Aviation careers rebounding on GA’s shoulders

Several months after the coronavirus pandemic brought commercial aviation and associated hiring to nearly a standstill, job seeker activity is showing a marked increase with interest in positions for maintenance technicians, corporate pilots, medical evacuation specialists, and certificated flight instructors.

JSfirm.com Executive Director Abbey Hutter said the company has been “eager to see what 2021 would bring us” after a devastating year that saw thousands of aviation industry layoffs, cutbacks in commercial service, and stunted growth in other aviation sectors.

“January alone has seen a record number of job postings on JSfirm.com, even compared to pre-pandemic numbers,” the company said, calling attention to a 19-percent increase in job postings over the previous quarter. In addition, website traffic from job seekers has been on a steady increase since the new year. January job seeker activity increased by 48 percent over December 2020, and the number of pilots “who have joined our website as job seekers has doubled over the past year,” Hutter noted.

She pointed out that filling the ranks for aircraft mechanics and avionics specialists “is always crazy” because of attrition. Hutter also emphasized that the need for CFIs “never goes away from our website. It’s that rotation that’s always been there,” as flight instructors gain time and experience before moving on to higher paying positions in the other aviation sectors. As more people get out of their homes and travel, the demand for air medical evacuation specialists is also picking up.

Activity in corporate aviation has been surprisingly robust, said Hutter, with jobs being filled before they are officially posted. “When one of those Part 91 corporate jobs [opens] up, a lot of the time companies don’t have to advertise it” before the position is filled, Hutter explained. JSfirm.com has a confidential ad service that only shows the job description, but not the name of the company, its location, or the type of aircraft in use because job seekers have become adept at pinpointing the company by those clues. “Those [positions] seem to be very active. The corporate aviation sector is definitely strong.”

Hutter added that administration roles, engineering positions, and avionics jobs are very active at the moment.

“I think the way to look at it is that I don’t think there is a sector that’s not hiring, except for some of the major airlines,” Hutter added. She said it’s a situation in which companies realize they need to be in a position of strength when travel returns so they can quickly spin up operations. “Some of them are saying, ‘We either need to grow or we’re going to go out of business,’ so they’re hiring again.”

Overall, the JSfirm.com website currently has about 19,000 job positions posted, which is about double the 9,000 positions the website saw at the depths of 2020’s economic downturn.

“I think we’re definitely still in the tunnel, but we can see the light at the end of it,” said Hutter. “You can’t stop the world forever.”

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