The pages of WNYJOBS.com are a good reflection that skilled trade work and the need for this type of labor has increased significantly over the last several years. As the economy has continued to improve and skilled trade workers have moved on to retirement (without enough young people making it a career), a huge labor void has been created by the increased demand and the lack of supply.
In the past, skilled trade workers were conditioned to not change jobs unless the departure was involuntary, due to a layoff or plant closure, forcing an entry into the job market. Those times have changed, as there is a severe skilled labor shortage, placing workers now in the “driver’s seat” with their career. It is a perfect time, therefore, to determine whether your current position is the best one for you, or whether you should make a change.
There are a number of factors that you should consider when comparing your current skilled trade position with open positions in the marketplace. Let’s now examine just some of the areas for consideration:
• Compensation – This is the first area that most people think about when considering a job change. When looking at compensation, go beyond your base hourly rate and consider any premium pay, such as shift differential and production incentives that may be available.
• Benefits – There can be a large difference between the benefit programs of employers especially if comparing a large employer with a smaller company. A major difference may be the retirement program and the differences between a 401k plan and a Pension. A larger company is also more likely to offer options such as Dental, Life, and Disability that may be out of the price range for a small plant.
• Union v. Non-Union Status – Most people have a strong preference regarding whether they want to work in a union environment. I suggest if you are in the labor market, that you try to find out (early) the status of unionization, so that you don’t chase a position that does not meet this requirement.
• How Stable? – The idea behind this article is not to encourage a person in a steady work environment to leap for a position in a risky industry. There is nothing wrong with asking questions about the industry and order volume projections. Some companies are even starting to post, in their advertising, how strong their order volume is in order to attract candidates on the fence.
• Skill Development – It is important to work in a company that is continually investing in the latest equipment/technology. This not only will provide you more job security, but also will allow you to continually keep your skills relevant and up-to-date.
• Commute – In Western New York, it may seem like everyone’s commute is a ½ hour or less, but if you have the ability to shave some time off of your daily travel, then it is something worth considering. Not only will you save some time, but also gasoline and general wear and tear on your vehicle.
• Supervisor – The quality of your supervisor can play a critical role in how you feel about your job. If you currently have a supervisor with poor communication skills and who does not appreciate you, then a change may be just what you need.
• Physical Nature of Job – This is one area where a realistic job preview is critical in order for you to make a decision. You should have an excellent understanding of any lifting, bending, kneeling, etc. requirements in the prospective position and how it compares to your current role. As you grow older, moving to a position where you have less strenuous physical requirements can be very appealing, and changing employers may be the only way to obtain it.
• Physical Environment – Not all facilities are the same, and it can make a huge difference in how you feel about a position. For example, not all buildings have air conditioning for the hot summer months and many buildings are drafty and chilly in the winter. The ability to work in a modern building with current HVAC can be well worth a change in companies.
As you can see, the list of items to consider is virtually endless, but the good news is that in 2022, you are virtually in charge of your situation. You can look for another position, but if one does not meet/exceed enough of your criteria, then you can always stay in your current job.
As always, the best of luck in your job search.
The following has been prepared for the general information of WNYJobs readers. It is not meant to provide advice with respect to any specific legal or policy matter and should not be acted upon without verification by the reader.
Joe Stein WNY Human Resources Professional
Feel free to contact Joe Stein regarding questions or comments at: Joe Stein