Jet Airways Heads Towards Bankruptcy Court, Employees Forced To Map Their Own Path

With Jet Airways being referred to the bankruptcy court, the plight is now on the remaining workers at grounded Jet Airways. The employees will soon have to find a new employer to sustain.

Job hunting results have been mixed.

“It has been challenging for Jet Airways staff to get a decent job. First, they are not in an advantageous position as they are currently jobless, and second, most of the employees have been with Jet Airways for long years and have not upskilled themselves,” said Naresh Sharma, managing partner, Antal International, a recruitment firm.

“High performers have already been hired by other companies and those left behind are still struggling,” Sharma said.

But the future however doesn’t appear too bleak—several companies have stepped up to hire Jet employees, while job portals have seen a drop in applications from Jet workers in the past few months.

Ever since Jet Airways suspended flights just over two months ago, rivals such as SpiceJet Ltd, IndiGo and Vistara have unveiled plans to absorb hundreds of these employees. It is not known how many have been hired so far.

Companies in services, FMCG and information technology sectors have also announced their preference in hiring Jet employees. Indian Hotels Co. Ltd, which operates the Taj chain of hotels, issued a notice in May inviting Jet employees, according to media reports.

The lenders’ consortium of Jet Airways, led by the State Bank of India (SBI), decided on Monday to refer the airline to the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT). The step has weakened hopes of resumption in services of the airline which has grounded flights since 17 April due to a severe cash crunch.

At the time, Jet Airways had about 16,000 employees including about 1,500 pilots. The current employee base could not be ascertained immediately.

Several Jet Airways employees have managed to secure new jobs but many are still on the hunt.

“The number of calls from Jet Airways employees has reduced by about 50% in the last one month. We understand that many candidates have been placed with other organisations especially in finance, operations and HR roles,” said Sharma at Antal.

He said more than 70% of those candidates have been placed in non-aviation sectors such as third-party logistics, facility management and service industries.

“Operations, sales and marketing are mostly the roles that we have seen Jet employees being absorbed in other sectors,” said Rituparna Chakraborty, co-founder and executive vice-president at TeamLease Services, a hiring firm. Chakraborty, who, too, has been receiving queries for back-end office roles, said the average experience of Jet employees ranged between eight and nine years.

Recruitment consultants said queries and résumé submissions by Jet Airways employees touched a peak in late April and May.

For instance, Antal India witnessed a nearly 300% surge in résumés from Jet employees during February to April. Job portal Shine.com also saw a marked increase in activity from Jet employees in the same period.

Despite the troubles faced by Jet Airways, most of its employees are still keeping the aviation industry as their first preference, followed by hospitality, BPO (business process outsourcing) and BFSI (banking, financial services and insurance industries), according to Shine.com.

Companies in the hospitality, tech startups and IT-enabled services sectors are among those who have shown interest in hiring Jet employees. After its social media announcement a few weeks ago, shared office startup WeWork India received a strong response. “We have already hired one candidate and are in the screening process for other candidates,” said a spokesperson at WeWork.

Mumbai-based SAI Estate, a real estate company, was one of the first companies to issue press releases in April to announce that they were open to hiring Jet employees. Today, the company has hired 17 former Jet employees in customer service, guest relations and sales support roles.

Bookmyshow, an online ticketing and entertainment platform, said it is in talks with some Jet Airways employees for mid-management roles.

Sharma said many of Antal’s existing clients from supply chain, FMCG/CD (consumer durables) and food manufacturing have shown keen interest in hiring candidates for mid-level management roles with eight to 12 years of experience in operations background. The reason: “They feel these candidates have strong exposure in managing operations in high pressure environment,” he explains.

Due to the extraordinary circumstances, the employees wouldn’t have much negotiating power when joining a new sector. But, as Chakraborty says, “They will have a career curve. Besides, quite a few of these employees were stagnant in their roles in Jet.”

Aviation, Biz, Business, Companies