The acquisition and retention of the best talent are essential to the success of corporations in today’s business world. The job market continues to be more competitive due to a number of factors, such as globalisation and technological innovations. In addition, the available skills are becoming more diverse (Dessler 2012). As a result, recruiters need to be more effective and selective to acquire employees who will have long-term positive impacts and ensure organisational success. Poor recruitment and selection of staff negatively impact the performance of the company, leading to a loss in competitive advantage.
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Over the years, the recruitment and selection concepts have been defined by different scholars in a number of ways. However, all the definitions mean the same thing. The intellectuals concur that staffing is a procedure used to legally acquire a sufficient number of qualified personnel for new and vacant posts in an organisation. The corporation can be commercial, volunteer-based, or a community group. Bach and Edwards (2013) note that successful recruitment starts with proper planning and forecasting. The human resource management teams are expected to develop plans to fill and eradicate future job openings based on the evaluation of a number of factors. The facets include the available talents both inside and outside the company, future necessities, and the current and expected resources needed to attract and retain talent.
In this paper, the author will focus on the recruitment and selection of graduates. To this end, the paper will focus on the aviation industry. As a group, graduates account for a large section of the new talent that has the capability to support the growth of businesses and sustain economic prosperity. According to Hackett et al. (2009), graduates are some of the essential assets required to meet both short and long term needs in a firm. The reason is that they provide organisations with high quality and skilled labour needed in the business. However, selecting and recruiting graduates can be a complex, demanding, and resource-intensive procedure for many corporations. In addition, different firms use a variety of approaches to attract the group. As a result, companies must employ strategies that suit them.
The primary aim of this study is to examine the challenges faced by employees in the aviation sector during the selection and recruitment of graduates. The author will provide a literature review of the issues associated with the procedure, as well as recommendations on how to overcome the identified problems.
Scope of the Literature Review
The current study is limited to the review of the selection and recruitment of graduates in the aviation industry. Competition in the employment market continues to increase at a tremendous rate. There are several factors linked to this rise in competitiveness. One of them is the fact that organisations lack the capacity to accommodate the rising number of graduates. Hager and Holland (2006) are of the opinion that the process of selecting and recruiting graduates is one of the biggest challenges facing employers in different sectors, such as aviation. Competitiveness in this industry has increased over the past few decades and the demand for quality graduates is high. As a result, human resource management departments in this sector need to have strong recruitment policies to attract the best talent in the market (Dessler 2012).
Numerous studies have been conducted to evaluate the issue of graduate recruitment. Some of the aspects analysed include the attitudes of the graduates and the employers, as well as the expectations of the former in the employment sector. Employers in the aviation sector adopt a number of strategies to select and recruit graduates. According to Bach and Edwards (2013), these strategies continue to evolve to reflect developments in the industry. There are also various graduate staffing tools and aspects that are of interest to employers undertaking recruitment and selection procedures. In the aviation and other industries, the term ‘graduate’ is used to refer to all applicants with Bachelors or Masters Degrees from recognised institutions.
Graduate Selection and Recruitment
During the selection and recruitment process, human resource managers carry out a number of activities. Such undertakings include, among others, acquisition, training, development, and remuneration of talent (Kaps, Hamilton & Bliss 2012). As a result, selection and staffing procedures form a primary part of the responsibilities of human resource practitioners. Different employers use varying selection and recruitment methods. The variation is caused by such factors as the needs of the firm, its size, and the nature of its operations. However, the process of selecting and recruiting is formulated in a way that takes into account all rational activities.
Effective graduate recruitment in the aviation industry shapes the performance and efficiency of businesses operating in the sector. According to Dessler (2012), proper staffing helps companies in the aviation industry to avoid undesirable expenses, such as employee turnover costs, dissatisfied clients, and poor performance among workers. In addition, effective recruitment helps in the creation of beneficial relationships between graduate workers and employers.
