It was a good year for manufacturing workers in Central Illinois. Nearly every company was hiring, which provided a variety of choices to workers hunting for their next job. For those workers with jobs already, many employers offered overtime and increased pay.
With the unemployment rate below 4% for much of the year, most manufacturing companies were forced to make internal changes to retain their best workers and pick up talented people quickly as workers transitioned between jobs.
According to research by Award Staffing in Minneapolis, MN, top workers were only available on average 18 hours before they were offered a job in 2017. We have been and continue to be in the midst of a job seekers’ market with no sign of change in 2018.
With such a need for expediency, our client companies depended on us more than ever in 2017 to get them the people they needed. We worked closely with our clients to develop specific solutions tailored to their circumstances. We also made many adjustments within our office including:
- Hiring a new recruiter.
- Reorganizing duties among our staff to focus more on recruitment.
- Investing in additional advertising.
- Starting the transition to a new database, giving us additional technological capabilities.
Looking forward to 2018, we see a continued need to optimize recruitment practices in order to stay competitive in a job seekers’ market. We continue to improve and look forward to our continued partnership with our clients as we develop innovative solutions for the new year.
IMA Manufacturer’s Roundtable
In October, we joined several local manufacturing and staffing companies at Heartland Community College for an IMA Manufacturer’s Roundtable. Nearly everyone in attendance agreed that the demand for skilled labor had approached a critical level and that the largest barrier for growth has been hiring. We discussed ways to showcase to young people the benefits of working in the manufacturing industry as shop classes have disappeared from high schools in recent years. We agreed to continue this discussion as we all look for ways to promote our industry in the upcoming months. I see more discussion ahead for manufacturers in Central Illinois and hope to add our voice to the chorus.
Impact of Rivian and Brandt
The announcements that both Rivian Automotive and Brandt Agricultural Products will be hiring close to 500 workers will hopefully open new hiring opportunities for workers as well as other manufacturing companies in Central Illinois. Over 1,000 people applied for jobs at Brandt shortly after they opened their online hiring portal, indicating tremendous interest in manufacturing jobs among the general population. The buzz that the Brandt announcement generated for the manufacturing industry is exactly the kind of publicity we discussed at the IMA Manufacturer’s Roundtable and we wish both them and Rivian success in the future.
In November, I was honored to be recognized as one of Bloomington’s “20 Under 40” young professionals in 2017, an award given by The Pantagraph and the McLean County Chamber of Commerce.
Then in December, Abbey Placements was nominated as a finalist in the Small Business category of the McLean County Chamber of Commerce’s Business Excellence Awards! Everyone here at Abbey Placements is grateful for the people who nominated us as well as our clients and workers who continue to make our work possible. We live and work in an outstanding community and feel thankful that after 35 years we continue to be actively engaged within this place where we reside.
To our clients, thank you for your continued partnership. We greatly value your business and pledge to pursue and utilize every ‘industry best’ practice to recruit and maintain top-quality employees for you to ensure our long-standing relationship.
To our workers, thank you for all your hard work. We greatly value your dedication and pledge to support you in your day to day efforts and assist you in your career goals.
To our staff, thank you for your daily perseverance. You are a skilled, dependable, and honest group of people who have worked very hard during this past year. I hope we have the privilege of teaming together for many years to come.
To my father Ken, the owner of Abbey Placements, thank you for your guidance and your continued belief in our staff and in me. And to my mother Julie, thank you for always being there to help in any way needed, both personally and professionally.
And finally, we thank God for all His many blessings. We have prospered through 35 years of constant change with His guidance and protection at every stage of the journey in ways we barely understand.
We grew in both sales and market share in 2017 and have every reason to believe that we will grow again in 2018. It’s exciting to be here now and hope in the future ahead. May our business be a blessing to everyone associated with us in 2018!