According to a new study by the German Economic Institute (IW), there is a shortage of skilled workers in aviation. The reason for this is the ongoing after-effects of the corona restrictions in recent years, according to the analysis. There is currently a lack of personnel to normalize air traffic to the pre-crisis level.
The problem: According to the information, many workers looked for other jobs during the pandemic. Overall, the number of employees has fallen by several thousand. At the same time, there are currently no reserves on the labor market to fill the gaps.
According to the information, the area of service specialists in air traffic, including flight attendants, is particularly affected. The number of employees here fell by 15 percent from the pre-crisis period of 2018/2019 to 2020/2021, despite short-time work. The number of so-called skilled workers in technical air traffic operations, which includes aircraft handlers, for example, fell by 12.9 percent in the same period.
The situation is better for the pilots, where the number of employees fell by only 1.5 percent. According to the study, their knowledge can hardly be transferred to other fields of work. Specialists in customer service and logistics, on the other hand, would have had comparatively good chances of finding a new job, for example in train traffic or in online trade, which is booming due to the pandemic.
High barriers to entry
Air freight companies are also urgently looking for employees. “It is currently a huge challenge to find staff,” said Jens Oechler, Managing Director of the Hessian logistics service provider Prime Air Cargo on Tuesday in Berlin. One problem is the long lead time: new employees sometimes have to be trained for two to three months in order to be able to work in security-sensitive areas of the airport.
The hurdles are particularly high for foreign applicants: Oechler criticized that they had to be able to show proof of work and residence over a long period of time before they were allowed to start.
The resulting gaps are not easy to fill, as the study shows: In April 2022, there were around 888 vacancies for service specialists in air transport across Germany, but only 846 suitably qualified unemployed persons – this results in a so-called skilled worker gap of 42 people. In technical air traffic operations, this gap is even larger at 633.
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