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Increasing Productivity on the Manufacturing Floor

April 8th, 2012

The United States of America is a land that was built on the ingenuity of its citizens. It became a world leader because of its leadership in the world of manufacturing. Recent decades have seen a significant drop in manufacturing in this country. But the recent economic downturn has reminded us of how critical manufacturing has been in to our past economy and how crucial it is to our future.

There has been a renewed focus on manufacturing in the U. S. in the past five years. The primary focus, however, is shifting to how to marry technology with manufacturing so that companies are able to operate at maximum productivity while remaining profitable.

Manufacturing has been hit hard over the years. It’s not simply the recent recession that has made it difficult. Long before the recession was a blip on the radar, manufacturing businesses and the jobs they provided were involved in a mass exodus from the U.S. It was a combination of increased regulation, skyrocketing taxes, difficulty receiving financing, and the high cost of skilled labor that drove away businesses. They sought locations and companies with fewer regulations and significantly lower wages that were willing to offer tax breaks to attract the manufacturing businesses.

However, gas prices and a greater need for jobs at home (creating more favorable regulatory and tax situations) are making manufacturing enterprises more favorable on our shores once again. The problem of doing more with less still remains though. That’s why manufacturing businesses are turning to technology to increase productivity on the floor without piling on a mountain of labor costs to add to the bill.

The Challenges

It also doesn’t hurt that the government is beginning to realize how important manufacturing is to the past, present, and future of our country. The Council on Competitiveness has created a report entitled “Make: An American Manufacturing Movement.” The report includes a few key and vital challenges for government in order to assist in that effort.

1)   Make the U.S. an attractive safe harbor for manufacturing businesses by enacting fiscal reforms, changing penalizing tax laws, and adjusting regulations in a way designed to attract new business and increased hiring.

2)   Reduce the trade deficit so that other countries find the U.S. to be an attractive trading partner.

3)   Educate the youth of America to step up and take their roles as innovators, skilled laborers, and researchers.

4)   Provide manufacturing businesses with incentives to develop new technologies and solve current production problems.

The government has its work cut out for it, but the potential rewards for this country and future generations are immeasurable. The challenge has been levied and it’s a tall order. However, U.S. history is filled with challenges such as this and brilliant manufacturing visionaries have risen to the challenge and exceeded expectations. All that remains is to discover who will be the next visionary to change the face of manufacturing once again.

Oil and Gas Industries: Consistently Contributing to Our Economy

February 7th, 2012

Job recruiters at oil and gas companies often get the cold shoulder from government agencies and politicians. Because they are not in the business of renewable energy really should not matter though. In fact, research indicates that these industries are actually not producing the jobs and careers that many people believed they would for so long. The fact is, there are some pretty good benefits to the oil and gas industry as we know it.

Oil and Gas Companies Create Jobs

One of the biggest benefits to the oil and gas industry is that this industry continues to create jobs. At a time when unemployment remains so high, there’s no doubt this is critically important. The oil and natural gas industry, for example, provides the country with more than nine million jobs. Moreover, there are major projects in the works to add even more jobs. That includes new natural gas production locations in areas like Pennsylvania and adding some 100,000 jobs in Northern Texas in the Barnett shale industry.  Add to this the number of supportive positions added in the manufacturing industry and others, and that job number continues to grow.

Bringing in Tax Revenue

The oil and natural gas industries are also big payers into the coffers of the US government’s tax system. In short, the taxes paid by some of the largest companies in these fields actually exceed the domestic earnings the companies have. In addition, state and local governments also get a chunk of change from these industries as well.

Energy Companies Invest in the Country

The next time you go to hire someone out of your oil company and hear that this business is running the country to the ground, think again. In fact, $266 billion in new capital spending as well as $176 billion in wages and another $35 billion in stock dividends is the big factor. The industry continues to contribute and to reinvest in the country in this way.

It’s an Industry We Need

Hands down, if the oil and natural gas industries were to close down their doors right now, millions of Americans would be without jobs. In fact, it is quite clear to see that jobs in this field continue to be viewed as some of the best to be had. People often understand the importance of the industry. On the flip side, though, solar and wind power jobs are not out there in as much force. More so, many people still wonder about the way those alternative forms of energy will fit into today’s world. Oil and natural gas are stable long term.

As a recruiter for an oil company or natural gas company, you may not feel the impact every day. It is there. Those in this industry contribute to a great deal of the function of everyday lives in the US.

