Demands for flight crew may be at record levels, but many airline pilots feel stressed and undervalued by management, according to a survey by FlightGlobal.
The findings also reveal concerns over job security and automation, which could make their role redundant. The landmark survey by pilot and aviation recruiter GOOSE Recruitment and aviation publisher FlightGlobal, polled more than 1,300 working pilots worldwide on attitudes to their work.
Despite a perception that a cockpit career is glamorous, well-rewarded and a job for life, the survey reveals that pilots often feel anxious and insecure. Findings include:
• 40 per cent of pilots feel “most stressed” by their dealings with management, with rotations – the number of airport turnarounds they must carry out in a day – the second biggest contributor to stress
• 59 per cent feel their employer does not care about their wellbeing
• More than half of pilots have worried about losing their job in the past two years
• 29 per cent of pilots do not plan to fly to retirement age
• 43 per cent would not recommend a career as a pilot to young people
• 40 per cent of pilots are concerned that autonomous technology will make the role of the pilot redundant
Among the survey’s other findings were that pilots rate work-life balance as the highest priority when choosing a flying job, ahead of salary, company culture, training and career development. The list is almost reversed for pilots at the start of their career, who give company culture the highest rating, with work-life balance the least important. The survey also reveals that Lufthansa, Air France and Virgin Atlantic are the three airlines pilots would most want to work for.
“Employers cannot ignore their responsibilities”
Sophie Wild, Director of Content Partnerships and Recruitment at FlightGlobal, said: “While our survey does highlight many positive aspects of being a pilot, employers cannot ignore their responsibilities when it comes to issues like stress and mental wellbeing. We hope that these insights will help airlines adapt some of their human resources policies.”
Mark Charman, CEO and Founder of GOOSE Recruitment, added: “These results show that, despite the appeal of a career as an airline pilot and demand for their services being higher than ever, airlines have significant challenges to address when it comes to the job satisfaction and wellbeing of their most important employees.”