Late last month an article caught my eye about Boeing and Airbus “fighting like hell” for aerospace engineers. It is forecasted that the 2 big airline companies are will need to produce around 20,000 aircraft by 2030, while the recruitment departments are claiming that there is a shortage of qualified personnel to support the workforce that will be needed.
Boeing and Airbus are looking to use social media platforms such as Twitter to initiate interviews with people all over the world, not just people located where these companies currently have a presence. Additionally, Airbus and Embraer SA have launched their own engineering schools. They are giving out scholarships to less fortunate people and are developing the students so that they can be put in the market – whether it is for the larger firms or the smaller firms that they are subcontracting with. Boeing is also working with the Hollywood film industry to improve the image of engineers.
Though I worked in the defense part of the aerospace industry, there has been a common concern for the last 5-10 years about the upcoming brain drain. The age distribution of employees at aerospace companies skews on the more experienced side, reflecting the time periods when there was greater budget allocated to aerospace and defense. I was involved in several initiatives to help retain younger employees, which I think did make a difference in building the community at that time. After the financial crisis, many of the older employees have decided to not retire, pushing the brain drain off a few years.
Having been part of the defense industry, which was shrinking the last few years (and which I think will continue to consolidate), it is promising to hear that is growth in a related industry. And if the commercial aircraft world is in need of engineers, this should be great for both men and women who are looking to move away from pure defense, or are looking for a field to enter.
Although aerospace engineering is one of the fields in engineering the most male dominated (which I can personally attest too), I believe aspiring women engineers should take their ‘good girl’ academic records, as well as passion they may have for aerospace, and position themselves to help fill this excepted workforce gap.