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April 27, 2015

The number of aeropspace employer respondents was corrected on April 27, 2015.

SAN DIEGO – San Diego Workforce Partnership (SDWP) has released Aerospace: Labor Market Analysis, a report analyzing the labor market for one of the largest subsectors in Advanced Manufacturing. Advanced Manufacturing is an SDWP Priority Sector, one of five identified as vital to the regional economy, experiencing rapid growth and projecting skills shortages.

SDWP and their research partners, UCSD Extension and the East County Economic Development Council, surveyed more than 100 aerospace employers in San Diego and analyzed over 10,000 online job postings for this study. The report documents the aerospace job opportunities in San Diego and makes recommendations to ensure that the workforce has the knowledge, skills and abilities required to maintain and grow the industry.

“While many traditional manufacturing companies have seen a decline in employment over the past 10 years, Advanced Manufacturing industries that require highly technical and computerized processes such as aerospace have thrived in San Diego,” says Tina Ngo Bartel, SDWP Director of Research. “Since 2004, employment in aerospace parts and products-related companies in San Diego doubled from approximately 5,000 to over 10,000. This data warranted us taking a deeper dive into specific subsectors that are growing and direct our job seekers to the opportunities that are available to them.”

Aerospace: Labor Market Analysis analyzes four major areas: 1) R&D and testing laboratories, 2) aerospace products and parts, 3) instruments and components, and 4) support activities.

Additionally, the study focuses on five occupational clusters that are essential for the operations and product development of these companies: 1) business operations, 2) computer/software, 3) drafter and technician, 4) engineering, and 5) production. The report lists the top skills desired by employers in each cluster.

Key findings include:

  • San Diego County is one of the most concentrated regions for aerospace-related employment in the nation. San Diego is 1.42 times (or 42 percent) more concentrated than the U.S. as a whole for aerospace employment.
  • Aerospace is a high-paying industry, with an average salary of over $81,799 in San Diego, well above the average salary of $52,393 for all industries.
  • A highly-educated workforce dominates San Diego’s aerospace industry, with more than 56 percent of the workers holding a bachelor’s degree or higher, and 9 percent holding an associate degree.
  • The majority of aerospace-related establishments in San Diego County are small businesses, with 67 percent of establishments employing fewer than 20 employees and just 4 percent with 250 or more employees.
  • San Diego employers have significant difficulty in hiring engineers for specific disciplines—60 percent of employers indicated difficulty in hiring qualified electrical, mechanical, electronics, computer hardware, manufacturing and aerospace engineers.
  • There is an undersupply of qualified workers for production occupations such as assemblers, welders, and machinists. Seventy percent of aerospace firms reported some to significant challenges in hiring machinists.
  • Seventy-two percent of aerospace firms have difficulty hiring computer programmers due to competing industries and difficulty in securing security clearances.

Priority Sector reports can be downloaded at

San Diego Workforce Partnership Research Department
SDWP serves as a vital source of information on the region’s labor market. SDWP’s Research Department analyzes workforce trends, in-demand jobs and high-growth industries in San Diego to produce reports that focus on key workforce issues throughout San Diego County such as employers’ workforce needs, wages and salaries, occupational projections and various employment statistics. 

San Diego Workforce Partnership
The San Diego Workforce Partnership (SDWP) is the leader for innovative workforce solutions in San Diego County. It funds job training programs that enable adults and youth to develop the skills and knowledge needed for careers that are in demand. SDWP also provides current and projected labor market research on the region’s workforce trends and key industries. Its vision is to ensure that every business in our region has access to a skilled workforce and every job seeker has access to meaningful employment. For more information, visit


Heather Milne Barger



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