The organization that we have chosen is Cathay Pacific Airways, an airline industry that was established in 1946 in Hong Kong by an American Roy Farrell and an Australian Sydney H de Kantzow (Cathay Pacific n.d.a). The company has been named as “Best Airline in the World and Best Airline First Class in the 2012 Business Traveller China Awards” (Cathay Pacific n.d.b). This shows that Cathay Pacific is the one company that has its core competency in the development of world class employees based on their recruitment and selection process that is crucial as a starting point for any achievements.
Recruitment is basically the process of identifying and hiring the best-qualified candidate internally or externally for job vacancies offered in an organization (Dessler 2013, p.
172). Likewise, Cathay Pacific has emphasised on a few recruitment methods to invite people that are interested to apply for the job offered by them. However, selection is the process of selecting the most suitable candidate in order to fill certain job position by using screening tools like tests, assessment centers, etc that was also practiced by Cathay Pacific (Dessler 2013, p.202). Then, further issues on the recruitment and selection process of Cathay Pacific are analysed as follow.
Types of internal and external job position
There are several types of internal job positions in Cathay Pacific Airlines, Technical Instructor under the department of Flight Operations, Assistant Manager Communication Services / Editor under the department of Corporate Communication and Aircraft Mechanics (Cathay Pacific n.d.c). Besides, examples of the external job positions are Flight Crew, Flight Attendant and Flight Simulator Instructor. Internal recruitment
The types of internal recruitment are promotion where the second officers must achieve his or her target ranking within four-and-a-half years to be promoted as the first officer (Flight Global 2012). Succession planning involves development and recruitment in filling up employer’s top position. As such, Cathay Pacific offers programmes like the Management Trainee Programme to prepare candidates to get promoted and for advancement in the
more challenging role (Cathay Pacific n.d.c). External recruitment
The external recruitment methods of Cathay Pacific are basically online recruiting, advertising and graduate programmes. Cathay Pacific uses online recruitment as it is considered the most effective way hire the best candidate. As such, they have started using their own website and job boards like The Pilot Career Centre (The Pilot Career Centre 2012) and The Recruitment Place (The Recruitment Place n.d.) as job seekers may search the company and job position conveniently by entering keywords, read job description and other details regarding the company or jobs offered (Pilot Career Centre 2012). Examples of jobs offered on the internet are Customer Service Officer, Flight Crew and Flight Attendants (Cathay Pacific n.d.c). The importance of online recruiting is due to convenience, accuracy and also environmental friendly, their application form is known as Cathay Pacific Green Explorer Application Form (Cathay Pacific n.d.d). A problem that might occur is internet overload where employers would end up with deluged resumes. In advertisement that was published in the local newspaper, jobs offered are Pilots, Flight Attendants and many more. Their basic requirements are to have an excellent command of written and spoken English, be physically fit and qualify for a Class I Medical and meet flight deck reach requirements. Cathay Pacific will send their recruits to Australia to undergo a fully paid training upon acceptance. Then, if completion is successful, they will be based in Hong Kong (Airlines Jobs 2012).
Cathay Pacific is looking for people with a genuine interest in aircraft and flying who will make good representatives of Cathay Pacific and have passionate about flying and have enthusiasm about aviation (Zavadszky 2012). The graduate programmes are exclusively for those who have just graduated or looking for new exciting jobs to pursue, namely there are Management Trainee, Engineering Trainee, Customer Services Officer, Cadet Pilot Programme and Flight Attendant (Cathay Pacific n.d.c). No working or flying experience needed, so long as they have completed secondary school, have good passes in maths and science, and are technically appropriate. However, it is an advantage for those who have a degree or diploma, or passes in pilot license subjects (Zavadszky 2012). The recruitment for second officers take place through three entry streams, and three different training programmes which includes the Cadet Pilot Programme, that takes about 61 weeks for those with no or little experience in flying. It will be fully funded in Adelaide, Australia, Cathay Pacific’s flight training centre. Then, for those with flying experience are qualify for a 32-week advanced entry or a 14-week transition training (Zavadszky 2012). After became second officers, they will work on Cathay Pacific’s fleet of Boeing 747-400, Boeing 777, and Airbus A340-300 and A330-300 aircraft, operating worldwide on long-haul routes.
After completing the application form, candidates have to face some tests and interviews before they are accepted to work in Cathay Pacific. Basically, selection process of Pilot, Flight Attendant and Crew, and Officer Staff are almost the same. According to Cathay Pacific (n.d.e), the first step in selection process to be a pilot is to pass the first interview and some tests provided by Cathay Pacific (refer to selection test part). Then, the short-listed candidates who have passed their interview and tests, they are invited to Hong Kong for the second interview and a medical test. The last stage of the selection process is actually a training program, Cadet Pilot Programme, held in Hong Kong. Similarly, for the second officer selection process also need candidates to attend for the first interview where expenses are not covered by the company then, the same process goes on for the final interview if they are qualified (Cathay Pacific n.d.e). According to flightdeckfriend.com (n.d.), in Cathay Pacific, there will be two interviewers; one is first or second officer (for officer interview) and Captain (for pilot interview), and a HR department staff. Furthermore, there will be many questions asked by the interviewers. Likewise, they will ask about personal information, behaviors, motivation to work in Cathay Pacific, and knowledge about the company (flightdeckfriend.com n.d.). Also, for the first or second officer and pilot, they are frequently asked about general knowledge questions related to aviation or their job position and situational questions.
