The aerospace and defense industry faces a unique set of challenges when recruiting talent. From DEI initiatives to flexible working, learn how to tackle these issues and find success in 2023.

The aerospace and defense industries (A&D) have remained competitive for decades thanks to their commitment to innovation and efficiency. But with the focus shifting from maintaining hardware to providing software solutions, recruitment challenges have arisen that the industry will need to address to stay ahead of the game. In this post, we’ll look at some of the most pressing issues impacting recruitment in A&D and offer strategies for success.

challenges facing aerospace and defense manufacturers

One of the biggest challenges facing A&D is cost containment. Current market conditions and lingering supply chain disruptions from COVID-19 mean companies are cautious about investing large sums in long-term projects. As a result, they’re making fewer resources available to find and hire new talent.

Another issue impacting recruitment is the shortage of qualified engineers (software and hardware) who can work on cutting-edge projects. Rapid advances in technology — McKinsey & Co. estimate that the complexity of the software in aerospace systems is doubling every four years or so — require personnel with specialized skills who may not be available locally. Additionally, A&D companies face fierce competition to recruit digital talent from advanced electronics and technology companies.

Lastly, there’s the challenge of finding personnel who understand the unique demands of the aerospace and defense industries — both in terms of the technical aspects of each position and understanding how to successfully navigate these highly regulated, security-focused fields.

strategies for successful recruitment

Recruiting great employees is essential to the success of any A&D company. Here are five tips for finding the best talent for your organization.

  1. Implement diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives: Younger workers, in particular, are increasingly drawn to inclusive and diverse workplaces where everyone feels welcomed and respected regardless of their background and identity. However, the low number of women and black, indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) in A&D relative to other industries is well-documented. With targeted efforts such as specialized recruitment channels and mentorship programs, you can attract, hire and retain these underrepresented but highly skilled demographics.
  2. Prioritize skills-based hiring: A focus on skills-based hiring will help you get the right people in the right roles — fast. This means looking beyond just experience gained in the aerospace and defense industries, and seeking out talent that can add value regardless of their background. It also means not getting too hung up on a candidate’s years of experience in an industry or role. Relevant experience from other industries may be just as valuable and will also help you build a more diverse workforce.
  3. Treat candidates like customers: Candidates are looking for roles and experiences they believe will provide them with value and workplaces where they will be valued. By treating candidates with respect and consideration, A&D companies can demonstrate their commitment to creating a positive work environment. This includes providing clear communication, responding promptly to inquiries and being transparent about expectations and job requirements.
  4. Boost your employee value proposition: A strong EVP is critical to recruiting top talent in a competitive market. This includes offering competitive salaries and benefits but also non-financial incentives such as career development opportunities, on-site amenities and rewards and recognition programs.
  5. Encourage employee referrals: This is a tried and true way to recruit new talent since referrals often come from trusted sources who can vouch for candidates’ skills and qualifications. Offer bonuses or gift cards to incentivize current employees to refer talented individuals in their network.

last but not least: work with a strategic partner

Not all A&D companies are well-known to candidates. So it makes sense to work with a strategic partner that has already done the hard yards in building large networks of engineering talent. Reach out to Randstad today to learn how we can deliver value for A&D employers.