$50,000 Jobs Go Begging

Wanted: Engineers, mechanical, electrical, manufacturing; welders

Salary: $50,000 plus

Location: Various, including the Dakotas

Apply to: Carlisle Companies

manufacturing worker
Jetta Productions | Getty Images

While the unemployment rolls are swelling, Carlisle Companies CEO and Chairman David Roberts told CNBC Friday that he wants to hire, but can’t find enough qualified workers to fill the slots.

“We are trying to ramp up new development for when the economy does turn so we’ll have products to introduce,” said Roberts, speaking from company headquarters in Charlotte, N.C.

Carlisle manufacturers and distributes such products as tires, food-service equipment and aircraft parts.

Welders, according to Roberts, earn about $20 an hour at Carlisle. When overtime pay is factored in, a welder’s annual income can exceed $50,000. Depending on the location, added Roberts, an engineer’s salary at Carlisle is more than $50,000, too.

What Carlisle is offering welders is more or less in line with national averages, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), but it's far off the mark for engineers, except those at the bottom of the pay scale.

The BLS put the median salary for mechanical engineers at $74,920, with a range of $47,900 to $114,740. Electrical engineers command higher salaries, reported the BLS: The median salary was $82,160, and the range was between $52,990 and $125,810.

Although Roberts is looking for a few good employees, he also said the company is “being cautious” abouthiring until the economy improves.

Roberts said that most of the engineering applicants that Carlisle sees are foreign-born US-educated engineers, who typically don’t want to live in the small towns where the company’s plants are located.

He added that it’s been especially tough to find welders in the upper Midwest region. Those skilled workers would weld together aluminum for trailers.

One bright spot, he said, is the labor pool in Jackson, Tenn., where the company is opening a new tire plant. Some 440 employees will work at the factory.

“We’ve been able to attract engineers, and these are tire engineers [to Jackson],” he said. “It’s because there are other plants that are closing throughout the area, so these engineers are available.”

Prior to joining Carlisle, Roberts was CEO of Graco , which makes strollers, highchairs and other baby products.