2022 Employment Trends: Construction, Engineering & Manufacturing

Recovery from the pandemic continues to significantly impact the job market. We’ve asked our Construction, Engineering & Manufacturing employment expert to weigh in on the changes they’re currently seeing in the hiring landscape, to help you understand the trends going into the second half of this year. 

Jason Hennessy, one of our Palmer Group directors, oversees our Construction, Engineering & Manufacturing division. He shares some valuable thoughts with us on what he is seeing so far. 

What trends or changes have you seen in your industry so far this year? 

Last year brought a rapid increase in hiring needs after the pandemic slowed and people felt comfortable returning to work. The need for candidates to fill open positions has not slowed through the first half of 2022 and there remains a struggle in hiring hourly production roles. The demand for higher hourly wages and salaries continues for companies to find qualified personnel that are open to work. The applications for employment have increased slightly over the last 6 months, but overall are still significantly down and more companies are turning to employment firms for assistance.  It does not appear that this trend will change anytime soon. 

In 2021 companies had to adapt to more streamlined and urgent hiring processes. This urgency has not changed in 2022. Most candidates that are actively pursuing new opportunities are interviewing with multiple companies and receiving multiple offers. The candidates have options to choose from. It remains a candidate market and decisions need to be made quickly or you will lose out on quality candidates. 

What types of candidates should hiring managers be looking for?  

In the current market, hiring managers should be looking for candidates who can learn quickly, can be trained, and have excellent soft skills. It should be taken into consideration how much it costs to have the role open versus the cost of training. It should also be taken into consideration how the current openings are impacting the current workforce and staff. Are they being overworked and burnt out? Are the current staff’s wages competitive or are they looking for a better wage?  

Many employers have given wage increases to existing employees to assist with retention and keep them in line with higher entry-level wages. Remote options are being offered to those individuals whose work requirements allow them to work remotely. Flexibility is now more than ever an expectation rather than a benefit for professional roles that do not need to be always onsite. 

What type of certifications/experience is important for job seekers? 

Certifications and experience are still valued. It must, however, be considered if the individual can be an asset without the certification desired. Can the certification be obtained while the individual is in their role?  

Individuals are changing jobs more frequently due to the increased hiring demand and companies aggressively offering higher wages. It is more important today to ask candidates their reason for leaving prior employment before passing over them due to multiple positions over the past couple of years. 

How can your department help companies with their hiring needs? 

Our Construction, Engineering & Manufacturing division is composed of 5 Recruiters and 3 Account Executives who are all highly trained in professional recruiting processes and are experts in  current job market trends.  

Our team strives to create predictable outcomes for all parties involved. We look to partner with companies and build lasting relationships through open communication, honesty, and transparency. 

What types of changes in requests/expectations are you seeing from job seekers? 

Candidates are looking for higher pay scales and more flexibility. They require strong benefits, including 401(k) plans and PTO. In the current market, candidates are not only commanding a good wage but also considering the entire compensation package.  

Job seekers are actively comparing their current benefits with benefits provided in the new role, including relocation or sign-on bonuses. Simply winning the battle of providing the highest salary may not be good enough to secure talent in today’s market. Individuals also want to know what their purpose will be if they join the organization. 

Retention is a current issue in the current job market. What are some key strategies you have effectively seen implemented to retain employees? 

The key to retention is taking care of the employees and building relationships with them. Employees are looking to be treated like team members and they are looking to be recognized and appreciated. Incentives are always appreciated, but so are awards and recognition within their peer group. 

Most valuable advice you can give to companies right now? 

Be patient but know when you need to make quick hiring decisions. It is not necessarily the best thing to delay the hiring process to find a comparable candidate if you feel the current candidate can fill the role and be an asset to the company. Ensure each member of the hiring team is onboard and in agreement with the hiring process set forth before the search begins. 

Understand your competition for the talent you desire. In the current market, they may not be within your industry or even your city with all the remote options candidates have today. Analyze your current compensation to make sure it is competitive on a local and national level. Address any salary compression that may prevent you from hiring the right candidate when they are available. 

At Palmer Group, we are committed to making lives better. Whether you’re a job seeker or a hiring manager, we would love the opportunity to speak with you further about any of your employment questions or needs.