Bloomberg News

Airbus to Add 3,000 Jobs This Year as It Widens Engineer Search

September 29, 2011

Sept. 29 (Bloomberg) -- Airbus SAS plans to add 3,000 workers this year as it recruits more engineers in preparation for assembly of the A350 wide-body jet, the European planemaker’s director of human resources said.

The company has added 2,000 people in the first nine months and will to recruit another 1,000 by year-end, bringing the full-time workforce to 55,000, Thierry Baril said in an interview. Toulouse, France-based Airbus will likely set similar goals in 2012, he said.

European universities turn out about 9,000 engineers equipped for aerospace design each year, fewer than the 12,000 that would be required, Baril said. That’s forcing Airbus to scour markets including Latin America, India, Russia and the U.S. to fill the gap, Baril said.

“As there’s a risk of shortages, we’ve already started organizing sourcing of jobs in other parts of the world,” Baril said. Areas that Airbus finds hardest to fill include systems engineering, structural engineering, composite design and stress specialists, he said.

Airbus has opened engineering centers in India, Russia, and the U.S., and the company is working to set up partnerships with universities in Brazil to raise Airbus’s profile. Brazil has become a center of engineering skills with the growth of Embraer, the world’s fourth-largest planemaker.

In Bangalore, India, Airbus already has 170 employees at an engineering center that opened in 2007 and it plans to raise the number to between 400 and 500 by 2015, Baril said. In the U.S., it has a total of 500 engineers spread between centers in Wichita, Kansas, opened in 2002, and Mobile, Alabama, opened in 2007. In Moscow, Airbus has 170 engineers.

Even within Europe, Airbus is keen to diversify its employee base and aims to hire 15 percent of non-nationals from countries including France and Germany, Baril said. Attracting engineers in Germany is more challenging than in France because aerospace jobs don’t have the same cache as car companies or industrial manufacturers, Baril said.

“We’re making big efforts in Germany for aerospace to get better recognition,” Baril said.

--Editors: Benedikt Kammel, Tom Lavell

--Editor: Benedikt Kammel

To contact the reporter on this story: Andrea Rothman in Paris at aerothman@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Benedikt Kammel at bkammel@bloomberg.net


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