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(Solution document) As the world's biggest aerospace company, Boeing is well acquainted with the industry's major human resource chal- lenge: identifying, attracting,...


As the world's biggest aerospace company, Boeing is well acquainted with the industry's major human resource chal- lenge: identifying, attracting, and keeping enough skilled workers. Across manufacturing, the demand for engineers is intense, but it is especially so in aerospace. Engineers flocked to aerospace companies during the space race, but recently Internet companies have become the main attraction. Consequently, the average age for aeronauti- cal engineers is 47, compared with 42 for U.S. workers overall. In other words, many are approaching retirement. Compounding the problem, Boeing is in the defense busi- ness, so it faces legal limits on the number of non-U.S. citi- zens it may hire.

To meet the challenge, Boeing has dedicated years to establishing a systematic approach to talent management linked to strategy. The system begins with the establish- ment of priorities. HR executives talk to business leaders about anticipated workforce needs. They divide the work- force into segments and identify which are most critical to success and where the current skills of the workforce do not meet those critical needs. They use predictive models to forecast business trends and workforce demographics. They analyze all this information to identify the changes needed to fill in the gaps in Boeing's workforce. Then, to apply the results of this analysis, Boeing's HR team plans how to make the necessary changes through a combination of three tactics: promotions within the company, transfers of employees into positions where they can be developed to meet future needs, and recruitment of employees outside Boeing.

A key aspect of recruitment is reaching out to entry-level engineers on college and university campuses. Boeing has intensified these efforts and is matching other companies' practice of making job offers earlier during students' senior years. During recruitment, students interview with several

different managers and tour company facilities, so they understand the company and its culture and opportunities. Then, to ensure that the reality of working for Boeing lives up to the image portrayed during recruitment, Boeing has a workforce development program that plans career growth opportunities as carefully as the company plans hiring.

Recruiting efforts alone cannot meet Boeing's needs unless schools are preparing individuals for technology- related jobs. Therefore, Boeing also enters into partnerships with schools. As analysis of workforce needs uncovers important emerging skills, Boeing helps school lead- ers plan how to teach those skills. Supporting university research projects bolsters the company's innovative image on campus. Boeing has also set up a Higher Education Integration Board, which identifies needs for continuing education, evaluates the quality of employees hired from specific schools, and sets strategy for future recruiting and research efforts.

Questions

1. To meet labor shortages within the company, Boeing starts with promotions and transfers. What advantages might it experience from filling positions with current employees?

2. Besides the external recruitment sources described here, what other sources would you recommend for Boeing? Why? 

 


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