Building the Workforce Part IV

Global MRO Workforce and Skills Needed For Future

By Kathryn B. Creedy

  • Global MRO employment down 3.5% to 385,000 employees working for more than 4,900 firms in the civil maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) market at the start of 2021
  • Increased government spending on education needed
  • US competitiveness at risk
  • Schools need modern avionics, engines to deliver workforce industry needs
  • Numerous industry workforce development programs making a difference

This article is fourth in a series assessing workforce needs in different industry sectors. Parts One and Two dealt with manufacturing. Part III covered the impact of Covid on the MRO industry.

Credit: Tulsa Tech

By the Numbers

Globally, employment was at 385,000 employees working for more than 4,900 firms in the civil maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) market at the start of 2021, down only 3.5% from the beginning of 2020, according to a recent Oliver Wyman study. In the US, there are more than 4,000 firms with nearly 185,000 employees in the civil MRO market, 5% fewer than at the start of 2020.

"While the impact of the crisis remains severe, recovery does now appear to be underway," said the company in a newer report. "Two-thirds of respondents expect MRO demand to recover to 2019 levels in 2022 or 2023, in line with Oliver Wyman’s forecast of fleet recovery to pre-pandemic levels in 2022 with MRO following closely. Notably, airline respondents generally expect a slightly earlier recovery than MRO respondents. Regionally, Western European survey respondents were more pessimistic than respondents in North America and other parts of the world on how long recovery will take."

On of the few projections for the technician workforce available is Boeing's Pilot and Technician outlook, which last year, predicted a need for 739,000 by 2039.

Key Concerns

NAVEO Consultancy Managing Director Richard Brown worries about the people lost, especially those in who have experienced previous downturns.


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Published by Kathryn B. Creedy

Kathryn B. Creedy is a veteran aviation journalist and communications strategist. My byline has appeared in CNN Travel, The Points Guy, BBC Capital, Los Angeles Times, Forbes Online, The Washington Post, Flyer Talk, Business Traveler, Business Travel Executive, Afar, Flightglobal, Centre for Aviation, Aviation Week & Space Technology, Low Fare & Regional Airlines, Inflight, Business Airports International, Airports, Centerlines, Regional Gateway, Runway Girl Network and Metropolitan Airport News among others. In 2018, I was cited for the Sapphire Pegasus Business Aviation Award for her work as a business aviation journalist. Created four newsletters, including two web publications Author: Time Flies - The History of SkyWest Airlines. Consistently received bonuses or commendations throughout my career. Founded Commuter/Regional Airline News, building it to become the bible of the industry. Co-founded C/R Airline News International to cover Europe. Founding editor of Aviation Today's Daily Brief, VLJ Report. Founding Senior Analyst North America for Centre for Aviation and North American Editor for Low Fare & Regional Airlines and Inflight. Key Words: Aviation, travel, business jets, commercial, aircraft, airlines, publishing, public relations, corporate communications, media specialist,

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