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Manufacturing & Operations

October - December 2015

There has been a sharp rise in hiring activity across the board with organisations now showing more confidence in the market. The food and beverage and building materials industries are particularly active. We’re also seeing a focus on recruiting candidates with food manufacturing experience, specifically dealing with raw materials such as meat, seafood, dairy and other fresh produce. Employers are receptive to candidates with UK experience since food codes are similar.

Quality and certain technical professionals are in great demand, alongside production supervisors. We’ve also seen an increase in service and maintenance roles as candidates show confidence in the market by looking for a new role that offers improved career development or exposure.

The focus from employers is on securing candidates in permanent roles rather than temporary assignments.

We’re also seeing more of a focus on systems experience from employers. For example, employers will request candidates with PLC programming experience. Candidates with additional qualifications are also sought over candidates with only their trade qualification.

Meanwhile there has been an increase in employers asking for candidates with lean manufacturing or six sigma expertise in order to maximise production time and minimise waste.

While more roles are now immediately available, some employers are starting to include psychometric testing in their recruitment process for permanent roles, particularly for senior positions, in order to give further reassurance that they are selecting the very best candidate. In addition, senior positions such as Operations Managers and Engineering Managers often involve three to five interviews as employers want to ensure a candidate is the right fit for their organisation.

Overall, candidate levels have decreased.

Skills in demand

In terms of skills in demand for the October to December 2015 quarter, we’re seeing high demand for Quality Managers and Quality Assurance Coordinators. These candidates are always in high demand, especially in companies that manufacture high risk foods. Demand increases with increased production of meat, seafood and fresh food. The demand for Quality Managers is also linked to potential changes within food labelling and employers acting to ensure they work within legal parameters.

Food Technologists are also sought, especially those with new product development experience as manufacturers want to develop innovative and creative products and ways to market their products to consumers. Yet candidates are in short supply. New roles will be created for strong candidates.

Operations Managers with lean manufacturing, six sigma knowledge and implementation skills are sought to minimise costs and increase profits.

Production Supervisors are needed too as we experience warmer weather and FMCG organisations increase production in advance of Christmas events and various other events.

Maintenance Trade/Service Engineers are needed. We are seeing a lot of replacement roles as candidates move on to a better opportunity elsewhere.

Industrial Electricians are required for contract roles on shutdown work.

Project Managers are also needed to manage the end-to-end process for manufacturers that win one-off projects to supply niche components to industrial clients.

Candidate trends

When looking for their next role, the stability of the role and organisation is often the number one priority for candidates. This is most obvious in Western Australia where industrial manufacturers who supplied to the mining and oil and gas industries are making redundancies.

Candidates are starting to up-skill their management capabilities through frontline management, lean manufacturing or finance courses in order to give themselves a multi-skilled edge over other candidates.


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