Skilled aviation engineering professionals are leaving the sector and moving into industries which have been less impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, according to an industry survey from aviation talent recruitment specialists JMC Recruitment Solutions (JMC).

JMC’s 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 per cent have moved to an industry outside of aviation. Destination sectors included mechanical engineering, building services and IT. The survey highlighted that even before the pandemic, skilled, long-serving workers were exiting the industry. Since the pandemic, engineers have chosen to retire early, which the findings note have also taken out excellent mentors to the next generation in the process. According to JMC’s Survey, 4 per cent of respondents decided to retire.

49 per cent believe aviation offers “less opportunities” post-Covid

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

Pay rates reduced by between 10 and 15 per cent

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 have reduced by between 10 per cent and 15 per cent.

JMC’s survey claims that as the industry begins to recover, 50 per cent of respondents believe that rates of pay will need to return to pre-Covid levels or increase by between 5 and 10 per cent. The industry is starting to witness this already, JMC notes, as airlines rebuild, put aircraft back into service and start recruiting again.

Industry needs to attract new talent and focus on school years

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.

JMC Recruitment Solutions’ Managing Director Hollie Prendergast said: “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,”

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