CEOs Cautious About Adding Jobs
Three Barrington residents and CEOs agree: it's risky to add new jobs right now, so they move cautiously.
The CEOs of three small companies in Rhode Island and Massachusetts who live in Barrington share more than a hometown. They share caution when it comes to jobs for their companies.
Christopher Ramsden, who heads Millstone Medical Outsourcing in Fall River, Mass., and Memphis, Tenn.; Geoffrey Grove, who heads Pilgrim Screw in Providence and Chandler, Ariz.; and Duncan Maio, who heads Mystic Scenic Studio in Norwood, Mass., have similar perspectives on adding employees.
Workers must have certain skills and experiences that will provide value and help their companies grow. But even then, the firms move cautiously.
Ramsden employs 180 workers at his two plants. His medical devices firm recently added temporary employees to its work force – not full-time workers.
“I’m very cautious on full-time hires,” he said, even though his company, in a growth industry, does not feel the impact of a recession like many firms. “We’re not immune,” he said, “but ...”
Hiring temporary workers can delay certain costs to his company, such as medical insurance. And the unemployment insurance rate just went up in Massachusetts, he said, which means any layoffs would cost the firm more than ever.
Grove employs 65 workers at his two plants, where they manufacture bolts, screws and specialty fasteners for submarines, ships and planes. His company has been shedding jobs for about two and a half years, he said, but better times seem on the horizon.
Grove is optimistic that the aerospace and defense industries, which provide his company with many contracts, have good times ahead. But he still will be very cautious in hiring new employees – for one specific reason.
“The cost of health insurance is a major deterrent,” Grove said. “It adds about $10 an hour to a worker’s costs for us for a family plan.”
He recently was hit with a 13 percent boost in his health insurance premiums on top of double-digit hikes in past years, which drives up the cost of a family plan to $18,000 a year.
Someone a lot smarter than himself must find a solution to getting a handle on that cost, Grove said. It is a major issue with hiring workers, even if they have skills that might benefit his company.
Maio said his company, which creates and builds stage sets, retail kiosks, museum and trade show exhibits, graphics and signage, and
broadcast sets, has been shrinking for about three years.
“We’ve found the bottom,” he said.
Things are looking up a bit though, said Maio, who recently hired two new employees because they had outstanding skills that will help the company bounce back and grow. But it takes a certain level of experience and value before he will consider hiring new workers.
“I’ll hire if they have certain skills and experience,” Maio said.
But like Ramsden and Grove, Maio will be cautious.