Photo: Will Waldron
Two of the Capital Region’s largest private sector employers are going through a rough patch, but other employers remain upbeat.
While General Electric Co. undergoes a restructuring at its Schenectady operations, and GlobalFoundries steps back from efforts to develop the next generation of semiconductors, a wide range of Capital Region employers remain in growth mode.
The latest survey from Alaant Workforce Solutions finds that 58 percent of human resource and hiring managers plan to add jobs for the rest of this year and the beginning of next.
While that’s down from 68 percent in the spring survey, it’s above the 55 percent who planned to add jobs in last autumn’s survey.
Miriam Dushane, managing partner, said she’s encouraged by the findings.
“That speaks volumes about the strength and diversity of the region’s economy,” she said. Still, she said, “wages are still an issue here.”
In the most recent survey, 36 percent of managers cited it as their “biggest challenge affecting my ability to hire.” A close second was the skills gap, finding someone with the appropriate skills for a given position, with 35 percent calling it their biggest challenge.
Dushane said she didn’t really see the layoffs at GE and GlobalFoundries having much impact on the local hiring situation.
The salaries at those companies tend to be a bit higher, and the skills more specialized.
Local employers typically compete more with one another than with companies from larger areas such as Boston or the Silicon Valley, she said.
The survey found that 71 percent of managers said they had the most success in recruiting employees from the immediate region.
And they’ve been somewhat insulated from wage pressures in those areas. But as the job market has tightened, they’re seeing more pressure.
“What’s important for the employer to understand is it’s more of a candidate-driven market,” Dushane said.
She also believes employers could benefit from recruiting at least some of their candidates from outside the area, who might bring fresh ideas and different perspectives to the area.
As for addressing the wage gap, An employer might promote other advantages, from fringe benefits and the company’s own culture to the work-life balance and the region’s quality of life.
And they’ll likely be doing more hiring in coming months, according to the survey.
Asked what their expectations for job growth are over the next year, 71 percent answered optimistic or very optimistic, while just 2 percent were pessimistic.
And 43 percent thought the regional economy was better or much better than the national economy, while 45 percent thought it was about the same. Just 12 percent considered it worse than the national economy.
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