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After analyzing hundreds of aviation industry survey responses, aviation jobs site predicted 2018 would see a doubling of aviation industry job growth compared to 2017. Seventy-one percent of the 387 companies that responded to the firm’s Hiring Trends Survey projected “moderate to significant growth,” compared to 33 percent that responded similarly in 2017.

Solid flying skills, aviation education, and flight experience can lead to a career in aviation. iStock photo.

Eighty percent of those companies said they would hire staff in 2018; hiring personnel predicted the second quarter of the year—from April to June—would see the most activity.

“In the nine years that we have conducted the survey, aviation hiring has never had a better outlook,” noted Managing Partner, pilot, and aviation enthusiast Sam Scanlon, in a news release.

The hiring trends report noted that 86 percent of the aviation companies surveyed did not cut any positions in 2017 compared to 72 percent that incurred staffing losses in 2016.

The most in-demand jobs are pilots and aviation maintenance and avionics technicians.

Respondents said one of the biggest challenges was finding qualified professionals. However, lack of experience, pay expectations, and a shortage of time to recruit new hires were also cited.

According to research cited in the March 2018 edition of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s Journal of Aviation/Aerospace Education & Research, offering higher salaries to pilot candidates appears to have made it easier to recruit qualified applicants.

Regional airline hiring personnel noted that a 2013 increase in the required flight time for first-officer pilots continued to pose a challenge in the face of pilot shortages, according to the publication. The investigation of a 2009 regional jet accident in New York led to an increase in the minimum amount of pilot flight time to 1,500 hours.

University of Nebraska at Omaha Aviation Institute Professor Becky Lutte told the journal that the tactic of increasing pay to attract new pilots “is working,” but she noted “concern over the ability to sustain these hiring levels.” She said first-year salaries at “large regional carriers” increased in recent years to an average of $51,400—almost a $30,000 jump from the 2014 average salary of $22,400.

Lutte suggested that regional airlines “must continue to find the right balance between pay, lifestyle factors, and career progression options to attract pilots.” has 400,000 job seeker members and is free for those looking for employment. The company will host a career fair at the Sun 'n Fun International Fly-In and Expo in Lakeland, Florida, April 11.

David Tulis

David Tulis

Senior Photographer
Senior Photographer David Tulis joined AOPA in 2015 and is a private pilot with single-engine land and sea ratings and a tailwheel endorsement. He is also a certificated remote pilot and co-host of the award-wining AOPA Hangar Talk podcast. David enjoys vintage aircraft ad photography.
Topics: Aviation Industry, Training and Safety

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