Getting the interest of next generations

Just got back from the final day of an aviation conference. The number one topic of the final roundtable discussion among airport professionals was about how to attract, retain, and engage the next generations. Chief among the comments is that there aren’t enough “qualified” candidates applying for open positions. Or, there simply weren’t any candidates applying for open positions. I think we are seeing the tail end of a problem years in the making. Earlier in the conference, a moderator asked the audience (of several hundred) if we are encouraging our own kids to get into the aviation industry. Not one hand went up. Not one. I remember when I would tell people I was an airport manager and they would ask, “so, you are an air traffic controller?” Most simply don’t understand what we do all day long. Airport professionals occupy a unique corner of the aviation industry that really hasn’t ever seen the light of day. And now we need people to join us. Bad. So, we have emerged from our caves with help wanted signs, and aren’t getting a real response. Partly because of the great economy. Partly because many just don’t really understand what we do. I suspect the long-term response has to be more than a job description and a help wanted listing online.

by Jonathan Wilson

Jonathan is the Head Coach at Sandcastle Company, a Seattle-based leadership training organization. His first book, Future Leader: Rebooting Leadership to Win the Millennial and Tech Future [link], is now available. Jonathan regularly writes and speaks about The New Leader Way, leadership resilience, and the future of work. He has years of leadership experience in both the public and private sectors, a master's degree from Seattle University, and professional coach training from the University of Miami.

Filed under: Airports | Leadership

Published on September 26, 2018

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