A surging demand for aircraft calls for more parts and more job opportunities in the aerospace sector, including in Mexico. But for Mexican engineers and technicians to remain competitive talent options for aerospace jobs, some challenges must be overcome.

Gabriel Aparicio, Country Manager of Kelly Services by MBP.

Both Boeing and Airbus project that over 37,000 new commercial planes will be needed between 2018 and 2037 both to replace aging planes in airlines’ fleets and to cater for the projected demand for plane tickets. In Mexico, as more aerospace investments projects land in states such as Queretaro, quality jobs are created.

On average, 23,852 people were employed in the production of aerospace components in Mexico in 2017, according to INEGI data. This figure could increase as demand for planes and helicopters increases and more parts are needed. Aerocluster de Querétaro estimates that the state’s aerospace workforce could grow between 16 and 20 percent by the end of 2018 from the 8,500 aerospace jobs of 2017.

In this edition of the Interview of the Week, MAAR presents an excerpt from its exclusive interview with Gabriel Aparicio, Country Manager of Kelly Services, that was originally published in Mexico Aviation and Aerospace Review 2018. Check out what this talent administration company has to say about the challenges that Mexican graduates face to enter the aerospace industry.

Q: What are the most pressing human capital needs for aerospace companies in Mexico?

A: Mexico’s economic growth has been supported by FDI in six main industries: electronics, plastics, chemical, oil and gas, automotive and aerospace. Thriving FDI has provoked a change in Mexico’s talent landscape, growing demand and leading companies to search for specialization. Kelly Services works across six industries: automotive, aerospace, healthcare, advanced technology, financing and oil and gas. Our responsibility is to map talent regardless of the industry in order to ensure availability to our clients. At the moment, most companies are demanding engineering directors, project directors, plant managers, quality and service managers. Human resources is also a popular area in terms of talent, as companies look for the best way to retain their people.

Within the aerospace sector, mechanics and electronics specializations are the most in demand, as well as professionals focused on industrial and aeronautics engineering. In this sector, quality is crucial, which means that candidates must be extremely responsible and dedicated to their job. English is also a must due to the constant information and material exchange between Mexico and the US, along with strong teamwork and the ability to learn quickly. We have also found that companies look for people who can solve complex problems, have a critical mind, creativity and adaptability.

Q: What is your opinion regarding new graduates and their technical capabilities?

A: Our experience in talent sourcing helps us identify specialized talent according to what the client is looking for. However, when companies do not require such specialized people, our suggestion is to always go for new graduates, either from university or technical institutions. These people are eager to learn and participate in the industry.

Having said that, Mexico faces a challenging situation in terms of human capital development and education. Almost 50 percent of all new graduates are not prepared to address the industry’s needs. As a result, people who know they have the right skills and training are always looking for the company that offers the best deal and the most attractive compensation plan. Corporations prefer to grow talent inhouse but they are not afraid to look for capable people in other companies or even in other industries. In this environment, it is crucial or companies to know how to best retain their people.

Q: What are your expectations for the aerospace sector in Mexico?

Companies should not look for skilled people abroad. However, the only way for this not to happen is to improve the national education system. The number of engineering and science graduates must be congruent with the needs of companies. Meanwhile, academic plans must be developed in line with the industry’s requirements, not only in the main aerospace clusters but across the country. If companies need workers in Baja California, then talent should come from Baja California universities.

To find out more about the work of Kelly Services in terms of talent management services for the aerospace industry and learn more about the insights of Aparicio and other decision makers shaping the industry, do not miss Mexico Aerospace Forum on December 5th, 2018. Register here to get your tickets!

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