR decision-makers were managing the retention, training and recruiting of skilled professionals to fill the anticipated job gaps. Respondents were from airlines, airports and ground service providers, spanning all geographic regions and representing a range of organisational size.