Laid off Airline Workforce Convenient for Healthcare

What happens when the world economy gets so damaged, that many companies within the travel industry are close to going bankrupt if not extreme measures are taken? A pandemic is causing people to avoid or to abruptly stop travelling because of government recommendations and regulations regarding borders. As predicted, the airline industry is largely affected by the rapidly evolving spread of the coronavirus. However, not only the aviation is affected by this, health care and hospitals are experiencing shortages of medical equipment and important medical staff. In times like these, it is significant for society that industries and the healthcare sector collaborate.

10.000 SAS employees laid off

One clear example of a company highly affected by the closing of borders and governments’ recommendations is the Swedish airline company, Scandinavian Airlines, also known as SAS. Measures that they were forced to take in order to survive included laying off almost their entire workforce, more precisely 90% of their employees. This meant that 10, 000 people lost their current job. Obviously, SAS is a company that completely relies on people being able to travel across borders. However, this was significantly negatively impacted when governments all around the world dissuaded their population from travelling or even introduced extra precautions such as completely closing the borders. According to the CEO of the airline company, Rickard Gustafson, laying off 10, 000 employees is not permanent but a temporary solution that had to be implemented in order for the company to survive this worldwide crisis. Many similar aviation companies had to take similar actions not to go bankrupt.

Health care system – new job opportunities

However, not only aviation companies have been negatively affected by this crisis, but other sectors as well. Admittedly, the area that this crisis might have stricken the hardest is most certainly health care, both in Sweden and around the world. Medical centers and hospitals have been strongly affected as the spread of the virus has meant a higher burden and demand for medical staff and supply of sufficient medical equipment. This situation raised the question of whether the laid off workforce could somehow benefit the health care. Swedish educational company Novare together with Sophiahemmet University, saw this as an opportunity to re-educate a part of the SAS laid off staff to work for the Swedish health care system which is in significant need of additional workforce. So far, 1,100 former SAS employees have gotten the offer for a medical education, that would later result in the possibility of being hired by the health care to lower the burden on the current personnal. Many of these workers are currently working more hours than prescribed by the labor legislation in order to combat this difficult situation.

Cooperation between industries and the health care system like this one is important, if not essential in these difficult times. While the burden on medical personnel has almost reached the bursting point and thousands of other professionals have temporarily lost their jobs, this just might be an efficient solution. If this collaboration turns out to be successful, it can serve as an inspiration for other industries and sectors during crisis, such as the one the world is experiencing right now.

Written by Sofia Johansson, Lund, Sweden

Photos: Pixabay (Gordon Johnson, Lukas Bieri, valelopardo, Angelo Esslinger)

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