23 November 2012

Challenges for ramp up: recruitment in Airbus and in suppliers (3)

Airbus’s COO Günter Butschek says production rate increase is Airbus’s single biggest operational challenge, and admits the company’s strong position is creating recruitment difficulties for its suppliers.
Growth for both the biggest commercial aircraft makers, Airbus and Boeing, has created recruitment issues in the aerospace industry.

For example, this year, Airbus UK received 5,000 people to its apprenticeship open day for all apprentice positions. In the 2012 intake, the company wanted to hire 50 undergraduate apprentices – a programme that goes through to BEng level. In fact they took on 28, partly because the standard of applicants’ A Levels was not adequate.

As a desirable company to work for Butschek said that Airbus was in “a luxurious position”, being able to recruit adequately to respond to the current programme ramp up and for longer term succession planning, as many engineering staff face retirement in the next 10-15 years. He said the missing middle tier of trained technical staff between 30 and 50 was not unique to the UK, being a challenge also in other countries with Airbus facilities. 
But he admitted that his company’s popularity meant that its key suppliers could be missing out on new recruits.

“When you talk to undergraduate engineers [about their job requirements] it’s not necessarily the financial offer but the conditions of employment, the company’s reputation, its growth path.  We are safe in this regard and that is not necessarily the case with our suppliers so I can imagine some of them find it very hard to be in competition with Airbus for the same resource .”

Based on the article “Ramp up is a challenge but recruitment is no problem, says Airbus boss” published in The Manufacturer

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