Anthony Petitti has worked in executive recruiting since 2018, when he joined Pinnacle Search Partners LLC of Sandy Springs, Ga.
At Pinnacle, Petitti has worked with his father, Richard, who has more than 30 years of recruiting experience in the plastics industry. Pinnacle's plastics clients have included materials firms BASF SE and RTP Co.
Before joining Pinnacle, Anthony Petitti worked in player development for the Atlanta Braves and Boston Red Sox of Major League Baseball. He recently took some time to answer questions about the current labor market.
Q: What are the main challenges to hiring right now for plastics or other manufacturing companies?
Petitti: This is a great question, but there's not just one challenge. There are two key challenges in the market today. The first one is the lack of available relevant, plug-and-play-type talent, that's No. 1.
But in the same breath, another key obstacle is the fact that resin companies — producers, compounders and distributors — are all going after similar talent at the same time. So the minimal talent that is available is getting stretched thin even more because companies are hiring simultaneously.
Q: Is COVID-19 still impacting hiring? Has the situation improved at all?
Petitti: I would say no, COVID is not impacting hiring. Companies are active and eager to upgrade and get talent on board. (COVID is a thing of the past, hopefully.)
Q: Have employers changed what they're looking for in job candidates? Are job seekers looking for different things now?
Petitti: Employers always remain selective and targeted in bringing the right people on, but with how tight the talent pool is, we see a little bit of flexibility from our clients on not finding the perfect person, but pretty darn close to it. There's a little more emphasis on intangibles, but companies are still focused on relevant, translatable work experience.
Job seekers are looking for stable growth type of companies now more than ever. Most want to work at privately held companies, not private equity companies because it's less of a risk, less volatility in ownership changes, selling the business, etc.
Q: How is the current economic situation going to affect hiring?
Petitti: Tough question to answer there, but here is our best educated guess based off market intel. Most companies do indeed sense a pullback or halt in the U.S. economy, but it's not really stopping them from hiring. At least not yet.
One reason why is that the last few years have brought steady volume and margin growth to resin organizations, so they want to continue that upward trajectory. What better way to do it, than invest in your team and get more of the right people on board?
Another factor is that mass retirement has begun, creating additional vacancies on sales and engineering teams. This is and will be the biggest driving force in the hiring frenzy that is here and will probably stay for years to come.
From an employee's perspective, we hear a lot of hesitation and push back on making a change because of the volatility and uncertainty regarding the economy. Nobody wants to be the last one hired and the first one fired. God forbid a big recession hits. So that's definitely a big concern from the employee's point of view.
Candidates know that in these conditions, they hold some of the cards, it's about supply and demand at the end of the day. They will not settle for just an average run of the mill type opportunity or company. It has to get their attention from a lot of different angles.
Employees are not lining up to work for you just because you're a big company or have been around for 100 years. Organizations need to comprehend that reality, understand that interviews go both ways and adjust accordingly in the hiring process.