Three Recruiting Challenges in the Engineering and Manufacturing Industries (6/19/2017)

The latest Manpower Group employment survey came out in mid-June, and the prospects look good for both Wisconsin and the nation in terms of hiring for the upcoming quarter. Slightly more than one-quarter of companies plan to increase staffing in the upcoming July-September quarter, while only 4% of companies plan to reduce staffing.

That’s good news for job candidates, of course. But when you drill down on the numbers, it’s clear that the shifting structure of employment within the engineering and manufacturing industries is creating several different recruiting challenges for companies looking to staff up.

Challenge #1: Finding the right employees

 First of all, Wisconsin employers say that they cannot always find the right employees with the right skills due to structural changes taking place in the manufacturing sector. As aging workers with core skills retire, it’s hard to find younger workers who possess these same skills.

















The Manpower report also referred to the impact of “technological disruption” as a key factor in changing the types of skills now in demand. Thus, even though employers may be looking to staff up, they can’t always find the right workers with specific IT skills. That’s especially true since many manufacturers now need to hire high-end engineers and designers.

Challenge #2: The blurring of the line between tech and manufacturing

The second major challenge involves the blurring of the line between traditional manufacturing and tech companies. In other words, it’s no longer the case that manufacturing companies are only considering employees with experience at other manufacturing companies. To find the right skills, they are now forced to look across industries, including some that are nontraditional.

The example cited by Manpower was the hiring of systems engineers at large manufacturing companies. Today’s engineers are expected to have a knowledge of premium tech skills, including those related to AI, the cloud, and the Internet of Things. To find those skills, employers are having to recruit from the tech sector.

 But that, in turn, raises a number of additional issues. How do you convince younger workers at a tech company to make the switch to a traditional manufacturing company? That’s forcing employers to take a harder look at the types of perks and incentives that will encourage someone to switch. It’s also raising questions about the type of corporate culture that employees now expect at engineering and manufacturing companies.

Challenge #3: New workforce development initiatives






























Finally, employers are having to respond to the creation of new career paths and how to evaluate candidates coming from those career paths. In mid-June, for example, President Donald Trump and Governor Scott Walker visited Wisconsin’s Waukesha County Technical College, where they reviewed the prospects for using apprenticeships to fill unmet labor needs.

These workforce development initiatives may be needed, but are employers going to pay for these programs? And will manufacturing companies be comfortable hiring high school graduates or community college students without traditional four-year academic backgrounds?

Putting it all together, it’s clear that there are three fundamental recruiting challenges for the engineering and manufacturing industries: finding the right workers with the right skills; learning how to recruit workers from nontraditional industries such as high-tech; and re-thinking career paths and hiring strategies amidst a new up-skilling and re-skilling of the manufacturing workforce.

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3 Recruiting and Hiring Trends You Need To Know For 2017 (3/3/2017)

Two months into 2017, it’s possible to see several trends emerging that are going to impact recruiting and hiring for the rest of the year. If you’re a company looking to scale up hiring or a recruiting company looking to find the best possible talent, here are three key trends you need to know.
 
Trend #1: A shift in focus from pure engineering to technology backgrounds

 One trend that’s big in the automotive industry, especially in the metro Detroit area, is a shift in recruitment strategy. The biggest employees in the region have traditionally hired candidates with pure engineering backgrounds, especially those with direct experience in the automotive sector. What’s changed, say companies, is that they are widening their recruitment net to focus on “unique technology minds.”

 If you think about the major trends in the automotive sector - including the push to create driverless cars and the integration of more entertainment technology into vehicles - this makes a lot of sense. As a result, companies like Ford are looking to ramp up their hiring of candidates (“technology minds”) with high-tech degrees, including software engineers, app developers, and digital media specialists.

 
Trend #2: The use of data to create a better experience for job candidates

 In a new study, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) points out that the way companies are recruiting candidates is changing. There’s a wider recognition that new technologies can play an important role in finding the best candidates. According to the SHRM, sourcing is becoming more data-driven, as recruiters embrace tools like predictive analytics to find the best candidates.

