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Challenge #1: The (real) war for talent

In 1998, McKinsey coined the phrase the ‘war for talent’. It has since become a platitude that is rolled out at the drop of a hat whenever any employer claims not to have access to the staff trained on the latest hip technology. For once, a trite platitude has a grain of truth in it. Increasing retirements, changing demographics, and rising demands for skilled technicians and workers has created a perfect storm for business aviation.

Recruitment poses a significant challenge; how to attract the new workforce – generation Z. Generation Z are frus- trated that employers often pay mere lip service to issues like mental health support, pay equity, corporate respon- sibility, and diversity.

Forbes interviewed several CEOs about the challenges facing employers and found some leaders find Gen Z staff members terrifying.

One CEO commented:

“Gen Z live and shop their values. They don’t hesitate on calling you out when you are wrong or culturally tone-deaf. They think they know more than you do—and in this new digital-first world, they do.”

For business aviation, the employment challenge also faces the negative press. Business aviation is the bete noir for many an online activist. At CJI Miami 2022, it was highlighted that a recent survey of those likely to recommend a career in aviation found there were many detractors from inside business aviation, and especially in Europe.

What can or should business aviation do?

The starting point is to stop fault-finding and focus on action; the industry needs to focus on both recruitment and retention, whilst recognising that these are two separate activities.

Marc Bailey, CEO at the BBGA noted:

“both recruitment and retention are important, but they are different issues. With retention, the demographics of some areas in aviation are skewed to the over 55s and because pensions were structured differently in the past, that age group can retire early. The ideal is to keep them interested in staying, for both their direct skills and more importantly to pass those skills on to the next generation.”

Let’s start with recruitment. Firstly, the industry should put its best foot forward. The reality is that a career in business aviation is a lot better than most commercial equivalent roles. Business aviation is a passionate and close-knit community who have built their knowledge and skills from hands on experience rather than cookie cutter airline checklists.

Then retention; we must ensure those who remain in the business aviation industry are properly compensated and entice them with training future generations. Until there are dedicated business aviation schools and textbooks, the experience and knowhow are invaluable tools for the future.

Finally, let’s not be our own worst enemy and act as the trojan horse of detractors to our own industry.

Read the 6 challenges facing business aviation in 2023 in full here.

If you have any questions please don't hesitate to contact Heather at


The information included in this article is considered true and correct at the date of publication; changes to rules and regulation made after the time of publication may impact on the accuracy of the information referenced or inferred to in this article. The information in the article may change without notice and Martyn Fiddler Aviation is in no way liable for the accuracy of any information printed or stored or in any way interpreted and used by the user. This article or the information contained in it is not provided or intended to be used as advice of any form.
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About the author

Heather Gordon is Legal Director at Martyn Fiddler Aviation. Heather joined the team in 2013 having previously practiced within a leading Isle of Man law ...

Contact Heather Gordon
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