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Aerospace and Defence Consultant Q&A – Thomas McGuire

Thomas McGuire

Meet Thomas McGuire, Account Manager in JAM’s Aerospace and Defence team. Thomas has been working in recruitment for around 2 and a half years and concentrates specifically on contract recruitment in Aerospace & Defence.

Discover Thomas’ thoughts on improving your employability and the future for recruitment in the aerospace and defence industry:

Can you think of a skills shortage area within the aerospace and defence industry where the shortage could be met with a specific qualification or training course?

“As there are a variety of niche skills within aerospace there are distinct shortages and high demands for certain skills such as Stress/Structural Design, Electronics/FPGA/VHDL, RF/Microwave Engineers and Human Factors.

Another factor which greatly influences the skills shortage is the fact that many aerospace companies have restrictions due to the security clearance procedures. This massively narrows down the candidate pool of available and skilled professionals.

In terms of qualifications, there are a distinct shortages within an areas of Mechanical Design, Structural/Stress/Thermal Analysis, Ergonomics,  Electronics Engineering or Electro-Mechanical Engineering. Any qualifications will enhance candidates ability to be successful in this industry.”

To what extent does this qualification improve a candidate’s employability?

“Within contracting, experience can be just as important as qualifications. Clients are looking for someone to come in and hit the ground running so whether that requires experience or qualifications can be different depending upon the client. Generally they will need a specific project completing on time and skills/experience can at times, outweigh qualifications in this instance.

For candidates who have a wealth of experience (15 years+), I believe qualifications are less important and the skills/knowledge take priority. As for people in the earlier stages of their career, from 1-10 years working history, clients are more inclined to check their academics as it is a clear indicator of their knowledge and how they can apply their skills.”

Are there any big changes expected in aerospace and defence recruitment?

“The aerospace and defence industry is expected to boom over the next couple of years due to the development of large UK based OEM’s such as Rolls Royce, Airbus and Augusta Westland. By these companies experiencing rapid growth, it means that the supply chain of the companies below each of the OEM’s will also receive more orders.

Some of the large aerospace companies have order books covering the next 25-30 years, this therefore brings a lot of stability  to the industry. It offers an opportunity for people to focus their career in a certain expertise, without the worry of the industry going flat or declining. Compared to other industries throughout the UK, this is an excellent opportunity to provide a solid, long-term career.”

What do you see as the ‘future’ of recruitment within the aerospace and defence industry?

“There will be high demands from various companies throughout the UK for the foreseeable future. You will see recruitment throughout the aerospace industry go through peaks and troughs. You can guess which skills will be in high demand from the large projects throughout the UK. For example, when BAE Systems started building the Astute Class Submarine, BAE required a very high number of Design Engineers, and so did the supply chain below. Then when moving into the development phases, they were looking for a lot of Systems, Trials and Test Engineers, as were all of the suppliers. By following the large projects, OEM’s and Suppliers, you will see the skills requirements change dependent on the stage of the project.”

Interested in a new contract role in aerospace and defence? Get in touch with Thomas McGuire today.

Send your CV, covering your experience and career to date, to Thomas

If your CV hits the mark, Thomas will invite you to attend a telephone interview.

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