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Would you say there is a general shortage of Technical/QA type of people to fill roles?


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#1 LILDANNY50

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Posted 28 April 2020 - 12:53 PM

Hi all, 

 

Would you say there is a general shortage of Technical/QA type of people to fill roles? 

 

Thanks. 



#2 pHruit

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Posted 28 April 2020 - 01:40 PM

I'm sure I've seen a few stories about it over the last couple of years. I'm not sure the "b word" will have helped much either, as we certainly have a lot of skilled non-UK nationals in the industry here doing various roles in QA.

The last few times I've need to recruit, I haven't had any problem getting a reasonable number of applicants, but getting *good* ones has been less easy, so it certainly feels like there is a shortage of genuinely capable technical people in the UK at present.



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#3 foodguy63

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Posted 28 April 2020 - 03:52 PM

Hey LILDANNY50,

 

As a food manufacturer in the US, we've found it difficult to find "experienced" QA personnel. We have shifted to trying to find individuals with high attention to detail and strong reasoning skills and then develop the QA/Food Safety knowledge. It took us sometime to develop a strong training process, but we have had favorable results over the past couple of years. 



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#4 zanorias

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Posted 28 April 2020 - 08:18 PM

My experiance is similar to that as described as pHruit; I haven't found a shortage of applicants for Technical/QA positions, though through interviews and experiance in the industry I've found it is more of a struggle to find someone with the right competence and mentality - in my opinion - required for a decent QA. When speaking with recruiters and company senior Techincal staff recently when applying for positions, several commented on a difficulty in finding skilled Technical staff.



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#5 SQFconsultant

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Posted 28 April 2020 - 08:36 PM

For us, we look for people that are already consultants as it is substantially difficult to train someone to be do this work and even then without certain skills and/or without prior experience in auditing for instance it becomes harder to find those that are qualified.

 

On the flip side of things we get involved in locating and interviewing people to take on SQF Practitioner and QA roles and it is really difficult to find the combination we are looking for, thus we settle and uptrain the person to develop that "knowledge" as the foodguy63 mentioned.


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#6 LILDANNY50

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Posted 29 April 2020 - 10:30 AM

Thanks for the input. 

 

I just wanted to see where the shortages are to ensure I had a career for life. 

 

It seems, there isn't so much a lack of appliactions but more the quality of application - what would you say is most important when looking for a good technical/QA person? 

 

Thanks.



#7 zanorias

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Posted 29 April 2020 - 10:57 AM

I think our field will be relatively safe for the near future; customers will continuously want safe and high quality foods and I can't see too much scope currently for large scale automation of the Technical department, whereas I'd expect the production process in many places to become more automated within the next decade.

Qualities I look for in a QA are initiative, scepticism and integrity. QAs are my eyes and ears in the factory when I'm not in there so I'd like someone that can notice when something isn't right, and be able to flag it up rather than ignore it, and withstand the production pressure. An interest in food safety & quality is a bonus.
Recently we were looking for a new QA and had a few people apply and come in for interviews, turning up in formal clothing and look good on paper but weren't great in person, one didn't deal with pressure well and would likely be squashed by production management. At the time I was doing food safety inductions for factory operative staff and had one guy that listened attentively to the presentation, got high marks on the test and showed initiative. I suggested he apply for the QA position so we trained him up and he was great at it.



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#8 pHruit

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Posted 29 April 2020 - 02:51 PM

Thanks for the input. 

 

I just wanted to see where the shortages are to ensure I had a career for life. 

 

It seems, there isn't so much a lack of appliactions but more the quality of application - what would you say is most important when looking for a good technical/QA person? 

 

Thanks.

 

Over the time that I've worked in the food industry, it has become ever more complex and demanding on the technical front. This is potentially true of other manufacturing sectors, but as those of us who are still working flat out whilst everyone else is on lockdown can confirm, food is pretty resilient as an industry because people always need to eat. It's not what I'd intended to do for a living, but it certainly seems fairly reliable as a long-term career ;)

 

The main things I want to see when hiring staff are confidence, interpersonal skills, and a reasonable base level of scientific aptitude.
As Zanorias said, confidence is somewhat essential because people in our jobs are required to do the right thing even if it is unpopular, and I can guarantee that it will sometimes be very unpopular. Ideally you need to be able to hold your own and communicate difficult subjects with other teams, managers, production people etc who may be senior to you, without taking it personally but also without being arrogant or getting angry, and this is where the interpersonal skills come in. It’s not easy, not everyone has the character to do it well, and even then it usually takes some practice. The staff I have at the moment who I would choose first for promotion are the ones who are best at this, because the management side of things requires ever more of these types of discussion.

The basic scientific aptitude is just the easiest base to start learning from, IMO. I’d never expect a junior hire to know all of the relevant science behind our products, their safety rationale, applications, processing etc., but I do want someone who will learn this enthusiastically and relatively quickly. In an ideal world they’ll pick it up to the extent that within a few years I can free up some of my time by assigning them to research new areas/ideas and present to me, and I am only able to do that if I am convinced that the person has a pretty good ability to read standards, regulations, published research etc thoroughly, take in the salient points etc. Again it’s not a skill that everyone has, and I’ve interviewed (and worked with) a lot of people with science-based degrees who seem to be lacking in this area.



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#9 Njaquino

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Posted 29 April 2020 - 02:59 PM

I have been looking for a QA tech in California and quality techs are hard to come by. I am constantly receiving messages from my friends to see if I have any QA techs looking for work.

 

At this point, I just look for someone with basic biology knowledge, initiative, quick learner, and personality. I need someone who will stand up when something is wrong and involve me when it is out of their control.

 

I don't foresee our positions going away, rules are only getting stricter. 



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#10 losheoig

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Posted 29 April 2020 - 07:08 PM

It appears, there isn't always so much a loss of appliactions but greater the high-quality of software for learning notarized translation services- what would you say is maximum crucial whilst seeking out a terrific technical/QA man or woman?



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#11 El Molino

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Posted 29 April 2020 - 07:14 PM

After scanning the responses I wonder if the contributors are knowledgeable regarding the differences between QA and QC? I have seen many postings for QA technicians but in reality they are looking for QC personnel...i.e. people to go around and monitor and collect data  - Remember QA is the program and QC is the process.

I have decided to become an auditor one day and when I look at the auditor roles internally the companies are still focused on QC. As for shortages - yes, it is difficult to find people with a great attention to detail - it is probably better to train persons from within a company to move them up and give them more than just a production person's responsibilities.



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#12 pHruit

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Posted 30 April 2020 - 07:51 AM

After scanning the responses I wonder if the contributors are knowledgeable regarding the differences between QA and QC? I have seen many postings for QA technicians but in reality they are looking for QC personnel...i.e. people to go around and monitor and collect data  - Remember QA is the program and QC is the process.

 

Worth noting that, whilst I agree with your definition, there are plenty of businesses that seem to use the terms somewhat interchangeably. The OP's original post also referred to "technical" roles, which here in the UK at least often cover some range of QC, QA, regulatory areas, and potential also broader "systems" type things such as environmental/ethical elements. It's not uncommon for technical managers to grumble/joke that they are responsible for everything that no other departments want to do ;)

(Personally I quite like a varied role/remit, but sometimes it gets pushed a bit far...)



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