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If anyone is at ‘the sharp end of the spear’ in finding skilled staff to fill roles in Signage, Display, Vehicle Wrapping and general wide format all-rounder roles; it’s James Cryer and his team at JDA Print Recruitment, Sydney and Melbourne. Here are some sage words of advice for employers.


How to attract and retain staff in the current skill-shortage climate


If anyone is at ‘the sharp end of the spear’ in finding skilled staff to fill roles in Signage, Display, Vehicle Wrapping and general wide format all-rounder roles; it’s James Cryer and his team at JDA Print Recruitment, Sydney and Melbourne. Here are some sage words of advice for employers.

The word 'crisis' can be notoriously over-used, however, from our perspective as recruiters in the Signage, POS and Display space, I am persuaded that this is what we're now facing.

Almost every signage or digital print centre we talk to is having the same problem: finding staff! Sadly, this situation has been brought about by several factors, converging to create 'the perfect storm'.

One is the virtual collapse of the TAFE vocational training system; two is that everybody wants to 'go to university - learn about 14th century Persian poetry, conduct a four-year PhD thesis on Ubayd Zakani and then become unemployed, or (worse?) - an Uber driver. Number three is the perception that manufacturing jobs are 'unfashionable' or low-paying or 'dead-end' – try telling that to the designers and installers who run out a 300-store re-brand across Australia’s retail industry and perform fulfilling, well-paid work.James Cryer JDA

There’s a fourth reason: the dramatic growth in the demand for signage has taken everyone by surprise! This, of course, has been driven by the almost unbelievable uptake in 'inkjet'  technologies, roll and flatbed, which has suddenly opened the doors to new and hitherto never-before-contemplated applications (vehicle-wrapping, wall-hangings, textiles, packaging, way-finding, etc) where 'printing' is virtually becoming part of other industries such as shop-fitting, architecture, fashion and interior design, traffic-management - the list is endless. It's as if signage is like an amoeba, expanding like a giant ''blob'' filling any available niche that it can. Actually, it’s not signage anymore – there’s few blokes up ladders with tins of paint and a deft hand. It’s a high-technology digital imaging business that uses advanced computing, robotics, logistics and considerable creativity.

Staff are the life of a business

What to do? For decades we've been encouraged to look after our customers like Kings and Queens, to the detriment of everything else. We'll bend over backwards to meet a delivery or strive to offer 'better quality' or claim to have won more prizes at the national signage awards than our competitors.

But do we always thank our staff for staying back that bit longer to finish the job, or treat them to a sausage-sizzle on a Friday afternoon after a huge project has been successfully completed? Or write them a thankyou note? You may know your employees' names (that's a good start!) - but what about their partners? - or their kids? When they are sick, do you send flowers or choccies, or a funny card? Do you really care?

In some companies, (sadly, as recruiters we hear the stories of many disgruntled employees), staff become overlooked in the rush to please the clients and retain contracts. But it doesn't have to be either/or. Being attentive, acknowledging, welcoming - even thanking - your staff can lead to better morale and a sense of belonging, which inevitably leads to more productivity. Staff who enjoy their jobs put in that 'little bit extra' which is often that defining point of difference which makes your company a 'preferred supplier' over your competitors. It’s all about people and we, as people, like to be appreciated.

And here's another thought: anthropologists say we humans prefer small groups to large ones, especially as it allows us to form close bonds with our colleagues. The signage sector typically consists of firms of between a handful and a few dozen, an ideal basis upon which the boss can build a close-knit, cohesive 'family'. Every country town has a ‘signey’ who is enmeshed with the local business community. The good news is that these bonding strategies are virtually all free!

Don’t be an ‘Ivory Tower’ boss

For example, one of the most frequent complaints we hear, is that the boss doesn't 'keep us informed'. It could be as simple as 'he's gone somewhere this afternoon and no one knows when he'll be back' - to the more profoundly disturbing 'he doesn't involve us in his decision-making.’ Now, I know this may raise old 'class-warfare' issues about: 'I'm the bloody boss and I don't have to tell anybody what I'm doing!' but those days are long gone: employees want - no, need - to be informed about what's going on (the 'bigger picture'). How many times have we heard the refrain, 'if only the boss would have asked us beforehand, we could have suggested better options/alternatives and probably saved him lots of money!’ Remember the legend of 3M and the post-it notes? It was a shelved failed adhesive until an employee started using it to mark his hymn book pages at Sunday church services – he could just peel it off and annotate different pages without marking. Thus a multi-million dollar removable note business was born.

And the point is? By looking after your staff, you'll reduce staff-turnover which is a hugely disruptive cost. Make them feel valued and wanted, counsel and train when appropriate but praise great work and dedication.

As a consequence, word will get around that you're a 'good employer' and in this candidate-starved market there can be no better way of attracting (and retaining!) good staff. And that, friends, will translate to happier customers. Isn't that what running a good business is all about?


