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Canadian Aerospace Companies Struggle to Hire Workers

The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted nearly all industries, and the aviation industry is no exception.

With travel restrictions imposed in Canada and fewer travelers, most Canadian aerospace companies laid off their workers.

This is because the pandemic lowered the demand for new jets, which greatly affected the monthly production rates.

The Aerospace Industries Association of Canada confirmed that more than half of its members had to downsize.

According to the Challenger, Gray & Christmas firm, the aerospace and defense companies had 115,089 job cuts in their US market from March 2020 to May 2021.

This was much higher than the 18,337 job cuts announced in 2018 and 2019.

Increased Demand for Aerospace Workers

With the resurgent travel demand due to the eased travel restrictions, most aerospace firms are now struggling to fill many key jobs in Canada.

The world’s third-largest aerospace center, Montreal, is among the Canadian cities where aerospace workers are needed.

Boeing, which had reportedly laid off employees and indefinitely suspended production, has said that it may experience supply constraints following a robust recovery than it had anticipated.

Some European Airbus suppliers have warned that they have difficulty meeting production goals.

Canadian aerospace suppliers also said that the labor shortage in the industry is likely to accelerate because of the ageing workforce.

According to the Aerospace Industries Association of Canada, the average age of a worker in an aerospace manufacturing industry is 54.

Consequently, this could increase wages for individuals in common categories like machinists and other aerospace-related jobs in Canada.

Meanwhile, some Canadian aerospace suppliers are recruiting skilled immigrants from countries like Tunisia, Morocco, and Mexico.

Greater Competition for Employees

Most workers went to other sectors that weren’t much affected by the pandemic.

According to industry executives, the labor crunch is a warning for the industry’s international recovery.

They say this has promoted a shift in the workforce from aerospace to fast-growing sectors such as electric cars.

Some aerospace workers went to transport companies like Lion Electric Co and Nova Bus that make electric buses.

A spokeswoman for Bombardier, a global leader in business jets, has said that they are experiencing a competitive job market as they seek to recruit back workers.

American Airlines was also forced to cancel 1% of its booked July flights because of the labor crunch it experienced at some hubs.

Chief executive of Meloche Group, Hugue Meloche, said that the aerospace industry is losing workers to other sectors that weren’t impacted by the pandemic.

Meloche Group, a component maker that supplies locally produced Airbus A220 jets, seeks to hire approximately 70 workers annually for five years.

Co-founder of MSB Group, Mario Sevigny, said that the company faced scarce labor and would take six to nine months to experience production increase.

MSB Group is a maker of components for private jet makers like General Dynamics Corp’s Gulfstream and Bombardier.

The shortage of young workers is also a result of a decrease in high school graduates joining aeronautics colleges.

For instance, Quebec’s largest aeronautics college, The Ecole Nationale d’aerotechnique, reported a 20% decrease in its registration for its three-year programs that focuses more on high school graduates.

Thus, the current and anticipated shortage of qualified aerospace workers opens the door for skilled immigrants to fill these high-demand jobs in Canada’s labor market.

Many aerospace workers immigrate to Canada through the points-based Federal Skilled Worker Program or the Federal Skilled Trades Program.

Both of these Canadian immigration programs for new permanent residents are eligible for Express Entry to Canada.


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