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Orescan: Jobs, Jobs, Jobs

Where are all those jobs that have been forecast?


September 27, 2007
By Chris Orescan

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I am hearing from out there: Where are those jobs that have been
forecast? I am a little surprised by this; a little research quickly
shows that there has been more hiring in the past year than in the
previous three years combined. I have seen fellow pilots secure new
employment in as little as one day, former students secure new jobs
that only a couple of years ago would have been a mere pipe dream.

So
what’s going on? The jobs are in fact out there; I have seen some
charter operators hire as many as 30 new pilots in the last quarter
alone. The vast majority of hiring has certainly been in the 704 and
705 levels, but as in every industry the trickle-down effect does
happen though it can take some time. The truth is that there has been a
good deal of new hiring going on in Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and
Alberta, not only in commuter operations but also in air taxi
operations.

I have spoken with a few operators who are desperate
for pilots and are faced with having to review their requirements to
attract potential new hires. Some of them realize that there is not
much hope of finding people with time on type or the experience level
they require, either to meet their insurance requirements or those of
private auditing companies for their customers. The smart operator will
try to find someone with time on type; this reduces their training
costs.

The reality is that some operators will face dramatically
increased training and operating costs just to put a body into that
seat. Some will hold out for as long as they can to secure the right
individual. For some it is a matter of being able to keep operating
because they have not budgeted for these extra training costs and
possible increased insurance premiums. Some may find it cheaper to
leave an aircraft parked in a hangar than to fill it with a
less-experienced crew – as difficult as this is to believe.

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In
2001 ATAC released Human Resource Study of Commercial Pilots in Canada;
in 2003 it revisited the study to prioritize recommendations for
action. I found the study interesting, although not all that
surprising; the 2001 study identified 45 recommendations and the 2003
study identified two main goals for immediate action. They concerned
developing an industry-wide standard for pilot competency, and defining
knowledge, skills and attitudes in training programs offered. These
goals I found somewhat surprising; the areas addressed were not new and
most operators had been aware that they needed to be addressed for some
time.

So how does this relate to the job market? The report
discussed knowledge, skills and attitudes; it’s the attitude of some of
these younger pilots that I am referring to. I have witnessed
surprising attitudes among some younger pilots. This is not new; I find
it difficult to say this, but when I recall when I was young hearing
older generations talk about how younger generations lacked any
get-up-and-go. I can’t help but wonder if it isn’t this syndrome that
has affflicted these people who are complaining about finding a job.
Granted there is not a flying job on every street corner, but they are
out there and one still has to get out and knock on doors, to network,
to find out who is doing the hiring, to keep in mind the seasonal
trends and who is the person to talk to and lastly to come up with a
plan to market oneself and to be persistent.

Now comes the
tricky part: You have secured the new job; now do the job, learn and be
as diligent with your efforts as you were in obtaining this position.
Expecting quick upgrades and promotions to larger aircraft will only
hurt your progression, and when that does not happen to your
satisfaction you may decide to look at moving on. This perpetuates the
cycle, which has afflicted aviation for far too long.

The jobs
are out there in 703, 704 & 705;but it still takes work to get
them. The demand for pilots is still growing and is forecast to
continue for some time yet. As I discussed with a small operator who
was complaining not only about the calibre of people coming through his
door but their attitudes, the unfortunate truth for him is that it will
likely get a lot worse before it gets better.


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