The Future of Aviation Jobs: Our Trends and Predictions

30th April 2024

The aviation sector has undergone a wide variety of changes in the last half a decade, navigating unprecedented and unexpected challenges and emerging from a period of uncertainty to more demand for commercial and freight services than ever before. But whilst there may be more customers than ever before and continued business growth predicted in the coming years, the future of aviation is tied to the success of recruitment in this sector.

2020 heralded the loss of thousands of jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic, and many senior employees in aviation simply didn’t return to work once the industry opened back up again. The impact of this recruitment challenge is still presenting challenges today, meaning that businesses in the aviation sector need innovative approaches to sourcing and retaining talented employees who can ensure the level of safe and high-quality work required in this sector.

Understanding the current recruitment market and emerging trends is one of the best ways to increase your success in hiring for jobs in the aviation industry. In this article, we share our trends and predictions for the future of aviation jobs to help employers and candidates get a better idea of what the job market holds.

Continued Demand for Pilots

The future of aviation hinges on there being enough qualified pilots to transport increasing numbers of passengers and products around the world. Demand for pilots in the aviation industry has been a trend in recruitment over the last few years and continues to be a feature of the job market, as whilst the industry has recovered well after COVID-19, there are plenty of job opportunities available for skilled candidates.

This demand isn’t going anywhere, as we’ll discuss throughout this article, with the aviation industry expected to keep growing over the next decade. Pilot roles are predicted to saturate the market, and it’s up to companies to establish successful recruitment strategies to attract and retain candidates who can manage the demands of the role.

Competition for candidates means that job offers in the flight industry are likely to become more competitive, not only in terms of compensation but also in flexibility and benefits. Candidates have a lot of choices when they’re looking for a new role as a pilot, and employers must ensure they’re offering experiences that match or surpass their competitors in order to hire top talent. From a candidate perspective, expect recruitment procedures to move fast.

Licensed Aircraft Engineers

Safety and reliability have always been exceptionally important in the aviation sector. Because of this, hiring licensed aircraft engineers to deliver work that meets appropriate safety and quality standards has always been a priority. But the same shortage of candidates we’re seeing for pilots is also an issue for licensed engineer roles, meaning that companies are having to work incredibly hard to source employees with the right qualifications and experience.

For employers in the aviation industry seeking these licensed engineers, consider the same advice that we shared above about ensuring your employment offers are competitive. Also make sure that your job advertisements are clear on the qualifications and accreditations that you’re looking for so that you don’t waste valuable interview time with unsuitable candidates.

Aviation engineering candidates should be aware that, whilst it’s a market saturated with jobs, many companies will be seeking employees with the right qualifications and training to complete licensed work. If you’re missing these accreditations, you may struggle to find the kind of role you had in mind.

Sustainable Growth

When we’re talking about sustainable growth in the future of aviation, we mean expanding and progressing the industry in line with the necessary sustainability goals and practices to minimise the environmental impact of this growth. A switch to more sustainable aircraft, fuels and production practices is necessary to respond to the pressure the industry faces to lower its carbon emissions.

What this means for jobs in the aviation industry is that companies will be seeking candidates who can bring experience with and knowledge of sustainable practices and technologies to their organisation. Discussions of electric aircraft are one example where new technologies and insight will be required, but there are plenty of other opportunities for the future of air travel to become greener, and it will be designers and engineers who lead the way with their ideas.

Efficient Airports

Numerous predictions suggest that the aviation industry is going to continue to grow over the next twenty years, and with more air travel comes more passengers passing through airports. The majority of airports are already operating at a high capacity, and when expansion isn’t an easily accessible option then innovative new ways of adapting and managing airports are required.

From a recruitment perspective, this means that companies will be seeking candidates who can imagine and implement better ways to deal with an increasing number of passengers in airports, whether this is through design or new systems of directing and managing people. Airport and aircraft crew roles will increase and candidates for these roles will also need to adapt to new approaches to managing an increase in passengers.

Innovative Air Traffic Management

Following on from that point, an increase in demand for air travel will mean that air traffic management is also required to adapt to higher capacity. As managing more arrivals and departures becomes more complex, innovative solutions and dynamic approaches will be required to handle new challenges. Candidates for air traffic control positions should consider how they can best illustrate skills like lateral thinking and adaptability during the recruitment process and make sure they’re prepared to discuss the approaching challenges in the aviation sector and how they think they should be tackled.

Managing Staff Shortages

Companies in the aviation industry have been dealing with staff shortages for a while now, particularly with pilot roles. As we’ve already touched upon, this consistent demand for more employees isn’t going anywhere, but another trend to be aware of is how employers are going to manage these staff shortages and tackle how to overcome them.

