The job applications include a test, which only three per cent of applicants can solve.
The job applications include a test, which only three per cent of applicants can solve.

This test could earn you more than $100k

IT'S the job that pays more than $140,000 a year on average.

But despite the lucrative income, finding the right candidates to fill the role of an air traffic controller across Australia isn't as easy as you might think.

In 2018, the role of an air traffic controller entered Australia's top 10 earners pool, according to the Australian Taxation Office.

Starting salaries for graduate roles in the high-pressure job begin at a handsome $99,898 and, on average, controllers earn $141,795 a year.

It's a gig where you don't need a degree or any experience in a similar field, just pass a test and you're on your way.

But while it may sound simple, the test comes with its challenges - with only about three per cent finishing the document correctly.

Earlier this month, Airservices Australia began searching for more air traffic controllers who hold Australian or New Zealand citizenships or hold Australian Permanent Residency status.

"Air traffic controllers manage the safe and orderly flow of aircraft into, out of, and between airports throughout Australia and with overseas regions adjoining Australian airspace," the job description said.

Airservices Australia are looking for new air traffic controllers.
Airservices Australia are looking for new air traffic controllers.

"This is a rewarding role that requires a high level of commitment and responsibility.

"Air traffic controllers are based around the country and work in one of our two major centres in Melbourne or Brisbane, two terminal control units or 28 control towers at international and regional airports across Australia.

"In addition to the daily management of routine air traffic, controllers also provide information and assistance to pilots if they experience an in-flight emergency."

Last week, passengers at Sydney Airport faced extensive domestic flights delays and cancellations due to understaffing at air traffic control.

A spokesman told news.com.au that some services had to be cancelled after fewer air traffic controllers were able to work on a scheduled late shift.

The Airservices Australia spokesman said they were working to get replacement staff in to cover "unexpected staff absences".

Australian air traffic controllers earn on average more than $140,000 a year — but it’s a hard gig to land.
Australian air traffic controllers earn on average more than $140,000 a year — but it’s a hard gig to land.

Last year, Airservices Australia's Charles Robinson, who works as air navigation services training manager, had 1180 people apply for its training program, but only 30 were accepted.

"Statistically that's less than 3 per cent of those who apply for the role," he said.

"I think the flying public demand a very high level of safety, and we're very good at our jobs."

In an interview with Stuff, New Zealand's Airways traffic services general manager Tim Boyle said they are also having trouble finding suitable candidates for air traffic control, with a lack of applicants coming forward for the role.

"A lot of different people will have the capabilities - we just don't see enough of them," he said.

In New Zealand, a new controller typically earns more than $95,000 in their first year and experienced controllers can earn up to $180,000 annually. This includes salary, allowances, company superannuation contributions and other payments.

But the lack of controllers in parts of New Zealand has resulted in employees working on scheduled days off, resulting in flight delays and fatigued staff.

Like with New Zealand recruitment, Australian applicants cannot study for the air traffic control test, which often sees just three in 100 pass.

The application starts online, where you will be given a series of tests to assess your logical and numerical reasoning, pattern recognition, processing speed and ability to visualise in three dimensions.

The shape-based questions measure your ability to problem solve, and think conceptually as well as analytically.

Here are four sample questions from the test courtesy of SHL:

How does a six-figure salary sound? Pass this test and you could be the perfect candidate.
How does a six-figure salary sound? Pass this test and you could be the perfect candidate.

Mr Robinson said his job brought different challenges every day, whether it was a closed runway or an emergency of some description.

"If you like doing the same thing repetitively, this is not for you," he told Fairfax Media last month.

If you are still interested and you think you've got what it takes, here are the answers to the questions above:

Answers for the SHL air traffic control sample test.
Answers for the SHL air traffic control sample test.

News.com.au has contacted Air Services Australia for comment.

 

- with Ben Graham



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