Contrary to the mass layoffs in the tech world, many US airlines give away cars and iPhones to retain employees
- Tram Ho
During last summer’s peak flight, a shortage of staff for jobs such as baggage handling or customer service caused long queues and delays for many flights. This has hindered the recovery of the aviation industry after the pandemic, and pushed businesses to take more initiatives to attract workers.
“If you want your employees to work ‘crazy’ shifts, in the middle of the night, or at midday, you need to take care of their families,” said Thomas Romig, Deputy Director of Airports Council International. ACI World) said.
Part of the airline industry’s problem is low wages and hard work, which makes retaining staff at airports a challenge. This problem is exacerbated by the pandemic and the lowest unemployment rate in history in more than 53 years.
Take care of children for employees
Job support tools are needed because the average salary of US airport workers is currently less than 18 USD / hour. This number is much lower than e-commerce firms, like Amazon with nearly 33 USD / hour, according to recruitment consulting firm ZipRecruiter.
Childcare programs are being applied more and more at airports in the US. So, the aviation division of the company that operates Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport decided to put in place a childcare program for airport employees.
The company also plans to build a babysitting facility on the airport premises. This department has about 900 employees. There are still 133 positions out of 171 job openings available.
Since its launch, 37 employees at the airport have participated, which will cover a portion of day care costs. The city of Phoenix is also spending $1 million to develop a separate childcare facility next to the airport.
At Kelowna International Airport in Canada, construction of a childcare facility for employees is also underway. Phillip Elchitz – a senior manager at the airport – said this project has retained a customer service employee who is a single father. “He knew there was a place to send the kids and he didn’t have to look for another job. That’s exactly what we wanted in doing this,” Elchitz said.
New cars and free iPhones
In addition to babysitting, some California airports also offer a variety of other services to make life easier for employees. In July 2022, San Francisco increased travel allowances for employees using public transit by more than 50%, to $200 a month. Meanwhile, the free shuttle is being tested for those who are too far away.
Kelowna is also looking into shuttle service for employees working the night or early morning shifts, when public transport stops.
Not only airports, airlines also face a similar situation on the recruitment front and offer many solutions to overcome. Delta Air Lines will award $5,000 to contracted baggage handlers. Other carriers such as United Airlines and Alaska Airlines are also trying to attract workers with similar policies.
Unifi, which supplies staff and equipment to Delta, United and Alaska Airlines, has seen its costs to recruit new workers in a scarce labor market increase by 60% from pre-pandemic levels. Unify chief strategy officer Ying McPherson said that with the high turnover rate, Unifi had to come up with incentive programs to retain talent.
Last year, the company issued new cars to 3 employees, even giving away smartphones (including iPhones) to more than 3,000 people who met performance goals. The company is also setting up an emergency fund and sponsoring a program that allows employees to buy gadgets and computers.
In some cases, airlines and air service companies are no longer allowing workers to stay at local hotels to avoid the cost of hiring more staff in an increasingly difficult labor market.
Source : Genk