Efficient Plant November 2017 - 46

column | uptime

In Search of
Highly Skilled
Talent
Bob Williamson
Contributing Editor

W

ITH THE U.S. job market
picking up and unemployment declining to 4.2%
in Sept. 2017 (the lowest rate since Feb.
2001, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics,
Oct. 6, 2017), some regions, sectors, and
occupations are experiencing painful
skills shortages. Manufacturers, specifically, have reported 3.8% unemployment.
Another low. One occupational trend
affecting plant efficiency involves installation, maintenance, and repair workers
who currently have an unemployment
rate of 3.4% (reflecting an increase of
100,000 over the number employed in
Sept. 2016). That presents a good news/
bad news conundrum.
Industrial-maintenance technician
jobs are typically considered "highly skilled" in businesses that rely on
high-speed or precision processes. The
demand for such personnel increases where manufacturing-reliability
initiatives are being deployed to improve
efficiencies and the effectiveness of machine and human performance, while
adapting quickly to changing customer
expectations.

ATTRACTING THE
BEST & BRIGHTEST
Recruiting highly skilled employees is intensely
competitive these days. While sign-on bonuses
can be attractive incentives, businesses also
need to consider how current employees would
react to those and other types of bonuses
being paid to new hires.

Bob Williamson, CMRP, CPMM, and member
of the Institute of Asset Management, is in
his fourth decade of focusing on the "people
side" of world-class maintenance and reliability
in plants and facilities across North America.
Contact him at RobertMW2@cs.com.

46 | EFFICIENTPLANTMAG.COM

Recruiting highly skilled employees is
becoming quite the challenge in some
areas of the U.S. Competition for them
is already "intense," according to a
variety of industry sources, and heating
up. The situation stems from fewer people taking highly skilled career paths;
schools and colleges reducing related
educational and training programs;
and businesses, in general, not consistently promoting their high-skilled job
opportunities.
The quest for talent often leads to

non-traditional, out-of-the box recruiting practices. Conversely, businesses
playing by traditional recruiting and
hiring rules can be left with dwindling
numbers of highly skilled workers in
their aging workforce ranks. Nontraditional tactics include things such
as offering sign-on bonus payments
and retention incentives. They often are
more effective than negotiating new
and/or increased pay rates for current
job classifications.
Sign-on bonuses, in particular,
can be attractive to talented new-hire
candidates, including recent graduates,
seasoned employees, and those from
other employers (anywhere). In years
past, such bonuses played a major role
in filling jobs in Canada's oil sands and
oil- and gas-production operations in
North Dakota and on Alaska's North
Slope. These days, even classified ads in
my local (small-town) newspaper point
to sign-on bonuses-the first time in
three decades or more. Employers are
also promoting them, along with fully
paid benefit packages, overtime opportunities, and a variety of non-traditional
perks.
Unfortunately, while various types
of bonuses can be helpful in recruiting/
hiring the "best and brightest" in a competitive job market, without a comprehensive plan, there can be a downside.
Ask yourself, "How will current employees feel about bonuses being paid to
attract new employees?" What's in it for
them? Are retention bonuses in order?
To be clear, variable compensation
and bonuses can have a place in this
expanding job market. Rewarding what
you value, for increased profitability,
productivity, and flexibility, can be a
powerful business-growth tool. EP

NOVEMBER 2017


http://www.EFFICIENTPLANTMAG.COM

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Efficient Plant November 2017

Efficient Plant November 2017 - 1
Efficient Plant November 2017 - Cover1
Efficient Plant November 2017 - Cover2
Efficient Plant November 2017 - 1
Efficient Plant November 2017 - 2
Efficient Plant November 2017 - 3
Efficient Plant November 2017 - 4
Efficient Plant November 2017 - 5
Efficient Plant November 2017 - 6
Efficient Plant November 2017 - 7
Efficient Plant November 2017 - 8
Efficient Plant November 2017 - 9
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Efficient Plant November 2017 - 46
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Efficient Plant November 2017 - Cover3
Efficient Plant November 2017 - Cover4
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