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From Workforce 2022 Guide


In Workforce Development & Diversity Prioritization


The Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) released their 2021 Aerospace & Defense Workforce Study on November 2nd, which was conducted in collaboration with Ernst & Young LLP (EY US). The report, which includes analysis from 33 companies representing over 950,000 employees across the globe, outlines progress in workforce development and diversity and areas of opportunity in which additional progress can be made.

“This workforce study provides data-driven insights that can help us benchmark where we are as an industry so we can chart a course to where we want to go next and in the future,” said Eric Fanning, AIA president and CEO. “The results of this survey showcase positive trends that indicate, despite the pandemic, we’re making exceptional progress in workforce development and diversity. This is exciting news because the aerospace and defense industry is at its best when we have diverse, talented people with different experiences driving innovation and our competitive edge.”

“We believe this study’s findings will help employers across the A&D industry continue to make the progress required to accelerate innovation.”
­— Dan Dumbacher, Executive Director, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics

Some key findings include:

  • Positive Trends in Employee Demographics — Although the A&D workforce is less diverse than the overall U.S. labor force, year-over-year trends indicate various key metrics are moving in a positive direction. The representation of women and Black employees at the executive level has increased consistently for the past several years.
  • Innovative Recruiting Efforts to Increase Diversity in Talent Pipelines — Not only have A&D companies been responsive to calls to action relating to social justice, but they have also invested resources into the attraction and recruitment of diverse candidates. From new partnerships with Minority-Serving Institutions to intentional promotion and success plans that prioritize equity and inclusion, companies are working to address DE&I at all levels of business.
  • Reimagining the Future of Work — The 2021 Workforce Study was able to capture employee sentiment around the nature of work and its impact on employee experience. While COVID-19 reinforced A&D as a critical industry, it also created opportunities for the industry to increase flexibility and offer new solutions for employees that increased employee satisfaction.
  • New & Differentiated Products — This year’s study not only produced the standard whitepaper, but also a publicly available dashboard to engage with the A&D industry and dig deeper into the data collected. This data will aid in peer benchmarking and talent attraction, and provide a baseline for the industry’s continued future progress.
  • Scope & Breadth of Methodology — The process behind this year’s workforce is more clearly defined than ever before. The AIA and AIAA committed to providing data-driven insights that were representative of the industry. This study also gave validity to the industry’s overall commitment to data transparency and talent analytics, and subsequently using both to improve employee experience.

“It is vital for us to understand the demographics and dynamics of the dedicated people who make up the A&D workforce. They are the most technically proficient, professionally equipped, and culturally diverse workforce on the planet,” said Dan Dumbacher, AIAA executive director. “Through this study, we received valuable inputs about the talent pipeline from several academic institutions. We gained a better perspective on how the A&D community can better support STEM education and promote the industry’s diverse career paths. We believe this study’s findings will help employers across the A&D industry continue to make the progress required to accelerate innovation. This timely and robust information will help us continue our work shaping the future of aerospace.”

“We are excited to have collaborated with AIA-AIAA on this study and we are excited to see how this research will promote a diverse workforce across this important industry,” said Steve Fuller, partner, People Advisory Services, EY US. 

Mark Arend
Editor Emmeritus of Site Selection magazine

Mark Arend

Mark Arend is editor emeritus of Site Selection, and previously served as editor in chief from 2001 to 2023. Prior to joining the editorial staff in 1997, he worked for 10 years in New York City at Wall Street Computer Review, ABA Banking Journal and Global Investment Technology. Mark graduated from the University of Hartford (Conn.) in 1985 and lives near Atlanta, Georgia.


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