Selection and Recruitment of Graduates in the Aviation Industry
There are various challenges faced by employers as they select and recruit graduates in the aviation industry. Garrouste and Rodrigues (2012) are of the opinion that the number of graduates entering the job market increases each year. However, employers in the aviation industry still find it difficult to hire the right employees to cover new and vacant posts. The list of desirable qualities among graduates has become more complex. As a result, human resource teams find it challenging to find applicants who meet the required qualifications.
According to Hackett et al. (2009), some of the attributes taken into consideration include work experience and the ability of the graduate to add value to the organisation. In addition, employers recruit applicants who can be trained and developed to utilise their skills and knowledge with the goal of enhancing the success of the company. Another problem associated with the complexities identified in the process of selecting and recruiting graduates includes technological advancements. Political and socio-economic factors also have an impact on the process.
The Resourcing Cycle of Graduate Selection and Recruitment Process
The most common selection and recruitment process in the aviation industry follows the resourcing cycle procedure. The method entails following specific distinct and inter-linked steps. The first stage of the cycle is characterised by graduates identifying and applying for available job posts (Lohia 2013). The final phase entails the selection of applicants who meet the required qualifications. Dessler (2012) notes that many of the graduates are rejected during the selection process in the resourcing cycle. Some of the strategies used in this step include face-to-face interviews and meeting with the applicants for advertised posts, as well as psychometric testing.
Face-to-face interviews and meetings are characterised by graduates appearing before a panel for assessment. Some of the aspects evaluated include the reasons and interests behind the application for the post and knowledge about the organisation and the entire aviation industry. Truss, Mankin, and Kelliher (2012) are of the opinion that most graduates are eliminated during interviews because they fail to show employers the value they will bring to the firm.
Other qualities that make it a challenge to pick the right graduates for advertised posts in the aviation industry include the verbal abilities and general intelligence of the applicants. According to studies conducted by Vaghela and Rughani (2012) and Truss, Mankin, and Kelliher (2012), the traits are evaluated by recruiters through psychometric testing. In the aviation industry, most employers focus on the ability of the applicant to perform given tasks to perfection. Some employers have come up with strategies to deal with doubts regarding the competencies of the selected graduates. For example, the graduates may be put on probation to prove their skills. The aim is to assess and evaluate the graduate’s performance.
Variations in Graduate Selection and Recruitment Techniques
According to a survey conducted by Lohia (2013), most employers and graduates in the aviation industry prefer the use of career literature and internet as recruitment methods. On the other hand, the means of selection favoured by most recruiters include the review of curriculum vitae (CV) and cover letters, as well as the shortlisting of applicants before inviting them for interviews. Another method used is a combination of single and panel interviewers to pick the best graduates for the available posts. Other common methods identified in research studies conducted by Schmitt (2014) and Hackett et al. (2009) include employee referrals, job databases, employment agencies, and internal recruitment.
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Employee referrals provide insights into potential graduate recruits. Kaps, Hamilton, and Bliss (2012) claim that some people hold important information about candidates with skills and knowledge that match the available vacancies. The use of databases by companies in the aviation industry entails the establishment of a job filling platform. The platform is managed using CVs and applications sent by candidates. The letters are acquired through manual deliveries by applicants, mails, as well as career seminars and conferences. Out of the various methods identified, Lumley and Wilkinson (2014) note that internal recruitment is the most preferred technique of getting suitable employees for certain posts. The individuals selected for internal staffing can be graduates working on an internship in the organisation (Billsberry 2007).
Analysis and Discussion
It is evident that employers in the aviation industry are faced with numerous challenges during the process of selecting and recruiting graduates. In addition, many organisations have transformed their staffing methods due to such factors as economic and technological advancements (Billsberry 2007). The primary problems identified by recruiters in the aviation industry include the attraction of the right candidates, competition among graduates, and lack of applicants with the required skills.
