Is It Time to Switch Niches?

Jul 29, 2015
This article is part of a series called Ask Barb.

Dear Barb:

I have been placing engineers for the past 10 years in manufacturing. I had a decent year last year, but wonder if I should consider a new niche in the future. Each year it seems like more and more manufacturing is done in China or other Ask Barbcountries that have cheaper labor. Is this the right time for me to switch to medical or IT which I’ve heard are hotter markets? I thought about oil and gas, but the lower gas prices are negatively affecting that niche as well.

Tom P., Indianapolis, IN

Review Your Success; Focus There

Dear Tom:

You have 10 years of experience in the engineering niche and also have a client base and network of engineering candidates. Many of the aging Baby Boomers are engineers and there are not enough students in engineering programs to fill those jobs. This is a very lucrative niche that should provide the quality of life you deserve to live.

My suggestion would be for you to get more focused and specialized within your niche. Go back two years and study the business you have closed. Do not review where you wrote job orders, only review business that resulted in placements. Now spend 85% of your time focused on that exact business. This focus will help you lower your placement-to-fill ratio and close more deals.

In this competitive market, one of the keys to success is getting two or three of your candidates in the final interview process, and sending your candidates on more than one opportunity. The Internet has made it easy for candidates to schedule interviews on their own and most candidates prefer to make a choice.

Your reduction in production is not due to your niche and I would seriously reconsider walking away from the network you’ve established both with your engineering clients and candidates.

Barbara J. Bruno, CPC, CTS

This article is part of a series called Ask Barb.
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