Airline staff wellbeing a growing concern amid travel industry staff shortages

posted on 21st July 2022 by Eddie Saunders
Airline staff wellbeing a growing concern amid travel industry staff shortages

Urgent action needs to be taken to improve the employee experience for airline staff if the travel industry is to retain its workforce and protect their wellbeing over the summer holiday period, the CEO of Birmingham-based HIVE360 has warned.

Tens of thousands of UK passengers were affected by disruption to scheduled flights over the Platinum Jubilee weekend that were mainly caused by staffing shortages with airlines struggling to get back on track after the pandemic.

“Airlines and the wider travel industry were forced to make cuts to thousands of jobs and pay during the pandemic,” David McCormack says.

“The sector now faces a recruitment and retention crisis, with many airlines and aviation businesses having trouble rehiring and hiring workers – particularly cabin crew, check-in staff and baggage handlers – as people leave the industry for better pay and working conditions at non-airport businesses.

“Coupled with the impact of Brexit, which has significantly reduced the available talent and skills pool, the travel sector is in a difficult situation with a workforce that is experiencing high stress and mental strain,” he says.

“As we approach the UK school summer holiday period, it is essential that travel and aviation businesses prioritise an overhaul of their employee experience. Without this, they risk losing an already fragmented and dissatisfied workforce.

“Attracting new workers to an industry renowned for its antisocial hours and manual work is already a challenge, so relying on pay alone is not enough.”

David believes one of the most effective ways to improve staff recruitment and retention is to build easy-to-access and commercially affordable wellbeing support and rewards into the employee experience: “Employee benefits and 24/7 solutions for supporting employees with their mental, physical, and financial health are no longer just the territory of the big corporates trying to secure top executive talent.

“The pressure is on at grass roots level to really support every worker to ensure they feel looked after and valued and are engaged, and that also goes for the temporary workforce, which is increasingly relied upon to fill the labour gap.”

“People are becoming much more discerning when it comes to choosing who they will work for,” David continues, “and business growth is being hampered by these growing talent shortages. It is time for businesses to fully embrace a solution.

“Making these solutions digital and mobile means they can be easily and quickly embedded into the wider people strategy, and choosing a delivery partner that can balance this with a commercially attractive proposition also helps to address growth and profitability objectives.

“Moreover, the partner becomes an integral part of the employee experience, and can add huge value to the employer brand.”

“Having a supportive workforce culture with a wellbeing programme and employee benefits package not only increases staff attraction,” he says.

“It also helps lower staff absences, increases morale, improves efficiency and productivity, boosts the employer brand, and enables employee recognition and financial support.”