Last year, Etihad Airways suddenly stopped recruiting new cabin crew. The only problem was that the airline had already offered the job to several hundred hopeful candidates. They were told to wait and be patient as the months without any news slowly dragged on.
Then, at the start of July, Etihad suddenly reopened its application process for new cabin crew. Only days before, successful candidates who had been waiting in the so called ‘talent pool’ received a positively worded email from the airline suggesting their long wait to start a new life Abu Dhabi was nearly over.
Training courses would begin soon and Assessment Day’s were even being arranged to take on more new joiners. It seemed like such positive news but unfortunately, it didn’t stay that way for long.
First, the application link suddenly disappeared from the Etihad careers website. At the time, we reached out to Etihad to find out what was going on. A spokesperson was quick to respond, telling us that recruitment was in fact still open and that Assessment Day’s would be held in August.
Clearly, something big happened very quickly because those Assessment Day’s were cancelled just over a week later – for what the airline called ‘operational requirements’. Candidates who had already been shortlisted received an email update from Etihad informing them of the situation. To the credit of the airline, they were promised an invite to the next available Assessment Day – although when that would be was not forthcoming.
But what about everyone in the ‘talent pool’? Well, they also received an email from Etihad and a promise that someone from the recruitment team would personally call them to provide a more detailed update on the situation.
It’s taken a couple of weeks for the recruiters to work their way through the backlog of candidates but we’re now in a position to share what was said. Sadly, it is now confirmed that Etihad will not be undertaking any cabin crew recruitment for the rest of 2017. Recruiters, however, remain hopeful that the process can start in early 2018 – although of course, that’s a long way off and anything could happen.
Luckily, Etihad has offered to keep people in the ‘talent pool’ exactly where they are – so as soon as new courses start again, those people will be the first to fly to Abu Dhabi.
It’s an unfortunate situation to be in and obviously, Etihad has made some pretty poor business decisions along the way. This year they reported a huge billion dollar loss and senior managers are now rapidly changing the airline’s strategy to protect the business for the future. Under these circumstances, it’s hardly surprising the airline has had to put an indefinite hold on cabin crew recruitment.
Yet, the way the recruitment team has handled the situation sets it apart from many rival companies. We’re no fans of Middle East recruitment practices but the way in which Etihad has communicated with candidates has been exemplary. In contrast, just look at the beating Emirates has taken from candidates whose files have ‘elapsed‘ – an automated email is not a great way to crush someones dreams.
It may well be some time before we get another update from Etihad. In the meantime, candidates can at least breathe a huge sigh of relief that they are not going to be simply forgotten.