September 2004 
Volume 03, Issue 5 
Shared Services Group


Boeing following managed plan to add people


Brian Blakely participated in an occurrence that indicates the aerospace market is starting to rebound: a Boeing hiring event near Seattle last month that drew thousands.

A former Boeing employee who was laid off after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Blakely went back to school and earned his mechanical engineering degree. He came to the gathering-which, despite its long lines, he described as "more personalized and structured" than some he had attended-to receive his official job offer.

All told, Boeing representatives at the hiring event interviewed about 1,000 people and extended on-the-spot offers to approximately 250. "I continue to be amazed at the draw of The Boeing Company," said Donna Wildrick, Global Staffing senior manager for Shared Services Group, as she observed the huge crowd that had been brought in by company ads and extensive media coverage. Indeed, Seattle-area news accounts of the event said job seekers started lining up around 3 a.m.

The Puget Sound event was part of a recruiting drive that aims to bring about 6,000 employees into Boeing's U.S. sites by year-end to support emerging business needs. However, company officials said this increase in employment will be more gradual than it has been in the past and will not follow the historical pattern of major up-and-down swings.

"As the market for jetliners improves, we intend to maintain our recent productivity gains by being disciplined in adjusting employment levels to meet business plans," said Jerry Calhoun, vice president of Human Resources for Commercial Airplanes, which is seeking a wide range of skilled engineers, including stress and loads engineers for the 7E7 Program.

"If the gradual recovery of the aerospace market continues-and right now, all the signs are pointing in that direction-we will see additional measured employment growth next year," Calhoun added.

Similarly, Integrated Defense Systems is "very focused on eliminating the huge cyclical nature of staffing-destaffing," said IDS Human Resources Vice President Norm Bartlett.

IDS hiring is driven by some big program wins-in particular, the Multi-mission Maritime Aircraft and Future Combat Systems. There is also follow-on work for the F-15, F/A-18, C-17 and classified programs. Bartlett said attrition at IDS is "only about 2.5 percent, which most companies would love to have." But "when you consider we have roughly 80,000 people in IDS right now, even hiring for 2.5 percent attrition is a pretty solid task."

As at Boeing Commercial Airplanes, IDS is seeking engineers. But business analysis, finance, quality, security and other areas also will see growth, though Bartlett said there would not be a huge surge in the production and maintenance areas. In fact, "some pockets of layoffs" will continue, "but the numbers are very small compared with what we've experienced," Bartlett said.

Some open positions at Boeing are so hard to fill that employees who recommend a candidate who is subsequently hired will receive a $4,000 reward, through the company's Employee Referral Program. For more information about the program and jobs available at Boeing, go to on the Boeing Web.
"Typically they're extreme skill mismatches, and they're driven sometimes by programs that we've known for a long time are coming to an end," Bartlett said. However, he added that IDS has been "very careful that the positions we're hiring for are for long-term sustained growth."

Those interested in Boeing positions can visit on the Boeing Web or on the World Wide Web. Boeing employees should also look into the Employee Referral Program, which gives employees cash awards if someone they refer for a critical-skills position is hired.

Bartlett said Boeing employees should remember that they are one of the company's most powerful sources for filling the huge number of open positions.

"It's our people who help recruit others to come in," he said, "and are so positive about the work they're doing it entices others to join."


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