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Why U.S. companies pay headhunters $15,000 to fill manufacturing jobs

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (MarketWatch) — When Kevin Nading needed to hire nine skilled craftsmen with at least five years of experience for Caterpillar Inc.’s factory here in the Midwest, it took him six months to find them. He has paid recruiters finder’s fees of as much as $15,000 for experienced workers with the right mix of skills. He’s even had to pay relocation costs.

Using a headhunter to find blue-collar workers may seem unusual, particularly as politicians, including presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, bemoan the loss of American manufacturing jobs. But in places like Lafayette, companies are discovering they can’t rely on posting job openings on employment websites like Monster Worldwide MWW, +0.56% Those who do the hiring in this area an hour northwest of Indianapolis complain about how difficult it is to find workers.

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