Looking for a job in space? CEO of EVONA speaks about the labor market in the sector

The space industry is heating up and there is a lot of money flowing into the sector, with many opportunities for people to find new careers.

EVONA CEO Tom Kelly is a guest on Wealth!’s Space Race: Investing in the Final Frontier series for Yahoo Finance. He provides insight into the space industry job market, how to find work in the sector, and what the salaries are.

“Electrical engineering, systems engineering, embedded software, mechanical design. You see the depth of seniority there, but most of the positions are engineering and these are the types of salaries you can expect when you come to work in the aerospace industry,” Kelly outlines. “So again, forget about this kind of slow-moving industry purely about government, probably lower pay. This is new aerospace, VC, private equity-backed… companies that want to do incredible things.”

Stay tuned for Yahoo Finance’s special coverage as part of this week Space Race: Investing in the Final Frontier series.

For more expert insight and the latest market action, click here to watch this full episode of Wealth!

This post was written by Nicholas Jacobino

Video transcript

Many children grow up wanting to become astronauts.

Although few people actually get on a rocket and fly into space, there are many people working in the sector that makes this all possible.

So how do you find the right job for you in the space sector?

Now we have Tom Kelly with us, who was CEO of Ivona, a staffing agency for the aerospace industry.

Tom, great to have you with us today.

Many people want to go to space or at least touch space somehow.

What are the key ways and features that are emerging in this sector?

Yes Yes Yes.

First of all, thank you so much for having me on the show.

Thank you very much for also organizing the space week.

I think it’s important to spread the message that the space industry is open to everyone.

There is a bit of an idea at the moment that it’s all about tourism, but that’s actually a very small part of the sector.

Um, it’s very broad, so I think you know the first one.

The first key message is that the space industry is open to everyone.

Um, we’ve held roles in everything you can imagine from admin to marketing to sales CEO, S and the industry welcomes people with outside skills.

Uh, but I think you know what’s really, really important to mention: the space is very unique in its culture.

Uh, I think it’s because most people think they’re just rockets.

Actually, it’s much more than that.

But once you actually start understanding the industry, you realize that, and I think it has to do with the fact that most of it is working on technology that doesn’t actually exist on Earth.

People are modest, people are approachable.

People just want to perform really, really well and help humanity move forward.

So the culture is complete, complete.

Uh, you know, there’s nothing quite like it.

Uh, as mentioned on the slide there.

You know, technology is of course a big part of that.

These are kind of normal skills that you would find.

So, um, electrical systems, engineering, embedded software, um, mechanical design.

You can see the kind of depth of seniority there.

And most of the roles are technical, and these are the types of salaries you can expect if you work in the aerospace industry.

So again, forget that there’s some kind of slow-moving industry that’s all about government. Uh, you know, probably a lower salary.

This is a new space backed by VC private equity by sexy companies that want to do incredible things.

Eh, some of the companies we visited are just insane.

As you can see, salaries are almost identical to those in the technology sector.

Uh, space is basically deep tech now.

Uh, back in the day it was just hardware.

And now it’s really, really, really evolved, in terms of the key locations for the, um, in the US.

Most of it is west coast.

If you look at the investments in companies over the past four years, which actually peaked in 2020.

Um, it was a little slower.

I think in 2022 investors started to realize that they needed to make a return on this very interesting technology.

And now it has been found.

But it’s mainly the west coast.

Um, Colorado is the second, um, both locations are traditional aerospace areas, but interestingly enough Florida is about 8% of the investment.

They have the CS rocket launches.

So with that in mind, Tom, sorry.

I just want to jump in here.

I mean, where do we see the most orbits in space?

You mentioned some of the locations that naturally come to mind for many viewers because those are bases where many government operations have previously taken place.

There are also many new private surgeries coming online.

And so where do you see the most positions in that kind of public versus private jousting?

Especially if there is overlap in some of those contracts for the industry?

Yes, yes, there has definitely been a change.

Uh, there’s been a shift away from prime numbers.

So if we say prime numbers go to NASA, Lockheed, Boeing, and so on.

Um, they’re all bidding for the same work as other, much smaller companies.

But now the government is actually interested in making these pieces available to much smaller companies, which is fantastic because it stimulates innovation.

It changes the way these companies work on long-term projects.

What we see is that the contracts at the moment are mainly going to VC-backed companies or companies.

The areas of low growth we have seen in recent years are certainly related to Earth observation.


What we mean by this is that companies use space technology to monitor the Earth and make actionable decisions based on that.

So I live in Florida.

Hurricane season has started.

Without all the technology in space we wouldn’t be able to look at that.

But space is all around us.

It’s absolutely everywhere.

Well, soon there will be a smart desk.

This cannot be done without technology from space.

The mobile phone will soon have a perfect phone signal everywhere.

I’m not sure we spent much time in the UK.

But that is incredibly useful.

I. I imagine that would save a lot of people.

Some, some some pain, some pain to lose that reception for sure.

Tom, we have to leave our stuff there on the day itself. We don’t have much time here on the show.

I’d love to see you again.

And continue this conversation.

Very important.

At least one.



Thank you.

Thank you very much, Tom.

Tom Kelly, who is the CEO of Ivona?

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