Aerospace and Defense Industry: Hiring Trends
The disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have encouraged the US aerospace and defense industry to reimagine talent management. The companies in the industry are focusing on the existing challenge of boosting their technical and digital skills. More trends on the topic have been presented below, along with an outline of the research strategy.
Trend #1 — Searching Top Digital Talent
- Since the aerospace and defense industry relies on the most advanced scientific expertise and technologies, the companies in the industry are focusing on hiring top digital talent.
- The leaders in this sector acknowledge that having additional skills in rapidly evolving technologies, such as advanced analytics and automation, is very important for the future competitiveness of the industry. The industry is also looking forward to solving its remote working issues caused by the pandemic by hiring new talent in the tech sector.
- In addition to the pandemic and the technological developments, the need for finding top digital talent in the industry is also driven by the fact that the companies in the industry have lesser workers with digital and analytics skills. According to a survey of US industry executives and an analysis of nearly 1.5 million job postings and employee profiles, only 30-43% of the employees in the US aerospace and defense industry possess digital and analytics skills, when "compared with 62% at tech companies."
Trend #2 —Developing New Strategies for Hiring Top Talent
- Due to the high demand for top digital talent, the US aerospace and defense industry is facing many challenges while hiring new employees with digital and analytics skills. In order to overcome such challenges, the industry is developing new strategies.
- Large technology companies, blue-chip companies, and start-ups have an ever-growing interest in digital talent. Therefore, the aerospace and defense industry is "competing against an increasingly diverse set of employers."
- In addition to the competition, the industry is also facing hiring issues caused by the lack of qualified talent. Several major aerospace and defense companies are headquartered in the greater Washington, DC area. According to a survey conducted by McKinsey in collaboration with the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA), the demand for tech talent in the area exceeds the supply by a ratio of nearly 2:1.
- A majority of the companies in the survey expect the digital trends in the industry to bring a positive impact. However, they feel that they are unprepared to face the digital trends.
- According to the same survey, almost 50% of the responding companies in the US aerospace and defense industry "list tech and advanced-electronics companies as their biggest competitors for talent, reflecting the increasing overlap between skills needed in the tech industry and those required in A&D."
- The development of new and effective strategies for hiring top digital talent in the US aerospace and defense industry is driven by all the aforementioned challenges, such as high competition and lack of qualified talent. The industry is increasing the strategic requirements of HR to overcome these challenges.
- The companies in the industry are improving their talent-engagement strategies to remain competitive. According to the survey, around 50% of the companies confidently feel that their new approach to talent engagement and management will help them to outperform their competition in the next five years.
Trend #3 — Negative Candidate Sentiment Towards the Industry
- The sentiment of the candidates and prospective employees towards the US aerospace and defense industry is quite negative. The negative sentiment towards the industry is driven by the fact that many candidates believe that the sector does not offer sufficiently exciting opportunities and career development paths.
- Even the company executives in the industry believe that their organizations are not very effective in finding and allocating talent.
- In a survey of US aerospace and defense industry executives, 39% of the respondents agreed that "providing compelling careers is the biggest challenge to developing and retaining talent." The respondents also believe that their organizations are slow in allocating talent and have a bureaucratic approach.
- The candidates often look for opportunities to put in and develop their digital skills quickly, and they don't want to wait for a long time to rise through organizational ranks. Therefore, the inability of the organizations in the US aerospace and defense industry to allocate top talent quickly is one of the factors preventing them from attracting top workforce entrants.
- A report called the Aviation Week Network’s 2019 Workforce Study Report was released in September 2019. The study was "conducted in partnership with the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA), American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), and PwC." The report also presents some insights and trends related to the topic.
- According to the report, the companies in the US aerospace and defense industry increased their hiring beyond the expectations in 2018. This trend was driven by higher production in manufacturing and the requirement for expertise in emerging technological sectors, including autonomy and AI.
- In 2019, the companies in the industry planned to hire 55,000 to 75,000 talents or more. Instead of focusing only on traditional manufacturing skills, they also focused on software and model-based engineering skills.
- More interest was seen in aerospace and defense careers in 2019 "as 55% of black students, 49% of Hispanic/Latino students, and 48% of female students expressed an interest." Among the surveyed sophomore college students, 72% of the respondents were interested in aerospace and development industry careers.
We started the research by searching for some trends in the US aerospace and defense industry that are specific to hiring and candidate sentiment. After extensive research, we were able to find a report published by McKinsey in collaboration with the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) that discussed the latest developments in the US aerospace and defense industry's workforce. The report also discussed some trends related to hiring and candidate sentiment that many companies in the US aerospace and defense industry were following. Since the trends were supported with data and statistics, corroborated across other reports, and published by credible organizations, we decided to include the trends in the research. We also found some older US-specific insights and trends (from 2019) that were supported by statistics and published by credible organizations. Therefore, we have included older insights and trends in the research as additional information. In this way, we were able to find all the required information.