The Future of Education

Edition 14

Accepted Abstracts

Aviation Students’ Opinions on Future Employment Prospects Caused by the Economic Consequences of the Covid-19 Pandemic

Dietmar Tatzl, FH Joanneum University of Applied Sciences (Austria)

Simone Sporer-Fellner, FH JOANNEUM University of Applied Sciences (Austria)


The global Covid-19 pandemic plunged the aviation industry into a severe crisis in 2020. Passenger air traffic collapsed as a result of travel restrictions and border closures. Airlines and airports dismissed parts of their employees and put others on short-time work. The Covid-19 economic impacts on civil aviation have been severe and may thus have complicated employment prospects for aviation graduates. It was the aim of this empirical study to probe into aviation students’ views on their opportunities in the labour market after the coronavirus pandemic.

A total of 42 students (35 undergraduates and 7 postgraduates) aged 20 to 55 years participated in the study. Of these, 27 students had no work experience, and 11 participants had work experience in the aviation industry from 1 to 40 years. A tailor-made questionnaire was distributed electronically to students in their last bachelor’s and master’s years. It contained demographic questions as well as questions about participants’ opinions on future employment prospects caused by the economic consequences of the coronavirus pandemic. The response formats consisted of Likert scales, single-choice items, and free-choice items. Descriptive statistical data analysis was conducted with IBM© SPSS© Statistics software.

In general, participants rated aviation graduates’ opportunities to find employment within six months after graduation as rather poor. The sectors manufacturers, international organisations, suppliers, and air traffic management were rated as most resilient towards the economic consequences of the coronavirus pandemic, whereas the sector airlines was considered least resilient. Students also stated that, in their opinion, it would take 1 to 15 years or on average 5.6 years until the employment market in the aviation industry had fully recovered from the coronavirus pandemic. There were no statistically significant differences between participants with and without work experience in their assessment of the economic situation. The most frequently cited strategies for success in the employment market were professional initiative (e.g., writing applications, being open to new opportunities) and further education (e.g., gaining skills, embarking on additional academic studies).

These results imply that the prospective aviation graduates in this study assess the possibility of finding employment within six months after graduation as rather poor. This makes the students’ strategies for mastering such critical situations all the more important. More than half of the participants surveyed named active strategies to increase their attractiveness in the labour market. The students’ relatively high degree of initiative and motivation in their intended approaches to tackle this economic crisis indicates reasonable levels of confidence and resilience. This study may prove useful for university teachers and educational experts in strengthening students’ resilience in times of crisis through pedagogic support.

Keywords Aviation, economic crisis, pandemic, employment, students, resilience

References None necessary, no source material used

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