CargoForwarder Global’s recent air cargo HR-related article ‘Attracting Young Talent’, prompted Arpad Szakal’s LinkedIn response: “A good start is building a talent pool. Recruitment can never be about just filling jobs. The aim is to engage with talent in advance of them making a move. It allows an organization to build for the future.” We asked him to share his view in more detail. Arpad Szakal is a Principal Consultant at UK-based executive search firm, Cormis Partners. Here is what he had to say.
Transforming Aviation Executive Recruitment: Embracing Diversity for Success.
In the dynamic world of civil aviation, where skilled leadership is vital, the shortage of talent at senior levels across functions is palpable. The challenges of finding and retaining top talent is felt across the entire aviation supply chain. But in the pursuit of exceptional leaders, it is crucial to address the prevalent hiring practices that might be hindering rather than enhancing your recruitment success.
The search for top-tier talent at senior levels is a challenge that demands a re-evaluation of traditional hiring practices. As a leader in the aviation sector, you are likely well aware of the stark disconnect between the industry's aspirations for diverse, innovative, and highly capable leaders and the often stagnant and often biased selection methods in place.
A Shift in Mindset: Rethinking Executive-level Hiring
The need for a transformative shift in mindset becomes evident when examining the current landscape of executive hires. It is time to challenge the deeply ingrained habit of repeatedly relying on the same pool of established – tried & tested - executives. Instead, consider investing time, energy, and resources in unearthing the untapped potential of the next generation of talent.
Rather than fixating on rigid requirements for proven experience, consider a shift in focus towards recognizing and nurturing potential. Overemphasis on past experience tends to create barriers, limiting diversity in candidate pools. By prioritizing future potential, businesses can open doors to a wider range of talented individuals, breaking free from the constraints of historical accomplishments.
Best Practices in Hiring & Assessment
Leveraging young, “next generation” talent is a strategy that reaps manifold benefits. Collaborating with educational institutions, diverse talent platforms, and community organizations provides an opportunity to bring in fresh, innovative perspectives. This partnership not only nurtures young talent but also fosters an environment that values diversity and inclusion.
In the quest for fair and insightful assessment practices, standardized, unbiased methods are crucial. It is imperative to introduce evaluation tools that accurately reflect a candidate's suitability for the role without any underlying biases. These methods can help mitigate the influence of subjective human judgments, ensuring a fairer evaluation process.
Your company's values and diversity initiatives need to be more than just words on paper. Integrating diversity and inclusion into your employer branding across various platforms and communication channels amplifies the message. Reflecting these values in every aspect of your brand creates an authentic and appealing image that resonates with diverse talent.
With technological advancements, caution is necessary. While technology streamlines processes, it can inadvertently reinforce human biases if not used mindfully. Hence, it is crucial to implement checks and balances on digital tools utilized in the hiring process.
Data tracking throughout the selection process, especially in terms of diversity, is pivotal. Collecting and analyzing this data allows for the identification of stages where diverse candidates might be dropping out of the process. Pinpointing these stages helps tailor interventions to improve the inclusivity of the process.
Setting clear, measurable targets can be a driving force for change. Establishing goals that demand balanced candidate pools from search partners and measurable progress in diversifying the talent pool can pave the way for an inclusive and innovative future in aviation executive recruitment.
A Win-Win for All
In the ever-evolving aviation sector, adaptation, innovation, and diversification are not just options but prerequisites for success. Executing change in executive recruitment practices is not merely a decision; it is a fundamental requirement for sustained prosperity in the ever-shifting landscape of the future.
To solidify the foundation for long-term success, it is crucial for businesses to prioritize the development and sponsorship of female and diverse leaders. This entails providing these emerging leaders with significant responsibilities, such as P&L management, and preparing them for leadership-level positions. By cultivating this pipeline of diverse and capable leaders, the aviation industry ensures a robust and resilient future.
Arpad Szakal is Principal Consultant at Cormis Partners with experience delivering senior-level searches for clients that include FTSE 100, Fortune 500 and DAX 30 companies, as well as private equity firms and their portfolio companies. He has a broad industrial background with a special focus on C-Suite and senior management assignments within aviation & aerospace, infrastructure, and energy.
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