Shortage of Aviation Techs Likely To Intensify Post-pandemic

 - October 12, 2021, 10:37 AM
Line maintenance personnel inspect a Transavia Superjet 100 following its arrival in Venice, Italy. (Photo: Flickr: Creative Commons (BY-SA) by SuperJet International)

Aviation engineering and technical professionals continue to leave the sector and move into mechanical engineering, building services, IT, and a host of other less Covid-affected industries, according to a newly released survey from Exeter, UK-based aviation recruitment firm JMC Recruitment Solutions (JMC).

Its 2021 Aviation Engineering Professionals Industry Survey polled nearly 4,000 respondents in the UK and across Europe, including B1 & B2 licensed engineers, aircraft fitters/mechanics, and sheet metal workers, to learn that 38 percent have moved to an industry outside of aviation. 

Even before the pandemic, skilled, long-serving workers were leaving the industry, JMC observed. Since the pandemic, engineers have chosen to retire early, taking out mentors to the next generation in the process. Four percent of respondents to JMC’s Survey had decided to retire.

Some 58 percent of respondents believed that Brexit had negatively affected their work options. Of those surveyed, 68 percent worked as contractors, 49 percent of whom felt that the industry post-Covid would offer fewer opportunities. Of the 32 percent surveyed in permanent positions, a further 10 percent sought to leave the industry.

Since April 2020, a dramatic drop in global demand for aviation engineering contractors and new permanent staff has occurred, leading to a significant decline in engaged contractor numbers and cancellations of requisitions for new permanent employees. As a result of the effect on the availability of work and the “just in time” nature of maintenance, pay rates too have fallen by 10 to 15 percent. The JMC survey shows that 50 percent of respondents believe that rates of pay will need to return to pre-Covid levels or increase 5 to 10 percent as the industry begins to recover. As airlines rebuild, put aircraft back into service, and start recruiting again, the phenomenon has already begun to manifest itself, JMC notes.

The report underscores the need to attract new talent into aviation engineering, beginning during school years, and to retain existing skilled professionals as the industry recovers to pre-pandemic levels in 2022 or 2023. 

“The results of this valuable survey will aid understanding into how the pandemic has impacted aviation engineers,” said JMC Recruitment Solutions’ managing director Hollie Prendergast. “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.”