 At the same time, they are using data to personalize how candidates interact with recruiters. As part of this change in thinking, they are spending more time thinking about the “candidate journey” -- all the steps that lead to the recruitment and sourcing of candidates. As part of creating a better journey, they are using data to develop more sophisticated candidate personas (which are really just composite profiles of typical candidates). With these improved personas, they have a much better guide to the type of messaging they should be using to attract them, as well as a much more nuanced view of which channels and platforms are best to find them.

 
Trend #3: Manufacturers re-positioning themselves for massive infrastructure spend

 The last trend is really more of a macro trend: the Trump administration’s plan to boost infrastructure spending nationally. Wisconsin-based manufacturers could be huge beneficiaries of any new spending to improve the state’s bridges, roads, waterways, and highways. In the most recent speech delivered to Congress, President Trump outlined a vision for $1 trillion in new infrastructure spending.

 As a result, Wisconsin politicians - including House Speaker Paul Ryan and U.S. Senators Ron Johnson and Tammy Baldwin - will surely be looking for ways to ensure that a significant allocation of that spending will go to Midwestern states such as Wisconsin. For employers, that means thinking about the types of skills needed in the future and how to attract candidates interested in becoming part of the state’s infrastructure renewal.

 These three key trends - one trend impacting hiring companies, one trend impacting recruiters and one macroeconomic trend - could have enormous impact on the hiring picture for 2017.

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If you have questions on how these trends might impact your hiring plans or you need help on your recruitment needs, please contact DMJW Consulting LLC at: Recruiting@DMJWConsultingLLC.com or (262) 932-4136.

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The Benefits of Retained Recruiting Over Contingency Recruiting (12/8/2016)
 
There are many different ways of filling an open position – employee referrals, in-house HR, online job boards – but for the majority of job openings, the choice will come down to whether you would prefer to use a retained recruiting firm or a contingency recruiting firm. Both promise results, but it’s typically the case that a retained recruiting firm can find you a higher-quality candidate than a contingency recruiting firm can, especially for a hard-to-fill position.

If you think about the incentive structure for both firms, then this intuitively makes sense. In very broad terms, a retained recruiting firm gets paid on an hourly or installment basis, while a contingency recruiting firm gets paid ONLY if the candidate they present gets hired.


This has two results – it means that contingency recruiting firms are going to pursue “safe” candidates that they think have the best chance of getting hired. And they are also only going to spend their time and resources on search assignments that they think they have a reasonable chance of winning.

Contrast that to the approach of a retained recruiting firm. Here, the emphasis is on building a long-term relationship between the agency and the company. The search specialists at the agency understand the corporate culture of your company, and how different roles and functions fit into the bigger picture. They are almost an extension of the internal HR operations for hard-to-fill positions.

And, because there is not such an overwhelming emphasis on “winning” the assignment, they can spend more time researching the candidates and coming up with the best options. This means that they can learn more about candidates who may not have specific keywords on their resumes or candidates who may be looking to make a job transfer across industries.

Generally speaking, retained recruiting firms have access to a much wider base of candidates and a much deeper talent pool. The reason here is simple – they can tap into the huge market of “passive” job searchers who are currently employed, but who may be looking for a new job on the side. That’s in contrast to the job seekers who usually contact a contingency recruiting firm: these are candidates who are either out of work or very much in need of a new job soon.

For companies in very complex industries, too, it makes sense to hire a retained recruiting firm. That’s because it takes time to understand that industry, what the new technologies are, and how candidates advance in their career progression within that industry. For a contingency recruiting firm, that’s often simply too high of a bar. Remember – their emphasis is on filling jobs and winning their fees, not learning about an entirely new industry.

Of course, for many junior-level positions, it may make sense to work with a contingency recruiting firm. Usually, these positions are relatively standardized or even generic in nature. That means an employee from Company A can relatively easily make the transition to Company B.

But all that changes as you get higher along the pay scale. At that point, it’s much harder to simply “plug and play.” You need to make sure that you have the very best candidates, and that these candidates represent the very best fit for your company. For that reason, it usually makes sense to go with a retained recruiting firm for these positions.
 


