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Screening in aviation: solutions in a turbulent industry

  • Publish Date: Posted 29 days ago
  • Author: James Kenealey
Airports across the country are recording significant increases in flights to and from foreign destinations due to the relaxation in coronavirus restrictions on international travel.

But given that aviation was one – if not the – industry most severely affected by the pandemic, how are firms preparing to gear back up as traveller numbers make a slow and steady recovery to pre-lockdown levels?

At the beginning of the year, when Boris Johnson first announced his roadmap out of restrictions, several airlines recorded a jump in holiday bookings. It saw shares surge, as some firms experienced sales increases of more than 600 per cent in the space of a week. Now, many are looking ahead to upcoming half terms and the winter season and are predicting even more buoyancy for the aviation industry.

But for the sector to truly bounce back will require recruitment strategies outside of the norm. Given that almost 60 per cent of the 320,000 people working in aviation in the UK alone were, in February, out of work – either having been made redundant or on furlough – the pre-COVID HR and recruitment processes that supported the well-oiled machines of airports will no longer be fit for purpose.

The list of jobs within aviation doesn’t start and end with pilots and cabin crew. It also consists of ground handling specialists, baggage handlers, fuel drivers, security officers, air traffic controllers, aircraft technicians and more. The wealth of roles is extensive and lots of these people, though expectedly keen to return to work at the earliest opportunity, are facing some of the most complex obstacles to work any of us have ever experienced.

Primarily, with the CJRS scheme now over, those who were on furlough until the end of September but aren’t yet required back at work will likely have been made redundant. Additionally, we see big challenges when it comes to sourcing talent for the roles that are in demand. The Government has announced it will be making thousands of temporary visas available for road hauliers – including those that work within aviation and airport sites – in response to the problematic labour shortage of HGV drivers. The issue with this latter challenge is that such extensive levels of clearance are required for HGV driver roles that many who might be willing to consider it for their next job are put off by red tape.

But as more countries around the world reopen to us – such as the USA lifting its travel ban to allow double vaccinated passengers from the UK and EU to holiday there – international travel will continue to boom. But it’ll require significantly more resources than is currently available today.

Aviation has been Morson’s bread and butter for more than 50 years, with aviation candidate screening in place for over a decade. As our screening capabilities have accelerated over the years, so too has our ability to support the aviation industry with the complexities it experiences when it comes to recruitment.

We’ve dedicated an entire specialist team to aviation screening, who constantly reassess DFT guidance and are in regular communication with the CAA to ensure our screening and hiring pathways are audited and in line with regulation. This commitment to the sector, as well as our ongoing investment into industry practices and technology, has seen us able to develop a screening programme which can provide full clearance of a candidate within just four weeks – compared to the industry standard of 16 weeks.

As well as offering assessment centre support at all the key airports across the UK, we also offer comprehensive account management platforms to provide tangible, real time data on a client’s recruitment project to support their hiring needs. We know aviation firms generally work in sprints, with scrum teams often spanning no longer than a small number of weeks; our reporting capabilities offer clarity on whether every assessment centre vacancy will be filled, how many individuals pass their assessment, and therefore how many are fully trained and prepared to start a role at the next available opportunity. However, not every solution is the same for every client, so we work in partnership with our aviation customers to develop bespoke systems dependent on what their objectives are, where they are in the UK, and what their hiring requirements will be for the short and long term.

While the industry finds its feet once more, there’ll be a mass influx of people who’ve worked in the industry before looking for jobs, but most will need to be rescreened. For example, with double vaccination now being mandatory to work for several international airlines, we’ll be introducing Covid screening to our system to ensure as many keen candidates as possible can be fast tracked into roles which will get the sector back to its prime, as soon as possible. Because everyone needs a holiday once in a while.

​Find out more about our screening capabilities here or by emailing kerry.redmond@morson.com