Today, the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) and American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) released their 2021 Aerospace & Defense Workforce Study, which was conducted in collaboration with Ernst & Young LLP (EY US). The result of the report showcases positive trends in employee demographics and represents 950,000 global employees from 33 companies.


“This workforce study provides data-driven insights that can help us benchmark where we are as an industry so we can chart a course to where we want to go next and in the future,” said Eric Fanning, AIA President and CEO. “The results of this survey showcase positive trends that indicate, despite the pandemic, we’re making exceptional progress in workforce development and diversity. This is exciting news because the aerospace and defense industry is at its best when we have diverse, talented people with different experiences driving innovation and our competitive edge.”


Some key findings are:

  • Positive trends in employee demographics – Although the A&D workforce is less diverse than the overall US labor force, year-over-year trends indicate various key metrics are moving in a positive direction. The representation of women and Black employees at the executive level has increased consistently for the past several years.
  • Innovative recruiting efforts to increase diversity in talent pipelines – Not only have A&D companies been responsive to calls to action relating to social justice, they have also invested resources into the attraction and recruitment of diverse candidates. From new partnerships with minority-serving institutions to intentional promotion and success plans that prioritize diversity, equity and inclusion, companies are working to address DE&I at all levels of business.
  • Reimagining the future of work – The 2021 Workforce Study was able to capture employee sentiment around the nature of work and its impact on employee experiences. While COVID-19 reinforced A&D as a critical industry, it also created opportunities for the industry to increase flexibility and offer new solutions for employees that increased employee satisfaction.
  • New and differentiated products – This year’s study not only produced the standard white paper, but also a publicly available dashboard to engage with the A&D industry and dig deeper into the data collected. This data will aid in peer benchmarking, talent attraction, and provide a baseline for the industry’s future progress.
  • Scope and breadth of methodology – The process behind this year’s workforce is more clearly defined than ever. We committed to providing data-driven insights that were representative of the industry. This study also validated the industry’s overall commitment to data transparency and talent analytics, and subsequently using both to improve employee experience.


“It is vital for us to understand the demographics and dynamics of the dedicated people who make up the A&D workforce. They are the most technically proficient, professionally equipped and culturally diverse workforce on the planet,” said Dan Dumbacher, AIAA executive director. “Through this study, we received valuable inputs about the talent pipeline from several academic institutions. We gained a better perspective on how the A&D community can better support STEM [science, technology, engineering and math] education and promote the industry’s diverse career paths. We believe this study’s findings will help employers across the A&D industry continue to make the progress required to accelerate innovation. This timely and robust information will help us continue our work shaping the future of aerospace.”


“We are excited to have collaborated with AIA-AIAA on this study, and we are excited to see how this research will promote workforce across this important industry,” said Steve Fuller, partner, People Advisory Services, EY US. 


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About AIA

For Over 100 years, The Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) has been the voice of the American aerospace and defense industry. Our work as an advocate and convener is essential to shaping policy, shedding light on the industry’s impact and empowering its future. Our CEO-level officers from across our more than 300 member companies guide these efforts, strengthening the industry’s ability to effectively support America’s national security and economy. Together, we advocate for effective federal investments; accelerated deployment of innovative technologies; policies that enhance our global competitiveness; and recruitment and retention efforts that support a capable and diverse 21st century workforce.


About AIAA

The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) is the world’s largest aerospace technical society. With nearly 30,000 individual members from 91 countries, and 100 corporate members, AIAA brings together industry, academia, and government to advance engineering and science in aviation, space, and defense. For more information, visit or follow AIAA on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram.


AIA Media Contact: Tom Mattocks,, 336-264-5516 cell

AIAA Media Contact: Rebecca B. Gray,, 804-397-5270 cell