The Cost of Recruiting Manufacturing Employees

According to RecruiterBox, the average cost-per-hire in the manufacturing industry is $5,159.

There are a lot of variables that go into calculating your cost-per-hire including your recruiter’s time, job fair participation fees, job board fees, and ad spend. 

Without reducing the number of jobs you’re hiring for, the only way to cut down on your average cost-per-hire is by choosing the most cost-effective recruitment method for reaching the most qualified candidates and enticing them to apply. 

Let’s look at the average cost of six tactics that are commonly used to recruit manufacturing applicants: job fairs, job boards, staffing agencies, television commercials, billboard advertising, print advertising, and social media.

Cost of Job Fairs

Job fairs are used to reach interested and engaged job-seekers. The price for a business to participate in a job fair varies greatly depending on the individual event, but oftentimes, a booth at a local community job fair is less expensive than one at a college career fair. Businesses also have the option to sponsor some job fairs with sponsorship packages that can include branding on job fair promotional materials, print ads in programs, or prime real estate at the event.

Other factors to consider:

  • Cost of Employee Time – to man a booth, vet candidates, and answer questions at a busy job fair, your business will want to send at least two employees to the event. This means that these employees will not be performing revenue-generating activities for the entirety of the day.
  • Cost of Display – to attract job fair attendees to your booth, you will likely need to create visual displays or incorporate interactive elements, but nice displays cost more money.
  • Cost of Travel – job fairs usually require some level of travel and other petty cash costs for your employees who are manning the event. 
  • Attendee Gamble – the fair will only be as successful as the attendees. Even with specialized job fairs, there’s no way for you to gauge exactly what type of person will attend the event. You might strike gold and talk to dozens of interested candidates, or you might only attract one or two event attendees. 

Average cost of a job fair: ~$1,000-$4,000

Cost of Job Boards

Job boards are a good way to gather applications from active job seekers. Some job boards charge businesses little to nothing, but most job boards offer paid options that will give your post a premium spot or send it directly to their email list’s inbox. 

 Some job boards also offer a cost per click (CPC) model for pricing under which you pay a minimal cost per day and then set a budget for what you are willing to pay per click. This CPC budget is your bid, and higher bids get prioritized over lower bids. 

The more common model for job board pricing is a daily or monthly rate per job, with special pricing for packages. On average, a 30-day job post can cost anywhere from $150-495 with the average base cost hovering around $249 per job post for 30 days. 

Other factors to consider:

  • Active Job Seekers Only – typically, the only kind of person spending their time surfing job boards is an active job seeker. If you’re seeking qualified individuals, some of those kinds of candidates will already have a job, so they won’t see your job posting. 

Average cost of an online job board: $249 per job for 30 days

Cost of Staffing Agencies or Recruiting Services

Staffing agencies are usually effective in filling seats, but they are also one of the more expensive forms of recruitment. Most recruiting services work for a percentage of what the new employee will earn in their first year. This rate sits around 20% on average, but most agencies work for a rate in the 15-25% range.

With the average CNC programmer’s yearly wage around $50,190, it will cost your business just over $10,000 using a recruiting service or staffing agency.

Other factors to consider:

  • Candidate Pool – the staffing agency you choose may or may not have a large pool of candidates that will align with your business goals.
  • Lack of Knowledge of Your Culture – staffing agencies cannot know your business as well as you do, so they might not know which candidate will fit your company culture and stay with you for the long haul.

Average cost of using a staffing agency: 20% of employee’s first year salary, or ~$10,000 for a CNC programmer

Cost of Television Commercials

TV ads are a traditional advertising technique commonly used to reach a local audience. According to FitSmallBusiness, the national average for a local TV commercial is $4,000-5,000 per million views, but this number can vary by your location. You also need to factor in the cost of video production of your commercial, which is usually a one-time fee of anywhere from $1,500 to $30,000 for 30 seconds. 

Other factors to consider:

  • Production Costs – unless you have a dedicated video department, video production is a cost you will need to outsource in order to secure quality footage captured with professional equipment and editing software.  
  • Hard-to-Measure ROI – it is extremely difficult to calculate your return-on-investment (ROI), meaning you will likely be unable to tell if this an effective form of advertising. 
  • Little to No Targeting – a major benefit of local tv spots seems to be their wide reach, but with recruiting, you aren’t necessarily looking to reach as many people as possible; you’re looking to reach as many of a very specific type of person as possible. 

