Manufacturing workers are feeling pretty good about their job prospects nowadays, a recent analysis says.

In truth, they’re feeling so good that they’re likely to start looking for a new gig over the next year.

That’s the word stemming from the latest Randstad Manufacturing Employee Confidence Index, which saw nearly a full point increase – 0.9 points, to be exact – in the second quarter of action in 2013, upping from 51 to 51.9.

But what was of most interest was how 44 percent of the 192 manufacturing employees surveyed said they were likely to look for a new job in the next 12 months, rising 18 percentage points from last quarter.

Furthermore, manufacturing came in with the highest job transition index – those indicating an interest in job hunting – out of the numerous industries examined by Randstad.

Phyllis Finley, Executive Vice President at Randstad US, says these findings give emphasis to how a greater number of manufacturing workers have a real sense of optimism about the number of career opportunities that exist today now that the economy is on the upswing.

“In fact, figures this high have not been reported since well before the 2008 recession, and we believe this increase has a direct correlation to employees’ confidence in the overall economic recovery,” Finley says. “Given this environment, employers need to deploy targeted engagement strategies that keep talent from taking other attractive offers.”

But what triggered the noticeable movement in optimism? Kim Brown, Vice President of Manufacturing and Logistics at Randstad US, points to increases in inventories – particularly farm inventories that had been depleted by drought. These increases were first reported by the National Association of Manufacturers.

Also, the nation’s booming gas and energy sector is also playing a role, she says, especially because more companies are looking to move out of Europe and Northern Japan and set up shop on American soil.

“The perception among manufacturing workers that more jobs are available is quite real,” Brown tells Industry Today. “Not only is there a motive among manufacturing workers to look for jobs, but there’s also a need within the job market.”

A “perfect storm of market conditions” favoring manufacturing employees is stirring the trend, Brown says.

First, fewer manufacturing employees say the economy is getting weaker. According to the survey, that figure was 39 percent, six percentages points fewer than the 45 percent reported last quarter.

This, officials say, led to a small, 2 percent increase in the percentage of workers who are confident they can land another industrial job and a 7 percent increase in the number of workers who believe more jobs are now available throughout the sector.

Then, when you toss in the fact that the percentage of workers who are confident in the future of their current employers dropped six percentage points to 47 percent, the reported urging of manufacturing employees to seek employment elsewhere isn’t all that surprising.

Will it last? Not if the current employers of these responders try engaging their employees more.

“I think that you now see more employers trying to engage their employees,” Brown says. “They’re inserting engagement mechanisms – like paying benefits, bonuses, better performance reviews, and childcare services – to make the employee feel the employers are investing in their careers.”

Brown adds: “When you have higher engagement, it regularly translates to higher employee retention, which means, of course, higher employee productivity.”

About Randstad
As the third largest staffing organization in the US, Randstad holds top positions in permanent placement, office and administrative, IT, and accounting and finance. From professional services, commercial staffing, recruitment process outsourcing, to managed services and more, Randstad delivers a comprehensive range of temporary, temporary-to-hire, permanent placement and outsourced placement services. With its 5,660 employment experts, Randstad puts an average of nearly 100,000 people to work in the U.S. each week, through its network of more than 900 branches and client-dedicated locations.


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