By DebbieH 23 Jan 2020 5 min read

Flexible working and the aviation industry


The thought of flexible working in the aviation industry might seem a little bizarre…flight crew have to be on scheduled flights, as do ground crew and other professionals who keep planes in the air, and work around them. 

However, there are plenty who benefit from shift working, flexitime, job sharing and other flexible working arrangements. A survey we ran with over 1,000 aviation professionals in November 2019 for our 2018-19 annual report told us that 17% of the industry also class flexible working to be the most important factor to them when searching for a new job.

This wasn’t a drastic figure, but we also ran a separate survey last year, on the subject of flexible working, to find out more about it in the aviation industry. Here are our findings.



What age bracket do you fall into?

  • 29.4% were in the age bracket 30 – 40 years
  • 23% were 40 – 50 years of age
  • 21.4% were 50+ years of age
  • 19% were 20 – 30 years of age 
  • 7.1% were >20 years of age



Do you work traditional 9-5 hours?

  • 35.7% said yes
  • 26.2% said I have flexible working arrangements e.g. shift work
  • 19.8% said they were not currently employed
  • 14.3% said other
  • 4% said I’m a freelancer I choose my own hours



When looking for your next role, how important will flexible working arrangements be for you?

  • 44.9% said very important
  • 28.1% said somewhat important
  • 15.7% said extremely important
  • 11.2% said not at all important



What sort of flexible working arrangement would be most attractive to you?

  • 24.7% said flexitime
  • 22.5% said shift work
  • 15.7% said working from home
  • 10.1% said job sharing
  • 9% said part time
  • 4% said annualised hours
  • 4.5% said compressed hours
  • 4.5% said staggered hours
  • 2.2% said none of the above
  • 2.2% said phased retirement



What sort of flexible working arrangements do you have?

  • 68.8% said shift work
  • 12.5% said flexitime
  • 6.2% said annualised hours
  • 6.2% said working from home
  • 3.1% said job sharing
  • 3.1% said other


There was no record of anyone benefiting from compressed hours, part time, phased retirement or staggered hours from our findings.



How important are your flexible working arrangements to you?

  • 37.5% very important
  • 28.1% extremely important
  • 21.9% somewhat important
  • 12.5% not at all important



How important is this flexibility in your working life to you?

  • 60% said very important
  • 40% said somewhat important



How loyal would you say that you are to the company that you work for?

This was measured on a scale of 1-10, 1 extremely disloyal, and 10 being extremely loyal

  • 34.7% said they were extremely loyal to their company
  • 15.7% said they were very loyal to their company
  • 19% said they were quite loyal to their company
  • 10.7% said they were loyal to their company
  • 5% said they had some form of loyalty to their company
  • 5.8% were they were neither loyal nor disloyal 
  • 3.3% said they were somewhat disloyal
  • 0.8% said they were disloyal
  • 3.3.% said they were very disloyal
  • 0.8% said they were extremely disloyal



Do you set a hard boundary between your home life and work?

  • 67.5% said yes
  • 32.5% said no


From the above findings, we can gather that flexible working has become more of an expectation within the industry, and that more professionals are becoming increasingly concerned about their home:life balance.

45% of respondents said flexible working was very important to them when searching for a new job. 

69% of respondents did shift work, a popular working pattern for many aviation professionals. This type of pattern seems to better suit an employee’s needs, allowing them to switch their times at work etc.

36% however, worked normal 9-5 hours, commenting that flexible hours, whilst unavailable to them, was very important, suggesting they would like to have the option. 

Embracing flexible working could come with significant benefits to the economy and society. A recent analysis by London-based recruitment consulting firm Feel, showed that British businesses could actually gain £1.3 trillion in earnings annually by bringing mothers back to work.

Flexible working is meant to support employees in achieving a better work-life balance. Flexible working isn’t just good for employees, it is good for business. The sooner employers understand the importance of employee work-life balance, the sooner they will benefit from a happier, more productive workforce.