By Michael P. Serabian
President, PQNDT, Inc.
While we are busily tabulating the data from of our annual NDT Salary & Benefits Survey (the full results should be ready to publish just after January 1), I would like to share with you some preliminary results. In particular, the findings from the questions we asked this year to gauge the industry’s opinion on the economy and employment prospects.
These are the same questions we asked last year in our 2012 survey, the results of which accurately predicted an improvement in both hiring and job security during the past year. If the insight of the respondents holds true again, 2014 should be another year of gains for the NDT and quality inspection industry.
Full-time employees who responded to our survey are pretty optimistic about the economy and their jobs. More than half believe the economy is improving, as 4% think the economy is “recovering strongly” from the recession, and 48% think the country is still pulling out of the recession slowly, up 7% from last year.
Perhaps that is why 47% of full-time NDT employees think their job is “very secure,” while an additional 37% say they are “pretty safe.”
Job prospects seem to be improving, as 16% said they are “much better” than in 2012, and 34% believe job prospects are a “little better.” Only 6% of full-time respondents thought job prospects had dimmed in 2013.
Contract workers are also divided about the state of the economy and the NDT industry. More than half (51%) feel the economy is slowly pulling out of the recession, up from only 33% who felt that way last year. But 48% think the economy is “still in recession” (28%) or “getting worse” (20%).
Yet half of the contractors who responded to our survey think job prospects have improved over last year (36% say a “little better” and 14% say “much better”). More than two-thirds of the contractors surveyed (68%) say they are “very confident” about finding new contracts in the year ahead.
What this will all mean for the NDT and quality inspection industry in 2014 remains to be seen. But the overall mood of those NDT professionals who took part in our annual survey can only be categorized as positive.
One area that will almost certainly be affected is hiring. Employers who are seeking to fill their growing need for qualified NDT technicians will be facing a job market that favors job seekers, a significant reversal from just a few years ago. With the unemployment rate in the NDT industry at less than 4%, finding the best person for the job will be more challenging in 2014.
How do you feel about the economy? How do your compensation and benefits stack up against the rest of the NDT industry? Where are the new jobs located? Which industries were hiring in 2013? We’ll have all the answers for you when we release the full results of annual NDT Salary & Benefits Survey in a few weeks. Be sure to visit www.pqndt.com in early January to view the full report.
Michael Serabian is president of PQNDT, Inc., the NDT and Quality Inspection industry’s leading personnel recruitment and placement agency. For additional information, please contact him at (800) 736-3841, or visit our web site at www.pqndt.com.