A market for good employees

Author Michael Deren
October 25, 2018 - 10:00am

Employees are having some great times in manufacturing. Anyone who wants to work can pretty much find a job, even two. Manufacturers are pleading for qualified machinists, manufacturing engineers, process engineers, mechanical engineers and other positions. But what kinds of employees are they getting? Are they willing to forgo employees who come to work late? What about individuals who take time off frequently? What about arrogant employees who look down on their co-workers?

I remember years ago when we had a similar situation, although it was not as great of a bull market for hiring. Actually, we have a cyclical history of worker supply and demand. However, I can’t remember any demand to the degree we currently have.

How does the present employment situation help potential employees? First and foremost, there is more wiggle room for better pay. Many years ago, I employer-hopped for higher pay. Back in those days, an additional 25 or 50 cents an hour made a big difference in a paycheck. I remember when a decent new car was $3,800 and a gallon of gas cost $1 or less. So if I got an extra 50 cents an hour, that was an extra $1,040 per year, excluding any overtime. I could almost pay off my new car in 3 years—just with the additional 50 cents an hour.

Let’s not forget about looking for a job that simply has better benefits. These days, health insurance is a huge expense. What about a pension plan or 401(k)? Can a company you’re considering joining contribute more to a plan? Does the business match at a rate of 25 or 50 percent, and is there a cap? What about profit sharing? Is it paid out annually, quarterly or even monthly? What about holidays and vacation time? Can the organization offer more? Downtime for employees is a good thing. I’m all for fewer working days and more time off.

Now what do you bring to the table for your potential employer? Are you on time for work every day? That’s a plus, as is showing up to work every day. Do you enjoy working with others? Are you a team player? Do you like to share knowledge with co-workers? Can you handle constructive criticism? Do you like to work overtime? All these are pluses in my book if the answer is yes.

In manufacturing, we seem to have a lot of talent. Do you want to further your education in the business? Employers look for people who want to climb the ranks. Most companies do not just try to fill positions for the short term. Employers look toward the future also. Perhaps you’re the next supervisor or manager. Perhaps you’re a general manager in the making, depending on your education and background.

All in all, it is a great time to be in manufacturing. Job security is high again, providing that you do your job. Emerging and current technologies are coming together, creating jobs and wealth. Manufacturing is doing quite well again, and I am glad to be part of it.    


Machinist's Corner Columnist

Michael Deren is a manufacturing engineer/project manager and a regular CTE contributor. He can be reached via e-mail at mderen1@wi.rr.com.



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