One approach that we’re seeing is a consideration of long-term recruitment planning that involves getting candidates into the pipeline early and then focusing on retaining them throughout their careers in the aviation industry. Recruitment and training for entry-level candidates is one avenue, but so is improving learning and development opportunities for employees and improving benefits to help with retention.

Investment in Retention

As previously mentioned, retention is more important than ever for the future of aviation when it comes to managing a shortage of candidates. Attracting new talent is essential, but with so many previous employees in the industry choosing not to return to their jobs after the pandemic, it’s a priority for many businesses to hold onto the staff they have.

A key way that we’re seeing this important airline industry trend is by investing in employee experience, which is proven to help increase staff retention. We’ve already mentioned training opportunities and improved benefits, but businesses are also using their budgets to find new ways to smooth over the problems that staffing shortages have left, ensuring that the remaining employees aren’t suffering because of a lack of team members.

Looking ahead, employers should continue to be mindful of the quality of experience their employees are having at work and be willing to invest in this to keep it positive. Promoting this positive employee experience should then be a feature of your recruitment strategy for new employees to demonstrate how you are handling the challenges that have been publicised about how the aviation sector is struggling with reduced staff.

Next Generation Training

When it comes to long-term solutions for tackling the aviation sector candidate shortage, a popular approach has been targeting entry-level candidates to get them into the aviation industry. Companies can then invest in training these employees to step into more senior positions and develop an internal recruitment strategy that provides much more stability in the long run.

Targeting a younger demographic is one thing, but retaining and training them is another. The two are intertwined; by providing development resources and continuous opportunities to progress and upskill, your employees are less likely to seek opportunities elsewhere to advance their careers.

Preparing the next generation of employees to take on manager roles is a long-term strategy that may not always pay off, but it’s a trend that is growing in popularity because of the stability it provides and the quality of employees that it produces.

AI Expertise

You can’t miss that AI technology is making an impact in every industry with its applications, and the future of aviation is no different. There’s potential everywhere, from ways to improve passenger experience to systems that can ensure safety and efficiency without the risk of human error.

There have been plenty of debates as to whether the introduction of AI in aviation puts jobs at risk, but the resounding answer is that any tasks which are taken over by technology will free up more time for human employees to ideate and spend time on the more creative aspects of their role. Similarly, as more AI technology is introduced in the aviation sector, the number of roles concerning the maintenance and installation of this will also increase, offering more opportunities for candidates to enter the industry.

We predict that AI expertise is a skill that will increase in demand in the coming years, so it’s in the best interest of certain candidates to brush up on their knowledge and ensure they’re prepared to work with the new technologies both on the horizon and already being integrated. Employers should look to hire candidates with AI experience and insight early, as having someone in your team with this technical knowledge will be very valuable in the long run.

System Supervisors

The final trend we’re going to discuss in this article builds off the previous topic of how AI is being increasingly used to automate tasks, improving the productivity and efficiency of many aspects of production, decision making and calculation. Whilst these systems may be decreasing the number of employees who were previously required to carry out these tasks, they open up new job opportunities for candidates who are responsible for overseeing and maintaining these automated systems.

The aviation job trend that will likely emerge from this is an increase in specialised roles for employees who can supervise systems and work with them on tasks that require human judgement as well as automated analysis. Candidates will need technical expertise along with relevant experience and must also be confident in interpreting results and making decisions that could impact safety.


The aviation industry has proved to be remarkably resilient in the face of a range of challenges, and the recruitment trends that we’re seeing are proof of the continued innovation that makes the industry so successful. Understanding these trends and incorporating them into your own recruitment strategy is the best way to ensure that you’re finding the right kinds of candidates to fill your roles, as well as ensuring that you’re prepared for the requirements and expertise that will likely be needed in the future.

If you’re looking to hire in the aviation and aerospace industry, Oaklands Global is a specialist recruitment partner who will help you navigate trends and source exceptional candidates for your business. Find out more about our recruitment services or get in touch to speak to the team about how we can help.

by William Finden

About the Author: William Finden is the Founder and MD of Oaklands Global. He is a seasoned executive search and recruitment specialist with over 16 years of experience, dedicated to the international aviation & aerospace markets. William leads Oaklands Global’s C-Suite practice and has had a successful career delivering at the executive level for a diverse portfolio of clientele including Business Jet Operators, OEM’s, MRO’s, FBO’s Airlines and Rotary businesses. To learn more about how William can assist with your next career move or to discuss your next director level hire please contact him by email:

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