The Grey Hair Dillema
I am writing this blog from the road. Last week we were in Orlando, FL for NBAA-BACE. This week, we are in Jacksonville, FL for the ADMA conference. One topic that has come up again and again during these two weeks has been the difficulty of finding qualified mechanics to fill job openings.
Earlier this morning, I was talking with Chris Holder at Concorde Battery. He is putting together a series of IA seminars for early 2019. He shared a photo of one of last year's IA seminars with us. Looking at the photo, one thing was clearly evident — the room was filled with grey-haired and no-haired individuals. (In my case, it would be a little of both.) I would estimate the average age of attendees was 60.
It is clearly evident that the aviation maintenance workforce is aging. As more and more grey-haired mechanics retire, there is an increased need to fill vacant positions.
Then there's the problem with a limited pool of incoming A&Ps. The number of Part 147 schools has decreased over the past 20 years. In addition, more and more graduates are being recruited by non-aviation industries.
This appears to be a great thing for mechanics. I have heard that many companies are raising pay rates to not only attract new employees, but to keep their current employees from leaving. Benefits seem to be increasing as well.
For maintenance managers, it appears that the old days of just looking through a huge stack of resumes to fill job openings is over. There is an increased need to be more creative in order to fill job openings.
Many "experts" seem to be saying, "The sky is falling — there will be a far greater need for mechanics than will be able to be filled in just a few years. Planes will be sitting on the ground."
This appears to be a hot-button issue in aviation today. Let's see where this leads in the near future.
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