Until recently moving into the Corporate Strategy team of an airline with no previous aviation experience was extremely difficult, near impossible. Only a lucky few made such a move. It was assumed that if a candidate had not worked on aviation projects previously then they would not be able to make the transition into this unique industry. However, it seems this trend is now changing. The emergence of the Middle Eastern carriers and the growth of carriers in Asia has been the catalyst. Put simply there is not enough talent with specific aviation sector experience to sufficiently meet demand, so airlines are having to consider candidates from other industry backgrounds. I for one am glad to see this shift in attitude. Why can’t the aviation industry recruit talent from other sectors and learn from their success. It is not like many airlines can afford to be arrogant. Would someone from a firm like Amazon not be able to teach the airline industry a thing or two about e-commerce strategy?
I am hoping that all my clients adopt this change in their approach to recruitment. I welcome calls from clients asking for the very best strategy candidates we can find, irrespective of sector experience. Hawaiian Air, the Qantas Group and Etihad have recently done just that and I believe they will benefit significantly in the long term. Surely the small amount of time it takes for successful hires to learn the sector, pays dividends when you know that you have hired the people with the greatest potential. In my opinion, this is how clients can ensure that their strategy function is a genuine incubator of future talent.