Emirates and Etihad to hire 80,000 in next 10 years
Middle East - The two largest airlines in UAE are set to recruit over 80,000 pilots, cabin crew and other staff with the next decade while the rest of the aviation industry flounders.
Emirates Airline and Etihad Airways will bring in the extra manpower to match the expected business growth while European carriers face cost-cutting challenges like staff layoffs and new runaway restrictions. In Abu Dhabi, Etihad currently employs around 8,000. By 2010, it is estimated the airline's new staff strength would reach 27,000 when its new airplanes arrive. Emirates, on the other hand, will double its fleet from 149 to around 300 aircraft by 2020, reported The National.
Factoring in current employees who retire or move on, Emirates will require more than 60,000 new employees, including 2,500 pilots and 20,000 cabin crew over the next decade. The airline currently visits as many as 30 countries monthly to recruit workers. Rick Helliwell, its vice president of recruitment, said, "It took us 25 years to get to 40,000 employees, but in the next 10 years we will double that to 80,000."
Ray Gammell, the chief people and performance officer at Etihad, said the downturn has allowed his company to recruit talent for several functions easily when other airlines started retrenching staff. Currently, 85% of Etihad's new hires are being sourced from its new online recruiting portal, Gammell said. It will cross the 10,000 employee mark in 2012, and begin accelerating hiring numbers in 2014. "For aviation specialist areas and head office positions such as human resources, finance, you name it, it has been easier," he said. "At the same time, our market position has allowed us to be discerning in who we take compared to four years ago."
John Barry, the managing director of Sigma Aviation Services, a Dublin-based aviation staffing service, said Gulf airlines are usually employers of choice for many qualified personnel as they pay competitively. But he foresees challenges ahead for the airlines. They will increasingly rely on outsourced training programmes, said Barry, "thus ensuring a transparent pipeline of pilot numbers in the coming year".
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