As the carrier struggles to fill vacancies and keep up with the upswing in travel demand, British Airways has introduced a new bonus scheme to encourage existing employees to refer friends or family to fill cabin crew and call center jobs.
If the person they recommend for the job is hired and stays in the position for at least six months, employees might earn up to £300 per reference. Southwest Airlines established a similar program last week to solve its own personnel shortage.
British Airways is hoping to hire up to 3,000 new cabin crew members in time for next summer, as well as recalling employees who took extended periods of unpaid leave and rehiring crew who were laid off last year.
BA, like other carriers, cut thousands of positions at the onset of the epidemic, but the Heathrow-based carrier is now struggling to rehire lost employees at a fast enough rate to keep up with the recovery’s speed.
Changes restricting enterprises’ ability to hire people who don’t live in the UK, particularly in Europe, have exacerbated the recruitment issues that many hospitality organizations are facing.
The BASSA flight attendant union claimed last week that its workers were “struggling” to cope due to insufficient staffing levels. According to the union, British Airways is attempting to hire crew on “significantly reduced terms and conditions.”
Southwest Airlines has increased the value of its colleague referral scheme to the equivalent of $300 in the airline’s internal incentive currency due to staffing shortages this summer. Guest passes, gift cards, concert tickets, and merchandising items can all be traded for SWAG points.
“Southwest is experiencing a sharp decline in qualified applicants due to low labor force participation and competition for available talent,” wrote Julie Weber, the airline’s vice president and chief people officer, in an internal message last week.
After flight attendants and other employees complained of exhaustion, the Dallas-based carrier was compelled to scale back its scheduled winter travel schedule. Southwest’s operation has been so close to the wire in recent months, as seen by a travel disaster in October.