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The Grass isn’t Always Greener: What to Consider Before Switching Employers

Experienced aviation professionals are in high demand, with attractive salaries being offered by airlines and other organizations. What should you consider before making a move?

Not all benefits are financial. Besides the salary, look at the opportunities presented for future growth, the stability of the company or position, and quality of life issues.

Craig Picken, Managing Partner at NorthStar Group, an executive search firm, says to consider your own values before switching employers. What are you looking for in a career? What makes you feel satisfied and fulfilled?

Consider the type of experience you are getting at your current company. If your present role allows you to experience different international operations or grow into a leadership position, you might not be happy with a regional airline job flying from Newark to Cleveland and back every day.

“Know what you’re looking for. A line pilot at an airline is a commodity,” Picken said, while employees at smaller companies often have a chance to make a difference.

A smaller company might also offer opportunities to wear various hats and grow your skillset in other areas besides your initial discipline of flying, maintaining, or scheduling aircraft.

If you are looking for a leadership position one day, would the new organization or your current company better align with the qualities you respect?

The flight benefits and currently high salaries for airline positions can be tempting, but flight benefits are not what they used to be as demand soars and flights tend to be full.

You may also find yourself at the bottom of the seniority list at a new organization. What happens if you’re low on the seniority list with a new company and demand slows? Are you willing to risk a furlough or layoff until your seniority reaches a more stable level?

Picken’s final advice:

“I always ask people, ‘Are you looking to go somewhere or are you just changing geography? What are you trying to get out of the move?’”


Welcome to the Aviation Business Journal, the official publication of the National Air Transportation Association (NATA).