Attracting suitable ATCO candidates: FAB CE develops new strategy for recruitment, training and retention

Most air navigation service providers (ANSPs) face a huge challenge in recruiting air traffic controllers, as the current generation of candidates has a different attitude from previous generations to extensive vocational training and long-term career paths. It takes at least three years to train a controller and drop-out rates are unusually high among many ANSPs. 

In a new report “FAB CE ANSPs ATCO Selection Criteria and Process Benchmarking” FAB CE ANSPs have addressed this challenge and developed a series of recommendations on recruitment and training. The main deliverables in the report have been to identify all possible measures to improve FAB CE ANSPs and their success rates in ATCO selection and training; share best practices in the human resources domain; and establish a baseline for further assessments and benchmarking.

“In the initial recruitment phase, the report recommends that a pre-briefing call is made to ATCO applicants to ensure expectations on both sides are clear,” said Matej Eljon, FAB CE Programme Manager and Director of FAB CE Aviation Ltd. “ANSPs should consider launching recruitment campaigns on social media so the key demographic is targeted. The type of language used in the recruitment campaigns may need to be adapted to different generational perceptions and expectations.”

The report authors also recommend starting a campaign in high schools around the benefits of working in air traffic management. Staff planning also needs to be improved, incorporating a more accurate and long-term staffing plan so the recruitment process can be more closely tied to future demand for new personnel.

“And it will be important that any analysis of ATCO selection related data should be improved and results shared between the FAB CE ANSPs,” said Matej Eljon. “Finally, we need to strengthen ANSP branding, so new recruits see ANSPs as an attractive employer.”