The best part about 2022 is the fact that trade shows are back in full swing. Working remotely, with minimal human contact that isn’t digital; really makes you value that face-time which used to be so common pre-2019. 

Having a blanket focus in consumer goods means that we get to see the latest and greatest in consumer innovations. Whether it’s new manufacturing techniques in the food space, the launch of an innovative home appliance, or the unveiling of a cutting edge sports optic, you get a front row seat to all of it at industry trade shows. 

I’m not going to pretend that I love everything about trade shows, because trust me there is a major price to pay for all the fun. From blisters to grueling schedules, trade shows aren’t all glitz and glamor… but some tend to be more fun than others. I find industry shows that involve people who have a passion for (not just a career in) the industry are much more exciting than just your everyday convention. It’s for this reason that I’m looking forward to the 151st Annual NRA Meeting scheduled to take place in Houston May 27 – 29, 2022. 

Typically we find ourselves attending industry shows which are only open to professionals in the space. This show is very unique in that it is open to the NRA community; badges are free to any and all NRA members and their families. What that means is we get to attend this show in an atypical capacity and I’m excited for it!

The typical trade show is spent working with clients and learning about the industry from an internal standpoint. This year, our Director of Recruiting and myself are going to hit the aisles as a consumer to really see these companies from the standpoint of a customer and, more importantly, as a potential employee. This will also be a wonderful opportunity for us to meet with potential candidates face to face and see what is driving the job movement in this segment of consumer goods. 

With this show coming almost half a year after SHOT, I am eager to see what (if anything) has changed. We came back from that show exhilarated by the growth that this segment has been experiencing. According to IBIS World, guns and ammunition manufacturing employs 54,236 people. Employment in this space continues to grow at a high rate with it being up 1.9% over last year, which explains the scramble for top talent in this market. 

Overall, the guns and ammo industry has been growing by leaps and bounds, seeing a spike in growth since 2019. According to Research and Markets Small Arms Ammunition Manufacturing Report this industry tracked a 3 year growth trend of 22.1% per year. The economic impact of this particular industry is even more astonishing with a 269% increase being experienced between 2008 to 2021. Comparatively, in that same period of 13 years, employment in this space grew by 126% according to a report released by the NSSF trade association. This hyper-growth explains why companies are struggling to grow fast enough to keep up with manufacturing demand. It also demonstrates that the demand far surpasses the supply. 

What does all that mean for you as a job seeker? Good things of course! These companies are now forced to be creative in their hiring. They are open to training the more skilled parts of positions and are now focusing on the intangibles such as soft skills and PASSION. That’s right, if you love hunting or being outdoors, that can serve you well in this space! Guns and Ammunition manufacturers recognize that someone who uses the product and who has a passion for the category is uniquely suited to work with that particular item. This is why we urge people to use cover letters, add LinkedIn headlines, do anything to communicate a specific industry passion. Being an avid product user has strong value to many of these manufacturers so get it out there!

Likewise, there are many groups like ours who work with people and not resumes. Search for those groups, keep an eye on their openings and build a relationship with their recruiters. So much of the personal touch has been removed from modern hiring practices, but don’t let that fool you into thinking it isn’t important. Speaking of which, if you are planning on attending the NRA show and want to learn more about working in the guns and ammo industry, please reach out. We would love to meet with you there!

Both me, Amanda Normine, CEO and Tyra Broxton, Director of Recruiting will be there! You can reach as on our Linkedin pages.

We hope to see you in Texas!