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10 SMT Magazine • May 2017 cations company, I eventually focused on the electronics side of my studies. When I got my license as an ECE, I found out the following: (1) there were already a lot of ECEs in my batch that year, so the job com- petition in the electronics assembly/manufac- turing field would be intense—my lack of pri- or experience would be an issue; (2) I would have had to work in the provinces, where the science and technology parks are located; and, (3) since the jobs are only in the provinces, the pay would be low. The "provincial rate" is al- ready low as it is, but couple that with the job competition, plus the tax bracket I would be in because I was single, and I could not imagine how I would be able to survive should I take that job and commute two to three hours ev - ery day. On top of that, I was fresh out of college; I would be competing against those who were al- ready experienced in the job. So, either I would have a hard time trying to find something, or I would need to just bite the bullet and agree to whatever offer I got just to gain experience, with the goal of moving up or to another com- pany. These were the career challenges I faced upon finishing my studies and getting my engi- neering license. I'm retelling this story because the theme for this month's issue focuses on hiring and em- ployment in our industry. But my story belongs to the one side of the topic—the employee/job- hunter/student; on the other side sits the em- ployer. I believe there are students now who aren't sure about what to do with their lives, ca- reer-wise, after high school, while those who are well on their way through college may be taking law, or medicine, or finance and banking, or any other course out there—except manufacturing- related courses. This is one of the critical issues facing our industry right now: the lack of new talent needed to continue growing the industry. On the other hand, from an employer per- spective, finding these talents are among their key challenges right now. This is according to our recent survey on hiring, the respondents of which included executives in the PCB design, fabrication and assembly/EMS industries, sup - pliers to the said industries, and OEMs. Accord- ing to 93% of the respondents, the overwhelm- ing concern is finding qualified candidates. In- deed, there is a shortage of qualified people to FINDING, NURTURING, AND GROWING THE RIGHT TALENT Figure 1: A majority of the respondents say finding skilled and qualified candidates is the greatest challenge when it comes to hiring. (SOURCE: I-Connect007 Research)

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