OneWeb’s big hiring pipeline

If there’s one consistency to the current list of job postings on OneWeb’s site, it’s big. The company lists over 30 openings for interns in Summer 2020, visits to at least 11 fall college fairs, and at minimum of 77 open positions across the company.

Most of the new hires will be based at the company’s headquarters in McLean, Virginia, but some will reside in London for network operations and a few in Florida supporting launch operations. The biggest single department is fleet management with over 15 positions – some listings specify multiple hires – followed by systems engineering (15), and cloud and enterprise IT (11). Other areas hiring include networks, ground systems, financial, platforms, and commercial (sales & marketing).

How does this compare to SpaceX StarLink’s recent hiring efforts through the Space Angels Angel List recruitment site? A snapshot of listed hires showed around 20 openings, with activities involved with manufacturing satellites, designing and operating a pilot manufacturing for User Terminals to scale to mass production, and key hires for Director of Network Operations and Head of StarLink Global Customer Support and Field Service operations.

OneWeb, unlike SpaceX, is a relatively new company, so it must hire the usual “overhead” positions of human resources, financial, and procurement. SpaceX is established company with an operating framework, so it doesn’t have to start from scratch. Employees able to task time between its primary business of launch and the start-up business of broadband services. When Starlink tasks grow too big, SpaceX can go out and hire dedicated personnel. It can also offer existing employees the opportunity to transfer from their current jobs into Starlink if there’s an appropriate fit of skills and experience. In addition, SpaceX has an established recruitment process and internship programs, so it has a structure for expanding recruitment efforts within its own needs.

However, OneWeb isn’t building everything from scratch. Satellite manufacture is already an established and ongoing process with its joint venture with Airbus ready to crank out two satellites per day in Florida. The company also has numerous partners focused on providing end-user equipment and is in the process of building a channel partner/VAR network while SpaceX Starlink seems to be determined to do as much as possible in house in order to control costs and better “own” customers at both enterprise and consumer sectors.

It is unclear how employee conditions between OneWeb and SpaceX compare, since OneWeb doesn’t have the long “resume” of current and former employees. SpaceX founder/CEO Elon Musk is known for riding employees hard both there and at Tesla. There’s bound to be short-time lines and significant pressure to develop and produce User Terminals and get a consumer-facing service up as quickly as possible – unless Musk changes his mind midway through the process, as he is often does.

Doug Mohney

Doug Mohney, a principal at Cidera Analytics, has been working and writing about IT and satellite industries for over 20 years. His real world experience including stints at two start-ups, a commercial internet service provider that went public in 1997 for $150 million and a satellite internet broadband company. Follow him on Twitter at DougonTech or contact him at dmohney139 (at) gmail (dot) com.

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