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Airlines need to revamp recruitment

Nov. 19, 2013, Dubai, U.A.E. - Airlines must work harder to attract decent senior employees – but not from the cockpit, according to a senior industry executive speaking on day two of the Gulf Aviation Training Event (GATE), Dubai Airshow’s event-within-a-mega-event.


November 19, 2013
Carey Fredericks

Michael Bell, partner with global recruitment company Spencer Stuart Executive Search, delivering the keynote address on day two, said the industry needs to examine its recruitment and retention policies closely in order to keep up with the demands of this rapidly growing sector; but advised that pilots do not necessarily make good senior executives.

Bell said pilot’s training doesn’t encompass management skills; and that some airlines recruit internally, based simply on number of years served with the company, rather than showing demonstrable management skills.

“There are a number of successful airlines which have common threads. They all have strong growth and clearly defined business strategies; financial success and stability. What they also have is strong, stable management, often drawn from other industries, such as the legal and financial sectors,” said Bell.

He stressed in an increasingly competitive environment, airlines must work hard to develop Employee Value Propositions.

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“You need to show the ‘gives and gets’ of being employed within your organisation. Think about why they would want to join your organisation. How will you keep them motivated, stimulated and challenged? How can you ensure they are appropriately rewarded? You simply need a clear, compelling employee value proposition,” added Bell.

Captain Ed Davidson, GATE Summit Director and former Gulf-based Emirates Airline executive, said: “It’s a tough call – do we grow our executives internally, or do we find them from outside the organisation?

The second day of the GATE summit included a panel discussion led by Captain Jacques Drappier, Senior Advisor Training / Airbus S.A.S, entitled “Hand Flying in Airline Operations – Who, Why and When?,” which discussed the need for a return to more basic training.

The event concluded with another discussion concerning ‘The Airline Captain – Selection and Training of the Cockpit CEO’; which set out to dispel Bell’s morning comments that pilots do not make good senior executives.