SeekOut's Talent Visionaries series features innovative leaders and their extraordinary work in creating and scaling high-performing teams. The personal philosophies and invaluable insights of these workplace champions offer new perspectives in an ever-evolving talent landscape.
Douglas Greene, Senior Director of Talent Acquisition at Raytheon Intelligence & Space, is an award-winning human resources (HR) executive with 20 years of experience who got his start as a recruiter in the military. Greene shares his 2023 outlook on talent acquisition (TA) in aerospace and defense (A&D), discusses how teams can navigate an uncertain economic climate, provides advice for HR newcomers, and much more.
On the talent outlook for A&D in 2023
In the aerospace and defense industry, we’ve had a consistently tight labor market. Even during the height of COVID, unemployment was only between 1% and 2%. So, I don’t anticipate a drastic change in the availability of the workforce.
However, considering the challenges of obtaining clearance, I do believe that defense companies will have to focus on re-skilling cleared talent. For example, you may have an electrical engineer with skills as an application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) designer. But the role you need to fill is in power engineering—an area the candidate lacks experience. How can you grow this ASIC designer to fit the role you most need? Continued development will be key.
“Considering the challenges of obtaining clearance, defense companies will have to focus on re-skilling cleared talent.”
On recruiting in the current economic climate
It's critical to understand all of your competitors—traditional and non-traditional—and where you fit in these landscapes. Raytheon, for example, historically competes for engineering talent against the other large A&D companies. But in today’s landscape, we have to think about the scenario where we could lose a software engineer to a smaller startup—it is a wide landscape these days. What ultimately matters is that you get to know the talent you’re after, what’s important to them and how to communicate your employee value proposition.
“With the advent of technology, it’s easier to find and connect with people, but sales and influence remain at the root of talent acquisition.”
In terms of the process, one observation I’ve made in the TA space for years is that the more things change, the more they seem to stay the same. With the advent of technology, it’s easier to find and connect with people, but sales and influence remain at the root of talent acquisition. You’re not only finding a capable fit to fill the role, but you’re selling them on joining the organization. Competitive salary and benefits help, but they’re table stakes—lean into your unique value to attract and retain talent.
On how Raytheon attracts talent
People want to connect to a mission that resonates with them, and this is especially true with younger talent. At Raytheon, we’re in it to make the world a safer place. There are many facets to our organization where this shines through and our employees truly understand that they have a direct role in keeping our nation and its military members safe.
There’s also a lot of opportunity for internal mobility, and that’s a major advantage for people at any stage of their careers. You could have many different careers without leaving the company. Raytheon is a great place for people to work, grow and belong.
On advice to people new to HR
As a baseline, it’s necessary to understand recruiting and the challenges of the marketplace—especially if you're working with hiring managers. If you’re in the client-facing side of HR, you’ll learn a lot from doing a rotation in the TA space.
“As a baseline, it’s necessary to understand recruiting and the challenges of the marketplace—especially if you're working with hiring managers.”
The best professionals follow the evolving HR landscape as closely as possible. There are plenty of great resources available to help you do that—blogs, whitepapers, associations to join, and events to attend. Look for events that focus on keeping up with new technology that can help your organization become more strategic. From a business perspective, the conferences you choose depend on your seniority, and there are opportunities on all levels of the profession.
Lastly, I recommend continuous learning—look for books, mentors, and podcasts that focus on strategy, influence, and how to partner and collaborate across a business.
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