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Why Companies Should Increase – Not Decrease – Their Hiring During the Holidays (11/23/2016)

 The fourth quarter of the year has traditionally been the time of the year when hiring slowed. In the mix of the holidays, extended time away from the office by many key employees, and end-of-year budgeting, the default option for many companies was simply to “wait until next year.” But that thinking has undergone a serious re-think by many companies, who now find themselves engaged in a war for talent over the very best employees.

The proliferation of mobile and social tools means that the one factor that put a real crimp in holiday hiring – time away from the office – is no longer a factor. In their downtime, job candidates can actively review new openings and apply, all from their smartphone. All workers, as a result of mobile technology, have become passive job seekers. And that means that companies that are ramping up their hiring at year end have the best chances for tapping into these workers. If they wait until January, it could be too late.

And that anecdotal evidence is borne out from the latest surveys. According to the most recent Manpower Employment Outlook Survey for 4Q 2016, for example, there are several industries that are seeing significant boosts in their seasonally adjusted net employment outlooks.


For example, 30 percent of companies in the leisure and hospitality sector are seeing a net increase in hiring. That might be expected, given the role of travel and leisure during the holidays. But it can’t explain why 17 percent of professional and business services firms are seeing a net increase in hiring, or why 20 percent of transportation and utilities companies are seeing a net rise in hiring at year-end. And, according to the same survey, the Top 100 metropolitan statistical areas around the U.S. are seeing hiring strength, so this is really a national trend, not an isolated regional trend.

In addition to getting a head start on recruiting talent, there may be one other reason accounting for this year-end boost in hiring. Search and hiring costs incurred in the final months of the year can be rolled into year-end financial results, providing a cushion against taxes in 2017. Even if those costs do not result in an immediate hire, it’s better to absorb them at the end of the year rather than at the beginning of the next year.

The hiring outlook for 2017 is also complicated by the political situation in the United States. A new president means new priorities in the year ahead. There are a host of factors that are still uncertain for companies – the role of healthcare for businesses, the tax outlook, and new federal spending priorities. All of these could impact the hiring picture.

If, for example, the Trump administration moves ahead with massive new spending on infrastructure -- that means companies have to be ready sooner, rather than later, to react. Companies that are staffed up now will be ready to go in 2017. If companies wait until next year to start the hiring process, not only are they giving their competitors a head start on hiring the best talent, they could be giving up a chance to get involved in new projects and initiatives.

In short, December is no longer a slow period for companies that are thinking ahead. It’s turning into a great time of the year to find passive job seeking candidates, and it’s a great way to get a head start on 2017. For both tactical and strategic reasons, companies shouldn’t slow down their hiring around the holidays.


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Smaller Recruiting Firms vs. Large Recruiting Firms (Part 2) (11/22/2016)

 Getting a job via a recruiting firm means finding one that is the best alignment for your future career objectives. For job seekers looking to land that perfect position, there are three important reasons why it’s preferable to work with smaller rather than larger recruiting firms:

Reason #1: Faster time to placement

By virtue of their size, large recruiting firms do have access to more unfilled positions than smaller recruiting firms. But it’s also their very size that makes the process of placing candidates with new companies take so long. Given their large size, the entire process is very impersonal. All of a candidate’s work and biographical information often gets uploaded to a large database, where it waits to be accessed for a specific opportunity. You may wait months before hearing anything.

Contrast that to the approach taken by a smaller recruiting firm. Since there are fewer candidates vying for a job, the firm has more time to personalize and customize the placement process. Instead of being treated as just one candidate in a database of thousands, you are treated as a top priority. That means you get regular feedback and more updates on how the search is going. And that leads to a faster time to placement. For any job seeker, that should be one of, if not the key, way to evaluate any recruiting firm.

Reason #2: Better fit

Again, the personalization and customization that’s inherent with a smaller recruiting firm often means that you’ll be matched up with a company that’s a good fit for your needs, experiences and skills. With smaller firms, you also get access to consultants who can help to prepare you fully for any upcoming interviews, such as by improving your LinkedIn profile.

