NDT Hiring Shows Growing Confidence in the Economy

Starting in 2008 we noticed a sharp trend in the hiring patterns within the NDT and Quality Inspection industries. For several years prior there had been a fairly stable balance in the hiring preferences for full-time NDT professionals and short-term contractors, with the bulk of new hires being full-time.

But when the economy tanked in 2008, so did the market for full-time NDT jobs. The balance tipped sharply, with employers who had previously been seeking full-time workers shifting their hiring requirements to contractors.

The general feeling was that of caution. With manufacturing and construction activity diminished and prospects uncertain there was less risk in bringing in a contractor for short-term duration assignments. This strong preference for contract NDT workers remained in place as the global economy continued to struggle.

But in mid-2012 we began to see a noticeable swing in momentum. Companies that had been relying on contractors to handle NDT and inspection work began posting full-time positions once again. That trend strengthened through the fourth quarter of 2012 and has continued into 2013.

The return of full-time hiring is a clear indicator that employers in many industry segments are gaining confidence in the certainty of future production and the attendant need for Quality Inspection and NDT services. This is a good gauge of the strength of the economic recovery.

And what is the fate of the NDT contractor? Over the past four years many formerly full-time NDT professionals had remained active in the industry as contractors. Some are now returning to full-time positions. But there will always be a need for someone with specialized expertise to be brought in on a short-term basis, or for a contractor to ride to the rescue when a surge in work requires additional manpower.

But the trend toward full-time hiring is a step in the right direction, and an indication of a return to a more stable NDT and Quality Inspection employment market.

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