Posting in Aerospace
How can the aerospace industry keep talented new recruits in its workforce pool? Offer flexible job assignments and a variety of projects.
How can the aerospace industry keep talented new recruits in its workforce pool? Offer flexible job assignments and a variety of projects, according to the "2009 Survey of Aerospace Student Attitudes."
The survey culled the attitudes last spring of 600 aerospace engineering sophomores and seniors at 23 schools across the country. An overwhelming majority of the respondents were male (80 percent), U.S. citizens (96 percent) and Caucasian (73 percent).
Among the survey's findings:
- The students selected salary, excitement, location and work/life balance as the four most important job attributes. While they felt that the aerospace industry compared more favorably on aspects of salary and excitement, they felt it compared less favorably on location and work/life balance.
- Students expect significant mobility, moving jobs and even changing careers as often as every year or two.
- 47 percent of students expect to gain new engineering responsibility every year or less.
- Over 70 percent of students want to work for different companies or organizations over the course of their careers.
When presenting the findings this month, Annalisa Weigel of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, who is also an assistant professor of aeronautics and astronautics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said:
"These data are indicative of the values and desires of the millennial workforce, those workers born between 1981 and 2000. Their desires -- from what they value, to how they expect to work -- do not clearly align with the traditional aerospace industry. In order to attract a vibrant future workforce, the aerospace industry will need to change perceptions of what it has to offer. In addition, we saw that experiences at college can have a small negative influence on aerospace students' attitudes about the industry, so there is work to do in the academic higher education arena as well. Balancing the next generation's desires with the demands of the workplace will require commitment from the entire aerospace community, but we believe this survey aids in the important first step of recognizing the gap."
Image: National Aerospace Plane program / Courtesy of NASA Langley Research Center
Apr 20, 2010
@andrew.nusca Entitlement seems like such a fleeting concept. As a living entity you are entitled to live but that same entity in a war zone may not see the next day. If you work for a company, you would expect to be paid for work done, which usually happens. As an independent consultant you may be entitled to get paid for work done but some clients do not share this view. If you work for a company that has a benefits package, you may be entitled to that package after working for a short time (say 3 months to a year). In each case it is a struggle and there is no guarantee that you will be entitled to stuff. My previous comments were not intended to debase millennials. Maybe the survey was not statistically accurate. Maybe by changing jobs every 2 years Millenials will kick executives and managers of companies into changing their habits towards better treatment of employees. Boomers are no angels. They are responsible for the fast-fast-short-short society, excessive executive bonuses, layoffs, dotcom bubble, financial crises, what have you. I have worked for 25 years and the only entitlement I seek is to get paid for work done. My off-duty time is where I pursue personal entitlements.
Being in the aerospace industry for the past 24 yrs,I think the students have a real good idea of how the aerospace business is(after looking at my resume,it has been on average every 2 yrs I had to find another job due to turn over in the economy.)Airline restructuring and so forth.And airlines do not pay well for working a grave yard shift.Not for the maintenance side of things anyway.
There will be a massive interest if we switch to the Flying Saucer Technology. Sure, it will not be as impressive as a One Billion Dollar noisy rocket, as trhere will be no smoke and pollution but you will be able to go on a moment's notice anywhere in our Solar System. It will be safe wauy to travel to the Moon and Mars. Visit Europe to see if it can be mined. Young Astronauts will learn more and do more for science than old Propulsion Engineers. Imagine, pushing a dangerous object, like a comet, into Jupiter. The technolgy has more spin-offs than you can imagine, every spin-off is a new industry. I have suggested Nasa to pay me my fee if they want to keep it in America ( including Canada, I am Canadian). Whoever rules Space, rules the World. Who will put the (alarm) bell on the Cat (Nasa)? Google > One Terminal Capacitor Joseph...
ion_tichy, you discuss "instant gratification" and "lack of commitment," but fail to address a related phenomenon: entitlement. Isn't that, too, a two-way street connecting Boomers and Millennials?
It is a 2-way street. The new recruits should be far more committed to their first jobs in order to build their technical knowledge, experience, people skills, and understanding of the aerospace industry. This idea of moving jobs every year or 2, as well as gaining new engineering responsibility every year or less shows the desire for instant gratification, lack of patience, lack of commitment, and lack of reality. In the high technology environment, projects can take up to several years to complete. Similarly, failure analysis can take 2-3 years followed by the time required for implementation of recommendations. Take the example of airplane accidents or even the 2 Space Shuttle accidents (STS-51L/STS-25, STS-107). As large systems (IT, Telecom, Aircraft, Spacecraft, Chemical Processing Plants, etc) grow in complexity, so does the requirement for problem-solving, good design skills, solid knowledge, patience, perserverance, and the ability to recover from a bad experience. These do not come overnight, or in one or 2 years in a particular job function. So, who will do this work if all of these millenials are moving around every year ? What is sad is that millenials have grown up in an age of TV, Internet and handheld gadgets that provide them instant access to their desires, and this directly matches the findings of the survey above. Take these things away, and then see if they can function. I would rather have 10 engineers with solid experience and commitment to an endeavor, rather than 100 nomads who will pack up and bolt at the first sign of difficulty. Sorry for the ramblings of a disillusioned "old" engineer.