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Economy, unemployment changes hiring practices

WICHITA FALLS, Texas — Local staffing agencies have seen a shift in recent months regarding who and what North Texas employers are searching for to fill vacancies.

A low unemployment rate and an adverse change in the oil and gas industry from this time last year has changed the hiring landscape in the area. Employers were clamoring for welders and machinists, but the demand has slowed a bit. Manufacturers are now looking for people with experience in industrial automation, for example, and other industries are looking for people with a very specific skill set.

“The market is very fluid,” said Megan Magana, office manager at Spherion Staffing, which celebrates its 23rd year in Wichita Falls on Monday. “It changes on the economy. It changes on what the industries are doing. Oil and gas caused a lot of changes in the market. Some people had to down size and some people had to go on hiring freezes.”

She said as industries have their ups and downs, so, too, does staffing agencies in regards to which jobs are in demand.

Magana said because the unemployment level is low, employers are looking for employees with specific skills. For example, she said instead of asking for a general accountant, a client might be looking for an accountant with extensive experience with QuickBooks.

Bert Huff, president of MyStaff in Wichita Falls, said job orders from his clients are also getting very specific as to what they need in an employee, not just a person to fill a position.

“The warm body — we get a few things like that; some temporary assignments (for) general labor type things. We always have that,” he said. “But, for most of the long-term, better-paying jobs — machine operators, heavy equipment operators and commercial drivers — our clients are looking for a specific skill set.”

Huff said it has become somewhat challenging to fill positions for drivers specifically because of invalid driver’s licenses or a lack of candidates with commercial driver’s licenses.

The representatives from both agencies said businesses are operating leaner, so it’s important for them to hire people who are looking for long-term employment, not a launchpad for the next step in their career.

“It’s an investment. An employee is an investment — training, resources, not to mention it costs them a multitude of money to have to replace that person,” Magana said. “That’s where we come in. We do a ton of vetting here.”

Both agencies are able to test candidates for positions to make sure they are qualified for the job before recommending them to a company.

In related news, RRC Chairman David Porter lights up Congress with export ban testimony.

This article was written by John Ingle from Times Record News, Wichita Falls, Texas and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

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