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Making room for part-timers in the workplace



Gathering 50 top regional chief HR and senior business leaders at a three-day business retreat forum, the exclusive HR Innovation Leaders' Summit will happen from September 9-11. Get involved.

Corinna Cheang, Jetstar Asia Airways’ head of people, explains how its part-time cabin crew programme helped to attract and retain experienced staff back into the workforce.

When the Jetstar Asia part-time cabin crew programme was first introduced in 2009, it was considered an innovative and bold move in the aviation circles in Singapore. At the time, we were the only local airline in Singapore offering customer service pioneers in the industry a part-time work option.

The objectives behind the programme were three-fold – we wanted to foster a family friendly environment, welcome mothers back into the workplace and allow greater flexibility in the customer service team to support flights.

When the programme was first introduced, the reception was positive, as the airline was able to entice experienced flight attendants from world-class airlines to join us. In that first year, Jetstar Asia had 20 part-timers, most of them mothers.

The age group of the part-time cabin crew was between 30 to 60, and these cabin crew employees were passionate about flying and committed to the highest standards of service. They were genuinely caring and aimed to put a smile on their passengers face every time they travelled.

They were also keen mentors, always ready to raise up the next generation of cabin crew teams to the service standard they were accustomed to.

We wanted to foster a family friendly environment, welcome mothers back into the workplace and allow greater flexibility in the customer service team to support flights.

Since then, the programme has continued to make Jetstar Asia a magnet for experienced cabin crew, who are looking for opportunities to rejoin the workforce and put their skills in customer service and people management to good use.

The flexibility offers part-time cabin crew the autonomy to manage their work schedules and strive for work-life balance. The flying roster afforded back-to-work mothers predictability in their schedules and also met the airline’s need to scale support for flights accordingly.

As a result of the programme, we have also further enhanced our work culture to be more inclusive of our part-time cabin crew. Part-time crews have structured medical and insurance programmes and are involved in our employee wellness programmes and staff recognition schemes.

We also developed a career progression programme for part-time crew as they continue to work with us.

The supportive work environment, fair compensation and job stability offered by the programme, has also stood the test of time and demonstrated relevance and resilience, as our part-time crew have the highest levels of engagement, are fiercely loyal and committed to delivering the highest levels of customer service.

Over the course of this year, the Jetstar people team has taken inspiration from the programme and has built into its recruitment and retention strategy the importance of promoting diversity at work. Across Asia, the people team at Jetstar has also refined our company values to “Celebrate Jetstar”.

Due in part to this, in the past 10 years, Jetstar Asia has earned itself a reputation in the fiercely competitive commercial aviation business as the top-ranking Singapore-based low-cost carrier in Singapore by Skytrax for many years, as well as the AsiaOne’s People’s Choice Award for low-cost carriers in Singapore in 2012 and 2013.

Our efforts to promote greater work-life balance and flexibility at work will continue because we believe a happy and engaged workforce makes happy customers.

Comments from part-time cabin crew:

“Joining Jetstar Asia as a part-timer has provided me the flexibility to balance both my family life, and at the same time, foster a career with the company.”
Serena Mok
Part-time cabin crew

“Excellent flexibility that allows perfect family work balance.”
Felicia Lee
Part-time customer service manager

“I like the part-time scheme very much. It allows me to organise and plan my lifestyle. It’s not restrictive and I truly appreciate the flexibility.”
Justina Wong
Part-time customer service manager

“Being a part-time crew at Jetstar Asia makes me feel good. Jetstar supports and does a great job taking care of all part-timers.”
Au Yong Sek Choon
Part-time cabin crew



Gathering 50 top regional chief HR and senior business leaders at a three-day business retreat forum, the exclusive HR Innovation Leaders' Summit will happen from September 9-11. Get involved.

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