Amid a whirlwind of rumour and speculation, the Emirates careers website was quietly updated on December 12th. Suddenly and without warning the Cabin Crew application link had disappeared. In its place, a short, curt statement gave some indication of what was happening:
“Starting 2017 we will be rolling out an updated application process for cabin crew positions. All applicants will now have to create an online profile which includes an online video interview. Shortlisted candidates will then be invited to attend assessment days.”
Amidst the rumour, some facts are starting to take shape. Facts that give us a good indication of what is really happening to Emirates cabin crew recruitment.
First things first, we need to put this change into the context of the wider economy and major industry changes in the aviation sector.
In the first half of 2016, profit at the parent company of Emirates, the Emirates Group fell by a whopping 64%. The major cause of this economic woe is the continuing downturn in the lucrative oil and gas sector. There simply isn’t the market for First and Business class seats that there once was.
And the oil and gas sector isn’t the only problem; Emirates, like many airlines, is finding it difficult to get its money out of Africa whilst the US dollar has gone from strength to strength, further dampening profit.
In order to fill it’s all wide-body fleet of 777’s and super-jumbo A380’s Emirates has had to price its seat at fiercely competitive levels with discounts and special promotions across the board. Even with lower oil prices, revenue per passenger has been wiped out on many of Emirate’s routes.
At the same time, Emirates is no longer protected from the march of the Low-Cost Airlines. The LCC’s are slowly starting to bite into the customer base that Emirates once stole itself from the legacy airlines of North America and Europe.
Tim Clarke, the longtime President of Emirates has remained bullish but even he has acknowledged that airlines the world over are operating in an environment ‘fraught with difficulty’.
The picture in the short to medium term is one of uncertainty and change at all levels of the Emirates airline.
Then came news that Christophe Mueller, former CEO of Mayalasia Airlines would join Emirates on 20th September to take on a newly created role of Chief Digital and Innovation Officer.
At the time of Mueller’s appointment, it was announced that this role would lead the review into technology employed by Emirates to make it future proof.
It’s surprising that such a successful aviation leader would take on this niche and otherwise unheard of role; after all, Mueller has headed several airlines including Mayalasia Airlines, the Irish carrier Aer Lingus and Sabena, the former Belgian state airline.
At Mayalasia Airlines, Mueller slashed 6,000 jobs and radically cut costs to turn it’s fortunes around following the loss of two passenger jets in 2014. During his time at Aer Lingus, Mueller significantly streamlined operations and cut away the fat to make the airline more profitable. A similar story of radical change and cost cutting happened at Sabena under Mueller.
Now in his role at Emirates, it is understood that Mueller’s oversight goes way beyond leading a review into technology and digital innovation. Mueller is spearheading a campaign to cut costs and increase profit.
Sources suggest that Mueller has set his sights on two significant areas – the bloat of middle management and cabin crew.
Mueller is unhappy with the number of managers all doing broadly similar jobs, who enjoy personal assistants, secretaries, and perks that would be unheard of at any other airline. He is set to cut the layers of management, reduce the number of staff who have assistants and dispose of old-fashioned perks and benefits enjoyed by managers.
The future for cabin crew is somewhat more complicated; Emirates is committed to an ambitious growth plan. The airline has just taken delivery of its 88th superjumbo A380 aircraft with another 54 pending delivery (correct at time of publication). Come rain or shine cabin crew will be needed to operate these jets.
For now, however, cabin crew recruitment has been put on ice as the company reassesses what its needs are going to look like going forward. We already know that a significant number of candidates have been put ‘On Hold’ as Emirates slows down its recruitment process as the review continues.
This was the perfect time to look at the cabin crew recruitment journey from start to finish. Running Open Days in cities across the globe was an expensive and time-consuming business. Technology and computer recruitment tools have moved on markedly in the last few years.
Whatever happens next, Emirates will need to hire new recruits. The cabin crew attrition rate is said to have slowed down recently but crew with 5+ years of service are still in the minority of staff.
New cabin crew will soon be joining Emirates – But they may find themselves in far fewer numbers than we have become accustomed to.
Check out these articles to create a great cabin crew resume:
- The Best Qualities to Highlight in Your Cabin Crew Application Resume
- An Introduction to Online Applications
- You Deserve the Best Resume – Here’s How to Get It
- How to Format Your Resume to be ATS Proof
Photo Credit: Emirates
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.