The Future Looks Bright for Aviation Mechanics
In celebration of National Aviation Day, we’re highlighting the profession of aviation mechanics. Aviation mechanics — or A&P mechanics — experienced one of the most tumultuous years in recent memory. The COVID-19 pandemic brought travel restrictions and the number of commercial flights plummeted. Reduced commercial and business travel led to furloughs and other workforce reductions.
Eased regulations and travel restrictions have provided a boost for commercial travel in 2021. We haven’t returned to normal, but major airlines like United are confident that travel will return to pre-COVID-19 levels — evidenced by their recent order of 270 Boeing and Airbus jets.
Commercial flights aren’t the only drivers of aviation’s resurgence. UPS is predicting that online shopping will increase by 13% in 2021.
We recently spoke with Business Development Executive Damien Dominguez who has extensive experience in the aviation industry and over 20 year of experience in recruiting. He provided a few additional reasons aviation mechanics should be optimistic about their future.
Recent retirements are creating new opportunities
It’s well known that the Baby Boomer generation is leaving the workforce in droves. This wave of retirements is impacting nearly every industry and aviation is also suffering from a skills gap.
“There were a lot of mechanics early in the 1970’s when aviation was first booming. Many of those early mechanics are starting to retire or already retired. What’s exciting for those mechanics coming up is the opportunity for advancement,” says Dominguez.
This creates a situation where there are plenty of open supervisory or management roles, but with few people who have the skills to take on the jobs. Now is the perfect time for ambitious aviation mechanics to focus on their skills, goals and interest. Understanding these three things will help clear the path towards filling leadership positions.
Strong demand is improving wages and benefits
Not every aviation mechanic may be in position to start taking on leadership roles. You may be more concerned about finding the right place to hone your skills. The surge in demand has caused many companies to expand their search for experienced mechanics. They’re also increasing wages and improving benefits to draw in top talent. Mechanics looking for their next opportunity should be able to field multiple offers.
“In a lost year (2020) we saw a lot of retirements. The mechanics that are coming back have their pick of the litter. They have options,” says Dominguez. “This is when mechanics can demand a certain pay and have three to five options.”
If you aren’t tied to a specific location — explore options with companies that have multiple worksites. Major manufacturers or commercial airlines often have more than one location where you can get exposure to new aircraft and technology.
“A lot of clients that we work with have multiple locations. They might have a MRO (maintenance repair and operations) in North Carolina, another in Texas, and another in Illinois. If you’re open to relocate, you’re going to give your career more upward mobility,” states Dominguez.
Aviation continues to offer multiple career paths
Whether you want to work on military aircraft, with commercial airlines or support air freight — the number of career options in aviation for mechanics continues to grow.
Climate change and an expected prolonged decrease in business travel is changing both the exterior and interior of commercial aircraft. Not only are engines becoming more efficient, but the layout of the commercial planes should continue to evolve with consumer demands. Think more leg room, bigger seats and other adjustments that make the flight more comfortable. Aviation mechanics will be learning how to maintain the new equipment and technology which expands their skill sets.
If you’re a current aviation mechanic or if you’re currently working towards certification, there are a multitude of reasons to be optimistic. Dominguez offered some advice for all mechanics during aviation’s resurgence.
“Take your time. There’s a lot of opportunities being put in front of people. The big thing is to know your goals, skills and interest. At Aerotek, we’ve got plenty of opportunities across all facets, but we’re really going to guide you based on your goals, skills and interest,” says Dominguez.
Happy National Aviation Day and if you’re an aviation or A&P mechanic looking for your next opportunity, check out our current openings.