Sandia LabNews

Sandia ranked No. 1 employer of choice in aerospace/defense industry, survey finds

Sandia ranked No. 1 employer of choice in aerospace/defense industry, survey finds

Sandia ranks first in the nation as an employer of choice in the aerospace/defense industry, according to a survey by Aviation Week and Space Technology.

Technological challenge and meaningful work ranks No. 1 in considerations by aerospace/defense professionals when looking at employment opportunities, the survey found. And Sandia ranked first in that technological challenge category. Raytheon, Hamilton Sundstrand, General Atomics, and Northrop Grumman followed.

The results are published in the May 3 Aviation Week and Space Technology. To get a better sense of the industry’s makeup today — and which companies may be doing the most to attract top engineers and technical people — the magazine conducted a comprehensive survey in partnership with the Aerospace Industries Association.

Respondents considered four broad categories: technological challenge and meaningful work; opportunity for career growth and professional development; job stability; and leadership.

Those surveyed ranked the technological challenge category first, and Sandia qualified as best-in-class in that category on the basis of all the data points, said the magazine. It pointed out that Sandia is operated by Lockheed Martin for the US Department of Energy and that more than three quarters of Sandia’s 8,000 employees work directly on R&D or engineering projects.

It said Labs Director and President Paul Robinson "can offer employees sustained funding for R&D projects linked to the hottest projects in energy, visualization, sensors, chip design, and, most fundamentally for Sandia, nuclear weapons — and now, terrorism. Low attrition rates, high percentages of diversity, promotions from within, and a highly technical leadership team add to Sandia’s attraction."

"People want to be part of the lab," the magazine quotes Paul as saying. "When you have the really hardest problems, you send them here to be solved. That challenge is what brings people here. Once they get a steady diet of it, it’s pretty hard to go anywhere else." Plus, Paul told the magazine, "It’s not just a job. It’s your country."

"To say I was delighted would be an understatement," Paul told the Albuquerque Journal. "The part I’m most proud of was not only were we ranked No. 1 in challenge, but that factor was No. 1 in career choices. It gives me great hope for the next generation of scientists."

In looking at women and minorities in the workforce, Aviation Week identified three top companies: Vought Aircraft, Rockwell Collins, and Sandia.

At Sandia, the magazine says the push for diversity goes back decades and it notes that today, of the top 80 slots at the lab, 20 are filled by women, including Joan Woodard, Sandia’s executive vice president and deputy director.