Most of the job-related stories we see are variations on one theme: There are a lot of people looking for work, and not enough work for a lot of people.
For some industries, however, the reverse is true: there are loads of job openings, and not enough qualified applicants to fill them.
Steel is one such industry. Take, for example, California Steel Industries in Fontana, Calif. They have 18 spots to fill for experienced electrical and mechanical technicians. The jobs pay $60,000 a year or more, are fully benefited, and have profit sharing. They can’t find enough skilled workers to fill the gaps.
The problem is in that qualifier “skilled.” Although applicants don’t need a bachelor’s degree to score those gigs, they do need several years of very specific training. They also have to be OK with working at night from time to time, and working in a plant with loud machinery.
“It’s been a chronic problem for many years,” says Brett Guge, executive vice president of finance and administration. “You would think it’d be somewhat easier in this economy.”
The problem isn’t just limited to heavy industry, either. Shannon Callahan, a technical talent partner at venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz in Menlo Park, says that a boom in mobile devices has left some tech companies short-staffed.
“Everyone’s vying for the same talent,” says Callahan. “They’re all trying to build … the next great product.”
Qualified engineers can command starting salaries of up to $100,000 a year.
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