Filling technical jobs could get tougher

Dan Regovich

Published: February 8, 2013 3:38 pm ET
Updated: February 8, 2013 4:26 pm ET

Related to this story

Topics Topics, Education & Training, Workforce

I regularly get calls from plastics companies all around the country that are having a tough time finding technical candidates with plastics experience. Many of these positions require someone with a degree. The conversation usually starts off like this: "Dan, we have been looking for several months for a (insert title) and haven't found anyone. I thought it would be a lot easier to find someone since the unemployment rate has been around 8 percent for quite some time."

There are a few reasons why this is happening.

The first is that for the year 2012, the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that the average unemployment rate for those who held degrees and were 25 years and older was right around 4 percent. Many experts consider 4 percent unemployment to be full employment.

On top of that, these companies need someone who has experience within their specialty — injection molding, blown film, extrusion, etc.

If you find that perfect candidate, one problem that might keep him or her from joining your firm is the housing market — it's still bad for selling a house. Many candidates either don't want to relocate or can't relocate. I have seen many candidates who don't want to relocate because they are afraid that they won't be able to sell their house quickly and can't afford to take on two mortgages. I have also seen candidates who simply can't relocate because they are underwater on mortgages. This issue will likely extend into the foreseeable future and affects all types of positions, not just technical ones.

Another issue is there are very few companies that want to train new employees. Most firms want to hire someone with experience. While that is good for the recruiting profession, it is not good for the long-term health of a company. Unemployment will continue to go down and baby boomers who have been putting off retirement will soon retire, making many more positions difficult to fill.

Robert Grace in his Jan. 4 Perspective said, "Many technically qualified engineers were laid off or left the industry during the recent recession, and now, with business on the increase for many, the talent pipeline has dried to a trickle." He goes on to give many great suggestions about the topics of workforce development, education, training, recruitment and retention. I highly recommend that you read this article if you haven't done so already.

There are a couple of things that can be done to offset these issues:

• If your company is already having problems filling positions, now is a good time to start implementing a new process to train employees. Yes, it will be an investment of time and money, but it will pay off in the long run when your competitors are falling behind because of a lack of qualified candidates. Plastics News' Executive Forum 2013, which will address these issues, is a good place to start for ideas. All candidates, especially technical candidates, are only going to become more difficult to find.

• When relocating someone, offer a reasonable relocation package. It needs to be a package that doesn't let the candidate take all the risk in this housing market.

• If you are not able to offer a relocation package, perhaps it might be best to work with a local recruiter who doesn't necessarily have to know plastics, but knows the local market and specializes in technical positions. If you were to be flexible on some of your requirements, you might find some good people right in your backyard that could get up to speed quickly with a minimal learning curve.

Dan Regovich is the owner of AJ Augur Group LLC of Mentor, Ohio, an executive search firm specializing in the plastics industry.


Comments

Filling technical jobs could get tougher

Dan Regovich

Published: February 8, 2013 3:38 pm ET
Updated: February 8, 2013 4:26 pm ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

Ohio molder sold to private equity firm

August 19, 2014 5:23 pm ET

Private equity firm TVV Capital of Nashville has acquired injection molder Design Molded Plastics Inc. for an undisclosed price.    More

Image

Pactiv selling building products unit to Ireland's Kingspan

August 19, 2014 3:54 pm ET

Irish building material manufacturer Kingspan Group plc is acquiring the insulation business of Lake Forest, Ill.-based Pactiv Building Products for...    More

Image

Flexible film waste-to-oil pilot project continuing in California

August 19, 2014 3:19 pm ET

A recent decision to discontinue operations at a plastics waste-to-oil site in Portland, Ore., is not impacting a pilot program aimed at hard-to-...    More

Image

Germany's Bolta building $50 million plating plant in Alabama

August 19, 2014 2:21 pm ET

A German company is setting up a plastics chrome plating plant in Tuscaloosa, Ala.    More

Image

Soaring business leads to growth for Composites Horizons

August 19, 2014 1:56 pm ET

Composites Horizons LLC is investing $12 million in new equipment and processes, in part for ceramic matrix composite production in its fourth buildin...    More

Market Reports

Thermoformed Packaging 2014 Market Review & Outlook North America

This in-depth report analyzes economic and market trends, legislative/regulatory activity impacting supply and demand, business opportunities and threats, materials pricing, manufacturing technology, as well as growth strategies being implemented by thermoformed packaging companies.

Learn more

Pipe, Profile & Tubing Extrusion in North America 2014

U.S. demand for extruded plastics is expected to grow by 3 percent in 2014, with PVC remaining the largest segment.

Plastic pipe will post the strongest gains through 2018, continuing to take market share from competing materials in a range of markets.

Our latest market report provides in-depth analysis of current trends and their financial impact on the pipe, profile and tubing extrusion industry in North America.

Learn more

2014 Injection Molding Industry Report

GROWTH, OPPORTUNITY IN SIGHT FOR INJECTION MOLDERS IN 2014

In the wake of the economic turbulence earlier in this decade, molders today find themselves in much better shape. Molders are gaining a competitive advantage by investing in people, equipment and seeking inroads into new markets on a global scale.

Growth in the injection molding industry is going to be driven by low financing costs and a continued move to reshore some business.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

September 10, 2014 - September 12, 2014Plastics Caps & Closures 2014

January 14, 2015 - January 14, 2015Plastics in Automotive

February 4, 2015 - February 6, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

More Events