Aviation career specialists note hiring trends

JSfirm.com Executive Director Abbey Hutter, whose company focuses on a variety of aviation jobs, and Future and Active Pilot Advisors (FAPA) President Louis Smith, whose specialty is airline pilot positions, continually monitor the aviation jobs market. As part of a quarterly pulse on aviation hiring trends, AOPA asked the experts about the overall jobs outlook, challenges, and resources that are available to help career aviators get off to a solid start. Here’s where things stand for the first quarter of 2021.

What is the overall aviation jobs outlook right now?

Hutter: Surprisingly positive. Job posting activity remains active and growing, compared to the third and fourth quarter of last year. Sectors like helicopter, general aviation, cargo, flight training, and corporate aviation remain strong. Some regional airlines have renewed their yearly job advertisement packages with us because they are anticipating hiring this year. Airline relief packages have put more furloughs at bay, thus limiting an “airline personnel dump” scenario.

Smith: Hiring at the major airlines in 2020 was the lowest since 2013, [and] overall pilot hiring is in a downturn. The passenger airlines continue to struggle with demand-shock, and pilot hiring is very slow in that sector. However, pilot hiring is very strong at the freight carriers and business for the Part 135 charter operators is growing, which is creating cockpit jobs.

What job application trends or hiring trends have you identified lately?

Hutter: The world of interviewing has been thrust online due to COVID-19. These trends will continue, and technology is answering the call. Our advice to any person seeking a new job opportunity is to be prepared for online interviewing. Read about it, learn the proper way to conduct yourself, and always suggest that you are available for an online interview at any time. Even face-to-face interviewing at this time may require a mask, and that defeats the entire purpose of a face-to-face interaction.

Smith: As the passenger demand returns, we will see increased hiring at the regional airlines followed by some of the major airlines. None of the big four airlines have announced any new pilot hiring for this year.

What are the biggest challenges facing us this quarter?

Hutter: As an industry there was—and is—no doubt about the shrinking talent pool and talent shortage. It’s going to affect us moving forward as an industry. We must work hard in the first quarter at reassuring anyone interested in aviation to continue to move forward and

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