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Cathay Pacific spreads its wings on diverse crews

By CHAI HUA in Shenzhen, Guangdong | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2023-08-26 06:56

A job applicant is tested during a Cathay Pacific Airways cabin crew recruitment event in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, on Friday. EDMOND TANG/CHINA DAILY

Hong Kong carrier Cathay Pacific Airways on Friday held the first large-scale recruitment of mainland flight attendants in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, in a bid to diversify its cabin crew members.

More than 600 applicants from many mainland cities, including Shanghai and Changchun, Jilin province, in Northeast China, were invited to the six-day recruitment event from Friday to Wednesday.

The company plans to recruit 200 to 300 mainland crew members this year, with more than 2,000 applications filed by candidates.

By 2025, its mainland employees are expected to number 4,000 and include cadet pilots, cabin crew, IT professionals, ground staff and customer service officers.

The plan to recruit crew members from the Chinese mainland began in July.

The move came after the company fired three employees who mocked the English-language proficiency of mainland passengers in May.

At the recruitment interview on Friday, candidates were asked to read a randomly selected Chinese article from an airline company magazine and communicate in Chinese to test their language skills.

The assessment also includes a group discussion, emphasizing candidates' teamwork and communication abilities as well as tests of English proficiency.

Zhong Yuan, who was interviewed Friday, said the Cathay Pacific assessors were very welcoming and encouraging, making the experience comfortable and motivating.

With six years of working at Korean Air, she emphasized the significance of a diversified culture among cabin crew. She believes Cathay Pacific is an employer that values diversity.

"Ranking eighth in the global aviation industry, my impression is Cathay Pacific underscores the importance of embracing diverse cultures," Zhong said, shrugging off the concerns over the disrespect shown in the May incident.

Ronald Lam, chief executive of the Cathay Pacific Group, said the company will assist mainland employees with work visas for employment in Hong Kong and provide them with training to prepare for their positions. Monthly accommodation and transportation allowances are provided by the company.

Mainland cabin crew will be assigned to work on both domestic and international flights, he said.

He stressed that mainland, Hong Kong and international candidates are assessed equally and provided the same training and opportunities.

"The expansion of our cabin crew services in the mainland will not impact job opportunities for our colleagues from Hong Kong. Local recruitment will still be the majority of our staff base, with employees from the mainland the second largest, coupled with those from other places in Asia," he said.

The chief executive also estimated that flight capacity will rebound to 70 percent by the end of this year and will fully recover by the end of 2024.

"We have more and more flights between Hong Kong and the mainland so it is natural for us to expand our team to include candidates from the mainland. I believe this will make our organization even more diverse and offer better service to our customers from different backgrounds."



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