Flight Attendant Job Outlook

There are currently an estimated 116,600 Flight Attendants in the United States. The Flight Attendant job market is expected to grow by 10.2% between 2016 and 2026.

Flight Attendant Employability Rating

D Sokanu rates Flight Attendants with a D employability rating, meaning this career should provide weak employment opportunities for the foreseeable future. Over the next 10 years, it is expected the US will need 17,600 Flight Attendants. That number is based on 11,900 additional Flight Attendants, and the retirement of 5,700 existing Flight Attendants.

Demand for Flight Attendants

Competition for flight attendant positions is predicted to remain strong. The number of applicants typically exceeds that of openings, partly because of the perceived glamour of the airline industry and the opportunity to travel presented by the occupation. Union contracts, many of which stipulate that furloughed flight attendants must be rehired before new employees are recruited, may exert negative influence on demand for entrants to the field. This may be somewhat offset by the need to replace flight attendants who retire or move into other careers; however, the industry’s current low turnover rate could limit this positive effect. Expanding regional, commuter, low-cost, and charter airlines are expected to produce the majority of jobs in the U.S. and Canada. The largest projected growth in cabin crew demand is in the Asia Pacific region, generating potential opportunities for North Americans in the occupation willing to relocate and able to secure required documentation to work abroad. Some additional positions will likely be created by companies operating private executive aircraft. While flight attendants are usually required to have only a high school diploma, many airlines prefer candidates with a university degree, as they are perceived to be more prepared for the training required to obtain FAA certification. Applicants who have experience dealing with the public further increase their employability. Aspiring flight attendants may wish to exercise their patience, since new recruits are generally placed on reserve status for at least one year. During this time they must be able to report to the airport on short notice to staff added flights or fill in for absent crew members. Following their reserve period, flight attendants bid on monthly assignments, with the most preferred routes typically going to those with seniority. Senior attendants may have opportunities to become in-flight pursers or supervisors or enter management roles in which they are responsible for recruiting, instructing, and scheduling. On the whole, employment in the field remains sensitive to economic fluctuations, which impact the demand for flights and therefore for flight attendants.

Supply of Flight Attendants

The Flight Attendant industry is not particularly concentrated in any state.

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