Three-fourths of U.S. mold makers plan to hire in the next 12 months, and they are looking most for technically skilled people — and especially young ones — according to the American Mold Builders Association's Wage and Benefits Report.
Only 5 percent said they do not plan to hire. Twenty percent were not sure.
"The continued need to find skilled people to fill technical positions continues to outweigh the need to fill administrative and leadership positions," the report said.
Of mold makers that do plan to hire, technical positions account for 85 percent of jobs they hope to fill, AMBA said. Administrative positions make up just 5 percent of open jobs that need to be filled; leadership positions accounted for 10 percent.
For the 2018 report, AMBA surveyed about 120 U.S. mold makers about pay and benefit information covering 50 job functions. They reported an overall 4 percent increase in wages, with the largest changes in salary for positions such as operators, inspectors, purchasing agents and sales managers/directors, AMBA said.
The 75 percent of toolmakers that intend to hire marks an increase from the 2017 AMBA report, when 65 percent said they expected to hire within the next 12 months, according to Ashley Burleson, AMBA analytics manager.
The industry is expecting more work.
"A lot more manufacturers are doing some reshoring. They're having their molds built in the U.S., so they're hoping to expand in the U.S.," Burleson said.
At the same time, the industry needs to find young people. AMBA said 42 percent of employees are in the 46-60 age range. Another 30 percent are 31-45 years old.
"We're talking about an aging workforce and trying to attract young people and even getting them to understand mold making," Burleson said.
Unemployment is 4.1 percent, officially a rate of "full employment." That makes the hiring game even harder.
Good pay is important, but Burleson said so are competitive benefit packages. "It can be a challenge for a lot of organizations, but when it comes to attracting the best employees and retaining employees, those benefit packages are key," she said.
Companies taking part in the report represented mold building operations located in 28 states. Nearly half of the respondents — 46 percent — were from companies with sales of less than $5 million, while companies with sales between $5 million and $10 million accounted for 23 percent. Mold makers with more than $10 million in sales represented 30 percent of the total.
The 50 job classifications detailed in the report represent 5,078 U.S. employees in the mold making industry, both hourly and salaried.
According to the AMBA report, positions that got at least a 10 percent raise in 2017, from 2016, include assembly operator, general manager, information systems manager, inspector, maintenance/machine repair, press operator, purchasing agent/buyer and sales director/manager.
But a number of positions experienced a cut in pay in 2017. They include CAD detailer, CNC programmer, engineering manager, estimator, finance controller/accounting, human resources manager, marketing director, mold polisher, mold sampling technician, quality manager, inside sales manager and sales account manager.
AMBA's Wage and Benefits Report also provides a detailed look at benefits that companies provide, giving dollar amounts, including life insurance, medical benefits, retirement plans, flex-time, bonuses and shift differentials, plus other areas such as the price of copays and weeks of vacation by years of service.
AMBA is based in Indianapolis.
For more information about the report, go to www.amba.org/publications.