Manufacturing hiring expected to stay strong in May

Employers are expected to expand payrolls in May, particularly in the manufacturing and service sectors, according to the Society for Human Resource Management. A net of 42.9 percent of manufacturers reported they will add jobs this month. Firms seeking qualified applicants can consult manufacturing recruiters to find talent.

The increased hiring plans indicate a pickup in manufacturing activity, Shopfloor stated. 

The SHRM Leading Indicators of National Employment report surveyed human resource professionals at 500 manufacturing firms and 500 service sector companies found a slight month-over-month increase in manufacturing sector hiring. There were a greater number of salaried job openings in both manufacturing and the service sector compared to May 2012. A total of 22.7 percent of manufacturers reported vacancies in April, which was a 5 point increase from the previous year. Meanwhile, hourly job openings also increased for manufacturing but new hire compensation was essentially unchanged in both sectors. This was consistent with with the Bureau of Labor Statistics' findings on hourly wage increases. Other reports have predicated small salary increases in 2013.

"A high rate of unemployment and a large pool of job seekers in the market give many companies the option of holding down the wages and benefits they offered new hires," said Jennifer Schramm, manager of workplace trends at SHRM. "If hiring rates improve significantly, new hire compensation will increase."

Recruiting difficulty is contributing to vacancies
Though manufacturers reported a slight decline in hiring difficulty, 12.6 percent of respondents said they were still unable to fill all open positions in April. Hiring difficulties in the service sector were the highest in four years. Some firms have vacancies that have remained open for an extended period of time due to the challenge of finding qualified applicants. 

Other recent SHRM surveys have found many human resource professionals are challenged by talent management and recruitment. Two-thirds of organizations across different sectors reported having difficulty recruiting in March 2013, which is up from 52 percent in 2011. Another recent poll found 34 percent of hiring managers said staying competitive in the talent market will continue to be a significant challenge in the next decade. 

With recruitment remaining difficult for employers in the manufacturing sector in particular, human resource professionals can benefit from the services of specialized staffing agencies to ease some of these difficulties. Most modern manufacturing jobs require highly technical skills. Due to concerns over worker skills gaps, employers may have a harder time finding new recruits without external assistance.