Aerospace, Blog, Defence

10 Facts You Need to Know About the Aerospace and Defence Sectors in 2024

The Jonathan Lee blog section is a great place to discover all the latest news and views on the
sectors we work with and the services we provide.

The aerospace and defence sectors play a vital role in the global economy. In 2024, these industries continue to expand and advance, overcoming supply chain, technology and workforce challenges along the way.  Using the latest data from various industry reports, LinkedIn and his own knowledge of the sector Matthew Heath, Associate Director and aerospace & defence recruitment expert at Jonathan Lee Recruitment shares 10 interesting facts about the state of the sector in 2024.


1. Value of Aerospace, Defence, Security, and Space Sectors to the UK up 50% Over 10 Years

The aerospace, defence, security, and space sectors have significantly boosted the UK economy. According to the latest figures from ADS Group, the UK trade association advancing leadership in aerospace, defence, security and space, these sectors added £38.2 billion in value to the UK economy in 2023, marking a 50% growth over the past decade. This growth underscores the importance of these industries in driving innovation and economic progress.


2. Active Commercial Airline Fleet Now Around 30,000 Globally

According to data shared by the Midlands Aerospace Alliance (MAA), the global commercial airline fleet has reached approximately 30,000 aircraft globally. Airlines are increasingly investing in more modern aircraft to enhance profitability and meet a growing resurgence in demand. This expansion reflects the sector’s robust recovery and the rising demand for air travel worldwide.


3. Aircraft Orders Up 64%

The end of 2023 saw aircraft order books hitting a peak over the last 12 years. By April 2024, aircraft orders were up 64% compared to the same month in the previous year (ADS). This surge highlights continued confidence and demand within the sector, despite facing numerous challenges – strategically and politically.


Aerospace and Aviation engineering team having a discussion


4. Increase in MRO Demand

The aviation market’s recovery has led to a significant increase in MRO demand for airlines, lessors and owners. This is good news for the supply chain and service providers involved in maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) activities. The demand for these services grows alongside the increase in flight volume.


5. Aircraft Deliveries 14% Lower Than Pre-COVID Levels

Supply chain challenges have significantly impact aircraft deliveries, which are 14% lower than pre-COVID levels and 7.4% down from 2023 (ADS). These disruptions and technical challenges continue to pose obstacles for the industry as aircraft build rates continue to grow – particularly with single aisle aircraft designs.


6. The Sky Space is the Limit

The UK space sector is a vital and growing part of the economy, employing 48,800 people in highly skilled roles. The sector’s labour productivity is 2.5 times the national average. Moreover, global satellite services underpin at least 18% of the UK GDP (£370 billion), (GovUK) supporting various essential services such as mapping, weather forecasting, power grid monitoring, and financial transactions. Commercial space applications and investment are also continuing to grow.



AI image of space technology


7. Recruitment Challenges

Global skills shortages, particularly in engineering and MRO, persist as a significant challenge. Despite the increased demand for product and systems development as well as manufacture and maintenance, hiring skilled talent remains difficult. According to LinkedIn the average number of recruiter InMails sent to professionals in the Aerospace and Defence sectors over the past 12 months is above average highlighting the high demand compared to other talent pools.


8. Decline in Aviation and Aerospace Component Manufacturing Workforce

According to our own data and data sourced from LinkedIn there has been a 28% drop in professionals working in aviation and aerospace component manufacturing, with numbers falling annually from c. 138,500 to c. 99,750. The median tenure in this sector is 1.8 years, and gender diversity remains an issue, with 78% male and 22% female representation.


9. 24% Increase in Defence and Space Manufacturing Workforce

Conversely, the defence and space manufacturing sector has seen a 24% increase in professionals year-on-year, rising from c. 100,000 to c. 125.000 The median tenure in this sector is 2.1 years, with gender diversity showing an improving trend leading to a 76% male and 24% female representation.


Futuristic soldier wearing VR rectangular image


10. FIA 2024 Bigger and Better Than Ever with the Largest Static Display in years

The Farnborough International Airshow (22 – 26 July) is set to feature the largest static display in years as testament to the global aerospace industry’s growth in innovation and demand. The event will showcase both civil and defence aircraft for rotary, fixed wing and UAV designs. As seen before at this truly international event, it reflects the advancements made in aerospace and defence.


These insights underscore the nature of these sectors, highlighting their diversity, complexity, strengths and technological advancement.  The upcoming Farnborough International Airshow (FIA) promises to be a pivotal event, showcasing the latest in technology and innovation.


“Since the Farnborough Air Show in 2018, the aerospace and defense sectors have experienced significant changes, challenges, reductions, and growth. These sectors have faced considerable global impacts, with ongoing challenges particularly in the areas of workforce and supply chains. Despite these difficulties, technology and manufacturing innovation and development continue to advance. Personally, it is an exciting environment to work in and support.” Matthew Heath, Jonathan Lee Associate Director & aerospace and defence recruitment expert

Jonathan Lee Recruitment will be exhibiting at FIA. You can find us on the MAA Stand – Hall 1, UK Pavillion Stand 1320. To register as a Trade Visitor at the Farnborough International Airshow click here


Jonathan Lee - Aerospace and Defence Recruitment experts

Looking for a Defence and Aerospace Recruitment Partner?

Jonathan Lee Recruitment’s Aerospace & Defence recruitment division offers clients a unique level of expertise in permanent, contract and interim recruitment across all aspects of the sector including supporting with aerospace, defence, aviation and space technology roles within design, engineering, quality, project and programme management, operations, MRO, sales and marketing, commercial, logistics, manufacturing and aftermarket support.

To discover more visit or contact Matthew Heath and the Aerospace & Defence recruitment team on +44 (0) 1384 446187.

Jonathan Lee Recruitment at Farnborough International Airshow

Share this blog post

Solutions through understanding