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Staffing Market Outlook - Europe, Middle East, & Africa

  • Publish Date: Posted about 2 years ago
  • Author:by Karl Odqvist

​As we enter the second quarter of 2022, we continue to see positive recovery in the EMEA region. Airlines and other companies in the aviation sector are still facing challenges, and will need to take account of the demand and supply in the staffing market for when planning the return of their flight operations. We’ve compiled our key market observations below:



In Europe we are still seeing a surplus of Pilots on certain aircraft types, but demand is increasing quickly across the board. Demand for Instructors and Engineers has been one step ahead in preparation for increased flight operations. With the current shortage of pilots in the US, we see interest from European pilots and from other regions to work in the US, but there is no clear process of how to get license validations, converting to an FAA license, and work permit processes. As it becomes easier for staff to work in other regions, a shortage in Europe may be accelerated.


Middle East

Following aggressive downsizing due to Covid, airlines in the Middle East are now struggling to quickly increase staff volumes as the market improves. We are expecting to see a greater demand for commuting options to attract personnel to this region. We are also expecting greater shortage of experienced staff compared to the previous peak.



Covid restrictions in Europe and the Middle East has been affecting the long-haul operations in Africa and has grounded most Pilots. Many grounded Pilots are expats who, when the markets start to pick up again, will be looking for jobs elsewhere. They will specifically be interested in Europe and the Middle East which is often closer to home and provides better work/life balance. Pilots on short haul have been in more demand as there are often not many other options for travelers such as trains and busses for certain locations. In the long term, there are still not enough local staff being trained and there will be a continued reliance expats for Engineers and Pilots. Airline in Africa will require creative staffing solutions to not fall behind Europe and the Middle East.


Global Candidate Mobility

As aviation is a global job market there is a need to facilitate candidates to work in different regions more easily, commute, or bring their family. Obstacles such as license restrictions, work permit, and local tax laws are making commuting options more difficult, with Brexit being an example. With growing demand for aviation staff globally, Pilots, Engineers, and Cabin Crew need to be able to move around more freely to meet demand where it’s needed.


Attracting New Staff to the Aviation Industry

Understandably, young people will be more hesitant to enter aviation industry given how vulnerable it has proven to be to global events. Aviation companies will increasingly compete with other industries that require less investment and that offer attractive terms. Forward-thinking aviation companies need to be considering how they make up the labour shortfall in 5- or 10-years’ time, which would likely involve an employer branding strategy to position themselves as an employer and industry of choice. There’s also still a lot of work to be done to increase the available talent pools by attracting more female Pilots and Engineers.


At Rishworth Aviation we remain optimistic despite setbacks in the industry, and we see this optimism reflected in the clients and candidates that we are engaging with. I invite you to contact me to discuss staffing solutions, strategy, and planning in the EMEA region.


Karl Odqvist
Director - Europe, Africa, Middle East

+46 767885788
Connect with me on LinkedIn

Karl has significant experience in aviation, technology, and senior levels roles. In addition to all aspects of Flight Operations, Karl has successfully worked on roles including Director of Software, Chief Architect, COO, CTO, CISO, and more. He holds a Master of Science in Engineering as well as a CPL with a frozen ATPL. ​