Relocation Issues that IT Candidates Face

January 29th, 2012

IT professionals are often required to put in long hours and completely dedicate themselves to the jobs and or projects at hand. For this reason alone, many IT candidates face relocation issues that are somewhat unique to them. Here are a few things you should keep in mind before agreeing to relocate for any IT position.

Social Networks and Down Time

Some companies acknowledge the fact that they require their IT employees to put in long hours and go out of their way to create an environment that allows and even encourages socialization. More and more IT companies are beginning to provide recreational equipment for much needed recharge time as well. Find out what kind of environment you’re going to be working in and if it’s one that will be an effective and healthy environment for you. Also keep family in mind and how much time you’ll have to devote to them, if you have family, while also adjusting to a new work situation.

What Kind of Relocation Packages are Offered?

This is a market that is ripe with competition. In many instances good companies have people lining up to work for them. However, the cream of the crop, the jobs you should really consider relocating for, are going to go above and beyond what everyone else is doing by offering attractive relocation packages. They want to hire the most talented IT candidates and they are well aware that this is a great way to attract their target demographic.

Consider the Location

Different IT professionals at different stages of their careers will have a different idea of what the “perfect” location to start a new chapter in their lives will be. You know what your life is like now and you have an idea of how you’d like it to be. Does this relocation get you any closer to your goals? How about your family? Will there be educational and employment opportunities for family that you’re going to bring along? What about your lifestyle? Is the community where you’ll be moving attractive to you and the lifestyle you want to lead? These are all important questions that will matter to you.

Of course, as an IT professional there are additional considerations you’ll need to keep in mind. Is the infrastructure of the community at large fairly modern? It does no good to work in a high-tech IT environment if you live in an area that has aging lines and an infrastructure that should have been extinct a decade ago. Most people today bring their work home with them on occasion. Are you going to be able to find a home with the wiring to meet the demands of the work you’ll need to do at home?

More and more IT professionals are taking the plunge and relocating for work. It’s not nearly as uncommon as it has been in the past. People are leaving home and striking out on their own hoping to strike gold and find a new place to call home and work. For help with finding a new IT assignment, and handling the challenges of relocation, be sure to work with the career experts at Stark Talent!

Engineering Degree? Tips to Help Your Resume Stand Out Throughout Your Job Hunt

January 23rd, 2012

As an engineer, you have the potential of finding more lucrative positions than many other fields. However, the fact is, the United States has not kept up with the overseas competition and that has driven many jobs out of the country. For those graduating with an engineering degree, there are jobs out there, but getting them means, you will have to shine brighter than the competition. That is often the most challenging aspect.

Tips for Resume Boosting for Engineers

The engineering resume needs to communicate skills and abilities properly. While many engineers are good at providing basic information about the jobs they have completed, that may not be enough. Rather, a resume must provide more details and help to display your talents instead. If you do not plan to have a professional write your résumé, there are some tips you can use to get it right.

  • Choose an organized format for the resume. Allow your skill set to shine rather than just your job history. A chronological order may not work for you in this case, but that is okay. Make sure your achievements rank first.
  • Rather than an objective, create a summary that outlines the type of job you are looking for and how your skills and experience play into that. A traditional objective may not provide enough information.
  • You can and should consider adding a project list to the resume. As an engineer, this will help to pinpoint specific examples of how you will benefit their company. Your accomplishments stand out.
  • Use the right buzzwords within the resume. Since most initial screening of applicants is computer based, you will need to ensure your resume contains the right buzzwords those computer programs are looking for through the scan. That way, it lands in human hands. Buzzwords can include the power words and verbs related to your skills and experience.
  • No errors allowed! Ensure you pay attention to the details. As an engineer, it is expected of you to do so.
  • To stand out, be sure you list your accomplishments clearly rather than just outlining your job duties. This draws in the reader and gets them thinking about you in a positive frame of mind.
  • Remember to sell the benefits of your skills, too. How can your skills benefit the company?

For those who have an engineering degree, having a resume that reflects skills and experience is critical. For those still in school or hoping to land that first position, still focus on achievements and your strongest skills. In this very competitive market, these traits make the most impact on the prospective employer. Display how you can be a benefit to the company – and be specific. There is no room for guesswork here. You want to entice them into working with you.