Finding the Right Candidates
Finding the right applicants for vacant and new posts is a big challenge for most employers in the aviation sector. Recruiters in the industry look for skilled and focused employees. However, such people are not easy to find. According to Garrouste and Rodrigues (2012), hiring the best talent to manage and lead an airline company into success in the future is a problem for many employers in the business. In the past, managers in the field worked their way up the ranks by following a straightforward career path. Lohia (2013) claims that it is difficult to find an executive who has worked up to the top management level in one airline. The reason is that most new employees move from one airline to another due to different factors, such as pay and rewards. As a result, it becomes a challenge during recruitment to figure out which graduates will stick with the company when hired and trained. Most firms in the sector invest a lot in training and developing graduates. However, some of the recruits are taken up by competitors in the industry.
The problem of poaching of talent is apparent in both developed and emerging countries. Airlines are considered prestigious employers as they offer hefty salaries to their workers. To attract the best graduates, companies in the industry compete to provide the best payment plan and work policies for their employees (Kaps, Hamilton & Bliss 2012).
Expensive Graduate Programs
Graduate schemes are established approaches for acquiring fresh talents from institutions of higher learning. However, the combination of this method with outdated recruitment processes can lead to huge expenses and overruns. Grad schemes provide graduates with a unique opportunity to gain vital job experience and build a career (Hager & Holland 2006). Studies conducted in this field conclude that the method has various drawbacks for employers. The challenges make the recruitment process a complex task for most companies in the aviation sector.
Graduates dream of acquiring jobs immediately after getting out of college. However, most employers are not confident that fresh graduates can fill some of the positions in their companies. As a result, some firms develop schemes aimed at recruiting the best talent in a timely and efficient way. Bach and Edwards (2013) note that most of the grad programs turn out to be counterproductive. The reason is that they consume a lot of the available financial and time resources.
According to a research conducted by Lumley and Wilkinson (2014), grad schemes begin a year before the student clears college. The timeframe provides learners with enough time to submit their candidacies. Most scholars are often interested in different jobs in the aviation industry and the number of applications becomes overwhelming. As a result, recruiters find it difficult to go through all the applications to pick the best talents. In addition, employers spend a lot of time in universities scouting for potential candidates to take up jobs in their companies. The recruiters are also faced with the challenge of attracting the attention of the best talents during scouting and convincing them to apply for the posts.
Lack of Experienced Graduates
The aviation industry has experienced extensive growth over the past few decades. In spite of this, companies still struggle to recruit the best talent due to lack of experience among graduates. Some of the areas where most graduates lack expertise in include maintenance and avionics. Lohia (2013) claims that more than 95% of the aviation companies are focused on growing their employees. However, it is difficult to expand the staff base with fresh graduates. The lack of experience has prompted airlines to hire active and retired military personnel. The veterans possess a strong work ethic, positive attitude, and experience, attributes that not found among most graduates.
Shortage of Talent
The selection and recruitment process is also affected by the problem of shortage of talent. The reason is that in some nations, only a few bright students are interested in a career in the cockpit. The numbers continue to decline despite the promise of ready jobs for the graduates (Kaps, Hamilton & Bliss 2012). As a result, some airlines are forced to park their planes due to lack of pilots. Due to the shortage of talent, employers and recruiters are forced to pick candidates with less flight time hours. The reason is that executives are left with no choice since they have to keep their companies running. Vaghela and Rughani (2012) claim that some graduates receive licenses and are recruited with several hundred hours of flight time below the recommended minimum of 1,000hrs.
Location of Graduates and Companies
Location of companies is a major problem affecting the selection and recruitment processes. Truss, Mankin, and Kelliher (2012) note the fact that many students attend local universities. As a result, many employers who wish to hire fresh graduates struggle to relocate potential candidates. In addition, the recruiters are faced with the challenge of designing lucrative remuneration and benefit programs to attract and relocate graduates to new geographical regions.
Nepotism and Favouritism
Billsberry (2007) provides a working conceptualisation of nepotism and favouritism in the job market. It occurs when the best positions are availed to family members and friends of those in charge of the recruitment process (Billsberry 2007). In some companies in the aviation sector, the chief executives leave the staffing duties to human resource management teams. However, the managers, in some cases, influence the selection and recruitment practice. The company heads take advantage of their positions to secure jobs for friends and relatives, locking out qualified graduates (Schmitt 2014). In most cases, the favoured candidates do not go through the recruitment process. The issue of qualification becomes an unimportant issue during the hiring procedures.
