Workforce shortages plague many industries in the post-pandemic world, and general aviation is no exception. Diversifying your pipeline, however, can help to expand your talent pool and improve your organization’s overall performance.
The aviation industry has traditionally recruited from the same institutions: technical schools, colleges and universities with aviation programs, or the military. Jessie Naor, president of a rapidly growing air charter operation based in Maryland, says drawing from the same wells is producing the same results – and the same ideas.
“In general aviation, we often end up with groupthink and a lack of new ideas because we have such a similar group of people,” said Naor. To combat that, GrandView Aviation has worked hard to expand its recruiting outreach to achieve a diverse team. “We know our hiring efforts are resulting in more innovative and creative strategies in our business,” she explained.
GrandView Aviation’s growth is evidence of the strength of its team. A few short years ago, the company flew a single aircraft – now the company operates a fleet of late-model Phenom 300s based all over the country.
According to Naor, diversity at top levels of an organization shows a candidate that you value people from different backgrounds and with different perspectives. While an organization shouldn’t recruit a specific demographic for leadership positions, a company can attract a diverse range of leadership candidates not only by recruiting from diverse pools of candidates but by supporting internal candidates with leadership goals.
While we tend to think of diversity in terms of gender and race, don’t forget to widen your net in terms of age as well. Make your position requirements as performance-based as possible, rather than quantitative (i.e., a particular number of years on the job), to ensure you include younger talent with the skills and aptitudes your organization needs to be successful. Older applicants, meanwhile, might have unique experiences that make them the right fit for your team.
Also consider networking with local trade schools and getting involved with organizations like Women in Aviation International, which hosts Girls in Aviation Day events around the world, or the Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals, which hosts Aerospace Professionals in Schools, a Youth Development Program, and a virtual STEM curriculum, among other programs.
Naor says it’s not enough to simply recruit from a diverse pool – you must be sincere in your efforts to cultivate that diversity of thought through inclusion. GrandView Aviation continues its commitment to diversity long after the recruiting phase, holding educational programs and cultural events that support inclusion.
“We highly value diversity and differences of thought, but it takes a concerted effort to create a diverse team,” said Naor. “You have to craft a plan and stick to it.”
GrandView Aviation’s recent success is, in part, proof that such efforts can reap significant rewards.