Shortage of skilled aviation engineers a major concern post pandemic

Skilled aviation engineering professionals are leaving the sector and moving into mechanical engineering, building services, IT and a host of other less Coronavirus-impacted industries, a newly launched industry survey from aviation talent recruitment specialists JMC Recruitment Solutions (JMC) highlights.

Its 2021 ‘Aviation Engineering Professionals Industry Survey,’ surveyed nearly 4,000 respondents in the UK and across Europe, in job categories such as B1 & B2 Licensed Engineers, Aircraft Fitters/Mechanics, Sheet Metal Workers, to learn that 38% have moved to an industry outside of aviation.

Even before the pandemic, skilled, long-serving workers were exiting the industry, the Exeter, UK based aviation services talent and recruitment business observed. Since the pandemic, engineers have chosen to retire early, taking out excellent mentors to the next generation in the process. According to JMC’s Survey, 4% of their respondents decided to retire.

Approximately 58% of total respondents believed that Brexit had negatively impacted their work options. Of those surveyed, 68% were engaged as contractors, 49% of which felt that the industry post-Covid would offer less opportunities. Of the 32% surveyed in permanent positions, a further 10% were looking to move away from the industry.

Since April 2020 there has been a dramatic drop in global demand for aviation engineering contractors and new permanent staff, with JMC measuring a significant drop in engaged contractor numbers and requisitions for new permanent heads being cancelled.  As a result of the impact on availability of work and ‘just in time’ nature of maintenance, pay rates too have reduced by between 10% and 15%. Its Survey claims that as the industry begins to recover, 50% of respondents believe that rates of pay will need to return to pre-Covid levels or increase by between 5 and 10%.  The industry is starting to witness this already, JMC notes, as airlines rebuild, put aircraft back into service and start recruiting again.

The report underlines that much work is needed to attract new talent into aviation engineering, which needs to start during school years, as well as helping retain existing skilled professionals, as the industry recovers to pre-pandemic levels, estimated to be in 2022/23.

“The results of this valuable survey will aid understanding into how the pandemic has impacted aviation engineers. It will be a useful tool for us too to understand how we can help industry leaders in building their recovery and growth strategy, as well as advising how to manage attraction and retention of professionals as the industry emerges from the pandemic,” stated JMC Recruitment Solutions’ Managing Director Hollie Prendergast.


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