The Weekender: Is Ryanair another casualty in the war for talent?

If you feel like you’ve had a bad week, chances are it probably wasn’t as bad as Ryanair’s. This week, the budget airline seemingly cemented its place as the world’s least favourite carrier (perhaps it already was?) after announcing that it was due to cancel 2,100 flights in response poor planning of pilot holidays. Estimates are coming in at well over 20m euros (£17.7m) in compensation, refunds and alternative flights.

Although Ryanair is adamant these cancellations are not in response to a company-wide shortage of pilots, there have been numerous reports of former and current staff insisting that is exactly where to point the finger. So, is this an internal blunder or is this symptomatic of the “war for talent” wreaking havoc yet again?

We recently published our Analyst to VP Compensation report that compared salary and bonus figures from some of the top investment banks. We found that there had been a clear increase in compensation trends as some banks step up their fight to reduce attrition.

This was backed up by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) who confirm that total bonus payments have jumped 6.5% to £46.4bn, with a 9.7% rise in the value of payouts from the finance and insurance industry.

However, it would be imprudent to assume pay is all that talent is interested in. We’ve asked our candidates which factors impact their decision to relocate the most and the overwhelming response was workplace culture and a better work-life balance.

The BBC interviewed Ryanair staff and were advised that the company is offering a £12,000 bonus to captains who stay until the end of October. However, it’s not without strings, as to qualify pilots must a) fly 800 hours over the next year, b) work extra days and c) they can’t take more than four days’ sick leave.

So what can be done in the face of a challenging, more mobile workforce? A Ryanair staffer has hit the nail on the head, “the only way to stop this happening again is for the company to get better at keeping its staff”. It’s the firms that relay a consistent and authentic message about their employer brand and company culture – and then live it out – that will continue to steal a march on those who fail to deliver.

Have a good weekend,


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