The War for Technical Textile Talent

March 27, 2015 Uncategorized Leave a comment

Through 25 years of experience recruiting in the textile industry, I am beginning to see a major trend. Textile companies in the US are thriving and growing at a rapid pace. Companies are now looking for specialized employees to meet the demands to produce new and innovative textile products. For example, people with specific fabric dyeing and finishing skills are in high demand and very challenging to find.

We are also entering an age of hyperspecialization[1]. If you look at the complexity of today’s supply chains you would think we have already reached the extremes of specialization. Why do we do business this way? It is simple. Quality improves when the work is done by someone who is specialized in it. As hyperspecialization continues the most talented technical associates will become the critical success factor for many businesses—especially the textile industry.

How do you continue to be successful with this shortage of talent and need for specialization? First, you must be flexible when choosing who to hire for a very specialized position. Hire the candidate that is the best fit for the culture and has the best personality for the team. Some of the technical skills can be taught and learned. If the candidate does not fit with the well established culture of the company, then your new hire will not succeed.

The other effect of this trend is that companies will be calling to recruit your best talent for new job opportunities.  Other organizations may be trying to recruit your technically skilled leadership right now. It is your job to keep your technical associates in their roles and to keep them happy. Let them know how valuable they are to your business. Recognize them for their work, and compensate them appropriately. Most of all make sure they know that they are an important part of the team.

As our world changes and new trends arise, each business must respond to the needs of the industry. Within the textile world, it is becoming more and more critical to retain the best technical talent for your team.

[1] The Big Idea: The Age of Hyperspecialization: By Thomas W. Malone, Robert Laubacher, and Tammy Johns.

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