Research Output
Commercial airline pilots’ declining professional standing and increasing precarious employment
  With the advent of low cost employment systems for pilots in commercial airlines, we address two questions: What are experienced UK-based, commercial airline pilots’ perspectives on their current professional standing? What are their perspectives on current precarious employment in commercial airline piloting? Analysis of qualitative data from 28 pilots in commercial, passenger carrying airlines reveals declining professional standing and increasing precarious employment, alongside enduring aspects of professionalism. The corollary is that precarious professional employment is an emerging, pervasive type of low cost employment system in the studied context. In terms of theoretical implications, our study highlights the need for exactness in understanding the complexities of declining professional standing and increasingly precarious employment. Our analysis offers an exact term, pilot-cariat, to encapsulate contemporary, UK-based and experienced commercial airline pilot employment. Further research may reveal more of what we call cariats in other occupations with responsibility for lives in similarly cost constrained and management agency contexts.

  • Type:


  • Date:

    27 December 2018

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  • DOI:


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  • Library of Congress:

    HD28 Management. Industrial Management

  • Dewey Decimal Classification:

    658 General management

  • Funders:

    Edinburgh Napier Funded


Maxwell, G. A., & Grant, K. (2021). Commercial airline pilots’ declining professional standing and increasing precarious employment. International Journal of Human Resource Management, 32(7), 1486-1508.



Commercial airline pilots; precarious professional employment,

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