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Skilled workers in high demand

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Local employers are going through staffing agencies primarily to hire entry-level automotive production workers, but the agencies struggle with applicants not having the right skills or the right work ethic.

Although the hiring outlook for Indiana companies is expected to be somewhat lackluster in the first quarter, at least one local staffing agency expects 2013 to be a good year for hiring.

Machinists, maintenance technicians and automotive production and parts-related workers, especially for entry-level positions, are always in high demand, said Chris Berry, branch manager of the Columbus Manpower office.

Vonda Cummings, branch manager for the Columbus office of Adecco, said companies also are looking for skilled laborers, including welders and forklift drivers.

“Those skills are becoming harder to find,” Cummings said.

Kelly Services in Columbus is seeing demand primarily for positions in finance, engineering and information technology fields, including design engineers, accountants and business system analysts, Ashley Readling, staffing supervisor for the Columbus office, said via email.

The agency also is seeing demand for electricians, welders and production workers, she said.

Berry, Cummings and Readling all said that temporary positions can lead to a full-time job. While employers use staffing agencies sometimes to find employees for a temporary assignment, the employees should look at any such opportunity, such as a 90-day contract, as an extended job interview.

Short assignments allow employers to evaluate potential employees in both skills and job ethic, Berry said.

And, Readling said, it allows employees to determine whether they like the work and the company.

“Some companies are requesting employees through Kelly to work on a project basis and can lead to permanent employment,” Readling said.

Berry said a poor job ethic has posed some challenges for staffing agencies.

She said Manpower frequently deals with people who stay at a job for no more than two months before they leave or are let go, and that can hurt their prospects for finding even temporary positions.

“It’s definitely an issue,” Berry said.

Local aluminum wheel maker Enkei America Inc. uses temp agencies because they can perform some hiring functions with greater efficiency than the company, said Nikki Baker Lushin, human resources manager.

Temp agencies conduct background and screenings, the initial interview and an orientation for Enkei, she said.

“Temp agencies filter out poor performers quickly and reward those that want to succeed (and) gain a full-time status,” Baker Lushin said.

Cummings said that at the beginning of a year employers typically hesitate more to add staff in part because they are dealing with new budgets. But Adecco expects hiring to tick up this month and remain robust for 2013.

“We’re expecting it to be a really good year,” she said.

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