Digi-Key Maintains Industry Presence through Recession, Resumes Hiring and Surpasses 2,000 Employees

Local businesses have begun recovering from the effects of the recent global economic recession. Digi-Key Corporation has maintained its presence in the electronic components industry and recently resumed hiring new employees and surpassed the 2,000 employee mark.

As of January 3, 2010, Digi-Key had 2,020 employees. “If our projections for 2010 materialize, we would expect to see a significant increase in this number,” said Digi-Key president and COO Mark Larson.

“The recent year was challenging, both for Digi-Key and our industry,” Larson said. “While most of our competitors implemented major layoffs, Digi-Key chose a different course. We eliminated overtime hours. We reduced our labor force by attrition, (in other words, when somebody left the company we elected not to rehire) and we sharply trimmed marketing costs.”

Digi-Key’s sales decreased from $984 million in 2008 to $926 million in 2009. Larson said this six percent decrease in total sales does not accurately convey the drastic decline and rise in sales throughout 2009.

“In the first six months of 2009 we saw our sales plunge more than 20% when compared to 2008,” Larson said. “However, by the second half of the year we saw signs of improvement. In October it was almost like somebody flipped a switch and sales turned up just as sharply as they had turned down at the end of 2008. So 2009, which looked like a total disaster in the first part of the year, finished strong with record sales months. We believe that once industry numbers are known, we will see that Digi-Key gained significant market share for the year.”

With increasing sales, Digi-Key has also been able to increase the number of employees in its workforce. Since 2002, Digi-Key has created more than 860 jobs. The average age of a current Digi-Key employee is 41 years with an average length of employment at Digi-Key of at least six years. Approximately 58 percent of Digi-Key’s employees reside in Thief River Falls, Minn. while the remaining 42 percent live in surrounding communities.

“We consider the quality of our workforce and our employees a differentiator in our industry,” Larson said. “Enduring the downturn without layoffs also gives us a competitive edge in our industry. We’ve been able retain the substantial investment we’ve made in training and developing a quality workforce. In many cases, our competition has to rebuild their workforce.”

Digi-Key provides its employees with ongoing training and career development opportunities; an above average health coverage plan; dental, life and disability insurance; a 401(k) profit sharing plan and a clean, comfortable working environment.

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