Repeated and likely to recur, the question persists: Will the United States face a shortage of pilots? The demand for pilots in the United States is driven by several factors. These include a strong economy, a diverse population, and the recovery of the airline industry from challenges like COVID-19.
According to Oliver Wyman’s early 2021 forecast, he predicted a lack of nearly 30,000 pilots by 2032. The biggest drivers of the shortage were noted as early retirements, an aging pilot population, and limited recruitment. Regionals are at an even higher risk of being impacted by unsustainable attrition rates. The FAA seems to agree as they have implemented new programs to bring in the next generation of aviation professionals.
Are Our Current Efforts Sufficient?
Given these factors leading to a shortage, a proactive approach to recruitment and training is necessary to meet the evolving needs of the aviation sector. There is a pressing need to accelerate the growth of the Pilot and Maintenance Tech supply, surpassing the pace witnessed in previous decades.
Is it all About the Money?
Is the existing salary rise adequate to retain pilots amidst the expanding array of career opportunities available to them? The aviation industry is witnessing a rise in turnover, particularly at small to mid-size companies, due to increased opportunities for career progression. Retention has become a pivotal factor in mitigating this trend. Companies are adopting various strategies, including Loan Repayment Programs, offering Flexible Schedules, engaging Staffing Specialists with extended talent pools, implementing company-level training and development initiatives (especially for pilots with less than 1500 hours), and forming partnerships with flight schools.
These evolving approaches, coupled with sustained attention, aim to alleviate the impact of the ongoing pilot shortage. However, it is crucial to acknowledge that the shortage is a persistent challenge, and proactive measures are key to staying ahead in the industry.