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Game on – gamification in air traffic control recruitment

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The role new generation technology and artificial intelligence will play within air traffic control in the future will be a game changer. The arrival of these technologies brings into question the fundamental role of the air traffic controller (ATC), with a predicted evolution from humans doing the core job supported by automation, to automation doing the core job supported by humans. 

Research shows that less than 2-3% of the population have the aptitude and attitude needed to become an ATC. And, with US$143 million spent globally on recruitment of candidates who won’t make it through training, air navigation service providers (ANSPs) are facing a very real challenge to sort out the successful players from the rest. 

If the rate of change within air traffic control becomes exponential, technology used in recruitment and selection will also need to keep pace. Gamified assessments are one way for ANSPs to respond and the use of games, simulations, and other multimedia-rich applications in selection and assessment processes has increased dramatically over the past decade. Airways’ SureSelect has invested substantially in specialised gaming technologies that will attract a new generation of applicants and further reduce the uncertainty out of ATC selection. 

Gamification (also known as serious games) is the concept of applying game mechanics and design in non-game contexts. Introducing serious games into the selection process is an excellent way to provide a realistic job preview, with the added benefit of making the selection process fun,  demonstrating  that your culture believes in innovation and creativity, and helping your  ANSP to strengthen its reputation as technology leader, especially when trying to attract a younger generation of candidates in a high stakes recruitment environment. Industries where this is already being used successfully include banking, accounting and retail. 

SureSelect’s candidate selection process uses gamification in its computer-based tests (CBTs) and simulation exercises to measure candidates’ skills and abilities in domain specific areas predictive of future success in the job. The benefit of domain specific tests is that they measure constructs or abilities that relate specifically to the role. Within SureSelect, domain specific computer-based tests are used as part of the selection process and include memory assessments, a visualisation test and a test of multitasking – constructs and abilities that are predictive of future success on the job. 

By introducing gaming into our proven SureSelect process, we’re providing a better way for organisations to screen high volumes of candidates in a manner appropriate to the demographic they are recruiting.  If you would like to know more about how Airways has been using Sureselect to and lower recruitment costs and reduce training times, I’d love to hear from you.


Tara Longley

SureSelect Delivery Manager

Airways New Zealand

Mobile: 0064 272289179