BAE Systems cut 2,000 jobs. Is this good business?

BAE Systems cut almost 2,000 jobs, was this necessary and the right thing to do?

Is this 'good business' for the
Aerospace industry?

Today’s announcement by BAE Systems that 2,000 jobs will be cut in the military, maritime and intelligence services has shaken up the Aircraft Manufacturing industry.

In a statement this morning, the defence contractor announced job cuts in strategic areas, namely the reduction of employees in the manufacturing of its Eurofighter Typhoon jets. It was originally predicted that 1000 jobs would be cut, but today, BAE Systems has confirmed that it could be nearer to 2,000 jobs. This comes as a great blow to the Aerospace industry, especially with all the bad press with Monarch, Ryanair, Bombardier and Boeing. There seems to be no let up at all and the industry is desperately calling on the government to save highly skilled aerospace jobs.

Unions are extremely worried that as we edge closer to leaving the EU, a lot of our defence contracts will be given to international firms. Many industry leaders are now appealing to Downing street to ensure that the UK defence industry receives full backing from the government, and that our defence contracts are no longer handed to US manufacturers.

All this adds more fuel to the constant gloomy rhetoric behind the governments Brexit plans. With economic and employment uncertainty there is a growing need for new trade deals with overseas partner countries, and a firm commitment by the government is needed. It is imperative that the UK defence industry stays on top of it's game when we eventually leave the EU.

BAE Systems stated today, in an interview with the press associations, that these changes would “help boost competitiveness, accelerate technology innovation and improve operational excellence from a streamlined business”. Some observers have suggested that these cuts are undermining Britains Sovereign defence capability. The reality being that businesses need to be more agile and need to adapt to changes quickly. No one likes restructuring when jobs are cut, but when you are trying to be more efficient and more competitive, sometimes cutting jobs is the only way forward.

Outlined below are BAE Systems plans for UK job cuts:
  • Warton and Samlesbury, Lancashire - 750
  • Brough, East Yorkshire - 400
  • RAF Leeming - 15
  • Portsmouth and Solent region - 340
  • London, Guildford and other Applied Intelligence locations - 150
  • Other UK locations – 30

TOTAL - 1,915

With far fewer orders for Typhoon jet fighters, a drop-in production of Hawk trainer jets, and RAF tornados reaching the end of life. One can only question how this is going to affect areas who are reliant on its skilled workers. It’s common knowledge that by 2019 the RAF are planning to retire its squadron, and by 2020, a quarter of the UK’s defence spending will benefit American firms such as Boeing and Lockheed Martin. If anything, we are going to have a lot of skilled workers without jobs, probably taking their redundancies over the Christmas period. BAE Systems maybe slimming down to improve operations but how are they going to remain competitive if they are laying off a lot of their extremely skilled workers?

David Leyshon chairman at CBSbutler, Recruitment specialists in Engineering and Manufacturing commented on today’s actions by BAE Systems
It’s extremely disappointing news, another blow to our aerospace industry. Whilst clearly we must face commercial reality, the loss of skilled workers in such strategic sectors does not sit well for the future. Having said that, I am sure the talented workers will not be on the market long, as we see continuing shortages within the engineering and manufacturing sector. Those skills are sought after and there will always be high demand in the market”.

Let’s just hope that Britain’s defence industry is not compromised and communities who are heavily reliant on these skilled workers are not devastated with redundancies. UK defence manufacturing jobs need support from the government. With BAE Systems employing over 35,000 people in the UK there is worrying and uncertain times ahead and we must ensure an agreement over Brexit happens, that defence spending is brought back to the UK and we must put forward a new plan to protect our skilled workers.

If you are looking for your next contract in aircraft manufacturing or know you will be affected by the recent job cuts, then we would like to speak to you and discuss your future options.

For more on CBSbutler's current vacancies please visit our aviation and aerospace jobs page.