More than 20,000 people landed in the soup, when India’s premium and oldest private airlines Jet Airways got grounded. This includes pilots, cabin crew, aircraft maintenance engineers, and also people working in other functions such as ticketing and sales, logistics, on-ground support and customer service. It was a sudden crash landing for these 20,000 odd people with no destination ahead. The big question was where and how would they get accommodated.
It’s not for the first time that a company has shut shop leaving people jobless, but in this case the number itself was huge. Compare it with the telecom sector, where equal or lesser number turned jobless after two mergers (Unitech & Airtel, Idea and Vodafone) and three others shutting shop (Tata Telecom, Reliance Communications, Aircel). In case of Jet Airways, it was 20,000 jobless from just one company.
However, there was something unusual in case of Jet Airways. Immediately, after the airlines suspended its operations, several companies from across sectors, extended a helping hand, offering jobs to the Jet employees.
“We at IndiGo have hired over 300 pilots and several hundred cabin crew members and professionals in revenue management, customer service etc from Jet Airways. Having personally interacted with many of them, I would safely say Jet had some of the most talented folks in the industry whom I would have happily hired even in my previous jobs as well”
Yes, for years, Jet was a preferred airline for the corporate India, so one can assume that there was a sense of empathy for the airline employees. However, the reason why companies queued up with job offers for Jet employees goes beyond the sympathetic ground.
The Jet staff certainly deserve a word of appreciation given the fact that despite not being paid for months, and uncertain future ahead, these employees did not desert the company while it was slowly sinking, and also continued to serve the customers with equal hospitality.
In the last few weeks of Jet’s operations, there were frequent disruption and suspension of flights, which for obvious reason led to agitated flyers, but you would rarely find a Jet staff losing her cool or reciprocating the same way. The Jet staff was always known for its great soft and behavioural skills.
“We at IndiGo have hired over 300 pilots and several hundred cabin crew members and professionals in revenue management, customer service etc from Jet Airways. Having personally interacted with many of them, I would safely say Jet had some of the most talented folks in the industry whom I would have happily hired even in my previous jobs as well,” says Raj Raghavan, senior vice president HR, IndiGo, who previously worked with Amazon.
Besides, IndiGo, other airlines such as Vistara, Spicejet and Air India have all hired pilots, cabin crew members and ground staff from Jet. The airline industry seems to the obvious one as it is a source of ready talent, but there are other sectors as well that could benefit by hiring from Jet. In fact, many companies are hiring from Jet just for cross pollination of ideas and concepts even if there is no direct fit.
HRKatha spoke to several other HR stalwarts, and here is a list of other sectors where the skills of Jet employees can be put into best use.
Hospitality – Hospitality is where Jet Airways employees can fit in perfectly and mix like chalk and cheese. The skillsets required for the hospitality sector match on several counts with the airline employees, which is why Taj Hotels owned by the Tata Group has already offered jobs to the Jet employees.
“In the service industry, the only requirement is ‘willingness to serve’ and Jet airways employees treasure the skills and ability to serve customers. We have been hiring people from Jet Airways before the crisis as well,” shares Sanjay Bose, EVP – HR & Learning and development, ITC hotels.
The cabin crew and on-ground customer service are the first choice for the hospitality sector, but the security personnel of Jet fleet are also in demand in this sector. Besides, the other set of employees are those from ticketing and sales. Both the airlines and the hospitality sector deal in perishable products, and corporate sales, which makes it likely for the Jet staff to be hired in this sector.
In addition, people from the maintenance function at Jet are also being offered jobs in the hotel industry to manage complex electrical set up at hotels. The difference for the Jet employees will be that here they will not be working on a moving machine.
“In the service industry, the only requirement is ‘willingness to serve’ and Jet airways employees treasure the skills and ability to serve customers. We have been hiring people from Jet Airways before the crisis as well”
Travel & Tourism – Operations of travel and tourism industry is pretty much the same as the aviation’s. Employees working in the sales and marketing and some other administrative roles can be very valuable to this industry. Most importantly this industry also demands great customer-oriented skills.
Banking & Technology – Banking is another sector which needs customer facing people. Jet Airways as we know has always been a known for providing great services to their customers. These skills can put to use in this sector in roles such as customer servicing.
In addition, there is another skill set that banks and technology companies can put into use. Jet or any airline for that matter has a team that’s deals in data analytics to derive meaningful insights for pricing of seats and ancillary revenue from non-ticket sources such as baggage fee and on-board food services.
Banks and technology companies can make a good use of this talent both for internal and external clients. In fact, data analytics is a need for across industries. These data analysts can be further trained to move into business analytics or product analytics roles.
FMCG and consumer durables – Sales is not an easy job in the aviation industry as seats are a perishable commodity. It’s a high-pressure job. Such people can come in handy in the FMCG or any other consumer durable industry.
There are also a few tips for the Jet employees who are ready to board a new ship. Moving from one company to another can be a little tricky. Jet employees will have to assimilate the culture and also learn about the industry and see what things work and what does not.
“Generally speaking, most companies have programmes to help new employees assimilate into the new culture. If not, I would strongly recommend employees to look for buddies in their new workplace as culture anchors for them to learn new things and nuances of the new culture,” shares Raghavan of IndiGo.