These days the coronavirus is keeping everyone away from everything, and as a personal aside I hope that you and yours are staying safe and healthy. However, even before the unprecedented times we now find ourselves in, the aerospace industry was having a difficult time attracting and retaining millennial talent for their workforce. Why is an industry that once inspired every child to “become an astronaut” all of a sudden having issues attracting young people? There are a few reasons that can be readily identified.
● Lack of passion – Sure, space exploration sparks the imagination of everyone regardless of age, but during the lifetimes of millennials “going where no man has gone before” has become mostly theoretical. During the height of the Space Race, every human knew the goal: get to the moon first. People sat captivated as they watched that “one small step for man” and an entire generation began counting the days until they could work in the aerospace industry and be a part of something bigger than themselves. Currently, we have plans to go to Mars and continue our space exploration further into the unknown, but that’s all we have, plans. Millennials believe it when they see it, and the promise of something they can’t see firsthand doesn’t inspire passion in most.
● Lack of information – This ties directly into the first point; millennials won’t be passionate about things they can’t see for themselves. As someone who works directly with some of the major players in the aerospace industry, I personally have heard about many of the amazing innovations that are currently being worked on, but the average millennial searching for a career path doesn’t have that inside information. Aerospace companies must do a better job marketing themselves and their projects to a generation where seeing is definitely believing.
● Lack of communication – When it comes to millennials, you have to meet them where they’re at. They have their own methods and means of communication, and if the aerospace industry breaks into that space, companies will have far greater success in attracting young talent. Digital marketing is key, and learning their language goes a long way to developing trust with the millennial generation. The most important part: be genuine. Don’t floss in a promo video just because it’s the “thing to do.” Genuine communication is not pandering and a millennial will be able to tell the difference.
In a world without astronauts on prime time television, aerospace companies have to get creative in order to attract young talent. You may have to change your way of thinking and communicating, but it will be worth it in the long run. If you happen to snag one of those elusive millennials, the reward will justify the change in strategy.