Unemployment and Hiring Trends Going into 2012

January 14th, 2012

While the career market did experience some promising growth at the end of 2011, the New Year is looking to be promising for many companies in the administrative, technology, energy, health care and engineering industries. According to the US Department of Labor, the national average of unemployment at the end of December 2011 was at 8.5 percent, but there were several states that saw a nice decline in the number of claims filed. However, these industries are growing at a steady pace, which means plenty of career opportunities for job seekers.

Unemployment and hiring trends should change the way you hire people. Employers can learn a great deal from the trends occurring in today’s very challenging and every changing employment field. There are ideal candidates out there. There are also highly competitive employers looking to get the best they can.

What’s Going on Today?

According to the LinkedIn Recruiting Trends 2011 report, there are some interesting changes occurring in the employment field. For example, about 60 percent of companies in the United States say they plan to hire more professionals than they did the previous year. However, of those, 55 percent say they do not expect to increase their hiring budget to do it.

Social Media is the Route to Take

How do companies plan to hire more without paying more to find those employees? Many are turning to social media to do the work for them. The top recruiting trend in the country, in fact, is using social and professional networks to locate the ideal candidate for open positions. The same report indicates that about 35 percent of business worry that competitors will learn to use social media more effectively than they are using it and therefore land more of the best candidates in the field. Ninety-six percent of those who responded noted that LinkedIn was their choice for social networking for recruiting needs. Is your business using it?

Who Is Hiring?

Express Employment Professionals, one of the largest staffing companies in the country, released a report indicating where hiring trends are in North America at the end of 2011 and start of 2012. Here is a look at where jobs are.

  • The commercial and light industrial sector accounts for about 32 percent of all job openings.
  • About 28 percent of businesses plan to hire administrative or office staff.
  • About 32 percent are hiring for other positions such as customer service, food service, healthcare, sales or general labor.
  • 14 percent of those that responded to the company’s survey indicated they plan to hire for engineering positions.
  • 13 percent plan to hire marketing professionals.
  • Another 10 percent say they plan to hire into their finance and accounting sectors.
  • Information technology jobs account for about nine percent.

This should help businesses to gauge just how much competition there is in the market. The survey conducted by the company was given to more than 17,000 businesses that plan to hire.

There is more demand today for skilled workers than previously. Most employers are talking about hiring again. Some sectors will not likely begin hiring until the economy is performing far better, including those who are unskilled laborers or those who are highly skilled engineers or architects. The housing market is simply not growing. According some experts, salaries will increase but not by high levels and the money in salary increases is unlikely to be spread around evenly to all workers.

Keeping these factors in mind, where is your business headed? Are you conducting the same types of hiring or is your sector skill holding back to see if the economy improves? Employers must compete in a very different world today than they did pre-recession, but for many employees that is a good thing.

Happy Holidays from Stark Talent!

December 15th, 2011

At this time of year, the recruiting team at Stark Talent likes to take a moment to look back on the year and take the time to thank all of our valued clients and associates for another fantastic year! In 2011, we placed an amazing number of quality candidates, from energy and defense contractors to IT professionals. As the nation continues to experience a period of recovery, we plan to be there to help support the critical staffing needs of all our valued clients throughout the New Year.

From all of us at Stark Talent to all of you – Happy Holidays!

We’d like to take a moment to provide a few tips for searching for work during the holiday season, for those who may be using this time to launch a new career. As always, Stark Talent is there to provide encouragement and exciting career opportunities for highly skilled candidates.

  • Revamp your resume. Take this time to review your resume for any updates in your career, including any contract assignments or education you have completed. Update the format and grammar of your resume too, with fresh bullets of your accomplishments instead of just dull job duties. Get in touch with your references and update contact information too.
  • Research job openings. Take a moment to assess your skills, as you have likely done some interesting things this year. Take an inventory of your skills and match them to new possible careers in new industries you may not have thought of before. Sort through job openings in local newspapers, online career boards, industry forums and more –then apply now.
  • Create your social network. There’s no time like the present to tap into the wonders of social media networks, like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, where many hiring managers are actually looking for candidates with your skill set. Improve your profiles with professional looking images, your resume and portfolio to have a better chance of being noticed.
  • Get connected with peers. If you have dreamed of starting your new career, one of the best ways to be in the right place at the right time is by joining professional associations and networks. Many industries hold regular local meetings, so you have a good chance of meeting company reps who are looking for quality people like you. The more you are out there in the public, the better chance you have of getting an offer.

Looking for a great career opportunity for 2012? Consider all the advantages of working with Stark Talent as a contract employee. You can connect with the companies who are looking for people like you to fill immediate, temp to perm assignments in the New Year.