Forecasts call for tens of thousands of new airplanes. The challenge is finding qualified personnel to engineer, build, fly and maintain them.
As the aerospace and defense industry gathers at Farnborough, multiple signals are pointing to a robust recovery in air travel demand, an enduring need for defense capabilities, and growing excitement in space exploration. A major challenge in front of the industry is recruiting and developing a workforce to support that demand, now and into the future.
The numbers are massive just within commercial aviation. Here at the Farnborough Airshow, Boeing is releasing a new market outlook that projects operators ordering more than 40,000 new commercial airplanes over the next 20 years. To fly and maintain that growing global commercial fleet, the industry has a great and growing need for new pilots, maintenance technicians and cabin crewmembers.
In an industry primed for competition, it’s imperative that companies share successes and engage in collective efforts to strengthen the global talent pipeline. The future of aerospace depends on greater educational outreach and recruitment, new pathways to aviation careers, and more efficient training methods.
Boeing is facing into the same challenge. With aircraft factories, research centres and operations across more than 65 countries, the company is continuously working to attract high-quality, diverse talent, while ensuring its more than 140,000 teammates can have a great life and career. Boeing has tackled this effort by, among other things, encouraging and enabling innovation.
The ingenuity that is encouraged is reflected in emerging capabilities such as the T-7A Red Hawk, an all new advanced pilot training system. Designed on a digital thread with model-based engineering and 3D design tools, the T-7A program has generated a 75% increase in first-time quality and an 80% reduction in assembly hours. A Boeing team is leveraging a similar approach in developing the Airpower Teaming System – a new uncrewed aircraft that uses artificial intelligence to provide a force multiplier – for the Royal Australian Air Force.
Additionally, Boeing teams are working to advance the industrywide goal of making aviation more sustainable for the long term. This includes helping to scale the use of sustainable aviation fuels, testing hydrogen as a renewable energy on future aircraft, and developing autonomous and electric air taxis.
To further attract and retain talent, Boeing invests in and rewards its workforce with world-class compensation and benefits that include comprehensive healthcare and wellness programmes, generous paid time off, retirement plans and much more.
As an example, Boeing offers tuition assistance for employees to study at more than 300 partner colleges and universities. The company invests more than $70 million annually in this “Learning Together Program,” empowering employees to grow and develop through professional certifications, individual courses, certificate programmes and degrees. Teammates can take classes to strengthen capabilities in their current role or explore new areas of interest. The programme even covers part of the cost of obtaining a pilot’s licence.
The company also supports nearly 200 professional organisations and external technical affiliations around the world. Participation in conferences such as the International Aerospace Quality Group and Women in Aviation International is designed to recruit a team that reflects the communities in which teammates live and work.
The power of speaking and listening to others cannot be underestimated. A year ago, Boeing introduced a program to encourage all employees to “Seek, Speak & Listen” as a way to build stronger teams and achieve better business outcomes. Since then, 85% of teammates surveyed reported using the habits in their daily interactions and 73% feel the habits are helping their team achieve outcomes such as improved performance, safety, and quality.
These and other efforts will be required as the aerospace industry navigates the global recovery and builds on the health, safety and prosperity of the aviation ecosystem. With its multifaceted approach, Boeing looks to hire more engineers, mechanics, and other experts to help protect, connect and explore our world and beyond. Visit boeing.com/careers to learn more.