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Lingering effects of pandemic, “great resignation,” and employee engagement remain concerns for A&D companies as they seek to improve benefits to employees

Arlington, Va. (Oct. 19, 2022) – The Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) today released the 2022 Aerospace & Defense Workforce Study, conducted in collaboration with Ernst & Young LLP (EY US). This year’s survey, which includes analysis from over 30 aerospace and defense (A&D) companies representing about 850,000 employees globally, highlights the talent challenges they seek to address and benchmarks the industry’s ongoing efforts to meet workforce demand.  

“The aerospace and defense industry relies on a vibrant highly skilled workforce to maintain our competitive edge. On the heels of the pandemic and the Great Resignation, the industry has had to rethink its approach to recruiting and retaining the best and the brightest,” said Eric Fanning, President and CEO of AIA. “Our annual workforce survey shows that our industry continues building on innovative strategies to navigate the talent challenges they face today and provides actionable data-driven insights to support and develop the workforce of tomorrow.” 

Key findings include: 

  • Employee retention is a growing challenge – Overall turnover across the A&D industry, amid an already tight labor market, rose to 7.1% in 2022 from 5.7% last year. Not only has inflation increased supply chain and operating costs, but it has also driven employees’ desire for wage increases. Seventy-eight percent of responding companies cited employees seeking opportunities for higher pay as a primary cause of higher attrition. 
  • Companies are meeting employees’ wishes for more opportunity and more flexible work models – Despite operations that are not always compatible with remote work, 65% of A&D organizations reported the successful use of flexible work options for employees, such as hybrid models, four-day workweeks and staggered hours.  
  • Demographic diversity is trending upward as industry prioritizes DEI – In 2022, the A&D industry saw incremental improvement in representation across all racial and ethnic identities, as well as from women. Companies are leveraging efforts such as employee resource groups, pay-gap reporting and cultural month celebrations to appeal to potential employees, engage diverse populations and improve workplace culture. 
  • Organizations are beginning to focus on developing the workforce of today and tomorrow – A&D companies are exploring ways to build a strong talent pipeline by collaborating with educational institutions, investing in youth and next-generation education, and creating hands-on internship and leadership programs. At the same time, they are equipping current employees with the skills needed now by increasing access to learning and development opportunities, particularly for key technical competencies such as cybersecurity and data analytics – and finding success. 

“While it’s no surprise that the sector is feeling the headwinds from talent shortage, I see this as an opportune time for companies to turbocharge their talent transformation efforts to address the immediate challenge while building the workforce of the future,” said Raman Ram, EY Americas Aerospace & Defense Leader. “Building a dynamic workforce through re-skilling and education investments will allow the industry to meet the expected surge in demand and shift in capabilities required.” 

“The A&D industry has made progress implementing impactful talent strategies, starting from the ground up,” said Dan Dumbacher, AIAA Executive Director. “Through this study, we can see where meaningful action has influenced the future of the aerospace and defense workforce. We believe the study’s findings will help employers across the industry continue to make the needed innovative and progressive steps forward.” 

“We are excited to continue our collaboration with AIA and AIAA on this annual study, and we are thrilled to see how the research will be used to enhance digital transformation and workforce development across this critical industry,” said Steve Fuller, Partner, People Advisory Services, EY US. 

A PDF of the white paper can be found here, and an infographic can be found here.


About AIA

For more than 100 years, the American aerospace and defense industries have shaped the world around us in countless ways with immeasurable impact. The Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) has been that voice since 1919. Our work as an advocate and convener is essential to shaping policy, shedding light on the industry’s impact and empowering its future. Together, we advocate for effective federal investments; accelerated deployment of innovative technologies; policies that enhance our global competitiveness; and recruitment and retention efforts that support a capable and diverse 21st century workforce.

About AIAA 

The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) is the world’s largest aerospace technical society. With nearly 30,000 individual members from 91 countries, and 100 corporate members, AIAA brings together industry, academia, and government to advance engineering and science in aviation, space, and defense. For more information, visit or follow AIAA on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram.

Media Contact: Rebecca B. Gray, [email protected], 804-397-5270 (cell)

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