What is the market for drone jobs in 2022? We initially addressed this topic using 2018 data, so an update after the pandemic years is certainly due, especially given that drone companies on average grew by 15% in terms of work force. As the drone industry has grown and matured around the globe, universities have also started offering drone-related study programs. From Germany, to Spain and even the middle of Kansas, people can now earn bachelor’s degrees and prepare for drone careers, so we decided to dig a bit deeper into what sort of jobs may be available for them. And here is what we found.
There are of course dozens if not hundreds of potential jobs related to drones. Anything from engineering drone hardware to developing drone-specific software, or of course being a drone pilot can be classified as a drone job. So to make this research more useful for anyone fascinated by drone technology, we decided to expand our current definition of “drone jobs” to include various non-engineering-or-aviation jobs. This means that marketing or HR-related jobs being offered at drone companies would also fit the definition of drone jobs that we are using in this article.
To avoid having hundreds of different job titles, we grouped the job postings into categories. Many of these groupings are quite evident such as “Software Engineering” including job titles like Software Developer, Data Processor, or DevOps Engineer among others. Others, like “Production & Design” encompass various jobs including Product Manager, UX Designer, Manufacturing, Supply Chain Manager, and Purchasing Director. Meanwhile “Management” is not necessarily about hierarchical management but also covers Project Manager, Program Manager, Training Manager, etc.
And now that we have covered the definitions for drone jobs, it’s time for numbers.
Originally published: June 2022
In a span from April-May 2022, we found 1,004 total open drone jobs in 94 companies by using Linkedin, Indeed, StepStone, and company websites among other sources. Breaking down these jobs by drone industry sector, we find that 46% (461) of these jobs were posted by drone hardware manufacturers. Furthermore, 37% (374) belonged to drone service companies while 17% (169) were software companies. In comparison to 2018, there was a dramatic increase in job openings for Drone Service Providers (from 176 to 374) as well as a slight increase in software (from 77 to 169) and a substantial decrease in drone hardware (from 626 to 461).
What does this say about drone jobs and drone companies in general? Now that the industry as a whole has become more mature, it is all about applying drone technology. To thrive, drone companies now need to focus on developing the right software and services and they need to promote their unique selling positions. This is supported by the fact that the most-advertised jobs were in Software Engineering, followed by Marketing & Sales and then Production & Design. Again, software engineering jobs apply not only to software companies, so there is no contradiction in finding that most jobs were posted by hardware companies [instead of software companies] while the most-advertised type of job was Software Engineering.
If we look at regional differences in drone jobs, 41% of the total open positions that we found are in/from the USA. This was followed by 15% from Germany, and 5% from both India and Australia. However, one important note that should be made is linguistic and cultural. China and other Asian countries not only use entirely different writing systems, they are also dominated by different search engines, job portals and hiring cultures.
When comparing this year’s top 10 countries with the our previous research, it is clear that some countries started to recruit a lot more for drone jobs. This is particularly the case for Germany, India, Australia, Malaysia and the UK, which improved their ranking or entered the top 10. Looking more closely at the types of jobs within these top countries, we find that the US, Australia, and the UK have a strong share of service jobs related to drone delivery. Perhaps this is not too surprising given the increase of activity and investments into companies like Wing, Swoop Areo, Skyports and others. Meanwhile, we also find that hardware drone jobs for passenger drones represent a strong number of openings in the US, Germany, and China which are home to some of the leading passenger drone companies.
The global drone industry continues to grow, and drone companies continue to show both plenty of promise and steadily strong results. They also continue to receive record-breaking investments each year. And all of this means that drone companies have both the capacity and the need for personnel to help them succeed. This results in an ever-expanding market for drone jobs. Our brief research yielded over 1,000 jobs around the world, and it is crucial to keep in mind that this is a very dynamic market. So in addition to large and well-established drone companies, there are hundreds of smaller companies wanting to hire but they might be harder to find online or might benefit from hiring through personal networks instead. The key takeaway is that drone jobs are certainly out there, and they will continue to grow along with the industry.
In comparison to our previous blog post, the interest in drone jobs has only grown. The money going into the industry and the trust towards drone technology have also increased. A decrease in drone hardware jobs only suggests that the hardware has reached a significant standard and level of scaling and now the key is to facilitate and leverage other services. As more talented engineers, drone pilots, etc continue to develop and the demand for their skills increases, we will surely see the amount of drone jobs available increase even more.
Zahra Lotfi is a market research analyst with a Ph.D. in economics (focus on innovation) and a Master degree in Business Administration (focus on international marketing)