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
Companies & Associations

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

Paulson increasing its training offerings, opening Florida tech center

April 24, 2015 10:55 am ET

Paulson Training Programs Inc. is boosting its efforts to help the plastics industry find more skilled workers, entering an educational alliance,...    More

Image

Shintech adding ethylene capacity in Louisiana

April 22, 2015 4:11 pm ET

PVC leader Shintech Inc. will spend $1.4 billion on a capacity expansion for plastic feedstock ethylene in Plaquemine, La.    More

Image

Dramatic price hikes for resin in Europe as supply shortages bite

April 22, 2015 1:26 pm ET

European processors of standard thermoplastics were shaken in April by unprecedented material shortages and price hikes that they said bore no...    More

Image

Obituary: Thermoforming pioneer, Prent founder Jack Pregont

April 21, 2015 1:54 pm ET

Thermoforming pioneer Jack Elmer Pregont died April 17 in Sarasota, Fla., at age 85.    More

Image

Lego expands Czech packaging facility

April 21, 2015 9:51 am ET

Danish plastic toy maker Lego A/S has completed an expansion of its plant in Kladno, the Czech Republic and expects to hire up to 600 more workers for...    More

Market Reports

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

Plastics Caps & Closures Market Report

The annual recap of top trends and future outlook for the plastics caps & closures market features interviews with industry thought leaders and Bill Wood’s economic forecast of trends in growing end markets. You will also gain insight on trends in caps design, materials, machinery, molds & tooling and reviews of mergers & acquisitions.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

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

September 15, 2015 - September 17, 2015Plastics Caps & Closures - September 2015

More Events