Today’s aviation industry is at “war for talents”, as OSM Aviation, a Norway-based aircrew personnel provider, puts in. Ahead of the upcoming Pilot Career Show Americas, Michael Keating, the company’s director of flight crew recruitment, reveals their success formula for competing in pilot shortage-haunted industry.

To what extent do you think aviation career is going to be attractive in the near future?

Aviation, flying and traveling are by default intriguing and exciting to a lot of people, and if you’re interested in a rewarding and travel-related job or career, it’s hard to find a better industry than the aviation industry. More people are turning to air travel and that is leading to a high demand for qualified aircrew worldwide. Over the next 15 years, estimations indicate a need for an additional 620000+ new pilots and 800000+ new cabin crew − most of whom have yet to be trained.

What kind of special recruitment solutions will be needed for airlines to sustain their growth plans?

In this “war for talents”, one needs to take a proactive approach towards candidate management and communication, utilise digital channels and tools to automate recruitment processes where possible and target effectively. OSM Aviation is, for instance, focusing heavily on industry specific technological developments in order to streamline the everyday work life of our crew and make routine tasks more efficient. Moreover, one needs to stand out and offer something truly unique and lucrative.

OSM Aviation Academy offers a two-year integrated course compliant with the Ab-initio program for pilot training, which qualifies for the certificates required to fly for an international airline, and our student will have the opportunity to acquire the necessary skills tailored to the requirements of the airlines they are to fly for. This career path is being shaped by OSM Aviation as the employer in close cooperation with our partnering airlines.

In October 2017, we acquired the highly esteemed Scandinavian Aviation Academy in Sweden, rebranded it to OSM Aviation Academy and introduced the “Airline Ready Pilot” concept. Students at OSM Aviation Academy will be given a job offer from OSM Aviation at the onset of their training, making this a rewarding and comprehensive career path.

What are the main upcoming challenges you see regarding crew management, recruitment and employment in aviation sector?

Attracting enough qualified talent and competent aircrew in a very competitive industry. Sustaining the growth indications and plans has already proven to be a challenge for many airlines. The airline industry is highly volatile and affected by several variables, such as the cyclical nature of the business, sensitivity to economy downturns, sensitivity to government regulations and stability, uncertainty of fuel prices, to name just a few. Low cost carriers are also playing an increasingly important role and putting pressure on prices. All these factors put a tremendous pressure on costs and profit margins are thin, even in good times. This forces airline operators to continuously look for ways of minimizing costs within their existing structures, − eventually putting the people employed at risk.  

When we take someone on, we employ that person full-time and we make sure that person gets a job with one of our customers. If one of our customers need to scale down, we will reallocate resources and find new attractive jobs for our employees.

Today, people have a more dynamic and international lifestyle, which a top tier employer also needs to adapt to. Challenges will continue to be providing enough qualified personnel, flexible solutions and compliance. Therefore, we are confident that the industry is moving towards more allocation of resources and specialization of services.