Candidates have to pass some tests provided by Cathay Pacific before proceeding to the second interview and they are English test, Technical knowledge test, Psychometric test, Aptitude test, Reasoning test, and Medical test after succeeded the second interview (flightdeckfriend.com n.d.). •English test
According to wowpeter.com (2009), after completing the first interview, candidates must also complete the ICAO English test (English test system for all Airlines Companies). They will be tested for grammar and listening skills for the English test because it is the international language and important for communication. Then only candidate will have next tests. •Technical Knowledge test
Before assessment, Cathay Pacific will provide Job Knowledge Index (JKI) to candidates as the test is based on that book (flightdeckfriend.com n.d.). •Psychometric test
All the airlines company will test the candidate about this test and the purpose for this test is to know about the personality and the integrity of response of the candidate. Cathay Pacific is looking for the candidates who are able to multi-task, to analyze information, to make wise decisions, to work in team, and have leadership skills (flightdeckfriend.com n.d.). •Aptitude test
Cathay Pacific test aptitude using computerized system to test coordination skill, reaction time, recall ability, orientation and mental capacity (flightdeckfriend.com n.d.). •Reasoning test
Same as aptitude test, Cathay Pacific uses computerized system to test reasoning test. Reasoning test in here uses matrices to test the logical ability of candidates (flightdeckfriend.com n.d.). •Medical test
After completing all those tests, candidates have to do medical check-up in Cathay Pacific. They usually check blood pressure, eye test, and ear test. If the candidates pass this medical test, candidates will pass the Class 1 Aircrew medical for the Hong Kong civil Aviation Department and they can proceed to the second interview (wowpeter.com 2009).
Cathay Pacific strongly practices and engages with diversified workforce. Previously Cathay Pacific has 1,577 employees and now it has almost 20,000 employees around the world, of which 9,700 of them are cabin crew from 14 different territories, generations and nationalities, 3,000 pilots from 42 nationalities, predominantly from Hong Kong, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and United Kingdom (Cathay Pacific, 2011). Cathay Pacific believes that multiple cultures, backgrounds, people and languages are essence to strengthen and develop a winning team in the industry (Cathay Pacific, 2011). With a diverse workforce, Cathay Pacific hopes to enhance communications, ensure that views and opinions of people are heard and acted in an appropriate manner. With multicultural employees whom Cathay Pacific has, helps in learning and development within the workforce, which create opportunities for preparation of various roles and responsibilities. These developments and learning to be taught on employees will help strengthen their service, business awareness and interpersonal skills. That eventually helps in building leadership and management skills to enhance professionalism and service quality of crew members. Diverse workforce allows engagement of labour union relationships for example, Cathay Pacific will deal labour union relationships in Hong Kong and across all of their outports, which some has mandatory union recognition legislation, countries alike Canada and Australia (Cathay Pacific 2011).
5.0CATHAY PACIFIC ISSUES
5.1Racism in recruitment process
According to Leake (2011), Cathay Pacific had faced a racism issue in the recruitment process. He mentioned that there was an Islamic worker who has been working as a Heathrow flight-handling agent for 17 years, applied as a passenger services officer in Cathay Pacific and was rejected. Then, Leake further explained that the applicant tried to send another application letter with different identity that was not showing he is an Islam and he received a called for the interview. According to Hodges (2012), Cathay Pacific employed candidates regardless of gender, race, belief, and religion. However, according to Leake as above it has expressed some racism
issue in Cathay Pacific. In fact, organisations have to be aware that recruiting diverse workforce is really important nowadays. Also, with the ever-changing environment in demographics, recruiting diverse workforce brings more advantages. According to NAS (2005), the first advantage of recruiting diverse workforce is that organisations can attract and retain the best talent. It also helps to create a good image for the organization where it can then establish in partnership easily with minority groups. Furthermore, NAS also mentioned that it could help to expand the market share and help the organization to be more flexible in adapting the changes of market environment. Lastly, organisations can reduce in the turnover rate because they can create a favorable reputation and a good employer brand (NAS 2005). There is no such thing as being racist in an organisation.
