Mechanic working on jet engine

How do you reshape today’s workforce and attract tomorrow’s talent?

The Aerospace and Defense workforce study offers key insights on how companies are responding to talent shortages and preparing for a digital future.

In brief

  • At the time of this study, workforce and talent concerns rank high at A&D companies as demand recovers post-pandemic.
  • Developing a compelling employee value proposition continues to remain the key for attracting, retaining and developing top talent.
  • Ongoing digital transformation efforts require reskilling across the industry.

The Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) have collaborated with Ernst & Young LLP (EY US) to conduct their 2022 Aerospace and Defense (A&D) Workforce Study.

We surveyed A&D organizations, utilizing 60 questions to examine five key areas of focus: A&D workforce demographic trends; diversity, equity, and inclusiveness; The talent shortage: how A&D companies are building a differentiated employee value proposition; digital transformation and reskilling the workforce; and the employee and talent outlook.

Survey respondents represent a total global headcount of over 800,000 employees and a total US headcount of over 680,000 employees, including over 250,000 employees with security clearances and more than 100,000 veterans across all the organizations that participated.

Results from the five key themes of the study

1. Overview of A&D workforce demographic trends in the US

Demographic data plays a critical role for A&D organizations seeking to effectively manage their workforce. 

2. Diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI)

Employers have continued to make DEI a workforce and business imperative, prioritizing inclusiveness and healthy work environments that allow diverse groups to thrive. To that end, the survey set out to understand how A&D organizations have taken tangible steps to diversify their talent and drive continuous progress regarding DEI. 

3. Talent shortage is real

The exodus of talent hasn’t spared A&D companies. Organizations are competing not only with each other but also with other industries as they seek to recruit employees with strong technical and digital skills to their workforce. The survey sought to determine the key drivers of attrition within the A&D industry and explore how organizations are continuing to strengthen their employee value propositions (EVP) to provide a unique and impactful employee experience to attract and retain key talent.

4. Digitization and reskilling

To unlock the full potential of their workforce, organizations are helping their employees adapt to new technologies, creating individualized learning pathways that will close critical skills gaps and support employees through the transformation process. The survey asked questions to identify the digital investments that are being made by A&D organizations, both from a workforce technology and people-centric lens.

5. The employee and talent outlook

The industry outlook is dependent on the ability of A&D organizations to maintain and foster a strong talent pipeline as the industry embarks on transformation efforts. As a result, the survey tried to gain a better understanding of the age and tenure distribution of today’s workforce in the industry, along with each organization’s engagement with educational institutions and the desired competencies of the next generation


The talent challenge facing A&D companies has been exacerbated due to pandemic-induced cutbacks and the ensuing great resignation. The 2022 A&D workforce study demonstrates that many organizations have recognized the magnitude and implications of the talent shortage, however, companies must be ready to take transformative actions to win the competition for talent and shape the A&D workforce for the future.

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