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Aviation Job Descriptions

Looking for Sample Job Descriptions?

The Avjobs Employer System has thousands of job descriptions - ready to download and customize  Each description has a consistent format, and includes "Essential Job Functions".

Job descriptions are essential.

Job descriptions are required for recruitment so that you and the applicants can understand the role. Job descriptions are necessary for all people that work. A job description defines a person's role and accountability. Without a job description it is not possible for a person to properly commit to, or be held accountable for, a role.

The process of writing job descriptions is actually quite easy and straight-forward. Many people tend to start off with a list of 20-30 tasks, which is okay as a start, but this needs refining to far fewer points, around 8-12 is the ideal.

Smaller organizations commonly require staff and managers to cover a wider or more mixed range of responsibilities than in larger organizations (for example, the 'office manager' role can comprise financial, HR, stock-control, scheduling and other duties). Therefore in smaller organizations, job descriptions might necessarily contain a greater number of listed responsibilities, perhaps 15-16. However, whatever the circumstances, the number of responsibilities should not exceed this, or the job description becomes unwieldy and ineffective.

Any job description containing 20-30 tasks is actually more like a part of an operational manual, which serves a different purpose. Job descriptions should refer to the operational manual, or to 'agreed procedures', rather than include the detail of the tasks in the job description. If you include task detail in a job description you will need to change it when the task detail changes, as it will often do. What would you rather change, 100 job descriptions or one operational manual?

Similarly, lengthy details of health and safety procedures should not be included in a job description. Instead put them into a health and safety manual, and then simply refer to this in the job description. Again, when your health and safety procedure changes, would you rather change 100 job descriptions or just one health and safety manual?

A useful process for refining and writing job descriptions responsibilities into fewer points and ('responsibilities' rather than 'individual tasks'), is to group the many individual tasks into main responsibility areas, such as the list below (not all will be applicable to any single role). Bold type indicates that these responsibility areas would normally feature in most job descriptions:

Bold type indicates that these responsibility areas would normally feature in most job descriptions:

  • communicating (in relation to whom, what, how - and this is applicable to all below)
  • planning and organizing (of what..)
  • managing information or general administration support (of what..)
  • monitoring and reporting (of what..)
  • evaluating and decision-making (of what..)
  • financial budgeting and control (of what..)
  • producing things (what..)
  • maintaining/repairing things (what..)
  • quality control (for production roles normally a separate responsibility; otherwise this is generally incorporated within other relevant responsibilities) (of what..)
  • health and safety (normally the same point for all job descriptions of a given staff grade)
  • using equipment and systems (what..)
  • creating and developing things (what..)
  • self-development (normally the same point for all job descriptions of a given staff grade)

plus any responsibilities for other staff if applicable, typically:

  • recruiting (of direct-reporting staff)
  • assessing (direct-reporting staff)
  • training (direct-reporting staff)
  • managing (direct-reporting staff)

Senior roles will include more executive aspects:

  • developing policy
  • duty of care and corporate responsibility
  • formulation of direction and strategy

You will find that you can cluster most of the tasks on your (initially very long) list into a list of far fewer broad (but still specific) responsibilities according to the above examples of typical job description activity areas.

Obviously the level of authority affects the extent of responsibility in the job description for determining strategy, decision-making, managing other people, and for executive roles, deciding direction, policy, and delivering corporate performance.

Wherever possible refer the detail of standards and process to your 'operational manual' or 'agreed procedures' or 'agreed standards' rather than allowing the job description to become a sort of operating manual. If your boss or employer is asking for you to detail your tasks at length in a job description, encourage him/her/the organization to put this level of detail into an operational manual - it will save a lot of time.

Writing or re-writing a job description is a good opportunity to frame the role as you'd like it as well as reflect how it is at the moment, so try to think outside of the normal way of thinking, and if this is difficult seek the input of somebody who is less close to things.

