Preparing for UK aviation market growth

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As a hugely profitable UK industry, aviation sector businesses need to prioritize recruitment. Lucy Dean, a senior consultant specializing in aviation for Encore Personnel, discusses why airports and airlines need to act now and introduce policies to find new talent.

The UK aviation industry is an incredibly successful one, with recent reports revealing it boasts a turnover of more than £60bn (US$75bn) and annual exports of £26bn (US$32bn). It currently supports 961,000 UK jobs, many of which are highly skilled.

It calls on approximately 39 different job roles to enable just one aircraft to leave an airport, so it’s no surprise this is an industry where talent is in demand.

Looking for the best talent

Recruitment often revolves around knee-jerk reactions. Someone leaves or new business comes in, and there becomes an urgent need for new people. With major developments at UK airports on the horizon that could create 25,000 new jobs in London, there is a strong argument to look for new skills on an ongoing basis.

Applicants need to pass CRB checks, clear the most stringent security tests, including a five-year history check, and be able to handle an incredibly fast-paced and demanding work environment. This process can take up to three weeks.

Considering all options

One of the great things about the aviation industry is that the job roles often involve skills that are transferrable. Looking out for these characteristics and working with candidates who possess them is essential for a steady influx of fresh talent.

For instance, those with experience in warehousing simply need additional training for freight roles, while anyone from a customer or retail background could be considered for customer-facing roles in an airport.

What are the attributes of the ideal candidate? For me, it’s someone who is productive in a high-pressured environment; this is crucial as the aviation industry is always going to be fast paced. Time management skills are key, as well as an awareness of the wider environment and health and safety.

To attract an employee who may have never considered aviation before, the role of the recruiter also needs to be one of promotion. There are many reasons why it’s an attractive industry, such as shift work making it a flexible role, holiday and travel perks, uniform allowances, and investment in staff through regular training.

Act now

The figures already being achieved by the UK’s aviation industry and the prospects of large developments on the horizon mean a skill shortage is a real threat. Fortunately, this is a risk that can be easily avoided by quick and effective action.

Working with recruiters who know the aviation industry well is invaluable. I’ve always lived in and around Heathrow meaning it’s part of my community and background, which means I understand what the airlines and airports want and need. Only a specialist agency will take the time and make the investment in being fully compliant and completing stringent internal and external audits.


Established in 2002, Encore is a market leader in recruitment across the central region of the UK. Out of 3,500 recruitment firms, Encore is the 37th fastest growing business in the UK and the fourth fastest in its sector. Lucy Dean, a senior consultant specializing in the aviation sector, joined Encore in October 2016.

February 21, 2017

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