As the economy bounces back, so do full-time positions--and salary rates--for skilled NDT workers.

“When PQNDT reported the results of its annualNDT Salary & Benefits Survey last month, it was clear that the prolonged economic slowdown was finally shaking loose, and that a level of confidence was returning to the NDT and quality inspection job market,” says Michael Serabian, president of the NDT and quality inspection personnel recruitment and placement agency PQNDT, Inc. in a recent PQNDT blog. “Entering 2012, unemployment among full-time workers in the NDT industry was only 5%, well under the national unemployment average (which was 8.3% at the time of the report).

Serabian goes on to say that he predicted that hiring managers would grow “more confident” as the economy bounced back, and would begin to fill open positions at a faster rate. PQNDT’s latest survey proves Serabian right.

While PQNDT was placing more temporary contract workers than full-time employees into 2011, employers began whistling a different tune this year. “The number of full-time job openings and hiring activity is on the rise in all areas of the country, for all NDT certification levels, as well as for API and CWI positions,” Serabian states. “Full-time openings are an indicator that employers are confident that there will be a consistent volume of work ahead.”

The study also asserts that NDT industry salaries compensation are increasing. PQNDT’s 2010 Salary & Benefits Survey indicated that 43% of respondents who had been laid off had been forced to take a pay cut in order to land a new job, and 60% said their pay cut was 10% or more. New results show that employers are now paying more to draw in seasoned industry professionals.

This doesn’t mean that demand for temporary employment has necessarily suffered, however.

“A surprising factor is that contractor placement has not diminished,” Serabian says. “This may be even better news, as it may indicate a level of sustained growth in the NDT industry that bodes well for the future.

“However, part of the new demand for NDT workers can also be traced to the effect the prolonged recession had on our industry. Many people left the industry when they were unable to find work after being laid off. Few have returned. The combination of renewed activity and a smaller pool of experienced and qualified workers has tightened demand across the board.”