ARSA Finds Technician Shortage Costs Industry $100 Million Per Month
ARSA’s 2019 Member Survey paints a picture of a thriving, international industry whose growth and vitality are being threatened by a chronic shortage of technical workers.
Eighty-six companies, representing a diverse cross section of the industry and ARSA’s membership, responded to the annual data-gathering exercise. Repair stations come in all shapes and sizes, from small, highly-specialized component shops to large engine and airframe facilities with facilities spread across the world. Respondent reports of revenue reflect that diversity, ranging from less than $10 million in 2018 revenue to a slice of companies reporting well more than $1 billion.
Across this variety of businesses, with locations across the globe, a number of key trends emerged. Many of these perspectives are consistent with responses provided to each of ARSA’s recent member surveys:
Profitability Increasing, Markets Growing
ARSA members report that business activity is strong and they are confident about the future.
Supporting Global Customer Base
Nearly a quarter of respondents plan to seek new certifications from aviation authorities outside the United States in the next two years.
Government Business has Big Impact
More than half of respondents reported doing business with some federal, state or legal entity in the United States or overseas, including military contracts.
Technician Shortage is Biggest Concern, Costs Industry $1 Billion Per Year
While the business forecast is good and industry leaders are generally optimistic, as reflected in past ARSA surveys, the technician shortage is a major concern.
Underscoring the workforce challenge, more than two-thirds of U.S. companies reported vacant technician positions, a total of 4,615 openings. Those empty positions are having real consequences, increasing time to complete work, driving up overtime and training costs and preventing new business development.
Based on the survey data, ARSA projects the technician shortage is costing the U.S. aviation maintenance industry $118.416 million per month ($1.421 billion per year) in lost revenue. Those figures underscore the importance of ARSA’s work to attract, retain and train maintenance technicians. Among other things, the association is a leading a coalition to secure funding for the new technician workforce development grant program created at ARSA’s urging by the 2018 FAA reauthorization law and promoting repair station careers through its public relations and regulatory activities.
A full analysis of key survey response data will be made available for ARSA members in the May edition of the hotline newsletter. As always, the association’s advocacy teams will utilize data from the survey as necessary to support legislative and regulatory initiatives.
“Thanks to all the members across the U.S. and the world who took the time to respond to our 2019 survey,” ARSA Executive Vice President Christian A. Klein said. “The data our members provide helps us tell the industry’s story and ensure our priorities are aligned with member needs.”
To see more of ARSA’s resources, visit the “Data & Advocacy” page at arsa.org/news-media/economic-data.
If you missed ARSA’s 2019 survey, there’s still a chance to make your voice heard. ARSA runs monthly “quick question” surveys to get input on hot topics. To see our latest “quick question” and share your views, go to arsa.org/qq-archive.