By DebbieH 30 Jan 2018 6 min read

How to make your staff tick: 2018’s aviation salary survey analysis


How does your business stack up?

 Staff retention is a priority in any business, but do you know how well your business compares to others in the aviation industry? How confident are you that your salaries are competitive enough? How happy are your staff?

We’ve recently joined forces with Carbon60 to create an in-depth salary survey of the maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) sector to get to the bottom of these questions for the second year running.

Market trends surrounding salaries, by sector, gender, and age based on over 1,200 professionals from around the globe have been explored.


Key takeaways

 We’re well above the living wage – according to the Office of National Statistics’ (ONS) Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE) report, the average full time employee in the UK earns an annual salary of £28,600 before tax. The aviation professionals who were surveyed however, earn a much more comfortable £43,720 annual salary.

Men are from mars, women are from venus – based on the results of this survey (discounting levels of experience, jobs and location) the average female’s salary is 27% lower than a male’s, which is approximately average for most industries in the UK. However, if the recent easyJet gender pay gap was to speak for the airline market with an extremely high 51.7% gap, the MRO industry comparatively seems to be doing a lot better.

It is also worth taking into account that only 5% of respondents were women, so it is difficult to draw a fair conclusion. However, the lack of women responding to the survey does highlight that women are still a minority in MRO based roles.

Staff spirit is on the rise – The majority of people (57%) positively rated their employer, which has increased by 6% from 2017.

The majority of people (85%) believe they also have a good work life balance, and a further 65% of employees believe their employer values what work they’re doing.

Realistically, these results highlight that most people are very happy with their job. They seem to be enjoying reasonable working hours, or perhaps even flexible working hours to ensure a healthy work life balance. It’s also fair to assume employers are incentivising their staff and showing appreciation for their efforts.


Staff retention

 It shouldn’t really be a surprise that staff are vital to any business, so keeping them happy should be at the top of every manager’s priority list. On the whole, the majority of employees are happier with their career, which could be a good indicator that staff retention is increasing industry wide – perhaps the ‘anyone can be replaced’ mentality has had its day…

The number of people who agreed they have a good work life balance has increased by 22% year-on-year, showing that it has clearly come on leaps and bounds since the last survey was conducted. In addition, day to day pressure has decreased marginally by 1%. Although this is undeniably a low number, it’s definitely on the right track.


Is it all about the money?

Considering that salaries are 52.9% higher than the national average, it’s not a real shock that 79% of those surveyed agreed they were content with their salary. However, as aviation professionals are admitting to being happier in their jobs for several different reasons, it may come as a surprise that the average salary of permanent workers in the UK has actually fallen from £48,608 in 2017 to £43,720 in 2018.

So maybe the old saying ‘money can’t buy happiness’ rings true – employees are clearly willing to sacrifice a higher salary in exchange for a healthy work life balance.


What’s keeping people happy?

 In the salary survey, participants were also asked what type of benefits they received. Paid overtime was certainly the most popular, something which not all industries offer, but something that is important within the aviation industry especially. With a commercial aircraft backlog of over 13,000, there’s certainly plenty of work out there.

Although it wasn’t the most popular, the most desired company perk is a health plan (28%.)
Not only could you contribute to a positive staff retention rate by implementing this, you could save your company thousands in avoiding sick days.

According to ‘sickness absence in the labour market 2016’, 137.3 million days were lost due to sickness absences in the UK in 2016 – averaging at 4.3 days per employee. If your business doesn’t already offer a private health plan, it could be something to consider.

Unsurprisingly from the list of company benefits we provided, a vast majority (95%) of people don’t want a non-contributory pension. This is most likely down to the fact that 10% already get a final salary pension and 28% get a contributory pension – both of which are much more appealing.

Shockingly though, a fifth of respondents don’t get any benefits at all. The MRO sector could make significant improvements going forward to ensure a more comfortable working environment.


Next steps

If you’re reading this and wondering how you can go about improving your own staff retention figure, don’t worry, you’re in the right place. Whilst we recommend using this survey as a benchmark, there’s no harm in conducting your own staff survey.

Every member of staff is an individual, making each company different. By finding out exactly what your staff are happy and unhappy about could really make a positive impact to your business. But before you do, it’s important to take into consideration these three simple points:

  1. Your survey should be anonymous. You don’t want to make your employees feel as though they could be singled out or punished for their honest opinions of the company. By allowing your employees to remain nameless, you will undoubtedly collect more data and by doing so, be able to create more thorough findings.
  2. Be prepared to take action from the results you find. Don’t kid yourself, 100% of the company will never all be happy, so think ahead and be prepared for any changes you may need to make. Be mindful though – conducting the survey, finding negative results, and then not taking action could do more damage than good.
  3. Be transparent. Honesty really is the best policy. Once you have the findings from your staff survey, you should publish them to the company. Highlight the positives, but more importantly, openly discuss and analyse the negative results with each department, and put a plan together of how to improve.


How to go about carrying out your own survey

Whilst using an external company is probably the best way to conduct the investigation, especially if you have a large company, if you don’t have the budget or resource there are some good alternatives. By using programs such as Surveymonkey, Typeform or even Google Forms, you could conduct a survey free of charge and analyse the results yourself.


Job hunting isn’t quite something of the past

Despite staff retention improving industry wide, there are still millions of people worldwide looking for a job on a daily basis. With 1265 job applications being made everyday on Aviation Job Search, it’s clear that professionals are still looking to jump into new jobs for a number of reasons (even when you exclude the number of newly trained beginners entering the industry.)

According to the salary survey, 69% of jobseekers are using Aviation Job Search to find their next job worldwide, making us the World’s best aviation specific job site.

On the flip side of the coin, it’s important to remember a few points when you’re recruiting for new staff:

  1. It’s clear by looking at the results of the survey that most people don’t want a long commute. When you post your job, be sure to select close by locations to your workplace.
  2. Make sure your salary is competitive. The average salary findings from this report set a good benchmark, but be sure to use a salary checker tool to ensure your job is appealing to the right candidates.
  3. Create a pleasant working environment. Without contradicting the second point, it’s overwhelmingly clear that workers want more than a good wage. Creating your own workplace survey is one way to do this, but in the short term there are a number of ways to do this as well. As a standard, 121s should be done in any company, so why not try collecting feedback from employees on a personal basis?


Read the survey in full

 To take a look at all of the survey results, simply download it in full here.