After being unseated by Amazon as the state’s largest employer and then surpassed by Microsoft, Boeing could have a comeback as Washington’s second-largest employer in 2023. While the tech industry is currently facing layoffs and hiring freezes, Boeing is on a hiring spree as air travel picks up once again.
At the end of 2022, Boeing had a total of 60,244 workers in Washington, making up 40% of its global workforce. Last year alone, the company hired 23,000 employees, which after retirements and other exits netted out to an increase of 15,000 workers, with 4,421 in Washington.
The aerospace company is planning to open a new production facility in Everett, where it will build new 737 jets. However, it hasn’t said how many workers it will need for this line.
At Boeing’s current pace of hiring, the company plans to hire about 10,000 engineers, with one-third of those based in the Puget Sound region. This comes after Boeing was surpassed by Amazon and Microsoft as the state’s largest employers during the pandemic, thanks to the insatiable demand for tech solutions for remote work, the sudden drop-off in demand for air travel, and the 20-month grounding of the 737 Max.
Now, the tables have turned, with tech companies including Amazon, Microsoft and Meta announcing major rounds of layoffs as the tech sector cools somewhat. Microsoft in particular has announced it will lay off 10,000 employees by March of this year, but it will continue to hire for strategic roles through 2024.
While the major tech layoffs are not easy for those affected, they do represent a potential windfall for smaller companies in need of similar roles. Startups in particular may benefit from the available talent that is back in the job pool.
On the other hand, Boeing is no stranger to major layoffs and massive hiring sprees. The aerospace industry by its nature requires a huge number of employees to get new projects off the ground, followed by layoffs as demand cools down somewhat. The difference between Boeing and Microsoft is that aerospace employees are used to these rhythms in hiring and layoffs, and many will return with this current wave of open positions. Tech employees may find stability at new companies instead, helping Boeing once again top Microsoft as the second-largest employer in the state.
This post was based on a Puget Sound Business Journal article by Marissa Nall and Alex Halverson.