ANY NEW VACANCIES? email job details to: andy@wideformatonline.com


Signarama Sydney CBD requires a customer-focused person to join our busy team of eight to ensure we continue to provide our high-level of customer service. Successful applicant will have own customer base to look after and and opportunity to advance to Account Manager if interested. Must have driver's licence and be fluent in English as a first language. We will provide training and product knowledge - most important is the right attitude! Please email a note and CV to Rhod Webb: rhod@citynorth.signarama.com.au or phone 0402 099671


Why not join our team of ten busy and talented designers, sign makers and installers as Lead Installer? We work with all ends of the business spectrum from Mum & Dad shops to large corporates, servicing all of Sydney & surrounds.
We're looking at an early 2019 start for the right person with the following skills:
  • Minimum 5 years signage experience
  • Minimum 5 years experience woth vinyl application on windows & panels
  • Great organisational & time management skills
  • Current NSW drivers licence
  • Construction White Card, ability to read plans
  • Good knowledge of WH&S and an eye for details
  • A go-to attitude using initiative
  • Ability to work overtime hours when needed
Check out our website: www.apexsignage.com.au

Only applicants with the right to live and work in Australia need apply. Email enquiries@apexsignage.com.au with your CV.

BEENLEIGH, QLD - SIGN ALL-ROUNDER404518 442099112526325 1270957010 n

Aussie Printing, Stickers Signs & Stencils is a well-established and respected signage company located at Beenleigh Queensland 4207. We operate a modern production facility and service local & nationwide across Australia.  
We are currently seeking an experienced Signwriter, sign fitter sign maker, sign technician, vinyl applicator, sign installer and sign wrapper so we need a really good all-rounder that has done all of these tasks previously with minimum 3 years’ experience.  

To be successful in this role, you will have previous experience within the signage industry & skills in Graphic application & Vinyl works. Current references to contact that you are experienced, plus a current driver's licence are essential.  This is a full-time salaried position and you will be working with equipment such as:
HP 25500 Latex Printer, Roland  BN20,  Mutoh & Mimaki Vinyl Cutters, Multicam CNC Router. Please do not apply if you are not experienced and qualified!
Call Michael Boehm on 07 3807 3808 or email resume to: mick@aussieglass.com.au

logo McDonald


Experienced Sign maker required for an established small sign business in the Young NSW Region. A family emergency requires the long-term owner to absent most days for some months and at least till Christmas - do you want to run this sign business - leading to a great opportunity for your future?  This role will encompass a wide range and variety of signage applications including General sign production, quoting, assembly & fabrication, installation, vehicle wraps, sign preparation & site survey. Applicants will require outstanding quality control and attention to detail, excellent customer relation skills, a positive attitude and good work ethic, knowledge of vinyl cutting and good computer skills, current driver's licence. Please email resume and cover letter. This is a permanent position for the right person and profit share is available - why not have a crack at running your own show? 

E: aaron@mcdonaldsigns.com.au

W: www.mcdonaldsigns.com.au  


Shogun Signs & Print has a position available in our small, busy but well established company. Min 4 years’ Experience. Very varied work as we specialise in custom finishes. Salary Package based on experience & ability for right candidate 60-80K neg. Min 4 years’ Experience. Very varied work as we specialise in custom finishes. 
Standard skill set needed: Application of all types of vinyl -Fabrication of 3D signage -Installation of signage across a variety of locations -Running Plotters & Printers -Basic knowledge of design programs for production -Customer Service Skills -Eye for detail & quality -Ability to work independently & within a team -Knowledge of substrates & medias. 
Extra skill set if applicable: Work with LED's & wiring -CNC Routing & Laser cutting -Vehicle Wrapping -Project Management -Digital Design -Sign quoting

Please send detailed CV & relevant info to: E: jobs@shogun.media
W: www.shogun.media

jda print recruitmentMELBOURNE - SIGN INSTALLER

JDA Print Recruitment has this permanent vacancy, vehicle supplied. This is an opportunity with one of Melbourne’s prominent signage specialists, who are seeking an experienced and qualified Sign Installer. Contact Michael for a confidential discussion from on 03 9874 1582, quoting reference: JDA V3484


JDA’s Melbourne office also has this vacancy in WA, For details call 03 9874 1582 quoting reference V3499


JDA’s Sydney office has this vacancy in a busy fun print shop. Call James Cryer on 0408 291 508 quoting Ref: 3515


JDA has two vacancies on Sydney’s Norther beaches, one for a Production Manager and one for a digital die-cutter operative with experience on Zünd or similar cutting tables. Call James Cryer on 0408 291 508


There are at least eight more unfilled positions available through JDA Print Recruitment, get on the phone to the above numbers and see what is available!

(Chris Gander of JDA Print Recruitment’s Victoria office handles Vic, SA, Tas, WA and NT).