Everyone has to appreciate each other regardless of their gender, religion and race. Hence, Cathay Pacific has to encourage and practice fairness when recruiting people. Somehow according to rumors or news of Cathay Pacific saying that it is not a good place to work or being accused as racism regardless of whether the news is true, people would doubt to send their application form and would not willing to work there. Meaning, Cathay Pacific will miss the opportunity in recruiting talented people and would create a bad reputation in the airline industry. Furthermore, because of bad reputation, Cathay Pacific will lose their market share and cannot manage to get high income. There are some suggestions that can be used for Cathay Pacific to prevent such issue to happen again in the future. Cathay Pacific can use computerised system in prescreening the application form. They must also set certain requirements or standards to obtain quality candidate and carry on with the first interview. So, the system will work for them and this helps Cathay Pacific to avoid the subjective judgment in prescreening the application form. Apart from implementing the computerised system, Cathay Pacific has to ensure that their employees understand the importance of achieving goals and function of recruiting diverse workforce, as it should be align with organisation’s needs. By understanding those things, employees at Cathay Pacific can change their perception on the diverse workforce recruitment and support what the organisation is trying to achieve according to the recruitment programme. Furthermore, Cathay Pacific have to ensure the public that this company is the right place to work by referrals
program, providing employee benefits, and supporting woman and minorities’ event. Hence, this can help in bring back their good image of a company who has social responsibility and supports diverse workforce (NAS 2005).
5.2Validation of selection program
By looking at the steps in selection process, Cathay Pacific has a good selection process. They have used the right selection tools to find the most suitable candidate by testing them in fields like personality, knowledge, logical thinking and has three interview stages in order to get accurate and more information about the candidates (Bartram and Baxter 1996). Furthermore, these authors also mentioned that Cathay Pacific uses practical testing in the selection process. Therefore, with this long process, Cathay Pacific expects to get the right person to fit the job in the right position. As mentioned before, to be a pilot or a staff in Cathay Pacific, candidates have to pass some tests and three interviews. Then, completing those processes does not mean that they will officially become employees of Cathay Pacific however, they still have to pass some training programmes provided by the company, like Cadet Pilot Programme for pilots. According to Bartram and Baxter (1996), Cathay Pacific realised that their success is based on their employees, whereas recruiting and hiring incur a high cost. Therefore, they must expertise in hiring the most suitable employee in order to reduce cost and meet goals. Besides, Cathay Pacific ensures that their selection process is reliable and valid. All candidates have to go through the same tests and interviews before they are accepted to join the training program. However, there is a question in validating the result. Cathay Pacific is using computer-based system to perform the tests. As such, the criterion validity is not based on the result of the test and meaning that higher result does not mean to be accepted in Cathay Pacific (Bartram and Baxter 1996).
However, these authors further mentioned that the interviewers (Board of Cathay Pacific) will decide base on their interview and practical in the flying simulation. In here, some problem might occur, which is the subjecting judgment and validating result. When it comes to individual to make decision, subjective opinion is always there. Therefore, the result of recruitment may not be accurate and valid. Likewise, the racism issue in Cathay Pacific, recruitment is also an example of subjective judgment occurring in the company. Hence, Cathay Pacific has to find ways to prevent this subjective judgment happen in order to get maximal recruiting result. First, Cathay Pacific has to reassure the board of directors or interviewers to practice professionalism in judging and making decisions. Next, Cathay Pacific has to come out with a rating scale that can be used as the guideline in marking the candidates (Bruce and Lack 2009). In this rating scale, Cathay Pacific should mention what objectives or standards that they are marking on, therefore; the interviewers may not be misled. Lastly, these authors further explained that there should be more than one person to rate the candidate in order to get accurate result and are able to compare the results. Then, if there is an equally weighted in the result between judges, meaning that the result is taken accurately and fairly.
5.3Conclusion of the Issues
In a nutshell, both issues in Cathay Pacific are actually discussing about the involvement of personal judgment in recruitment and selection process. This should not be happened nowadays because organisations have to be fair in making decision and giving equal treatment for everyone. Furthermore, it has proved that by practicing fairness, organisations would have a good reputation that can bring benefits. Well, Cathay Pacific might face some difficulties in finding synergies to work together with different people. However, the workers need some time and process to adjust themselves with the organisation and by providing training is one of the effective way to help. Furthermore, Fairness can then be achieved if the Board of Directors in Cathay Pacific uses their professionalism in recruiting and selecting candidates.
In conclusion, we would like to say that Cathay Pacific has several steps in their recruitment and selection process where it is crucial for making the right choice to employ suitable employees for the organisation. Likewise, the internal and external recruitment provides a great opportunity for candidates to develop and enhance themselves for a better success in the future, whereas the selection process prepares candidates for the next test or interview by providing them training and so on. As a result, we would
make a firm statement that Cathay Pacific performs a stringent and diligent activity in employing people. However, as for some predicament issues regarding their employment practices, Cathay Pacific has made an effort to prove it wrong by providing suggestions and evidence of their past recruitment results and also by acknowledging the fact that they are “the Best Airline in the World and the Best Airline First Class in the 2012 Business Traveller China Awards” (Cathay Pacific n.d.b).
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