MRO Magazine

MRO services sector of aerospace industry to need more skilled workers in Canada

Montreal, QC -- Nov. 6, 2001 -- A national labour market study released recently by the aerospace industry in Canad...

Montreal, QC — Nov. 6, 2001 — A national labour market study released recently by the aerospace industry in Canada shows that over 81,000 Canadians are directly employed by the industry, many in MRO-specific trades.

While the industry-led study forecast that over 16,600 new positions would be created for skilled aerospace workers during the course of the next three years, growth expectations may need to be reconsidered in the light of recent developments in the international air travel and aerospace industries, the study indicates.

The first national study of its kind for this industry, the 2001 Canadian Aerospace Labour Market Survey & Employment Forecast (2001-2004) study focused on occupations and labour market issues associated with aerospace manufacturing as well as maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) services. (Excluded from this study were aviation activities and ground support infrastructure.)

A total of 518 employers participated, including all major Canadian aerospace/MRO firms with more than 1,000 employees. These employers provided detailed employment and forecast information for key occupational areas, as well as input into human resources issues.


The research was initiated by a coalition of aerospace industry associations and manpower organizations, with the co-operation and support of Human Resources Development Canada, and was conducted by independent research consultants R.A. Malatest & Associates Ltd. It is anticipated that the Canadian Aerospace Labour Market Survey will be repeated periodically to collect up-to-date industry information in response to industry changes.

Survey results indicated that the aerospace/MRO industry is a robust and rapidly growing sector of the Canadian economy, with approximately 660 Canadian firms involved in aerospace manufacturing and service activities. As of January 2001, these companies provided direct employment to more than 81,200 workers across the country.

Many employers expressed that they are currently facing a shortage of qualified workers for key manufacturing and design positions, such as computer numerical control (CNC) machinists, aircraft maintenance engineers and mechanical engineers.

The study suggested that employment in the Canadian aerospace/MRO sector would expand by 8% over the course of 2001. This predicted labour market growth was associated mainly with openings for skilled tradesworkers, technicians, scientists and engineers.

Administrative and managerial occupations in this sector were expected to witness modest or minimal growth. Many new jobs were forecast for Quebec, where over half (53%) of the Canadian aerospace/MRO workforce is currently located. However, significant growth in the aerospace/MRO sectors was also forecast for Ontario and the Western provinces.

Furthermore, aerospace/MRO employment in Canada was predicted to reach almost 97,800 by January 2004, an increase of more than 20% over 2001 levels. In total, it was estimated that over 16,600 new positions would be created in the next three years.

When hiring due to retirement and employee turnover were included, it was estimated that the industry would need to hire at least 20,750 aerospace-related workers over the next three years.

Recent international events will have an unknown but definite effect on these employment forecasts. Layoffs and rate reductions announced by Boeing will affect Canadian aerospace manufacturing, while layoffs and schedule cutbacks by the airlines will also affect the Canadian MRO service industry. The employment growth predicted by aerospace/MRO companies in January 2001 may be delayed or possibly never fully realized.

A preliminary Aerospace Human Resources Action Plan was also developed as part of the 2001 Canadian Aerospace Labour Market Survey to address high demand for skilled workers. Among the recommendations: increased collaboration within the industry, and between industry and government; further development of the training capacity of the education and training system; a proactive marketing and promotion campaign to attract potential recruits to a career in aerospace; timely research and planning to create and implement these; and other human resources strategies.

Electronic copies of the report, the 2001 Canadian Aerospace Labour Market Survey and Employment Forecast (2001-2004), will be available on the Internet in both summary and detailed form, and in English and French at (HRDC Sectoral & Occupational Studies Division).
Direct employment associated with the Canadian aerospace manufacturing and Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) industry may be broken down as follows:

Canadian Aerospace/MRO Employment
by Province, January 2001
Province Firms Employment
Quebec 216 43,132
Ontario 329 23,149
Manitoba 20 5,064
Alberta 37 4,151
BC 42 3,538
Atlantic Provinces 17 2,242
Total 661 81,264

Canadian Aerospace/MRO Employment
by Occupation, January 2001
Occupational Group Employment
Scientific Personnel 10,969
Technical Personnel 14,892
Trades Workers 38,296
Executive/Senior Managers 3,801
Administrative Personnel 13,311
Total 81,264

2001 Canadian Corporate News Inc.