The aerospace industry in America continues to grow and develop. As the economy has rebounded, the aerospace industry has been slingshot ahead of the manufacturing sector as a whole. A rebound in the aerospace industry means rebounds for other industries as well – aerospace manufacturing needs plenty of help from firms outside of the industry, from parts to service. This rebound can be seen in numbers such as government spending, where aerospace spending has increased 38 percent since the economic recession.
Unfortunately, the aerospace industry is not all golden. The workforce is having issues catching up to the jobs that are needed, with many areas seeing a severe lack of the necessary skills and degrees. For instance, in a report released earlier this year, a survey of 830 companies expressed a need for 100 industrial engineers, but with only 11 of them even available for higher in the area. There was also a gap between needed material engineers and available material engineers. However, there was an excess of mechanical and electrical engineers.
It’s not just the degree-track jobs that suffer shortages either. Machinists and assemblers are also lacking, two extremely important jobs that are essential to the finished product. It’s not for a lack of salary, either – the average aerospace worker makes over $22,000 per year more than the overall median.
So what can we do to address these issues in the aerospace industry? Much of its starts early, by demonstrating that a career in the aerospace industry can be an achievable target, and showing interested youth the path to reach such a career. This includes improving the science, technology engineering and mathematics (STEM) curriculum in middle and high schools, as well as urging interested students to move towards vocational schooling. Beyond that, it can also mean manufacturers may need to provide more incentive for properly qualified workers to move throughout the nation as needed.
At WichiTech, located in Baltimore, Maryland, we are part of the aerospace industry with many of our largest customers being major aerospace companies. Our repair system is integral in keeping planes in the air, and needs knowledgeable and trainable users to operate it. Getting more people interested in careers within the industry helps us, as well as the many other companies across Maryland that rely on the industry for support.