Job Descriptions are Important

Job descriptions improve an organizations ability to manage people and roles in the following ways:

  • clarifies employer expectations for employee
  • provides basis of measuring job performance
  • provides clear description of role for job candidates
  • provides a structure and discipline for company to understand and structure all jobs and ensure necessary activities, duties and responsibilities are covered by one job or another
  • provides continuity of role parameters irrespective of manager interpretation
  • enables pay and grading systems to be structured fairly and logically
  • prevents arbitrary interpretation of role content and limit by employee and employer and manager
  • essential reference tool in issues of employee/employer dispute
  • essential reference tool for discipline issues
  • provides important reference points for training and development areas
  • provides neutral and objective (as opposed to subjective or arbitrary) reference points for appraisals, performance reviews and counseling
  • enables formulation of skill set and behavior set requirements per role
  • enables organization to structure and manage roles in a uniform way, thus increasing efficiency and effectiveness of recruitment, training and development, organizational structure, work flow and activities, customer service, etc.
  • enables factual view (as opposed to instinctual) to be taken by employees and managers in career progression and succession planning

(The list is not exhaustive.)

In the Avjobs Employer System you'll find job descriptions structure and template, and samples of various job descriptions. Also template and sample 'person-profile', necessary when recruiting.

Be very careful to adhere to relevant employment an discrimination law when compiling job descriptions, job adverts and person-profiles. This means that you must not specify a preference according to gender, race, creed, religion, or physical ability. If you find yourself writing a job description with a bias in any of these areas you should ask yourself why, as none can be justified.

Company directors have personal liability for the activities of their organizations aside from their functional responsibilities, and arguably this accountability should be included in some way in a director's job description. Clarity is vital. People and employers need to have a clear, mutual agreement about the expectations for the job, and the job description is a key instrument by which this is achieved.

That said, job descriptions are not operating manuals. I repeat, keep the descriptions of duties concise and free of detailed operating or processing instructions. If necessary refer to these is a phrase such as 'according to company procedures', or 'according to the operating manual/safety manual', etc. By referencing rather than including specific operating standards or processes, the headache of updating all the job descriptions when procedures change is avoided.

Job Description Template:
  • Job Title
  • Based at (Business Unit, Section - if applicable)
  • Position reports to (Line Manager title, location, and Functional Manager, location if matrix management structure)
  • Job Purpose Summary (ideally one sentence)
  • Key Responsibilities and Accountabilities, (or 'Duties'. 8-15 numbered points)
  • Dimensions/Territory/Scope/Scale indicators (the areas to which responsibilities extend and the scale of responsibilities - staff, customers, territory, products, equipment, premises, etc.)
  • Date and other relevant internal references

For senior job descriptions it is useful to break key responsibilities into sections covering Functional, Managerial, and Organizational areas.

The most difficult part is the Key Responsibilities and Accountabilities section. Large organizations have generic versions for the most common organizational roles - so don't re-invent the wheel if something suitable already exists. If you have to create a job description from scratch, use this method to produce the 8-15 responsibilities:

  1. Note down in a completely random fashion all of the aspects of the job.
  2. Think about: processes, planning, executing, monitoring, reporting, communicating, managing people/resources/activities/money/information/inputs/outputs/communications/time.
  3. Next combine and develop the random collection of ideas into a set of key responsibilities. (A junior position will not need more than 8. A senior one might need 15.)
  4. Rank them roughly in order of importance.
  5. Have someone who knows or has done the job well check your list and amend as appropriate.
  6. Double check that everything on the list is genuinely important and achievable.

Do not put targets into a job description. Targets are a moving output over which you need flexible control.

Do not put 'must achieve target/goals' into a job description. This is a pure output and does not describe the job. The job description must describe the activities required to ensure that target will be met.

Do not have as one of the key responsibilities 'And anything else that the manager wants'. It's not fair, and no-one is ever committed to or accountable for such a thing.

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