Monday, June 27, 2011
A growing number of Hawker Beechcraft jobs are being posted on job listing sites.
It's been difficult to find positive signs in general aviation for almost three years. But more than 100 local Hawker job openings posted on job sites, can only be seen as a good sign. "Right now we are hiring for over 100 positions at Hawker Beechcraft," Heidi McNary, Hawker Beechcraft vice president and chief technical officer, said. Those words are like the sound of music to those who are on layoff from local companies like Hawker.
Look at a job listing site like that of the Wichita Chamber of Commerce, and you can find more than 100 postings at Hawker Beechcraft. Those openings are at a company that has laid off a few thousand employees in the past nearly three years, as many other general aviation companies have done.
It is not a general hiring spree on Hawker's part. Though there is a wide variety of jobs, most of the openings are in engineering. "At least half of those roles are for engineering positions for technical projects and programs,"McNary said. "So, yes, there are jobs at Hawker Beechcraft."
Aviation leaders, including Hawker chief executive officer Bill Boisture, describe general aviation as "bouncing on the bottom." Seeing more job postings is one of those hopeful signs that perhaps general aviation is starting to get some traction. "I think we are seeing some positive signs of the market recovering. But what's important for us at Hawker Beechcraft, is that we're investing now so that when the market comes back and the buyers come back, we are prepared with the most number of products. So it makes sense for us to invest in new people now."
That's why McNary says so many of their openings are for engineers, including many new graduates. "We're looking for new grads to bring in that fresh perspective. We have a huge number of very seasoned, senior engineers who want to pass that knowledge on to the next generation. Now is the time to do that so we have more capability and capacity in the organization."
Hawker has released 20 derivatives of current products over the past eight years, McNary said. All of those from piston-powered planes to turboprops and jets, need the sustaining work engineers do as well as the new work on their attack version of the T-6 trainer, the AT-6. McNary thinks there is reason to feel positive about general aviation again, and these 100-plus job openings are a sign to back those feelings up.
"It definitely looks promising," McNary said. "It looks like there is demand for jobs. There's demand for airplanes. People are flying airplanes more. There are more maintenance requests. All of those things indicate that things are looking good." The current postings aren't signaling a general ramp up of production, but engineering in aviation usually precedes a ramp up. At least production workers can be hopeful of that.