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How aerospace and defence companies can evolve their workforce for the future

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by Charlotte Gurney

Like many sectors, aerospace and defence have felt the impact of COVID-19. This has contributed to many of the challenges that already existed in terms of creating resilient and productive future workforces. There is an increasing gap between supply and demand when it comes to talent, especially the kind of innovative and expertise-driven people that a sector like this requires. So, how can aerospace and defence companies looking to plan for the future work to evolve their workforce in the years to come?

Talent challenges for aerospace and defence companies

While COVID-19 has certainly presented recruitment challenges there are many more reasons why aerospace and defence businesses may not currently have the resources they require. Key among these is the poor perception of the sector and the fact that many potential employees are not aware of the opportunities that exist within this industry. Out of 120,000 engineers graduating from European technical universities, only 10,000 of these decide to work within the Aerospace and Defense industries. Based on research by Verein Deutscher Inggenieure (VDI), There is also tight competition for skilled people, especially when it comes to those with digital skills, with tech companies often poaching them first. All too often with aerospace and defence companies the human resources part of the business - whether internal or outsourced - is not fully integrated with strategic management and many organisations have been slow to respond to the need to find new ways of working so as to attract a broader and more diverse candidate crowd.

Evolving workforces for the future

These are some of our tips for aerospace and defence companies keen to upgrade their approach to hiring so as to improve the quality and resilience of future workforces.

Focus on internal people as well as external hires. For businesses currently struggling with a talent gap there may be a solution closer to home. Supporting existing employees with reskilling means that they could meet the requirements for future critical roles without external recruitment being necessary.

Evaluate how the business currently employs talent. For example, is a high percentage of top talent currently assigned to critical roles and is it possible to quickly relocate the best people to strategic projects if necessary?

Improve industry perception. One thing that is being lost in aerospace and defence recruitment is how exciting and impressive a career in this industry can be. Projects often have the cool factor, are cutting edge and involve leadership, teamwork and an innovation-driven culture - and yet this is rarely marketed to potential employees. Integrating this into perceptions of the industry, along with identifying how individual roles contribute to the business’ overall objectives is key to improving perception and hiring prospects.

Making talent management a priority. It’s critical that leadership gets involved, whether that is through mentoring or on a strategic level.

Employing data and analytics to improve hiring approach. Data analysis can be used to create talent heat maps to diversify where companies look for new employees. This kind of focused hiring can create resilient long-term talent pipelines that aren’t available by relying on traditional sources of talent.

Prioritising diversity and inclusion. This is not just a tick box exercise - more diverse workforces tend to deliver better results and a more inclusive approach offers the opportunity for improved outcomes as well as closing talent gaps.

Building more effective workforces requires a shift in thinking, whether that relates to focusing on strategic talent management or integrating data and analytics into the hiring process.

Volt Europe specialise and have the expertise working with companies in IT recruitment solutions within the Aerospace and Defence sectors with a proven track record in delivering the right talent to you.

Contact Volt today to discuss how we can build your workforce today, for the future. 
https://www.voltinternational.com/