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There is no doubt that we are having a crisis when it comes to the workforce in our industry today. In the PCB and PCBA industries, as well as most manufacturing industries, there is a definite shortage of good people we can hire. Seasoned veterans are aging out, while youngsters want to spend their lives doing something they love, which, often, is not manufacturing.
Our problems with offshore competition do not just lie with popular reasons like unfair trade practices, packing the market, and cheap labor; we simply don’t have enough people entering our ranks. One of the more insidious problems at this time is finding people from a dwindling labor pool. We are losing people to age at one end and not recruiting enough people at the other end to make up the difference or allow us to grow as well. Even if business did come back from offshore, we would have a problem handling it at all. This is a real problem, albeit not necessarily an insurmountable one.
But there is some good news about bringing younger blood into the fold. One of the side effects of COVID-19 is that it has left a lot of recent college grads high and dry when it comes to finding a job. Some of the more astute companies have already taken advantage of this and are hiring fresh graduates. Now they might not think manufacturing PCBs is an ideal job, but for right now, it’s a job. There is a reason for some optimism here. If we can get them to stick around when things in the world improve, that would be a good thing.
Then, we have the issue of people working in our shops, and the blue-collar workforce has been so difficult to find the past few years. What do we do about them? How do we get them to enter our workforce and stick around for the long run? Here are some ideas for not only attracting young people but getting them to stay for a career as well.
Hiring: It All Starts With the Right Process
“I hire people brighter than me, and then I get out of their way.” —Lee Iacocca
The hardest thing about any business is finding, hiring, and keeping good people. It has always been a problem, no matter what the condition of our economy is. The problem with so many businesses is they don’t take the time to do it right. They are too busy managing day-to-day affairs to lift their heads long enough to take the time to hire the best people. Often, they need a person yesterday, so they are appreciative when they can find someone (or anyone). This leads to a great deal of frustration for both the owner and the people they hire.
As Larry Bossidy said, “I am convinced that nothing we do is more important than hiring and developing people. At the end of the day, you bet on people, not strategies.” Nothing is more important than hiring the right people.
To read this entire article, which appeared in the December 2020 issue of PCB007 Magazine, click here.