As we return to normality, what does the future look like for graduate engineers in commercial aerospace?
COVID and the Aerospace Industry
COVID’s impact on the aerospace industry should be clear to us all by now. The 70% drop-off within the first three months has had a lasting effect on flight carriers and aerospace production companies.
According to the government report above, 33,500 people were made redundant by 1st July 2020. Airbus alone predicted a reduction of 15,000 positions by 2021, 1,700 of which were in the UK. This is just one example of what happened across manufacturers and flight carriers worldwide, and will likely take many years to overcome.
The Future of Aerospace
Looking ahead, we can understand this impact in two related ways. First, the aerospace job market has far fewer people than ever before, as many redundant workers, understandably, went elsewhere. Many companies were forced to get rid of skilled workers due to major restructuring efforts designed to preserve the business. In turn, this means there is much less demand on the job market.
As a result, many companies are looking towards new graduates to fill these empty positions as they once again become available. While graduate workers are nothing new, there has never before been a time when the job market was so freely available to them.
But what does this mean in real terms? Perhaps most importantly, it should mean greater access to specialist positions rather than working up through a company. For many graduates, this is an attractive prospect.
Also, it should mean a faster route into employment. While it will still be a competitive market, graduates will hopefully be able to step straight into a role rather than waiting around for one to become available. And, if aerospace gets back on track in the way we predict, this should happen quite quickly.
Alongside recovering from order backlogs, many aerospace companies used the pandemic as breathing room to focus on new technologies. Whether this is flexible cabin setups or clean fuel, we are on the verge of an aerospace revolution.
Hopefully, this will translate into not just replacement jobs, but new graduate roles entirely. Switching to hydrogen fuel or a similar alternative will take plenty of research and development, and is hopefully a wave graduates can ride.
Adjusting to New Working
The pandemic has forced many industries to rethink their working practices and adjust to backlogs and worker shortages. While it is unfortunate that so many people lost their jobs during the early stages, we can only hope that the aerospace industry bounces back better than before.
But, one positive within this is the effect it will have for graduate roles. Entering the workplace in the wake of the pandemic will present challenges, but hopefully they will be ones that graduates can overcome with ease.