United to hire thousands in Chicago as the airline looks to continue adding employees

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United Airlines plans to hire 15,000 employees this year, with the largest group of new jobs in Chicago, as part of ongoing efforts to bring in tens of thousands of new workers in the coming years.

The Chicago-based carrier is looking to add 3,800 new hires in its home city, including roles at O’Hare International Airport and the corporate office.

The carrier is also looking to hire at its other major U.S. hubs, including 2,300 people in Denver and 2,100 in Houston.

United hired 15,000 employees nationwide last year, and is on track to add 50,000 through 2026. The carrier is looking for roles including pilots, technicians, flight attendants, airport agents and corporate jobs, said Kate Gebo, executive vice president for human resources and labor relations.

Pilots have been an acute need for the industry, but maintenance technicians are on track to be the next big hiring need, Gebo said. Some 40% to 50% of United’s technicians are eligible for retirement, though there is no mandatory retirement age for the role.

United, which announced in 2021 it would purchase 270 new planes, expects to hire more than 7,000 maintenance technicians by 2026 to support the new aircraft. The carrier last year began an apprenticeship program intended to boost and diversify mechanics in the pipeline.

Digital technology roles are also a key focus for the airline, Gebo said, following layoffs by major tech companies like Meta, formerly known as Facebook, and Google. The carrier has hired more than 120 digital technology workers who came from major tech companies, United executives said.

The majority of the company’s technology hiring is in Chicago and Houston. United expects to hire between 350 and 400 tech roles in Chicago, spokesman David Gonzalez said.