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Industry Talent Trends That Should be on Your Radar

Submitted by Dan Charney, Managing Partner
Direct Recruiters, Inc., Cleveland, Ohio

As the President of Direct Recruiters, Inc. (DRI) and devoting much of my time to Material Handling executive searches, I see a number of talent trends emerging and continuing into 2017 including new technology, another generation in the workforce, the need for new skill sets, the demand for hybrid talent, reverse mentoring, and high industry growth.

1) Internet of Things (IoT): There’s definitely a hotbed of activity when it comes to IoT. It’s the technology mega-trend across the business spectrum including in the Material Handling industry. The IoT is the network of physical objects or “things” embedded with electronics, software, sensors, and network connectivity, which enables these objects to collect and exchange data. While IoT has been in our industry since 2014, we’ll witness more things being connected to the Internet every day and in turn, experience improved efficiencies, productivity and job growth.

2) The Boomerang Employee: An employee who leaves your organization and then returns to work for you later in time is called a boomerang employee.  Reasons why they left may have been to further their career, try something new, or had a life changing event that forced them to resign. But no matter what the reason, a survey ( by found that 76% of employers say they are more accepting of hiring them back. This trend is happening because professionals are switching jobs more often and baby boomers are exiting the workplace in great numbers. Therefore, rehiring a former employee makes sense since they are familiar with the company culture, may not require much training, and may bring new perspectives.

3) Gen Z Entering Workforce in Numbers this past May: Generation Z a.k.a. Gen Z are those born between 1994 and 2004 (although there’s been no general agreement on exact years), have entered the workplace this past Spring. They are the most digitally connected generation yet. They have no concept about life before the Internet, mobile devices, digital games, or iTunes. Therefore, they are very tech savvy and even more entrepreneurial than Millennials. However, they tend to be more loyal and flexible in their approach to careers. They will choose career opportunities that provide quick advancement and work/life balance over salary and want mentors to help them achieve their goals.

4) Hybrid Talent In-Demand:  Hybrid jobs are the future of jobs. That’s why the hybrid employee is on the rise. Whether it’s in IT, manufacturing, engineering, finance, sales, marketing or human resources, hybrid jobs are growing each year. Hybrid employees are considered a generalist and a specialist all in one. A generalist tends to be someone who knows quite a few technologies but only at an average level. A specialist knows only one or two but at an expert level. A hybrid knows about a great many things at an advanced level and can adapt to any type of project. With a hybrid employee, employers are basically getting two people in one.

5) Industry Growth Creating Need for Flexible Skills Development:  According to Global Industry Analysts, the global market for material handling equipment is projected to reach US $134.8 billion by 2020, driven by the growing emphasis on production automation ( Automation of manufacturing processes along with a growing pressure to optimize raw materials, resources, and energy consumption, are key factors in fueling adoption of material handling equipment in mass production. High growth is causing a need for workers to be flexible when it comes to their skills development and training. Since the demand for routine manual skills will continue to decrease, workers should be focusing on new skills or finding occupations with new complementarities.

6) Reverse Mentoring: Reverse mentoring is when seasoned professionals are paired with and mentored by the younger Millennial generation to help them with technology skills. It was made popular in the 90’s by Jack Welch when he was CEO of General Electric. Today, it is even more beneficial as technology changes even more rapidly.  Organizations are recognizing the value of reverse mentoring and are developing formalized programs to ensure best practices in order to yield success.

7) More Workforce Flexibility: With the rise of telecommuting, globalization, and new technology, workers are demanding more flexibility. However, with this demand comes high expectations. Hiring managers expect their employees to be reachable outside the office and on their personal time. That means longer work weeks. But where to draw the line? For that reason, we expect that out of necessity, nearly every company will have a policy about workforce flexibility in the next few years.

Dan Charney is President & CEO of Direct Recruiters, Inc. (DRI). As a seasoned search professional with 17 years experience, Dan’s specialty areas include Material Handling & Logistics, Packaging, Capital Equipment and Automation Systems. To contact Dan for more information: 440-996-0589, or

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