Fit and customization should be a priority of any small recruiting firm. Since smaller firms often have very close relationships with specific companies, they are very aware that they are judged not just on the quality of candidates that they present to companies, but also on how long those candidates stay. After all, there’s no company that wants to be constantly hiring new candidates every six months, so there’s a lot of attention placed on hiring candidates who are a good fit – in terms of both skills and overall organizational culture. That’s where a smaller firm can really help.

Reason #3: Better knowledge of niche industries

Large recruiting firms attempt to be all things to all people. While some of them may specialize by function or specialty, that’s usually not the case. The reason is simple: recruiting is a numbers game for them. The more candidates they have, the better chance they have of filling a vacancy, and the more they can be compensated.

Smaller firms simply don’t have the same staffing levels of larger firms, and will often focus much more on a specific industry, and often, within a specific niche of that industry. For example, DMJW Consulting LLC [link: www.DMJWConsultingLLC.com] specializes in placing candidates within the operations function of the manufacturing industry.

That means they have a much better idea of how this industry works, what types of skills are in demand, and how you would fit within that industry. They can also advise how to get a job within an adjacent industry, such as engineering or IT. Often, they can advise you how to present information on your CV or resume in a way that will optimize the chances that it will be received positively by a potential recruiter.

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Thus, for the three reasons listed above, it can be advantageous for any job seeker to work with a smaller recruiting firm rather than a larger one.


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Smaller Recruiting Firms vs. Large Recruiting Firms for Companies (Part 1) (11/2/2016)

Any company looking to hire a new employee would like to get access to the most talented workers who will be the best possible match for their strategic objectives. For companies looking to hire that perfect candidate, there are three important reasons why it’s preferable to work with smaller rather than larger recruiting firms:

Reason #1: Faster time to placement


By virtue of their size, large recruiting firms do have access to a larger database of candidates than smaller recruiting firms. But it’s also their very size that makes the process of placing candidates with companies take so long. For a hiring manager, the process of submitting a request and then hearing back from a large recruiting firm can take a lot longer than they expect.

Contrast that to the approach taken by a smaller recruiting firm. A smaller firm has more time to personalize and customize the placement process by knowing exactly what you are looking for in a job candidate. Instead of being treated as just one client of many, you are treated as a top priority. That means you get regular feedback and more updates on how the search is going. And that leads to a faster time to placement.

Reason #2: Better fit with job candidates

Again, the personalization and customization that’s inherent with a smaller recruiting firm often means that you’ll be matched up with candidates who are a good fit for your needs, both in terms of experiences and skills.

Fit and customization should be a priority when hiring. Smaller firms are very aware that they are judged not just on the quality of candidates that they present to companies, but also on how long those candidates stay. After all, there’s no company that wants to be constantly hiring new candidates every six months, so there’s a lot of attention placed on hiring candidates who are a good fit – in terms of both skills and overall organizational culture. That’s where a smaller firm can really help.

Reason #3: Better knowledge of niche industries

Large recruiting firms attempt to be all things to all people. While some of them may specialize by function or specialty, that’s usually not the case. The reason is simple: recruiting is a numbers game for them. The more job candidates they have, the better chance they have of filling a vacancy, and the more they can be compensated.

Smaller firms simply don’t have the same staffing levels of larger firms, and will often focus much more on a specific industry, and often, within a specific niche of that industry. For example, DMJW Consulting LLC [link: www.DMJWConsultingLLC.com] specializes in placing candidates within the operations function of the manufacturing industry.

That means they have a much better idea of how this industry works, what types of skills are in demand by employers, and how candidates would fit within that industry.

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Thus, for the three reasons listed above, it can be advantageous for any hiring organization to work with a smaller recruiting firm rather than a larger one.

"I have worked with DMJW Consulting over the last year in an effort to fill Technical Manufacturing, Engineering and Supervision roles. Their recruiting team will partner with you to find the best fit for your opening. They have the ability to recognize and understand the uniqueness of each open position and have the resources to get the opening filled.  They have the energy and enthusiasm for their work. They are personable, professional, dedicated and a great team that I will continue using. Without exception, DMJW Consulting always approaches their engagements with me with the utmost professionalism and enthusiasm for the job; as well as providing consistent, reliable service. It's always a pleasure working with DMJW Consulting." 

- Andy Matheou - ( Employment Staffing Agencies ).