Skip to main content

The job landscape has recently changed tremendously with the rise of two generations, Generation Z and Millennials. It’s critical to comprehend the subtle differences between these two groups and the recruiting distinctions between them in the hiring process as the aviation sector works to attract and keep top aviation talent.

Digital Pioneers versus Digital Natives

Born between 1997 and 2012, Generation Z is frequently referred to as the first generation that truly grew up in the digital age. They are extremely tech-savvy because they were raised in a technologically advanced environment. In contrast to 92% of Millennials, 97% of Gen Z hold smartphones, according to research by VisionCritical. Their job search process is significantly impacted by this penchant for technology. While this is not a big contrast, Jainita Hogervorst, Director of Aerviva Aviation Consultancy, a Dubai-based international consultancy specialising in aviation recruitment and document management, says that “companies should utilize digital platforms and optimize application procedures for mobile devices, with video interviews and virtual reality experiences into the hiring process to effectively engage Generation Z.” Fast and direct messaging supports improved engagement, and communication tactics to appeal to both generations, making sure to use a blend of email, messaging services, and in-person encounters during the hiring process. In recruiting both groups, look for candidates that have three traits: communication, practical experience, and big-picture thinking.

A good communicator can adapt their teaching to the technical level of the audience. Additionally, seek out candidates who have field experience for the benefits of practical experience provided, often overlooked at school due to a narrow view of problems encouraged instead.  Many recently graduated engineers get buried in the details. While attention to detail is valuable, it also helps to keep the big picture in mind.

Work Values and Ambitions

The job values and professional aspirations of these two generations significantly differ from one another. Born between 1981 and 1996, millennials are frequently described as seeking meaning in life and a healthy work-life balance. In contrast, Generation Z shows a larger desire for career progression and financial security. In contrast to 63% of Millennials, 75% of Gen Z respondents to a Deloitte poll expressed a desire to hold leadership positions within the next five years.

Although they experienced the gig economy’s growth, Millennials frequently desired steady, full-time jobs. Meanwhile, Gen Z is demonstrating entrepreneurial and autonomous desires. Certain sectors of the aviation industry can capitalize on this, by promoting an innovative culture, allowing flexible work schedules, and offering chances for skill advancement and side projects. This speaks to the entrepreneurial and autonomous desires of Gen Z. The recruitment implication is that companies should highlight opportunities for growth and progression, emphasizing the possibility of leadership roles and financial benefits inside the company. To complement this desire, companies can for example, test engineers’ knowledge of fundamental engineering principles, including data structures, algorithm analysis, and computer science fundamentals. Such assessments go beyond technical skills, providing insights into candidates’ behavioral attributes, personalities, motivations, and their potential cultural fit within your organization.

Inclusion, Diversity, and Social Values

Both generations value diversity and inclusiveness according to The Workforce Institute, with 77% of Generation Z and 74% of Millennials agreeing that innovation requires a diverse workforce, but they place differing priorities on these issues. While Generation Z places a stronger priority on gender diversity, Millennials often place more emphasis on cultural diversity. Recruiting for the aviation industry should emphasize dedication to diversity and inclusion. Additionally, the power to influence societal change among generations with strong moral convictions, such as Gen Z and Millennials, might make or break recruiting and retention attempts. Both groups have high expectations to make a positive social impact. Since both groups are likely attracted to a strong brand image, this gives a competitive edge, attracting both passive and active engineer candidates, as well as general flight crew, and other aviation professionals.

Sustainability and Environmental Impact

Both Generation Z and Millennials are increasingly concerned about environmental issues, including the aviation industry’s carbon footprint. According to a survey by Accenture, 78% of Generation Z and 64% of Millennials, respectively, agree that it is crucial for companies to take meaningful action on environmental issues. Moreover, according to Boeing, 61% of Millennials and 75% of Generation Z applicants indicate interest in aviation occupations that emphasize sustainable aviation solutions. This interest of applicants can be linked specifically to compelling crafted job descriptions that captivate the curiosity and innovation of candidates.

To accommodate the unique interests and ideals of each group, recruiters must modify their techniques. Hogervorst states further, “Organizations may position themselves to recruit and retain the greatest personnel from both generations by understanding these distinctions and adapting their strategy, accordingly, ensuring a varied and dynamic workforce for the future.”