Government controlled airlines face a number of challenges during the selection and recruitment process. According to Dessler (2012), some politicians influence the staffing process by referring candidates for appointment to the advertised posts. In most scenarios, the referred applicants are selected, while the graduates who applied for similar posts are left out. When there is political interference, human resource teams must comply to avoid such consequences as losing their jobs. Appointing referrals from government principals, just like favouritism and nepotism, can lead to appointment of under-qualified and inexperienced personnel.
Labour Market Conditions
The strength of the economy and the conditions prevailing in the labour market affect the selection and recruitment processes of companies in the aviation industry in a number of ways. Bach and Edwards (2013) claim that when the economy is strong, stable, and with low levels of unemployment, airlines have to compete with each other to acquire the limited number of qualified graduates. On the other hand, when the economy is poor, rate of unemployment is high. As a result, recruiters are faced with the problem of managing the big number of applications submitted by graduates to find the best candidates. In such cases, shortage of qualified graduates is not a problem.
Recommendations and Conclusion
Dealing with counteroffers
There are number of measures that can be put in place to manage the challenges faced by employers when selecting and recruiting graduates. One of them involves learning how to combat counteroffers. Some airlines suffer from a shortage of talents because most graduates opt to work for carriers with more lucrative deals (Lohia 2013). To attract such candidates and compete at the same level with the rivals, recruiters and employers should be more persuasive when negotiating for salary packages.
Developing a global search database
Lack of experience is one of the major problems for recruiters and employers. The challenge of getting the few available skilled graduates can be managed by developing a global search database. The platform will allow aviation companies to source for readily available talents from other markets (Schmitt 2014).
Collaboration with learning institutions
Airline companies can work closely with learning institutions to ensure that graduates get the required experience to start their careers in the aviation. Human resource teams can review existing academic programs and advice colleges on the courses that are relevant to the industry (Schmitt 2014).
Adoption of video technology
Some companies use grad schemes as recruitment methods for graduates. The approach has proved to be a challenging process for employers. The problem can be managed by utilising video technology. The innovation will allow recruiters to establish contact with potential graduates without making too many visits to the learning institutions (Vaghela & Rughani 2012). The method will save on resources spent in travelling. In addition, the technology will allow aviation companies to recruit qualified graduates quickly and effectively.
Adhering to labour laws
Nepotism, favouritism, and political interference are other challenges affecting the selection and recruitment of graduates. The problems can be managed by ensuring that staffing procedures conform to legal requirements in labour acts. In addition, recruiters and managers should be transparent and observe equal opportunity. When recruitment and selection processes are fair and meet legal requirements, qualified and skilled graduates will not be locked out of employment (Lumley & Wilkinson 2014). In addition, employers will not face the risk of working with under-qualified personnel.
Graduates form the largest part of fresh talent in the aviation industry. Hiring the best candidates from the lot helps companies to prosper. In addition, graduates come with new ideas and ensure that firms maintain a competitive advantage in the corporate world. The aviation industry continues to grow and a decline in this growth is not projected. To meet customers’ demands and needs, airlines are hiring more staff. Employers and recruiters in the sector are faced with the challenge of attracting and recruiting graduates. The staffing procedures are demanding, complex, and consume a lot of resources. Some of the challenges facing employers include lack of experienced graduates, shortage of talent, favouritism, and nepotism. Other challenges entail the geographical locations of airline companies, political influence, and prevailing conditions in the labour market.
During selection and recruitment, firms use a number of methods to review applications and attract graduates. The approaches used to acquire the candidates include scouting in universities, referrals, job databases, advertisements, and internal recruitment. Others are career and recruitment fairs, as well as the use of employment agencies. The selection of potential graduates for advertised posts in the aviation sector is carried out using such methods as face-to-face interviews and psychometric testing.
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