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40 SMT Magazine • May 2017 Let's examine a few ways that innovative employers have combatted the challenge. Where do we find candidates? In a review of traditional methods of finding candidates, we would surely include help-want- ed ads online at,,, etc. We must consider staffing agencies that specialize in manufacturing jobs as well. And less relevant in our electronically connected world, the local newspapers. These tried and true methods that have been trusted in the past surely must be the only way to communicate with interested applicants, right? Well if you're one of those that have been ac - tively searching for qualified candidates you've already realized that this isn't working well. The online sites are an easy way to get a job opening posted and hope that somebody reads it is qualified and interested. However, the re- sults are less than exceptional for the printed circuit assembly industry and the manufactur- ing industry in its entirety. The staffing agencies don't fare much better. Anybody who has discussed their difficulties with an agency representative has heard that they have the same issues. Or they will tell you that they have many qualified candidates, but after filling out their necessary paperwork and agreeing to an "onsite review" of your work- place you don't hear from them again. And why not? If it's difficult to find employees for the manufacturers it stands to reason that it is hard for the agencies as well. It may be time to step out of the box. Skills or culture: Which is most important? Jobs in the PCB assembly industry are un- arguably skilled positions. Whether they will hand solder all day or program pick and place equipment for automated soldering, their skills are vital. The components that we ask them to solder get smaller every year, and it is not un- usual these days to be asked to inspect, re-work and solder components that are .040" x .020" and smaller. They must be steady handed and as familiar with a microscope as they are with their solder iron and tweezers. However, we also want candidates to fit into the company culture. It's important for all em- ployees to be comfortable and happy working together. The culture of the company takes a long time to be established and one cannot put a value on that. Any company that survives for Figure 1: It's important for all employees to be comfortable and happy working together. THE CHALLENGE OF FILLING POSITIONS IN THE PCB ASSEMBLY INDUSTRY

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