Like so many other industries in our economy, airports have not been immune to the workforce challenges as we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic and the booming summer travel season we find ourselves in today.
For airports, it’s a two-fold challenge. Directly, airports are working to ensure they have the right teams in place to manage airport operations and strategic planning. Indirectly, airports are also seeing labor challenges among their business partners.
Labor challenges, particularly among highly skilled trades and technical roles, remain for airports. As airports continue their capital improvement programs and deploy innovative technologies to improve the passenger experience, they are continuing to feel the crunch. Airports have also experienced widespread retirements and people exiting the industry after two very difficult years.
“Our industry is constantly changing — especially in light of the pandemic — and it’s important that we continue to look to the future to identify both the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead,” said ACI-NA President and CEO Kevin M. Burke. “One of the most critical areas that will help shape and grow the airport industry is its workforce — the individuals who keep passengers safe, maintain facilities, and improve the airport experience for everyone who passes through them.
Earlier this year, ACI-NA released a report on factors that will shape the future of the airport workforce. The report identifies key skills that will be required of employees and most industry occupations in the future and provides high-level strategies to address and collectively plan for future workforce challenges.
By outlining key areas in which airports and managers should focus their attention and resources, as well as strategies to meet evolving needs, we can ensure that we are doing everything we can to continue improving the future of our industry and its workforce.
Labor is not just an airport challenge. Everyone from the airlines to concessionaires and rental car companies to government agencies like TSA find themselves needing talent to keep pace with demand. Airports remain committed to working with their tenants and business partners that operate at the airport to address their own workforce challenges in a collaborative effort to provide a top-notch guest experience for everyone passing through their terminals.
Airports are taking a holistic approach and working closely with their partners to develop new pipelines for talent. Whether partnering with local trade schools, collaborating with governments and community organizations, or hosting career fairs, airports are bringing together stakeholders to solve the labor challenge together.
In recent years, many airports like Los Angeles International Airport, JFK International Airport, and the Houston Airport System have looked to Edge4Vets, an organization that helps military veterans translate their military skills into civilian roles at airports, to facilitate connections among veterans’ organizations in local communities. Charlotte Douglas International Airport will join the growing number of airports involved with Edge4Vets later this year. Edge4Vets continues to be a leading organization in providing talent solutions for airports and their partners by leveraging the strengths and skills of military veterans.
“Edge4Vets helps train military service personnel – including veterans, National Guard, transitioning active duty and spouses – for jobs that can lead to aviation careers and give airport HR recruiters access to talent-rich employees who can bring strong values and unique skills to their workforce that have been depleted by the COVID pandemic,” said Edge4Vets founder and Director of the Human Resiliency Institute at Fordham University, Tom Murphy.
For more information about Edge4Vets, visit edge4vets.org. To join the network of ACI-NA airports participating in the national expansion, contact Nancy Zimini or Tom Murphy.