Plastics manufacturing remains a crucial component of the global economy, with a worldwide reliance on plastic products that doesn’t appear likely to vanish anytime soon. With economic and environmental pressures changing, however, plastics companies may be looking into different areas of focus when it comes to hiring.
Plastics manufacturing continues to grow, albeit at a fairly modest pace. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the sector grew 1.2% in January 2023, to 757,000 employees (adjusted seasonally). Since January 2022, plastics manufacturing has added approximately 14,200 employees overall, growing at a small but steady pace.
The pressures of the pandemic, followed by the ongoing fallout and chain reactions, have led some in the plastics industry to turn towards automation more. This could mean less hiring for certain roles and more of a focus on hiring for strategic roles and other positions that require a “human touch” in the process. Alternately, the boom in automation could lead to more opportunities for career development – a top priority for workers and leadership alike – as workers have the most “automatic” parts of their job handed to machines, thus freeing them up for other tasks.
Those working in the plastics industry are also keeping a close watch on fast-growing niches under the overall plastics umbrella. For instance, the global bioplastics market is projected to reach $18.7 billion by 2031, growing in popularity thanks to its renewable sources and its projected ability to reduce carbon emissions. As the plastics manufacturing industry begins to pivot towards newer and more sustainable solutions to remain relevant in the decades to come, it will be crucial to have experienced, innovative leadership and committed employees at every level. Hiring for roles in these niches now may be on the minds of many plastics manufacturers, in hopes of getting ahead of the curve.
Navigating today’s hiring market in the plastics industry requires considering many of the same factors in other niches: the rise of remote work, the desire for increased work-life balance, and the prioritization of transparency and broader benefits. By working with an expert recruiter and keeping an eye on trends, plastics manufacturers can continue to thrive today while building a workforce that’s ready to take on the future.
By Rose Dorta
Are you a high-performing leader or believe you have the potential to tackle a more challenging role? Would you be interested in career opportunities that are seeking these attributes?
I’d love to chat with you and answer any questions that you have. Email me, Rose Dorta, managing director of Kaizen HR Solutions, here.