Once upon a time, in a land far away manufacturing was booming, and then it slowly died off. Well, manufacturing is back, but it’s a different type of manufacturing. We are not talking about your father’s or Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller manufacturing, but a highly automated and an ever changing technology driven manufacturing. Employers and job seekers need to understand and adapt, or both will become as extinct as the steel industry on the Southside. In order to stay ahead of the game there are a few points that everyone should consider:
5 Things To Consider
1. With manufacturing returning to the USA, manufacturing jobs according to our study, especially in Western Pa. are expected to grow by 3% in 2014.
2. Marcellus Shale companies have added to the growth, along with a variety of energy related industries in our region. Even if you are not in the energy business, your business could be affected by the growth in that area. Your company may supply services or products used by those energy related companies, directly or indirectly. That, in turn, is good for all!
3. Believe it or not there is a supply and demand problem for talent in our region. Why you ask? People who have worked in manufacturing over the last few decades are slowly retiring, and eventually riding off to that great big manufacturing plant in the sky. Fewer people with technical degrees (engineering and such) are looking for positions in a manufacturing setting. They would rather sit at a computer and design “stuff” than get out on the floor and make “stuff”. You also have fewer people getting into technical trades, such as welding, machining, and maintenance of equipment. So what is an employer to do?? Good question.
4. Automation also adds to the problem. As companies invest in new technology/equipment companies fail to factor in, who will run or operate it! We recently talked to an Employer in our region that invested a lot of money to buy a new piece of machining equipment, but he failed to find someone that could operate it so it sat unused, and a waste of money. It’s similar to the person that buys the newest I-phone because they had to have it, but can only use half of the features. So again, what is an employer to do??
5. Mid level managerial positions in manufacturing are extremely difficult to fill. We have many employers talking to us about the scarcity of identifying talent when trying to hire a Production Supervisor or Turn Foreman, and again it goes back to points 3 and 4 above.
The Long Term Approach
This isn’t all doom and gloom in terms of filling jobs. It simply means companies must go “back to the future”, and hire potential. Companies need to develop in-house mentoring programs/training programs, and look at the person as an investment. Look for similar skills, and how well they can adapt. Everyone thinks there job is so unique or difficult to do, but with a little coaching and direction people can become very effective and successful.
If you need help filling a position for your company, W.T. Glover & Associates is the premier executive search firm in Pittsburgh, and we’d be happy to help you find the people you need.