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Career Builder Data Shows Woeful Lack of Available Machining Talent in Metro Detroit

Career Builder verified last week what many local manufacturers already know — there is a severe lack of manufacturing talent seeking new jobs in Metro Detroit. The Career Builder Active Candidate Ratio shows that there are 4 jobs for every 1 machinist in Metro Detroit.

Let me explain. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, there are 9,600 active machinists (machine operators) in the Metro Detroit area. In a recent 90-day period, 346 of those machine operators posted their resume onto Career Builder, making themselves available for new job opportunities. In that same 90-day period, 1,372 help wanted ads were posted for machining talent. This data shows that in the Machine Operator category, the Active Candidate Ratio is .25% — essentially 4 jobs for every 1 job seeker.

Additionally, The National Association of Manufacturers recently published an article that indicates that manufacturers will need to replace 10 million workers in the next 15 years, and there isn’t going to be enough of an influx of new talent to handle the demand. As baby-boomers continue to retire at an above average rate in the skilled trade sector, the battle for manufacturing talent has arrived in Michigan and it’s only going to get worse.

We are advising our clients to hang onto their good talent, before some other company snaps them up, because there isn’t a plentiful, next generation of trained talent coming from the schools. A poll, sponsored by Nuts Bolts & Thingamajigs (NBT) and the Foundation of the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association (FMA), “showed a majority of teens — 52 percent — have little or no interest in a manufacturing career and another 21 percent are ambivalent.”

For companies that are actively seeking a new manufacturing employee:

— If you interview someone and you like them, make them the job offer on the spot, don’t wait!
— Adjust your expectations: If the candidate is 80% of what you looking for, determine if he can learn the rest of the job. Holding out for the perfect candidate is rarely an option anymore.
— Consider missed opportunity costs. With the average down-time cost of $75 per hour of a non-operating machine ($600 of lost revenue, per 8-hour shift), not having a machinist is an expensive proposition.

The battle for manufacturing talent isn’t going away any time soon. The companies that will have a critical advantage over their competition for years to come are planning for the future by hiring fresh talent today and are strategically retaining the talent they currently have.


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About Employment

Todd Palmer
Diversified Industrial Staffing and Diversified PEOple, LLC

Todd Palmer is founder and president of Troy-based Diversified Industrial Staffing and Diversified PEOple, LLC. Since 1997, Palmer's companies have helped over 4,300 people secure employment — improving their lives and the lives of their families. In turn, his companies have collectively billed more than $50 million in revenue.

From 2007-2013, INC Magazine named Diversified Industrial Staffing to its INC 5,000 list of the fastest growing companies in America. In 2011, Diversified Industrial Staffing was named a Michigan 50 Company to Watch. In 2009, Palmer published his first book, The Job Search Process, which helps people get new jobs in as little as seven days.

His company has been featured in INC Magazine, The Detroit News, DBusiness Magazine, Crain's Detroit Business, and MetroMode. Palmer has been on the radio with the Business Reality Network and the Dan Mulhern Show, and was featured on Entreprenuer Television in a 30-minute sit-down interview.

Palmer is a graduate of Eastern Michigan University with a bachelor's degree in Organizational Communication and minor in Marketing.

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