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Manufacturing & Operations

July – September 2016


In the white collar manufacturing space vacancies range from engineering to food technologist to general management. In some cases new roles are being created in larger manufacturers that had reduced shifts and now need to add an additional shift. This is creating opportunities at management level.

Food and Beverage is active, while heavy industry has slowed. Organisations are very specific in their requirements and have stringent criteria and a preference for candidates already working in a similar industry. The interview process is lengthy and typically involves two or three stages, medicals and psychometric testing in addition to reference checks.

Senior management candidates such as Manufacturing or Operations Managers are in short supply. Most employers look at candidates with leadership skills firstly and then specific industry experience.

Hotspots of demand

Quality Assurance Managers are in demand. Quality Assurance remains candidate short, particularly for candidates with specific industry experience such as dairy or beverage. We are seeing strong demand in the food industry in response to new labelling requirements.

Engineering Managers with FMCG experience are also needed. There are a lot of people returning from the mining and resources sector but manufacturers are looking for specific industry experience as they want to improve efficiency across sites.

Planners are another area of demand, both in terms of production and materials planning. As stock levels and speed to market becomes increasingly competitive and as manufacturers aim to reduce their raw materials held due to cost, these candidates will see demand for their skills remain high.

Maintenance Managers and Planners are also sought, however there is a shortage of candidates with a manufacturing rather than heavy industrial background.

Production Supervisors and Managers with strong leadership and techincal skills are required. Employers also request candidates with experience in continuous improvement and lean processes as they look for ways to reduce waste and costs and improve the overall efficiency.

Food Production Supervisors with specific industry experience are in high demand but short supply. The skills and experience required for these positions are specific to the industry and employers are not willing to consider candidates from another industry.

Project Engineers are sought for temporary project roles.

Design Drafters are also needed for temporary project roles, particularly at the beginning of a project. Specific systems knowledge is usually required.

Candidate trends

Candidates are increasingly open to new opportunities, particularly senior candidates. Career progression remains a key motivator for most candidates.

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