The chief of NATO recently said bloc members have taken “longer than they should” to ramp up military output UELZEN, GERMANY – FEBRUARY 12: Employees work at a production line at a new munitions factory of German defence contractor Rheinmetall. © Fabian Bimmer – Pool/Getty Images

Western defense companies are recruiting workers at the fastest rate since the end of the Сold War, the Financial Times has reported. The hiring spree comes as governments have ramped up military spending since the start of the Ukraine conflict, according to the newspaper.

Twenty large and medium-sized US and European defense and aerospace companies are looking to employ tens of thousands of people this year, the FT wrote, citing the findings of its own survey.

The largest US contractors – Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and General Dynamics – have nearly 6,000 job openings, while ten companies surveyed are seeking to increase staff numbers by almost 37,000 in total, or nearly 10% of their aggregate workforce, the newspaper reported.

Nuclear-armed nations boosting arsenals – research  Nuclear-armed nations boosting arsenals – research 

Firms are looking to fill a range of positions, from welders and mechanics to engineers, software developers, and cyber security analysts, and at all levels from apprentice to late-stage career executive, the FT added.

Italian defense contractor Leonardo is conducting “an intense search for new hires, even more intense than during previous conflicts such as Iraq or Afghanistan,” the firm’s chief personnel officer, Antonio Liotti, stated.

Ammunition producers, notably Germany’s Rheinmetall and Norwegian-Finnish Nammo, are among those with the most aggressive hiring plans, the FT reported. Missile manufacturers such as Thales and MBDA, whose arms have been used by Ukraine, plan to increase their workforces by up to 17%.

According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), global military spending jumped 6.8% in 2023 in the steepest year-on-year rise since 2009, reaching a record $2.443 trillion, or 2.3% of global GDP.

The sharpest increase in military spending was recorded in the US, ahead of China and Russia, according to data provided by SIPRI.

In 2023, the 31 NATO members accounted for 55% of the world’s military expenditure, the institute said in a report in April. Russia’s military spending increased by 24% in 2023, it added.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said in May that since the start of the Ukraine conflict in 2022, ammunition production in Russia has risen 14-fold, while the production of missiles and artillery shells has increased 22-fold.

Russia has been able to build up its defense industry faster than NATO expected, the military bloc’s secretary-general, Jens Stoltenberg, said earlier this month. In an interview with Sky News, the NATO chief claimed that bloc members “spent more time than they should [have]” in ramping up their production. (RT)