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From shop floor to airport management – Finavia supports aspiring leaders

Article published
26.12.2018 kl 09:00
People & Aviation
Finavia invests in the professional development of its personnel. Area Director Mari Nurminen and Airport Manager Auli Koistinen, who have both built their careers at Finnish airports, discuss their career paths.

People at Finavia work long careers. Many start working at the airport at a young age – as a summer worker, as an intern or alongside their studies, for example – and some stay for decades, either in an operative role or moving on to a managerial or leading position. In 2017, more than a third (35%) of the personnel had been working at Finavia for over 15 years.

Mari Nurminen, Airport Manager at Tampere-Pirkkala Airport and Area Director, Central Finland, has moved from air traffic control to airport management. Her interest towards the field was natural, as she was an avid aviation enthusiast. Auli Koistinen, Airport Manager at Joensuu Airport, began her career as an intern at Finnair. After working in various roles at Joensuu Airport for years, she rose to the position of airport manager.

According to Koistinen, each day at the airport is different, and there are plenty of surprises, which makes the job interesting.

“I wanted this role, because I love challenges. Managing an airport is a versatile job where you oversee a large entity consisting of many smaller parts. On the other hand, you can work very independently within a certain framework. I like being able to see the concrete results of my work”, Koistinen says.

The organization supports aspiring leaders

The Finavia organization enables staff members to grow and move forward in their career. Talent management is a tool for leading and developing top professionals: persons identified as promising talents are coached to become leaders. Besides having an academic degree, Nurminen, for example, has participated in several of Finavia’s leadership trainings during her career.

“I’ve been encouraged to strive forward, and I’m grateful for that. I’ve aspired to move up the career ladder, and my superiors have offered me opportunities to do that. The organization has supported me and enabled my progress from one role to another. Change keeps me switched-on”, Nurminen says.

Job rotation is a well-established part of professional development at Finavia: rotating roles help staff members to familiarise themselves with the work of different units, learn new skills and share their expertise with other employees.

“In my team at Joensuu Airport, basically everyone is a multiply skilled professional. I’ve qualified as a security officer myself. Therefore, I can jump in and lend a hand at security control, if necessary”, Koistinen shares.

Even the management of Finavia is actively involved in job rotation. Each member of the Executive Group worked at least one day in ordinary operational duties at airports during the year, for instance as a security officer or in maintenance.

Aiming to have more women as leaders

Over all, there’s a male majority at Finavia personnel, but the aim is to balance the gender distribution. At the end of 2017, a total of 72 per cent of the staff were men and 28 per cent women. Women were a majority in expert roles (56%) and service personnel (73%), while only two per cent of maintenance workers were women.

Finavia aims to have more women also in managerial positions. The proportion of women in the company’s senior management increased slightly: in 2017, one additional woman was appointed to the Executive Group.

Out of 20 airport managers overseeing the airport network, seven are women. In four years, their proportion has grown 19 per cent to 35 per cent. Two women also work as Regional Managers of the airport network. Auli Koistinen and Mari Nurminen both find they have received support from the organization and their superiors.

“In my experience, I’ve never been treated in a discriminating manner in the work community. I’ve felt appreciated and trusted, and, despite my young age, I’ve never been talked down to”, says Koistinen, who was appointed Airport Manager in her thirties.

“Finavia’s management and leadership trainings have involved lots of discussion on the different needs that people have regarding leadership. It’s been a really good experience and helped me see how diversity makes us stronger”, says Nurminen.

“Support and encouragement are really important, especially in challenging situations. As a manager, I consciously seek to delegate tasks and trust my subordinates. I want to offer opportunities for growth for talented individuals”, Nurminen concludes.

Watch a video about Finavia’s corporate responsibility – the Sum of Good things.

Sum of good things -boilerplate