Aerospace engineers are employed primarily in the manufacturing, analysis, design, research, and development of aircraft, spacecraft, and defense systems. The federal government is one of the main employers in the industry, mainly due to the demand created by each of the branches of the military. Federal departments, such as the Departments of Defense, Transportation, and Energy also employ aerospace engineers, and the crown jewel employers in aeronautics are NASA and JPL. The air transportation industry for both passengers and cargo also recruit aerospace engineers for design, manufacturing, testing, and maintaining aircraft. Opportunities in the field are expanding with the introduction of private enterprise in space travel, exploration, and research.
Historically, opportunities for employment in the field were working with the government directly, or large aerospace manufacturers working for the government or military. The field has evolved and grown with the expansion of the airline industry and the space program. Active employers are NASA, JPL (operated by Caltech under a contract from NASA). SpaceX is one of the newest entrants in the industry, actively developing technologies with the potential for enormous change.
Recruiting the top aerospace engineers can ensure you have the expertise and know-how needed to plan, manage, and complete projects on time and on budget.
However, hiring the best aerospace engineers in itself won’t distinguish one aerospace company from another. Aligning those engineers and other team members to work toward a central mission or purpose will make the best use of talent and resources. Consider the USA Olympic basketball team, the first-year pro athletes were allowed to compete. They were the best players, but they failed to play well together as a team. Teams with lesser talent beat the U.S. because they played better together.
In addition, if there are talent gaps in your current team, you can source candidates that excel with a particular skill. For example, companies that need a boost in innovation can source candidates who have been a part of “innovation jams” or other programs that teach how to incorporate innovation into company culture.
Technology is another area that is key for engineers. When you are looking for recruits, be prepared with specific questions about a candidate’s expertise with the latest technology systems and software to give your organization critical technology expertise.
Before we get to exactly how to recruit the best aerospace engineers in San Diego, here are some of the details of the job.
Positions in aerospace engineering primarily direct the design, manufacture, and testing of aircraft and aerospace products, including aircraft, spacecraft, satellites, and missiles. A few additional responsibilities include:
Looking for another position? View other positions we place in San Diego, California.
Typically, aerospace engineers must have a bachelor’s degree in Aerospace Engineering or another field of Engineering or science related to aerospace systems. For those working on projects related to national defense, a security clearance may be required, and sometimes U.S. citizenship is required for certain types and levels of clearances.
US News & World Report ranked the top 3 undergraduate college programs for Aerospace Engineering. These programs train students in the science of flight, both for aircraft and spacecraft. These are the top undergraduate schools where the highest engineering degree offered is a doctorate.
Nationally, compensation for aerospace engineers ranges between $72,000 per year and $166,000 per year. The average annual salary in 2019 was $119,220. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 134,000 aerospace engineers employed in 2019, with just under 14% of those employed being women. It is estimated that 78% are white, 6.5% Black or African American, 14.5% Asian, and 7.3% Hispanic or Latino.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data from May 2019, the median annual wage for aerospace engineers was $116,500, compared with $94,500, the median annual wage for all engineers.
The average annual salary for aerospace engineers in California was 125k in 2019. The hourly wage averaged $60.
For more detailed compensation information for aerospace engineers in San Diego, download our free compensation/salary report below.
Do aerospace engineers consider San Diego, California a great place to work? Here are a few things to keep in mind when you are recruiting for a aerospace engineers in San Diego.
The city lies along Southern California’s Pacific Ocean coast. It is directly adjacent to the Mexico border and is located about 120 miles south of the metro area of Los Angeles. It’s home to approximately 1.5 million people, making it the eighth-largest city in the U.S.
San Diego is famous for its almost perfect climate, natural beauty, magnificent beaches, and a vibrant downtown with culture, restaurants, and nightlife.
However, like many Southern California coastal cities, it has a high cost of living and expensive real estate. This may affect a company’s ability to hire top candidates unless compensation is commensurate.
A study by Kisi ranked San Diego as the number one location for work-life balance in 2019. The factors considered in this study were work intensity, society and institutions, and city livability. Data suggests that workers who have a good work-life balance are more loyal to employers and more productive.
On the other hand, there are a few common complaints about living and working in San Diego.
Not your city? View other cities where we place aerospace engineers.
Demand for aerospace engineers is growing at an average rate compared to other engineering fields. However, demand has increased for unmanned aircraft due to the commercial potential. The employment of aerospace engineers is projected to grow from 2019 to 2029, about as fast as the average for all occupations according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The industry is also experiencing growth due to innovation and an expansion in the industry.
Aircraft are being redesigned to cause less noise pollution and have better fuel efficiency. Small Satellites: New developments in small satellites have greater commercial viability, thus increasing the need for skilled Aerospace Engineers.
The growing interest in unmanned aerial systems will also help drive the growth of the occupation.
The supply of candidates and demand for open positions have a direct correlation to a company's ability to hire. Download a free Supply and Demand report for aerospace engineers in San Diego, California below.
Finding and hiring the best aerospace engineer candidates can save you money right away and well into the future.
The costs of making a bad hire are well documented. The cost can run as much as 30% of the employee's first-year earnings according to the US Department of Labor. Bad hires can cost a whopping $240,000 in expenses related to hiring, compensation, and retention per The Undercover Recruiter. 74% of companies who admit they've hired the wrong person for a position lost an average of $14,900 for each bad hire according to CareerBuilder. These statistics support our long-held position that behavioral questions are the best way to get to know your candidates and past behavior is the best indicator of future performance.
The information below comes from the best practices Amtec uses for finding the highest quality candidates.
When defining the role you are creating, we recommend a position profile to fully evaluate the position you are hiring for. You must decide if the engineer can work remotely or must work in California. If working in San Diego is essential, make sure you include that in your job posting so candidates can decide how many miles they can commute.
When you are looking to source the best quality candidates for your open positions, make sure you have done the legwork to hire an "A Player". You can do this by making sure your company's perspective is aligned with the current market, you have taken into account the job responsibilities, as well as what type of characteristics you are looking for to fit your company culture. Then proceed to write a job posting to attract high-quality candidates.
Aerospace Engineering is a field that is evolving as space exploration and the aerospace industry are evolving and expanding. If you need to recruit the sharpest aerospace professionals:
You wrote a job posting, posted the position online, and received a lot more resumes than you’d bargained for! Next comes the enormous task of sorting through those resumes to eliminate the ones that are clearly not a good fit. Now, you have a stack of resumes for candidates who have potential. So how do you go about screening the remaining candidates?
It starts on the phone! As a recruiter, the goal of your telephone screening is to learn more about your candidates. You can confirm that they have the educational qualifications and relevant experience, but you also need to determine if they would fit into your company's culture. To make this job easier, use a system to consistently evaluate results. This way you can equally and objectively compare candidates and evaluate their "soft skills", like communication and thinking process. Download Amtec's Professional Assessment Questionnaire below to help with screening candidates.
An individually customized questionnaire that helps assess a candidate's competence with written communication skills, thinking processes, and other relevant skills.
At Amtec, we believe in the power of behavoral interview questions to go beyond the experience and skills listed on the candidate's resume. Although you will want to confirm in the interview that the candidate does indeed have the experience listed on their resume, your assessment needs to go much deeper than that. An interview using behavioral questions can help you determine how well the candidate will fit with your company culture.
Download Amtec's best practices on conducting super effective interviews to find the best candidates and fill your open jobs.
Get the info you need to hire the best aerospace engineersFree Interview Guide