Recruitment Trends and Challenges in the Aerospace and Defence Industry

The aerospace and defence industry has long captivated the imagination of those with a passion for exploration, innovation, and technology. From the first powered flight by the Wright brothers to landing on the moon and beyond, the industry has been at the forefront of human achievement and is known for pushing the boundaries of innovation and technology.

Despite the setbacks and operational challenges brought on by the pandemic and ongoing turbulence in global economies, the economic outlook on the aerospace and defence industry are optimistic, expecting annual earnings growth of 12% over the next 5 years. There are also growing trends to watch within the industry such as digital thread and smart factory, aftermarket, advanced air mobility and military capabilities.

To maintain its position at the forefront of progress, the industry heavily relies on a talented, flexible, dynamic workforce. It is more important than ever to consider how to retain talent, and keep teams engaged, developed, and motivated. However, recruiting the right people in this dynamic field comes with its own set of challenges and opportunities as highlighted below:

 Skills Shortage: The industry faces a skills shortage, particularly in fields like engineering and maintenance. Companies are investing in education and training programs to upskill their workforce; however, they may then need to reorganise their team structure and recruit additional team members to backfill the workforce.

Global Competition: The aerospace and defence industry is global, with major players in various countries. Companies must compete not only for talent within their borders but also internationally, making recruitment a highly competitive endeavour.

Technological Advancements: The industry is embracing digitalisation and with this comes the need for skilled professionals. The rapid pace of technological change means that the skills needed today may be different from those needed in years to come.

 Diversity and Inclusion: There is a growing emphasis on diversity in the workplace, both in terms of gender and ethnicity. Companies are actively working to attract and retain a more diverse talent pool, recognising the benefits it brings in terms of creativity and problem-solving.

 Aging Workforce: Professionals in the aerospace and defence industry are approaching retirement age. Succession planning is crucial to ensure that institutional knowledge is passed down and that there are qualified individuals ready to step into leadership roles.

Security clearance: Some roles require security clearances due to the sensitive nature of the work. Obtaining and maintaining these clearances can be time-consuming and may limit the pool of eligible candidates.

Recruitment in the aerospace and defence industry is a complex and dynamic process. As the industry continues to evolve, companies must adapt to emerging trends while addressing unique challenges.

Wallace Hind have experience of working with many of the leading companies in the Aerospace and Defence industry, sourcing candidates for a variety of functions across the board such as Design roles, Maintenance roles including Propulsion, Airframe, Avionics, Weapons, Electrical, Service, Assemblers and MRO Technicians. We pride ourselves on our specialist knowledge and proven experience within this challenging sector.

If you are currently recruiting, have a difficult role to fill or would like an informal chat, contact James Nixon who would be delighted to help. James is a Recruitment Consultant working as part of the engineering team at Wallace Hind. James has an engineering background, having been a propulsion engineer in the Royal Air Force, posted to RAF Wittering 20 sqn working on the Harrier GR7 and T10. He later spent over 20 years in the motor industry in various roles.

James Nixon,, 01604 683 325.

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