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Donald Lang, Director of Information Technology at Boeing Military Aircraft admits that his company hasn't handled staffing well during economic downturns. In the past, when there was a down cycle, they wanted to keep the older people with the most experience and laid off those younger staffers who had the least experience.
As a result of this behavior, Boeing unfortunately has a tremendous population of its 10,000 IT workers that are within 5-10 years of retirement. Land said they're evolving away from this situation by consciously replenishing the company's IT blood supply with entry level IT people, even when there's a downturn.
In terms of IT talent, Lang wants people who've got good communications, presence, and technical skills. Plus, he wants people who are eager to try new assignments. With his many years at the company, Lang has already had ten different jobs at Boeing.