Some 10,000 additional engineers will be needed over the next decade to meet the demand for advanced vertical flight aircraft development in the U.S., according to a just-published study by the Vertical Flight Society (VFS) and Hysky Society, which promotes hydrogen-powered aviation. The study calls for significant additional funding for academia to train sufficient engineers to meet industry demands and for the industry to provide sufficient incentives and the correct workplace atmosphere to attract and retain them.
The research notes, “The legacy aerospace and defense (A&D) industry has 2x the attrition rates than that of the national average. The advanced air mobility (AAM) sector likely has 4x attrition rates of the national average. Workplace ostracism is likely a major cause [and] could result in a threat to national security.” It defines this ostracism as “the number-one predictor of attrition rates” and ties it to a failure of organizations to properly implement a culture of diversity, inclusion, and equity. It also estimates the cost of this attrition in part, noting that replacing a highly-experienced aerospace engineer could run up to $1 million.
“To avoid high attrition rates in an organization, the incorporation of diversity into boards, cap tables, investors, and founders must happen prior to hiring diverse talent,” it adds. “Otherwise, the attrition costs will grow exponentially with U.S. demographics and become unsustainable.”
The study noted that VFS has begun to address this issue through its “DiversiFlite” team, which is designed to “build top-down momentum to amplify the need to attract and most importantly retain diverse talent.”