Reaching for the stars
Reaching for the stars
Insight

Reaching for the stars

Aerospace and defense firms step up hiring of engineers and skilled workers

If you’re an engineer or other skilled worker who wants to reach for the stars, now’s your time.

With an increasing federal defense budget and growing demand for commercial airliners, companies like Northrop Grumman Corp., Lockheed Martin Corp., Boeing Co., and Raytheon Co. are looking to add to their workforces to meet this demand.

In addition to engineers, these companies are also looking for workers with experience in software, artificial intelligence, autonomy, cybersecurity, electrical and rocket-power systems, as well as data analytics.

As I mentioned in a recent article in The Los Angeles Times, “As bombers and supersonic transports near the runway, aerospace hiring heats up,” the hiring doesn’t compare with levels of the 1980s, when the country was in the midst of the Cold War and its aftermath. But still, an uptick.

According to sources cited in the article, the industry will hire about 60,000 people next year, up from 50,000 hires industrywide last year.

In addition to having to search for qualified candidates, aerospace and defense companies face a challenge they didn’t have in the last decades of the 20th century: an increasingly competitive market for specialized talent as tech companies like Google and Amazon also look for engineers with skills in software and artificial intelligence.

As the article points out, the increase in hiring is being fueled by the Trump administration’s increases to the national defense budget, which at $716 billion for fiscal year 2019-20 is a 2.2% percent rise from 2018-19. That follows a 10.5% increase from 2017-18 to 2018-19. Likewise, government programs like the stealth B-21 bomber, NASA’s low-boom supersonic X-plane, and hypersonic missile research are forcing companies to expand their workforce.

That means defense and aerospace companies are trying out new and creative strategies to attract employees, such as social media accounts devoted to recruiting. They are also blitzing college campuses to attract young talent.

You can read the entire LA Times article here.

Of course, hiring isn’t the only challenge facing aerospace and defense executives. Some other key issues include increased competition; ever-evolving industry structure; the rise in cyber threats; the impact of automation and cognitive computing; and a myriad of workforce challenges.

KPMG helps aerospace and defense executives meet these challenges of today, while keeping their eyes keenly focused on the horizon for emerging opportunities.

To learn more, visit us here.