IATA reveals challenges in talent acquisition and training

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The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has published the results of a global survey of Human Resources professionals in the aviation industry highlighting key challenges in talent acquisition, training and retention.

The association said more than 73 per cent of respondents expect the major areas of job growth to be in ground operations, customer service and cabin crew.

48 per cent report that finding new talent is a challenge, both because of the lack of availability of candidates with the right skill levels and qualifications as well as, in some cases, salary demands of new applicants.

In addition to the salary and benefits package of each employee, the HR professionals identified career progression opportunities (49 per cent) and development and training (33 per cent) as high priorities in job satisfaction and retention.

Only 28 per cent of respondents reported that current training is effective, with many organizations seeking to complement their in-house training with external partners to improve the effectiveness of the training.

Safety and customer service skills are priorities for hiring managers across the industry. While technology is indeed changing the customer service role, it is not replacing it.

Approximately 75 per cent of respondents expected an increase in customer service, ground operations and cabin crew jobs over the next two years. That is higher than the 65 per cent of respondents that expect growth in security jobs and 63 per cent that expect growth in regulatory positions.

A number of airlines contributed insights into the report, including Qatar Airways Group, whose vice president for talent Development, Brendan Noonan said “As an airline, we need to find out where the new touchpoints are that we can bring in customer service to support and complement technology to make the overall customer experience quicker and more enjoyable. There is an expectation from customers and we have to meet that.”

IATA’s director of training and consulting, Guy Brazeau said: “We were really looking forward to receiving the results of this industry survey and we hope it can be helpful to guide HR professionals in their decisions regarding staffing planning, training opportunities and areas to focus on as our industry grows to unprecedented levels.

IATA commissioned market survey experts 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 organizational size. For the full report, click here.

The survey intentionally did not address the forecast shortages of pilots and maintenance technicians, as future requirements in these specific workforces have been widely covered already.