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If your niche is manufacturing, you are in for a very good 2014. If you also offer contract staffing, even better.

Manufacturing has come back in a big way, adding 500,000 jobs since the recession. Hiring is expected to continue its growth path as manufacturers plan to increase hiring by 2.4% in 2014, according to  In fact, manufacturing staffing is expected to outpace hiring in the service sector. The emerging re-shoring trend in which manufacturers bring work previously off-shored back to the United States is being credited for much of this growth.

At FoxHire, we have already noticed an increase in the use of highly skilled contractors in this sector.  For the past several years, Engineering/Manufacturing has been among the top three industries in which we place contractors.
In 2013, it accounted for 15% of our contract placements. There does seem to be a “buzz” around the industry.  We are receiving more calls from recruiters wanting to place contractors in this field and have noticed an increase in manufacturing placements, particularly for engineers.

Here are some of the manufacturing positions we have placed on contract assignments in the past 6 months:

  • Controls Engineer
  • Design Engineer
  • Mechanical Design Engineer
  • Mechanical Engineer
  • Operations Consultant
  • Project Engineer

The fluctuating nature of the manufacturing industry makes contractors the perfect fit.  Manufacturers can easily match their workforce to their workload, allowing them to quickly add contractors during busy times and ramp down just as quickly when demand slows. Rather than instituting the ugly layoffs manufacturing is known for, companies can simply end contracts when the need passes.

Whether manufacturers are seeking contractors or direct hires, though, it is clear they are going to need recruiters to help them find the workers they need. For a number of reasons, finding the right workers with the right skills is getting increasingly harder.  Some believe it’s because manufacturers are simply too picky and have job requirements that are too stringent, but there seems to be forces at work that are limiting the candidate pool. As manufacturing has become more automated, the jobs that have been added since the recession require new skills many experienced manufacturing workers don’t possess. At the same time, there are not enough new workers to take their place because fewer college students are pursuing manufacturing careers. If manufacturers are going to increase hiring as planned, they will need recruiters like you to find the proverbial needles in the haystack.

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