I hate to be a killjoy. So apologies in advance for starting off on a negative foot.
The bull run for engineering opportunities in aerospace has ended.
For most of the last two decades, good- to well-paying work opportunities in the western aerospace industry have not been hard to find. Indeed, the opportunities usually came hunting for you. and when one gig ended, there were five more lined up outside, waiting to snap you up.
Not any more.
I personally know four aerospace engineers who are out of work. I’ve never seen that before.
None of them are rookies, either. Two are stress/structures engineers, one systems, one an aerodynamicist. And I myself have worked outside aerospace for over a year now.
I’ve encouraged application of the Three S’s: Stress, Systems and Software. But I’m beginning to wonder if it should now be just the latter two.
Airbus has no plans to launch any new design for the next decade. Boeing might do a 737 replacement. Bombardier is in damage limitation mode with the C-Series. Embraer isn’t doing anything big. Mistubishi and AVIC are struggling with their respective programmes.
On the military side, there are lots of security threats, so governments will have to do some defence investment. But they are hobbled by debts and shrinking tax revenues.
Don’t be surprised. This is aerospace for you. The industry is notoriously cyclical. Indeed, it’s amazing that the bull run has lasted as long as this.
However, I don’t think it necessarily means a bear run has started. The vast majority of engineers I know are still employed or in freelance gigs, across all industries.
Opportunities are still to be found. You just may have to turn from being a passive recipient to an aggressive hunter. You might have to move. You might have to change tack.
You might have to change industry. You might have to switch from engineer to procurement or manager. Gasp!
You might have to get out of your comfort zone. You might have to change.
(Hint: That’s a good thing.)
The price you pay for wanting to work on animated flying objects is, You get typecast as an animated flying objects geek.
Hedge your bets now. Think ahead. Don’t wait for the axe to fall. Think like an entrepreneur. Where is the change going to happen next? Get ready to ride that wave.
Cannibalize your present to optimize your future.