Growth, hiring on the rise in valve industry
VMA reports positive trends at its 75th anniversary meeting
The valve industry employs 50% more people than a decade ago, provides great jobs and is expecting to add many more this year, reported the Valve Manufacturers Association (VMA) during a briefing at its 75th anniversary Annual Meeting in Palm Beach, Fla.
During the meeting, VMA unveiled the Employment Snapshot Report, new member research that provided insight about industry employment and discussed new trends affecting the economic outlook of the valve industry.
“Valve manufacturers are the backbone for many other industries and a bellwether for the economy. It’s great news that so many of our members are increasing their workforces. That means other industries are working too,” said VMA chairman Mark Cordell, president of Distributed Valves for Cameron Valves & Measurement.
More than half of responding member companies reported their domestic hiring was growing up to 5% this year. Nearly one-fifth expected growth up to 10% and another fifth is planning to grow their ranks up to 16%. Only 3% of valve manufacturers did not expect any growth.
These workforce figures are consistent with the increase in shipments that members anticipated, as reported in VMA’s annual market forecast released earlier this year. The forecast report predicted that shipments for the U.S. industrial valve industry would grow 3% in 2013, increasing to nearly $4.3 billion. The increase would mark the fourth consecutive year of growth following the recession, exceeding the industry’s previous 10-year peak in 2008.
Through the Employment Snapshot survey, VMA estimates that the domestic valve industry (including Canada) employs more than 30,000 people, a 50% increase from a decade ago. Overall, the industry has a seasoned workforce, with employees averaging 13 years of experience and that are 43.3 years old. In addition, 26% of their employees have college degrees, and 33% are considered exempt employees.
Also, a majority of these firms—two-thirds of which are privately held—have international locations and employees and most have plans to grow their international workforce over the next five years. In fact, 30% of these firms expect more than 10% growth in their international workforce over this time period. China was the most frequently cited location of internationally-based employees, followed by the United Kingdom and Germany.
“We are growing and hiring, but the industry is also graying so keeping up with our talent needs will become more and more important for our members. In particular, many members continue to express concern about being able to attract enough young qualified workers and skilled labor such as welders and machinists,” said VMA president William Sandler.
Annual Salary Survey
After almost a decade of uncertainty, the confidence of plant floor managers is soaring. Even with a number of challenges and while implementing new technologies, there is a renewed sense of optimism among plant managers about their business and their future.
The respondents to the 2014 Plant Engineering Salary Survey come from throughout the U.S. and serve a variety of industries, but they are uniform in their optimism about manufacturing. This year’s survey found 79% consider manufacturing a secure career. That’s up from 75% in 2013 and significantly higher than the 63% figure when Plant Engineering first started asking that question a decade ago.