My wife is a Career Strategist and passed this little gem to me. I think her intent was to ease my mind about a looming winter layoff. For the record it was the labour market insight for the month of September. I think something like this is what convinced me to become a pilot 10 years ago.
Labour Market Insight: Commercial Pilots
Editorial by Christian Saint Cyr
As occupations go, there are few that have the security and strong outlook which ’commercial pilot’ possesses. People need to travel and they’re travelling in ever-increasing numbers. Meanwhile there are few technological improvements that can occur that will replace the need for a pilot and co-pilot to shepherd excited passengers to their destination.
There will, of course, be unforeseen challenges along the way. The recent order of aircraft for the Canadian Forces is far fewer than the number of CF-18s the country has traditionally had and digital communication is replacing the business community’s need to show up in-person in many cases, but neither of these factors come close to offsetting our increasing need to expand our horizons or transport goods faster.
According to aviation officials, in North America we will need 60,000 more pilots by year 2020. Here in BC, the growth rate of transportation and the need for pilots is expected to exceed the growth rate of all jobs by nearly 30%.
Our current crop of pilots is also getting quite a bit older. While there will be a large number of new positions created for pilots due to growing demand for air travel in the next ten years, double that number will be created as a result of pilots retiring.
One of the most important considerations for young people pursuing a career as a pilot will be their choices for further education. While it has not been historically expected that commercial pilots have a university degree, this is an expectation for military pilots and is increasingly required by major airlines for the operation of large aircraft. Job seekers who site job postings that do not require university education should recognize that this is a qualification that will continually be used in determining an airline’s final choice in selecting a candidate.
Like so many careers, a pilot’s success will be dictated by their readiness to take on new challenges and seek out opportunities. Pilots are continually ranked by the number of flying hours they’ve acquired and their exposure and qualification on various types of aircraft and equipment. While a lawyer or a doctor will not be categorized as specifically as a pilot might, this is like any other career, the more experience you get, the more employable you will be as the years go by.
There is little doubt that being a pilot is an extremely glamourous career that many young people dream of pursuing. It brings prestige and financial reward but successful pilots also pay a significant personal price. It would take many years for a commercial pilot to work their way into the operation of a large passenger aircraft. Pilots must work long hours, spend time away from their families and the position involves a tremendous amount of personal stress. Based on simple labour market information, if this is an occupation for which an individual has the aptitude and commitment, they could be very successful. For those lacking these qualities, this occupation could be a tremendous mistake. □
Did you know?
By the year 2016, the shortage of pilots will be so significant that positions will need to go unfilled.
-- BC Stats