Research: Trends in Hiring Skilled Packaging Production Staff
Finding and retaining skilled packaging production staff is a universal challenge for all segments of the packaging industry. Seeking to identify the staffing-related challenges package printers face, and their actions to overcome them, NAPCO Research and Packaging Impressions conducted a survey-based research study to:
- Identify the key challenges package printers and converters face in recruiting skilled production staff
- Outline the strategies printers and converters report are yielding the best results in powering up production staff
- Highlight the most effective actions printers and converters are taking to position their companies as desirable places to work
Top Challenge: Finding and Hiring Production Staff
More than half of the survey respondents (58%) report that recruiting and hiring production staff is their company’s top challenge. Nearly 75% of survey respondents plan to hire production staff in the next two years, either to replace current staff (40%) or to accommodate business expansion (33%).
Despite expected hiring needs, package printers and converters indicate that filling these positions is not an easy task. According to the survey responses, low wages appears to be the top issue impacting companies’ ability to staff their production floors, as 78% indicate it has a major or moderate effect on their ability to staff their operation. Other top factors influencing the ability to staff operations, identified by more than 60% of respondents, are access to talent, a minimal applicant pool, and a lack of interest in the industry.
Time to Educate the Talent Pool on the Industry
In addition, close to two-thirds of respondents (64%) report that a lack of interest in the industry has a major or moderate effect on their organization’s ability to staff their operations. This finding points to a need for package printers and converters to educate potential job candidates about the industry. Finding ways to get in front of potential job candidates to educate them about the opportunities in printing and packaging, and how the industry today is high-tech and digitally focused, is an essential step in generating excitement about the industry.
As finding workers affects package printers and converters coast to coast, companies are proactively making attempts to bring new people on board. Over half of respondents (59%) report their company uses employee referrals, while 59% use personal networks and referrals.
High-School Recruiting Effective
While word of mouth is an effective method for finding and validating job candidates, respondents’ use of outreach tactics also produced results. An important finding that stands out when assessing effectiveness of workforce recruitment initiatives is that 100% of respondents that recruit from high schools rate it as effective. Despite its effectiveness, only 9% of respondents recruit at the high-school level. Given that survey respondents using this method indicated it has a high success rate, it’s apparent that package printers/converters are missing out on a great opportunity to not just attract younger employees, but also to generate awareness about the packaging industry and showcase the exciting future career it can provide.
The survey data indicates that workforce recruitment and development are top-of-mind concerns in the packaging industry, and printers and converters are pursuing various strategies to combat the issue. Download the full report, titled Recruiting and Retaining Workforce Talent in the Package Printing Industry to gain valuable insights into actions companies are taking to find, hire, and retain workforce talent.
Lisa Cross is the principal analyst of NAPCO Research (a unit of NAPCO Media) where she conducts market research and analysis on emerging trends and changing dynamics in the commercial, in-plant and packaging industries, and the market forces that are driving those changes. With decades of experience covering the graphic arts and marketing industries, Cross has authored thousands of articles on a variety of topics, including technology trends, business strategy, sales, marketing and legislation.