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Factors that Affect Retention and Satisfaction among Newly Hired Aerospace Engineers

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2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


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Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

Student Success, Learning Strategies, and Retention in the Aerospace Industry

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Lucas Davis Iowa State University


Benjamin Ahn Iowa State University

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Benjamin Ahn, is a Ph.D student in the School of Engineering Education at Purdue University.
He received a M.S. degree in Aeronautics and Astronautics Engineering from Purdue University and a B.E degree in Aerospace Engineering from University of New South Wales, Australia. His research interests are re-examining the professional engineering practice in U.S. universities and industries and, the role of the Graduate Teaching Assistants in engineering classes.

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Yun Dong Iowa State University

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Yun is a Ph.D. student in the Human Computer Interaction (HCI) program at Iowa State University (ISU). She is currently involved in the research project titled Workplace Socialization in the Aerospace Engineering Profession, identifying the actions of managers and newly hired engineers during the onboarding process into aerospace engineering companies.

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Ravonte Nievez Campbell Virginia Tech

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Turnover plays a large role in the productivity of any organization and is especially important within the initial adjustment period of new hires. Organizations seek to develop strategies to reduce turnover to help solve this issue, but these strategies require knowledge of what influences the retention and satisfaction of the employees. The objective of this research is to identify the factors that managers perceive to affect the retention rate and the satisfaction of newly hired aerospace engineers so that managers or employers can create strategies to reduce turnover within this group.

While research has been conducted on general retention and satisfaction, no research has been specific to the aerospace engineering field and its newly hired employees. These aspects are important because unique factors can arise within specific fields or in different timeframes.

This research used qualitative research methods to analyze seven semi-structured interviews with experienced managers of newly hired aerospace engineers. These interviews were transcribed and coded by multiple researchers to find key ideas and factors that managers consider to affect retention and satisfaction.

This research identified six themes for retention factors: local and national economic trends, personal factors unique to each newcomer, the quality of work assigned to the newcomer, the social environment of the workgroup, benefits offered to employees, and the newcomer’s role and how they fit in with the workgroup. This study also identified six themes for satisfaction factors: the quality of work assigned to the newcomer, management styles and actions, general work environment, benefits, fit with a mentor, and expectations for the aerospace industry. Future research should be conducted on how best to address factors within these themes to create turnover prevention strategies.

Davis, L., & Ahn, B., & Dong, Y., & Campbell, R. N. (2020, June), Factors that Affect Retention and Satisfaction among Newly Hired Aerospace Engineers Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--34659

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