Fair pay issues and skills gap present recruiting challenges

Many manufacturing, engineering and technical recruiters are likely finding that sourcing for talented individuals to fill open positions is difficult. However, there is a similar frustration on the part of job seekers who feel that they are qualified, yet are still being overlooked. The end result is recruitment and hiring processes that have essentially broken down in the wake of the Great Recession.

There are a number of contributing factors that have exacerbated this problem. One of which is specialization. Many companies are on the hunt for people with a demonstrated level of skill and experience in certain areas. While this kind of individual may fill an immediate need for an organization, it also means that recruiters are essentially bypassing an entire pool of candidates who may be able to perform a job equally well after receiving some level of training.

However, many companies don't want to invest additional time and financial resources to get a job seeker up to speed and instead, would prefer to bring someone in who can be effective from the first day on the job. This unfortunately makes the recruiter's job harder, but it also increases the level of competition in the job market. If there are only a small number of candidates with the skills that a company is looking for, its competitors are likely vying for the attention of this person as well.

This is one of the reasons why positions remain open for so long and recruiters have to double their efforts in order to satisfy their clients - many times meeting with roadblocks and hurdles that can make their sourcing efforts of little to no value.

"There are more jobs than people who are skilled," Tracy Cashman, a partner and senior vice president of WinterWyman, an IT search firm, told InformationWeek in a recent interview. "We've been feeling this since the [dot-com] bubble burst and we're still fighting that."

Addressing negative trends in the manufacturing industry
The industrial sector is another area where manufacturing recruiters are often facing adversity when it comes to sourcing for candidates. The recession not only crippled the economy, but it also forced those with specialized manufacturing skills to either retire or look for opportunities elsewhere. Now that things have picked back up, recruiters, much like their counterparts in the technical sector, are finding difficulties in finding skilled labor.

One of the reasons is related to pay. People with in-demand skillsets in manufacturing know that they can essentially set their own compensation amounts. However, this premium is a price that a number of organizations are unwilling to acquiesce to. Although this may make sense from a business and financial perspective on the part of the company, it works against recruiting efforts to fill open positions.

"Paying people fairly is good for business," Angela Erbaugh, president of the Dayton region Manufacturers and Manpower, told the Dayton Business Journal. "Underpay, and employees will eventually look for a better offer. Overpay, and the payroll budget and profitability will suffer."

The demand for job seekers with specialized skills and experience is something that isn't likely to subside any time soon. In fact, as companies begin looking to aggressively add to their payroll by hiring people and filling positions, recruiters will find a much more significant number of needs coming across their desks.

This will not only require them to be innovative in their approach to sourcing and mining for candidates, but it also calls for companies to relax many of the hard lines that they've established when it comes to identifying and hiring talent. Ultimately, it becomes a win for both the recruiter and the company when everyone understands that there is no such thing as the perfect candidate, but investing in an individual who can be a long-term asset is much wiser business move.