Average cost of a TV commercial: $5,000-$40,000 for commercial creation and distribution

Cost of Billboard Advertising

Billboard companies boast that their advertisements reach more people than the average TV commercial, depending on their location. According to our research, the average cost of a billboard advertisement is $2,428* per month (around $80 a day) with the standard** option sitting somewhere between $600-950 and $700-2,250 per month. 

Editor’s Note: Our research is based on advertising costs in Rochester, NY, and the surrounding areas. Price ranges vary by location. 

Other factors to consider: 

  • Hard-to-Measure ROI – it is extremely difficult to calculate your return-on-investment (ROI) when it comes to billboards, meaning you will likely be unable to tell if this is an effective form of advertising or not. 
  • Vague Messaging Only – like tv commercials, you will likely want to use the reach of billboards to appeal to a wide audience, not tailored to a specific position.
*cost determined using average costs of basic, standard, and premium billboard options in multiple locations surrounding Rochester, NY    **opposed to premium or basic

Average cost of a billboard: ~$1,200 to $3,000

Cost of Print Ads

You can buy print ads in magazines, newspapers, event programs, or brochures. Because there are so many variations of print ads in terms of medium, size, color, etc, it is difficult to find a standard “cost of a print ad.” Print ads usually come in packages that include multiple print or other forms of ads, especially with sponsored events (ie. you get an ad in the event preview newsletter and the program, and your logo around the event, etc).

For magazines and publications, ads generally start at $500 per ad for small (half-page or smaller) ads in local publications and larger, nationally covered ads can cost up to $20,000 or more. For local newspapers, a ¼ page ad typically starts at around $50-100 per ad and can cost as much as $1,000 depending on the location of the ad, the day of the week, and the color.

In general, print ads can start as low as $50 per ad and run in the tens of thousands. But unless you can use your graphic design department, you’ll need to factor in some budget into outsourcing the design of your ad, which typically costs $250-1,500.

Other factors to consider: 

  • Size Restrictions – depending on your budget and the size of the publication, your print ad may have pretty tiny size restrictions that limit your ad message to a few words or even just your logo and a “Now Hiring” slogan. 
  • Design Outsourcing – the cost of outsourcing design to an agency in order to achieve effective ad design.
  • Hard-to-Measure ROI – it’s pretty difficult to calculate your return-on-investment (ROI) when it comes to print ads, meaning you will likely won’t be able to tell if this is an effective form of advertising or not. 

Average cost of a print ad: $500 to $20,000

Cost of Social Media Recruitment Campaign

A social media campaign is a budget-friendly advertising method that fills your inbox with resumes. You can easily tell how many interested candidates view your website and submit their resume, and you’re able to calculate how much each costs you. 

In social media recruitment campaigns we’ve run, we see an average of cost per click (the amount the social media platform charges your account each time someone visits your website from your ad) between $.50-2.20. Our landing pages have an average 6-15% conversion rate, meaning that of every 100 viewers, 6-15 convert. This means that the average cost per candidate in our social media campaigns is $8-37. 

Other things to consider:

  • Design Cost – if you need custom design work for the creative in your social media ad, you will need to outsource the design if you can’t use an internal design team. 
  • Time to Set Up – the campaign will take some time to set up, optimize, and manage. Bonus: this free workbook will give you step-by-step instructions on how to set up and manage a social media recruitment campaign including ad templates, creative tips, and troubleshooting and optimizing techniques to increase your ROI.

Average cost of a social media ad: The advertiser sets the price. We generally recommend ~$400 per month per job opening for best results.

A Cost Comparison of Recruitment Tactics

Ultimately, you want your recruitment efforts to be effective in bringing in an appropriate amount of applications from qualified potential hires – and you want all of this to be as cost-effective as possible.

If you would like to try recruiting manufacturing applicants through social media ad campaigns, the results might surprise you. 

Download the complete workbook on how to establish, optimize, and manage a successful recruitment social media campaign ↓

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