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Building the Workforce Part III

Technician Shortage Expected as Early as This Year

  • Increasing demand leads to hiring recovery
  • MRO workforce cuts minimal compared to other sectors
  • Key people abandoning the industry
  • Covid is cyclicality reminder making others leave
  • Shift in demand may make recovery harder to predict
  • MRO recruiting efforts succeeding in increasing AMT enrollment
  • Schools will have to produce 2700 new graduates to meet demand
  • Acid test will be 2020 enrollment figures
  • Industry doing poor job of recruiting military, capturing only 10%

Third in a series evaluating workforce needs in different industry sectors.

The technician shortage is expected to re-emerge as early as this year, according to an Oliver Wyman study especially as some unemployed technicians leave the workforce permanently, similar to what has been experienced in the pilot corp covered in the last issue

The good news, MRO workforces were not as devastated as other disciplines and are estimated to be down just about 3%. The recovery, which Oliver Wyman expects in 2023, makes MROs reluctant to lose employees given previous shortfalls.  

And, according to industry-leading placement company JSFirm, hiring has already resumed. Its Hiring Trends Survey of hiring professionals, executives, and business owners indicated over 50% are projecting growth in 2021. Additionally, 66% of those surveyed did not cut any jobs in 2020, despite the pandemic. Furthermore, 33% expected to hire in the second quarter 2021 with pilots, maintenance and avionics techs in highest demand. 

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Airline, Aerospace Make Forbes Diversity List

  • Population declines increases urgency to create new pipelines including immigration
  • American competitiveness at risk
  • Job seekers exclude companies not meeting their diversity goals and will raise diversity issues in interviews
  • A quarter of global companies do not have diversity programs
  • 30 top US employers, including the highly regulated, make compelling business case for including those with criminal records
  • Diversity recruiting experts in high demand
  • New pipeline sources needed, affinity groups recommend partnerships
  • Retention of diverse workforce remains a challenge

Twenty five aviation and aerospace companies made the list of the Forbes America’s Best Employers for Diversity 2021 and top among them was Delta at 112 but besting the Atlanta-based carrier was Raytheon Technologies at 78.

Raytheon topping the list of aerospace companies is no surprise given its strong emphasis on education programs designed to increase those pursuing aviation careers including its recent funding of cybersecurity high school programs. In addition, its subsidiary, Collins Aerospace, is heavily involved in educating the next generation including a mobile STEM lab and generous grants to get computer science curriculum into elementary schools. (See FA/AW News’ Education and Workforce Development Resources for Aviation/Aerospace for details and other corporate programs.)

Population Declines Create New Urgency

Lost in the entire diversity debate is the impact on population declines on fulfilling workforce needs in the future. The Center for Disease Control reports US population fell for the sixth consecutive year in 2020.

“Without raising immigration levels now, the US will no longer be the world’s largest economy,” said a new report from George Mason University. “Expanded immigration will ensure that the US workforce can continue to outperform global competitors. [Otherwise], the US will sacrifice its position as the world’s largest economy by 2030. In fact, if current US population trends continue, the US economy will fall behind China’s by 2030 and be only three-quarters of China’s economy by 2050.”