Working at a company that makes planes and trains requires familiarity with Newton’s First Law: objects in motion tend to stay in motion. Outside of physics, our brains seem wired to apply inertia to the way we see the world. We believe that the baseball team with an 86-year World Series drought will stay cursed. The hockey team that dominates the regular season but gets swept in the playoffs will remain a choke artist forever. And, the company that restructures its business will continue to cut employees.
Of course, dramatic turnarounds in sports tend to get plenty of media coverage. Unfortunately, steady progress and improvement in the business world do not.
A good example: Today, Bombardier employs more than 69,500 people worldwide, including 23,000 in Canada. This number reflects an increase of almost 3,500 people over last year and puts Bombardier’s total employment around the same level as when we began our five-year turnaround plan in November 2015.
Surprised by these numbers? Many people are. A survey we conducted with Leger earlier this spring revealed that Canadians grossly underestimated how many people work for Bombardier.
Less than a third of Canadians surveyed knew that we employ 23,000 people in their home country. Only ten percent knew that Bombardier employs more than 16,000 people in Quebec, and more than 70% of Canadians underestimated our 6,200 employees in Ontario.
By extension, most Canadians would underestimate the positive economic impact Bombardier has on the Canadian economy given that Bombardier jobs pay 1.7 times more than the national average.
How can so many people be so misinformed about Bombardier?
We think part of the reason is the selective media coverage we receive. Successes in our growth programs and progress on our turnaround received relatively little media attention. Case in point, when we published our Annual Report with year-end employment levels, it attracted zero media attention — not one headline proclaiming that Bombardier’s employment had returned to 2015 levels.
Compare this to the hundreds of stories written between 2015 and 2016 about our restructuring actions, or the stories on executive compensation. The bottom line is that if your only source of information on Bombardier is the traditional media, you are missing out on a lot. Readers would be right to ask themselves if they are getting the full picture when they see stories about our company.
Going back to Newton’s First Law: Bombardier is gaining momentum. We are back to being a company that is moving forward. We are creating value for shareholders, opportunities for employees and supporting Canada’s economy.
Going forward, you can expect we’ll continue to highlight our successes and point out misconceptions and misinformation; we owe it to our employees and other stakeholders.
Vice President Communications and Public Affairs