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

Oxford Polymers adds compounding capacity

January 30, 2015 1:16 pm ET

Materials maker Oxford Polymers has increased its compounding capacity by installing a new single-screw extrusion line.    More

Image

Plastic products win Best of IBS awards

January 30, 2015 1:36 pm ET

LAS VEGAS — A year ago, inventor Jeremy Smith of Utah took his idea for an electrical outlet cover plate with LED lights on the bottom edge to...    More

Image

Marval's next generation expands capacity

January 30, 2015 1:27 pm ET

MAMARONECK, N.Y. — There’s a lot of history at Marval Industries Inc., but the 59-year-old compounding firm also is looking toward the...    More

Image

French investment firm buys Alabama-based CSP Technologies

January 30, 2015 1:10 pm ET

A French investment firm has finalized a deal to buy CSP Technologies Inc., an Auburn, Ala., company that makes specialty plastics packaging.    More

Image

Yizumi's stock price shoots up

January 30, 2015 11:56 am ET

Chinese injection press maker Guangdong Yizumi Precision Machinery Co. Ltd. has seen its stock price more than double in the first five trading days s...    More

Market Reports

Plastics in Automotive: Innovation & Emerging Trends

This special report newly released by PN and sponsored by The Conair Group examines current trends in the use of plastics in automotive, materials innovations and the changing landscape. It includes a review of legislative/regulatory activity impacting vehicle development and lightweighting, market opportunities & challenges for mold and toolmakers, innovative design strategies being implemented by major OEMs and suppliers, as well as a review of key indicators in Canada, Mexico, Brazil and China.

Learn more

Plastics Recycling Trends in North America

This report is a review and analysis of the North American Plastics Recycling Industry, including key trends and statistics based on 2013 performance. We examine market environment factors, regulatory issues, industry challenges, key drivers and emerging trends in post-consumer and post-industrial recycling.

Learn more

Injection Molding Market Analysis & Processor Rankings

Plastics News BUNDLED package contains our in-depth Market Analysis of the Injection Molding segment. You will gain keen insight on current trends and our economic outlook.

As a BONUS this includes PN's updated 2014 database of North American Injection Molders RANKED by sales volume. Sort, merge, mail & prospect by end market, materials processed, region, # of plants and more.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

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

June 2, 2015 - June 3, 2015Plastics Financial Summit - Chicago 2015

September 16, 2015 - September 18, 2015Plastics Caps & Closures - September 2015

More Events