31,800 Jobs Added by Aerospace and Defense Companies This Year, But Declines Expected in 2012, Says Aviation Week Workforce Study

Aug. 23, 2011
Penn State and George Mason University grads rank highest for A&D hires.

NEW YORK, Aug. 22, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Aviation Week's 15th annual Workforce and Young Professionals/Student Study, released today, shows that aerospace and defense (A&D) companies will fill 31,800 job openings in 2011, up from 19,500 in 2010. The hiring will slow again in 2012 to 22,000, a decline of more than 30%. Aviation Week's highly regarded Workforce Study, the industry's official report and a mainstay for A&D planning and trend analysis since 1997, identifies trends in technological challenges, leadership, demographics and compensation, and ranks the top universities for A&D recruitment, with Penn State at the top for engineering schools and George Mason University as the top business/finance school this year.

"2011 marks a year of transition for the A&D industry," said Greg Hamilton, president, Aviation Week. "The end of the shuttle era and cutbacks in defense spending are taking place concurrently with a rapid commercial aerospace manufacturing ramp up. While total jobs will rise, significant numbers of high-skill engineering jobs will be at risk, and our aerospace-management customers remain challenged finding key technology-leadership skill sets. Conducting this substantive Workforce Study each year allows Aviation Week to provide essential and actionable analysis for industry executives, professionals, and students."

The 2011 Workforce Study is produced by Aviation Week in collaboration with the industry's top associations, including the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA), American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), National Aeronautical and Space Administration (NASA), and National Defense Industries Association (NDIA), and provides a single source of reliable data that analyzes current A&D workforce issues, trends and opportunities. A new section this year, "10 Hot Jobs," profiles the highest in-demand jobs, such as senior systems engineer, intelligence analyst, and cyber security operations manager, which will require new skills as new technologies, threats and capabilities emerge. Other key highlights include:

  • Retirement rates and voluntary attrition rates among young professionals have declined. At the industry's largest companies, 22% of workers are 35 or younger, nearly matching the 23% who are 56 or older.
  • Companies have closed the age gap, but the gender gap remains. Only 25% of the overall A&D workforce is made up of women, a figure that hasn't budged in a decade.
  • Industry leaders are continuing to invest in research and development (R&D), especially in technology areas such as unmanned vehicles, cyber security and biotechnology. Companies have also raised salaries by 3.2% (versus the national average of 2.25% and 1.7% in the information technology sector) and are providing learning policies and opportunities better aligned with the jobs of tomorrow.
  • In this year's study, employees also ranked the best places to work. For technological challenges, AGI (Analytical Graphics, Inc.) rose to the top. For learning opportunities and career development, Goodrich is the favorite. In terms of respect for the individual, A&D professionals put Boeing in the number-one spot.
  • Young professionals are looking to their corporate leaders, not Congress, to sustain R&D investment and future jobs. 56% of young professionals would recommend the industry to others.

The Workforce Study was launched in 1997 to share information about compensation and job/career opportunities across the industry. Over the past 15 years, the study has grown to include a demographic reflection of the workforce, comparisons with other industry sectors, and identification of key issues and trends that impact the overall health of the industry. In addition, the study includes components designed to provide data on how best to attract, retain and develop the workforce into the future. Findings are based on corporate data from large and small manufacturers that collectively employ more than 90% of U.S. aerospace workers, an Aviation Week user/reader survey, a survey of young professionals, and a survey of engineering students.

More information on the Workforce Study is available in this week's Aviation Week & Space Technology and at http://aviationweek.com/workforce (summary data only; must be an Aviation Week Intelligence Network/AWIN subscriber for full access).

About Aviation Week:

Aviation Week, part of The McGraw-Hill Companies, is the largest multimedia information and services provider to the global aviation, aerospace and defense industries, and includes http://AviationWeek.com, Aviation Week & Space Technology, Defense Technology International, Business & Commercial Aviation, Overhaul & Maintenance, ShowNews, Aviation Daily, Aerospace Daily & Defense Report, The Weekly of Business Aviation, Aviation Week Intelligence Network and MRO Links. The group also produces major events around the world.

About The McGraw-Hill Companies:

Founded in 1888, The McGraw-Hill Companies (NYSE: MHP) is a leading global financial information and education company that helps professionals and students succeed in the knowledge economy. With leading brands including Standard & Poor's, McGraw-Hill Education, Platts energy information services and J.D. Power and Associates, the Corporation has approximately 21,000 employees with more than 280 offices in 40 countries. Sales in 2010 were $6.2 billion. Additional information is available at www.mcgraw-hill.com.

SOURCE Aviation Week