In February of this year the United States’ Government Accountability Office (GAO) reported there was little evidence of a shortage of aviation professionals. Here’s an excerpt from the report:
What GAO Found
GAO analysis found mixed evidence about a current or possible future shortage of aviation professionals. Aerospace engineers have experienced a low unemployment rate — the most direct measure of a labor shortage — and increases in employment suggesting a shortage may exist; however, earnings for the occupation have stayed about the same. Data provide less support for a shortage of aircraft mechanics; while the occupation has had a low unemployment rate, both employment and earnings have stayed about the same, suggesting that demand for this occupation has not outstripped supply.
So, do you agree? Many in our industry have disputed this report.
In this month’s issue of Aircraft Maintenance Technology, we looked into the issue of hiring, recruitment trends, impending work force shortage, along with several interesting happenings in education and training.
Dr. Tara Harl, president of Aviation Workforce Development (AWD), asserts there will not be enough well-qualified, trained, and certified personnel to meet the needs of current and retiring personnel replacements, and that this impending situation cannot be fixed overnight.
Barb Zuehlke spoke with several aircraft maintenance organizations and educational institutions about job prospects, hiring challenges, and what solutions they have to offer. The first response to the hiring question was, yes we are hiring! This was generally followed by a list of experience and qualifications potential employers are requiring. But technical skills are just one of the attributes potential employers are looking for today. John Linn, vice president services and support, Embraer North America, describes the importance of matching potential candidates with his company’s core values to ensure potential candidates fit the company culture.
The rapid pace of advancing technology in aircraft today prompts the question, is the aviation community ready for the challenges the future holds? Jim Sparks, NBAA Maintenance Committee chairman and AMTSociety executive committee, provides some insight in his article titled, “Next Tech for NextGen” and he asserts that “Continuing education is a necessity in our business and if not provided by an employer it becomes the responsibility of the technician to make sure they are capable and qualified for challenges at hand as airworthiness should never be compromised.”
Let us know what your company is doing in terms of hiring additional maintenance technicians or promoting the industry to the next generation of employees; and what are your plans for meeting tomorrow’s technology challenges.