United Airlines announced Wednesday that it will be curtailing ambitious hiring plans at San Francisco International Airport this year.
It still plans to add about 1,600 employees to SFO this year, down from the more than 2,200 people it had said it would be adding in December. SFO's position as a major gateway to China and Asia is partially to blame.
A spokesperson for United said that the Asian market had not recovered as quickly as anticipated. As the market returns, we will increase our hiring plans.
United didn't address the tech industry's problems, but other companies claim that their tech clients are reducing travel because tech giants are focusing on cost-cutting measures and layoffs. Before the pandemic, United leadership touted its role in connecting Bay Area technology executives to the rest of the world via SFO, the airline's dominant hub.
United announced in December that SFO was behind only Chicago for its hiring plans. Chicago had planned to hire more than 2,600 people this year. SFO is now ranked No. Chicago, the hub with the highest planned growth in employment, has a hiring goal of 3,800 people this year.
United has some good news to share with the tech workers who were laid off. The airline actively seeks them out for positions in Chicago and Houston.
Kate Gebo is executive vice president for human resources and labor relations, United. She said, "We actively recruit on the West Coast, and encourage folks to explore Chicago." Most of United's technology jobs are located in Chicago and Houston.
Gebo added that over 130 candidates were identified at a Women in Tech session held by the airline's Chicago headquarters. We've now hired 120 digital technology professionals from outside companies. 70% are women or people of color.
"We have had more tech professionals applying in the first four month of this year than all last year. That is pretty amazing," Gabo said. He added that the airline was looking for tech talent who could help with app development as well as cybersecurity issues.
United announced on Wednesday that in addition to the 3,800 people who will be hired in Chicago, it plans to hire at other hubs. Denver, Houston, Newark, SFO, Washington, D.C., Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles, are all expected to have 2,300 new employees this year. United Airlines is also planning to hire another 1,000 people in other cities on its network including Orlando, Boston, and Colorado Springs.
As part of its effort to increase its workforce by 15,000. The airline has already employed 7,000 people across the country. United Airlines, which employed 96,300 people at the end March, is now hiring pilots and technicians as well as flight attendants, airport agents, and lawyers. It employs around 10,000 people in the Bay Area.