A smart approach to the global pilot shortage

It has become clearer over the past few years that we are in the midst of a pilot shortage. Some of the larger airlines have already had to cancel flights this year for this reason, with Ryanair and Norwegian just two of the affected airlines that serve the UK. Globally the problem is even bigger.

Airlines are looking into different options to solve this issue, as the cost of cancelled flights will run into the millions with lost revenue and compensation pay outs proving costly but the negative impact this would do to their reputation harder to repair. Air travel is becoming more normal for the general public, with it expected that availability of a flight to their desired destination should be no more hassle than getting on a train or bus. As such there is a growing need to find a new generation of pilots to handle the increasing demand placed on the aviation industry.

As well as options such as reducing visa restrictions for foreign pilots, or offering additional benefits and opportunities to new pilots, one of the ways that airlines can help to plug this skills gap is by recruiting aspiring pilots with zero flight hours. It is too early to tell yet if this will become 'the norm' but pre-selection and smarter candidate assessment will need to play an even bigger part in the recruitment process if this is the case.

This is where Symbiotics come in. Our ADAPT suite of selection tools are used worldwide by airlines and training academies to assess not just pilots but also cabin crew and engineers too. By identifying the candidates who have the strongest training potential Symbiotics' ADAPT tools can be used by international airlines and pilot training academies to discover and acquire the best personnel. Informed recruitment decisions can then be made with a greater understanding of trainability and operational effectiveness of the next generation of pilots entering the industry.

With the need for these pilots to be able to graduate straight onto the flight deck, having the best candidates from an early stage will be vital for airlines and flight schools to both improve their workforce whilst reducing associated risk from those candidates who are not best suited for the profession.

Coupled with the MindQ™ mental wellbeing risk assessment that we offer here at Symbiotics, we are able to help airlines to exceed the IATA Guidance Material & Best Practice for Pilot Aptitude Testing regulations as well as the incoming EASA guidelines for pilot mental wellbeing. When pilots are being recruited with zero flying hours, these checks and assessments become vital to help ensure that risk to all involved is kept as low as reasonably practicable.

MindQ™ can be used to identify those who are at risk of potential mental health conditions which then allows them to be directed to the appropriate resources and support to improve their mental wellbeing. This can help prevent issues from arising, reducing and highlighting risk potential by tracking any changes within an individual's mental wellbeing. Something important within all industries but especially the high risk situation faced by aviation professionals.

Investing in the mental wellbeing of your team can also have a substantial impact in reducing absenteeism or presenteeism, and increasing productivity. All so key to a skill-short industry already. To find out more about how Symbiotics can support with assessment, selection or mental wellbeing get in touch via email on contact@symbioticsltd.co.uk or call +44 (0) 1905 368 175.