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Recruitment process and its impact on retention of commercial pilots in Indian aviation industry

Meera Shanker (Department of Management Studies, Shreemati Nathibai Damodar Thackersey Women’s University, Mumbai, India)

Business Process Management Journal

ISSN: 1463-7154

Article publication date: 29 July 2019

Issue publication date: 17 June 2020




The purpose of this paper is to find out the effect of recruitment practices on the retention of commercial pilots by the airlines in India. Often it is found that trained pilots pilfered by other airlines within/outside of India and Indian aviation industry have to rely on expatriate pilots to fly the aircrafts. Newly appointed pilots are required to be trained due to the lack of experience, which is a huge investment by the airlines. Therefore, the recruitment and retention of the commercial pilots create challenges for aviation industry in India.


Research design of the present study was exploratory and descriptive to evaluate the effect of recruitment practices on the retention of commercial pilots by airlines in India. All together, 225 commercial pilots from different Indian airlines participated in the present study. Instruments were designed to understand the practices related to recruitment, selection and retention strategies of commercial pilots used by these airlines, and how pilots perceive about recruitment practices and its relevance for retention strategies in the organization. Data were analyzed using factor analysis, Pearson’s correlation and regression analysis


Results of data analysis have revealed five factors of retention and selection measures, which were encouraging and employee-friendly recruitment policy, impact of external factors, organizational internal factors, employment brand and organizational growth and self-advancement opportunities. Similarly, retention strategies measures had four factors, namely, positive work culture, opportunities for individual growth, development, and salary benefit package, and opportunity for self-achievement. Pearson product moment correlation coefficient result revealed significantly positive relationship between various dimensions of recruitment and selection to retention strategies. Further regression analysis revealed the effect of those recruitment policies on retention was positive.

Research limitations/implications

Findings of this study could be potential bias and prejudice of the people involved and responded. As information was collected only form Indian commercial pilots, the findings might have changed if study was to be applied to a different country or economy. Random sampling error could not be ruled out. Preferred, accepted and perceived recruitment strategies and retention polices of Indian aviation sectors might be different as compare to other countries aviation sectors policies. Influence of cultural, organizational internal and external factors result might be different as compared to result of present study.

Practical implications

This is an important study, which will help the aviation sector to design recruitment policies and retention strategies to retain pilots to deal with a high level of attrition. Furthermore, present study will help the aviation sector in designing their policies and strategies, which forces pilots to remain with particular air carrier for longer time. It will give the same direction to other organizations, in general.

Social implications

The concept of recruitment and retention is applicable to each and every service sector. There could be different parameters for the same. Social implication of the present study is the same as it is for the aviation sectors. It is implied that service sectors must have appropriate recruitment policies, i.e. encouraging and employee friendly recruitment policy, conscious and continuous evaluation organizations’ external as well as internal factor, efforts shall be made to create employment branding, always focus on growth and advancement opportunities for the employees and organization. Positive work culture, opportunities for individual growth and development, salary benefit package and opportunity for self-achievement will help employees to remain with the organization for longer time.


This is an original research in the area of understanding recruitment policies and retention practices of commercial pilots in Indian aviation industry. This study is related to practical and genuine problem of attrition. Not many studies are found in this particular area.



Shanker, M. (2020), "Recruitment process and its impact on retention of commercial pilots in Indian aviation industry", Business Process Management Journal, Vol. 26 No. 3, pp. 736-751.



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Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

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