Future workforce continues to be a hot topic in the aerospace industry. Brooke Weddle, partner at McKinsey, has urged companies to explore new avenues to attract and retain talent.

“We’re seeing several challenges in the industry right now. First, we’re seeing what we call a ‘grey to green’ transition – a lot of retirements are happening in the near future as well as the younger generations are demanding a new workforce and workplace experience. They want more purpose, they want more development, and they want more flexibility,” she commented.

“We’re also seeing a change in skills and capabilities required. The headline is ‘from hardware to software’ – as an example, we’re seeing a greater demand for software engineers and there isn’t enough pipeline for that.”

So, how do we address these challenges? According to Weddle, it is important to diversify your sourcing strategy and look in new places for talent as well as moving beyond a degree being the minimum requirement for entry. “A lot of companies are moving towards skills-based hiring, so think instead of a qualification like a four-year degree, think ‘I have this skill set and that can be validated’, including with advanced technologies like gen AI,” she explained.

Apprenticeships will continue to be a core part of how talent in the industry develops, but it requires a real concerted focus on understanding skills and capabilities as they come into the workforce, and then having a strategy to drive those apprenticeships forward.

“The pandemic acted as an accelerant for greater flexibility, a better experience and an emphasis on wellness and wellbeing in the workforce, and an emphasis on diversity as a way to actually address some of these gaps and look for new solutions,” Weddle confirmed.

“Talent is a true great limiter to performance, so it is a needed act for companies to really think about diversity as a strategy to unleash more power,” she concluded.

Subscribe to the FINN weekly newsletter
You may also be interested in:

Airbus making ‘real strides’ to improve workforce diversity

Global taskforce unveiled to bolster resilience in aviation workforce