A year to remember

The year of 2017 has certainly been a memorable period for the aviation industry – Monarch Airlines’ collapse, BAE Systems’ layoffs, Ryanair’s and US Airlines’ pilot shortages, Trump’s travel ban forcing some airlines to make adjustments to their crewing, and (on a more humorous note), Emirates recruiting Jeremy Clarkson as a sponsor… Who’d have thought the leap from motoring to aviation could be one small step for man, and one giant paycheck, pardon, we mean step for Jeremy’s career. But what has been clear is that over the year there have been some fatal errors made, and (with some big marketing and resourcing spend to assist along the way) almost anything can be spun into a success. Take Ryanair for example… their shortage of pilots not only cost them over six million in refunding holiday makers’ flights, but also their brand reputation and future revenue.  

There is no such thing as bad press

If you remember around the time of Ryanair’s mishap, you might have noticed whilst you were putting your feet up for the evening, settling in for a night of television that there were quite a few more adverts promoting the fact it is, or (depending on your current feelings towards Ryanair) was Europe’s number one low cost airline. The marketing team had reacted quickly to pick up the pieces of their authority within the airline market. They were trying to distract their customers from the series of unfortunate events that had unravelled across the breaking headlines of Europe’s press, with a series of adverts that reflected the benefits of flying with Ryanair. Their marketing team were clearly putting in the overtime, not to mention the spend. Remember their interview with the Independent? Ryanair’s chief executive, Michael O’Leary, said: “I’m sorry that our people have had to listen to misinformation about Ryanair promoted by competitor pilot unions, however we have been here before, and we will be again.” The reason for their mistake supposedly came down to “a perfect storm” of annual leave bookings.  

Hindsight is a wonderful thing

The right thing to do in this situation is hold your hands up and admit you made a mistake. O’Leary had to release another statement to hold his hands up properly a little further down the line… As, of course, the situation could have been averted before it got out of hand. “We could have responded sooner to a tightening market for experienced First Officers with pay increases for our experienced pilots” the airline admitted to the Independent. But the most important lesson from situations like these is to learn from your mistakes. More recently though, with talks of planned pilot strikes, the question has been asked if Ryanair really did learn from its staffing setback of 2017…  

Is there such a thing as perfect timing?

Undeniably, the HR team at Ryanair got particularly lucky when they woke up and went to work on the 3rd October. The devastating news of Monarch’s closure had broken and, to be brutally honest, only worked in the Irish airline’s favour. Unfortunately, around 2,100 were left without jobs from the recently deceased company, and Ryanair was looking for unemployed, experienced pilots. Once again, the teams acted quickly to arrange events and job fairs for the 400 pilots from Monarch. The former employees of Monarch were helped to find another job quickly, and Ryanair gained a boost in their recruitment.  

Top tips for overcoming your own recruitment crisis

Ryanair, like many other companies, has made some mistakes but they have managed to reshape the situation (subject to opinion) and get themselves back on track, even if luck did play a part. Here are some of our top takeaways for overcoming a recruitment crisis:

1. Act fast – your reputation is just as important as revenue. Coordinate the business to find out the real issue, and work with your marketing and press team to report truthfully on it. Get your story straight. The public (which include your customers!) respect honesty. Outline the problem, and what you’re doing to fix it… And quick, time really is of the essence in cases like these.

2. Take care of your annual leave rota – you might think that this goes without saying. But whatever the real issue behind Ryanair’s flight cancellations last year, it is definitely worth noting. No team should be left understaffed, even if it’s just for a week when someone’s on holiday. If it means making sure the company know the holiday procedure, then maybe send out a quick reminder memo.

3. Staff retention is key – Look after your staff and they’ll reward you with loyalty. So ensure your managers are trained to be good at leading and not just managing. The key to growing a business is its workforce and everyday should not be a constant battle to keep teams happy.

4. Don’t let yourself get to that stage! As a Human Resources department, you really need your ear to the ground. Staff surveys should be right at the top of your priority lists alongside staff turnover rates and recruitment in the first instance. Find out what is bothering your staff and act on it before it you get to the stage of an issue.

5. Be prepared. Without contradicting point four too much, mistakes happen and problems can arise. Have a solid recruitment plan in place, whether your man power is inhouse or outsourced.

Got yourself into a sticky situation?

We’re here to help. Luckily, if you’ve made it this far through the article you’re in the right place. We’re the World’s best aviation job board (no really, we are. See for yourself.) And there’s a certain amount of experience you gain from being the leader of recruitment in this niche industry for so long. If you’re looking to recruit for any aviation roles, we can help. With over half a million jobseekers signed up, we have the ideal candidate(s) for your job, whether it be a pilot, a B1 engineer, or even a baggage handler… we have them all. Not forgetting that January typically sees an extra 175,000 extra people looking for a job, there really is no better time to sign up as a recruiter this month. Even with staff wellbeing as a priority, unfortunately the days of keeping an employee for life are slowly depleting. The grass is sometimes seen to be greener on the other side no matter how good your company perks are. Crises are all relevant to the type and size of an individual company, but with jobseekers looking for jobs more regularly than ever before, we’ve helped to overcome more than one recruitment crisis in our time.

Take Radiola for example…

“We were looking for a new Ground Support Engineer and needed them in the position as soon as possible. We tried using local press and word of mouth to get the job vacancy noticed but there was no response. I then found Aviation Job Search and decided to post my job on the site after speaking with a representative of the job board. The set up was simple and smooth. Whilst at first I thought the cost was high, I have realised (having met and interviewed some of the candidates) that there is a significant value in paying for the level service that I require. I therefore now believe the price accurately reflects the service I have received. Having placed the initial advert with the website, I received a call from my Account Manager after a week or so, and we talked through the immediate response, which was not excellent. We discussed how the advert could be made more relevant and more visible and within days of that conversation (and making the suggested changes), the response was considerably better. I have no hesitation in saying that, during the inevitable expansion of this company over the coming months and years, Aviation Job Search will be a valuable partner in the recruitment of the right people to be part of the Radiola team.” – Sam Weston, Operations Manager UK, Radiola.   Learn more about using our services by downloading your free online personalised guide today at https://recruiting.aviationjobsearch.com/. Got a job to advertise? Post it on Aviation Job Search today from as little as £699 at our online checkout.

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