Our 2020 vision

Karen Moore | 03.02.2020

As we get the ball rolling in 2020, I thought it would be appropriate to take a look at what the year is likely to bring, both across the aviation industry and also here at Symbiotics.

One of the biggest changes coming in 2020 is sure to be the deadline for airlines to have implemented the new EASA Regulations into the mandatory psychological testing of Pilots, due to come into effect in July. Our questionnaire last April identified a serious lack of readiness for these evaluations, with it expected to be a busy first half of the year as final preparations are made across Europe. Our survey found that only 17% of respondents had solutions in place, with the remaining airlines operating in Europe yet to implement their psychological testing solutions. With the added requirement that these assessments are “validated and either directly performed or overseen by a psychologist with acquired knowledge in aviation”, our team are ready to share their wealth of aviation knowledge and experience with you.

What this will look like across the aviation industry remains to be seen, but it goes hand in hand with the growing awareness of mental wellbeing as well as, unfortunately, the stigma remaining around this subject. The greater prominence given to this topic in the media is helping to start conversations, whilst highlighting more support avenues for those who need it. Although progress is positive in this area, our survey highlighted that just 5% of respondents had raised a mental ill-health issue with their employer or airline, demonstrating the proportion of people who may be struggling. This suggests that assessment of Pilots just at the recruitment stage may well not be enough, although it is a welcome first step to monitoring and supporting the mental wellbeing of such a high-pressure industry.

With industry experts identifying the growing global Pilot shortage1 and one of the biggest manufacturers within aviation forecasting a need for over 800,000 new Pilots, 769,000 new technicians and 914,000 cabin crew by 20382 , it is clear that recruitment and training the next generation of crew needs to be at the forefront of airlines and training organisations across the world. We are seeing the impact of this already here at Symbiotics, with our Psychologists in great demand to provide interviews and support assessments at client sitess globally. We are almost at capacity for our Psychology team for the first quarter of the year already, with bookings continuing to come in for the summer and beyond.

We saw a significant growth in the number of client specific profiles across 2019, with this increasing trend continuing into the new year as we expand our profiling and other supporting psychology services. We have some exciting developments coming on our eCommerce testing platform as well, as it celebrates its first birthday at the end of February. With the addition of specialised packages for prospective entrants into all parts of the aviation field, we will be providing clear guidance and signposting around practice tests for cadets and candidates.

This customer demand for our psychology services, both in person and for our remote Skype interview provision, is supporting the further expansion of our team here in Worcester. We are currently looking to grow the team to enable us to provide even more consultancy and psychology support services. Get in touch for more information on our vacancies.

2020 should be an exciting year for Symbiotics as we help our clients prepare for and meet the new regulations and work to meet the demand for new recruits. We are also continuing to expand and develop our assessment and selection solutions around other roles within aviation, supporting our clients with cabin crew, maintenance, engineer, dispatcher and air traffic control selection services.

We are looking forward to seeing how the industry develops in 2020 with the regulatory changes coming in and hope it is just the beginning of a greater insight and support for the mental wellbeing of all air crew.

  1. Pilot hungry airlines struggle with global pilot shortage 2019
  2. Pilot technician outlook