Compensation is now the top motivating factor, surpassing quality-of-life issues, among pilots who have left the business aviation industry for airline slots, according to a recent workforce study by NBAA. In a survey sent to flight departments, 63 percent of the respondents reported that they had experienced pilot turnover since 2015. Of those, 43 percent indicated that the pilots left business aviation for the airlines, while nearly 50 percent left for another business aviation position.
“Many people I’ve spoken to don’t think they have an airline problem because other business aircraft operators are taking their pilots,” explained Chris Broyhill, a member of NBAA’s Business Aviation Management Committee, which conducted the study. “But the reason the other operators are poaching their pilots is because the other operators have lost people to the airlines. The fact is that it is an airline problem.”
On the other hand, maintenance technicians saw less churn, with only one-third of the respondents indicating turnover in that area since 2015. Of those, 33 percent moved to other Part 91 operators, 14 percent to charter operators and the same amount to aircraft management companies.
In both cases, the pool of qualified candidates is dwindling. A job posting that would have attracted more than 1,000 applicants in the past, recently drew only 200, of which one quarter met the published requirements.